Mr. Kennedy has been a teacher for 15 years.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I received my Bachelors in Psychology from the University of South Florida. I worked as a paraprofessional for a year after graduation and fell in love with teaching. I knew that sharing different cultures, perspectives and experiences through reading would enlighten my students and hopefully ignite their interest in reading. I heard about Pepin Academies from a fellow teacher and realized that I needed to be a part of the ESE teaching community.

What is a goal of yours as a teacher?
As a reading teacher, my goal is to open up the world beyond what my students experience between school and home. In working with young people and students with disabilities, I’ve come to realize how little students know about what life is like outside of the neighborhoods and cities they live in. I wanted to share the excitement and passion I have for exploring the world around me and seeing life through different perspectives and diverse backgrounds.

What is something your students don’t know about you?
Most of my students don’t know that I have a minor in sign language and a second bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders.

Is there a quote or saying that you live by?
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
–George R. R. Martin.

What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite author is Stephen King. I read Pet Cemetery in middle school and fell in love with reading. This year my class and I read Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. My students and I have gotten excited to read more books written in poetry. I generally like books with a quicker pace and this one is definitely nonstop from beginning to end. It also has many social issues such as gun violence, decision making and the importance of getting second chances.

What would you like to see changed in the schools?
I would like to see less focus on test results and more focus on creating experiences that encourage my student’s curiosity in the world around them. Having a new generation of conscientious citizens who can identify problems in their communities and come up with solutions to make life better for themselves and those around them is my hope for my students.