2023 Para-educator of the Year
Leslie Wicander, paraeducator in the PreSchool Smart Start program, is known by the students as Mrs. W or “Mrs. Wooo” and every day she is energized and ready for a life full or surprises with the three- and four-year old students in the Smart Start program.
Leslie has impacted the program and the school with her passion, drive, and commitment to the children in PreSchool. She is frequently seen singing, dancing, wiping noses, reading to students, tying shoes, building block masterpieces, helping pretend “cook” in the play kitchen, biking in the hallway, or admiring artwork of a student. She praises and guide’s the development of children and is always on the ready to hold hands, give hugs, supply Band-Aid’s, and console if necessary.
According to Stacey Gibson, the teacher of Smart Start, Leslie is her “other half” of the program crediting her with passion that results in successful co-teaching. Leslie has an early childhood degree and began as a literacy para over 15 years ago. She has worked in the Kindergarten extended day program as well as a Kindergarten para.
Leslie has a warm way of connecting with all of the students in a variety of ways and in any capacity as need by the preschool children. Some need to be read to. Some need help packing up and organizing themselves. Some need tissues and there are always those who need someone to play with at recess. She acts on the needs of every child. All of us would want our own children to have a connection with someone just like Leslie in school. It is these sincere connections with our East Hampton youngest learners that make her Mrs. W.
Congratulations to the 2023
Paraeducator of the Year,
Leslie Wicander, Paraeducator
at Memorial School!