Staff Spotlight: Joana Moore
Posted on 05/11/2023
Joana Moore in her classroom

Staff Spotlight: Joana Moore

Joana Moore is a first grade teacher at O’Brien Elementary School who has deep connections to the school community. Starting out at O’Brien as an active school parent for her three boys, she became a substitute teacher then an instructional paraprofessional before earning her teaching certification. Now she says she treats all of her students like they’re her own.

“Even as a parent, you were always made to feel welcome [at O’Brien]. It’s just that nurturing environment that makes a huge difference,” said Moore. “It was something that I wanted to be part of because I saw how they were with my kids, and I just felt if I was here I would do the same for somebody else’s child.”

Now in her third year teaching first grade, Moore says she sets a goal to make a positive impact on every child in her class, whether that’s socially, academically or otherwise.

“Every child grows differently and trying to differentiate for the child, meeting them where they are, that’s my goal,” she said. “My goal is always putting the needs of the child before anything else.”

O’Brien Principal Talisha Foy says Moore’s ability to help each and every child in her classroom grow and achieve is what makes her such an amazing teacher.

“You can see that she’s transferred a lot of those skills, because as a para you focus a lot on their individualized needs, and she has this amazing way of doing that with an entire class of 15-20 students,” said Foy. “I’m amazed by her trajectory and what she’s done in the district.”

Foy says Moore is a success story for others at the school who may want to begin a similar journey to becoming a classroom teacher. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm for her work are also inspiring to her colleagues.

“Even when things get tough she always has this, ‘I can do it, we can do it’ attitude. She tries to bring her team along with her,” said Foy.

Moore says that enthusiasm comes from loving her job, loving the growth she’s able to make as a teacher, and watching her students grow too.

“When you get the kids, when they come to you from kindergarten, you just see how they blossom at the end of the year from where they start,” she said.

“I know usually at the beginning of the year you’re like, ‘Oh my God, can I get them to where they need to be?’ and then you see that growth. It’s just amazing.”