Staff Spotlight: Middle School Teaching Assistant Maria Semenick!

Today, we are sharing another Staff Spotlight! Examples of the educational profession come in many forms and include the attributes of leadership, compassion, knowledge, and the ability to make connections with our students. A prime example of this is Middle School Teaching Assistant Maria Semenick! 

During her 20 years with the district, she has worked in a number of schools and wore many hats while supporting our students. She works to create a safe and comfortable environment while propelling her students to do their best. Ms. Semenick plays an important role in our community and always strives to challenge and encourage our students.

Here is her Q&A related to her time with the district:

Can you tell RCS a little bit about yourself? 

I was born in Albany, New York. I grew up in Latham and graduated from Shaker High in 1983. I went to the Junior College of Albany and graduated in 1985. I have three children who all graduated from RCS, class of 2010, 2012, and 2014. When I retire, I would like to move South and live near the ocean.

How long have you worked at RCS? 

I started in 2002 at PBC. While there, I worked in 1st and 2nd grade as a Building Aide. I then moved to the Middle School in 2004 as a Teaching Assistant (TA). I worked in 6th grade as the TA Consultant, and for the last two years, I have been the 7th-grade GROW TA.

Why did you decide to go into the education field? 

I was working for Kaiser Permanente in Latham as a Trainer, and they decided to close the New York office. My children were at PBC in Pre-K, 1st, and 3rd grade, at the time. I went to help out as a room mother and the principal at the time asked me if I wanted to work there, being as I was there every day helping out, so that’s how I got into the education field.

What RCS Programs have you been a part of during your tenure? 

I have been a Best Buddies Advisor since 2011. I have also been the RCSSRP Unit secretary for the past 15 years. In addition, I have helped out with Middle School Student Council for years. Starting this year, I am one of the advisors for the Yearbook Club and Photography Club.

What is your main goal in developing students’ abilities inside the classroom?

My main goal is to develop independent students who value their education. We work in groups and one-on-one settings to help students develop the skills they need for a successful future. 

Who or what inspires you on a day-to-day basis? 

My students. Each one of them brings something different to the classroom every day. Sometimes it’s not about getting the work done. Sometimes they just need you to listen and give advice about something that they may be going through in their life outside of school.

Supporting our students is just as important as educating them, they have continued to inspire me and teach me things throughout my time at RCS. 

What advice do you have for our students? 

My advice to my students is: do your best and do what makes you happy. There will be a lot of things you “have” to do but make sure you prioritize yourself and your happiness.