Rhonda Voulgaris: Proving you can go home again
Rhonda Voulgaris has spent much of her life as a part of the Boerne Independent School District, both as a student and a teacher. When Mark T. Voss Middle School gave her the opportunity to teach in the place she grew up, Rhonda took it and never looked back.
While Rhonda Voulgaris didn’t set out to be a teacher, it called her, and she listened. Initially coming out of college with a business degree, it took her only six months to realize financial planning did not have her heart. Seventeen years of teaching later, this decision has proved to be the right one.
Rhonda’s approach is a hands-on one. “The only way I stay keep up with [educational best practices] and stay on top of the new trends in research is to continue learning,” said Rhonda of her desire to always be aware of new developments in educations. She puts a special emphasis on data to drive her instructional practices. This approach is seen especially clearly in her approach to assessing where each student is in their learning journey. “We have a room in our school that’s got 3,000 cards on the wall with the kids’ faces” said Rhonda, “the cards are located in places like ‘who needs the most intervention,’ ‘who needs the most enrichment.” The desire behind this is to make sure no child slips through the cracks.
In her classroom, Rhonda promotes “academic discourse,” using academic vocabulary in math classes to help students talk through their learning to stay engaged. This is especially pertinent for students whose first language isn’t English to speak “math language” and understand instruction more clearly. Ultimately, it isn’t just about the hard data for Rhonda; goal setting is an important element of her instructional style. Rhonda promotes a dynamic learning environment that keeps her students engaged to improve their weaknesses and bolster their strengths.