Ashley LaMar is in his first year as Principal of Manatee Elementary School and 20th year as an educator. Previously, he served as Principal of Royal Palm Exceptional School for two years, Coordinator of School Development for two years, and Assistant Principal at Hector A. Cafferata, Jr. Elementary for three years. He was born and raised in Paragon, IN, and attended Indiana University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. After college, Mr. LaMar taught in Martinsville, IN. After teaching for four years in Indiana, Mr. LaMar relocated to the Ft. Myers area where he served as a teacher for another nine years. Mr. LaMar is committed to helping students improve themselves and guiding them down a path of success. He and his wife, Courtney, have seven children (with another on the way) and are active members of the St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church.
Assistant Principal, Grades K-1
Mrs. Osgood has been an Assistant Principal at Manatee since September of 2014. She was born in Tampa, FL and grew up in Spring Hill, FL. She moved to Lee County in 2002 after living in Lake City, FL for three years while her husband earned his degree in Golf Course Management. Mrs. Osgood attended The University of Florida, where she earned her AA, The University of South Florida, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and Nova Southeastern University, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and her Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership. She started her career in Education in 1998. She taught grades K-2 in Pasco, Alachua, and Lee counties between 1998-2007. She also taught dance at a Fine Arts school in Gainesville. In Lee County, Mrs. Osgood was a teacher at Tanglewood Elementary from 2002-2007and the Technology Specialist at Patriot Elementary in Cape Coral from 2007-2014, prior to coming to Manatee. She lives in Cape Coral with her husband and three children. Mrs. Osgood enjoys supporting the students, teachers, and families of Manatee and strives to make Manatee the place to be!
Assistant Principal, Grades 2-3
Monica Gregory is the assistant principal for grades 2 and 3. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Florida in 1990. She has her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from FGCU and she is currently working on her doctorate’s degree at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). As a teacher, she taught grades 1-6. She has two children, her son is 27 and works in the internet domain registrar industry and her daughter is 16 and she attends Cypress Lake High School. Ms. Gregory likes to kayak, read, and complete home improvement projects. Ms. Gregory’s goals for Manatee Elementary is to help every student see his or her potential and do their best in all academic areas, while making new friends and working together as a team.
My name is Amanda Harvel. I was born in Fort Myers Florida but grew up in Greeneville Tennessee. I graduated from Tusculum College with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, painting, running, baking, and cooking. My goal this year is to equip and encourage my students to be the best they can be and prepare them for first grade success.
Hello my name is Renata James. I was born on an island named Grenada but grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I have been living in Florida for about 11 years now and definitely grew to love it. I graduated from Florida International University in Miami. My favorite color is yellow and I really enjoy reading, bike riding, and coloring. I am the oldest of 3 siblings and I have a dog named Cookie that I love very very much. This year I hope that our classroom is a place where all of my students find enjoyment and leave at the end of the school year with more knowledge than they began with.
Jamie MastinI was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma and grew up in Kansas. I graduated college from Ottawa University in Overland Park, KS. I have two daughters, Shanley and Savana and have been married for 19 years to Jason. We love to ride our horses and go paddle boarding. We spend a lot of time at Paddle Board Races and Barrel Races. This year I want my class to learn how to become fluent readers and be ready for First grade.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio and received my Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Ohio State University. I moved to Southwest Florida to begin my teaching career about 14 years ago. I earned my Master’s degree in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University. I have an 11 year old son, Benjamin, who attends North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts. I also have a 24 year old daughter, Maddy, who is married and I have a grandson, Mason, and another grandson due in September 2016! I enjoy kayaking, swimming, and other outdoor activities. I have over 7 years of teaching experience with teaching Pre-K. My goals for my class this year are to help students meet their goals with a major focus on increasing language skills. I am looking forward to a great year with Pre-K at Manatee Elementary!
ESE K-5 Teacher
My name is Jacqueline Mines. I am born and raised in New Jersey. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Child Development at California State University. I am a proud mother to a wonderful 6 year old son. I love to go fishing, camping and almost all outdoor activities. I cannot wait to teach your children as they reach their goals. I set high expectations because, all students can and will learn amazing things in our class.
First Grade Team
Michigan City, IN
Ferris State University ( in Michigan)
I have a 13 year old daughter
I love reading, going to the pool and hanging out with family and friends
Goals for my class this year is for each child to read on grade level and to have fun learningOriginally from Michigan. I moved here 13 years ago and absolutely love it.
My name is Linda Santiago. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I attended Edison Community College andgraduated from Nova University with distinction. I began my teaching career in the Manatee Elementary neighborhood at Michigan Elementary in 1984. I took an early retirement for a couple of years to be with my son and daughter as they completed high school. I am now back in the neighborhood and I am currently teaching first grade at Manatee Elementary for my third year. My goal for my class this year is to work to their highest potential.
I was born in St. Louis, MO in 1955. I attended all my schooling in Fort Myers. I was a Green Wave then a Buccaneer and finally a Bull. My husband of 40 years and I, have four very grown up offspring, who live all over the world. The hobbies I enjoy most are gardening, exercising, reading and traveling to see my kids. My goals for this year’s first graders are to have them grow in all academic areas to their highest potential. My students call me, Mrs. Shannon.
Second Grade Team
Name LAUREL KNAPP
Birthplace : CLEVELAND, OH
School : Kent State University & FGCU
Family ; Husband and 1 daughter (also a teacher), 4 dogs, too many birds to count, and 3 opossums
Hobbies: wildlife rehabilitation, ballet, plus anything else animal related
Goals for your class this year : To have all students be reading at grade level and all students able to write & read in cursive
Any other information you would like to share: If you find any injured or orphaned wildlife…CALL ME!
Hello, I’m Laurel Knapp and I am originally from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio by way of California. My degree is a BS in Criminal Forensics. I moved to FL in 2002 with a van full of live animals and 1 grumpy teenager. What fun. I am fortunate enough to live on Fort Myers Beach now. I am VERY passionate about science…particularly wildlife. I am a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator. I love introducing my students to animals and plant life with hands-on activities. I adore teaching the lower primary grades and I plan to keep teaching until they lock me out of the school.
Third Grade Team
Lisa DuBrava is in her 22nd year teaching Elementary Education with the Lee County School District. This is her 9th year at Manatee Elementary School; where she has spent 3 years in fourth grade and 6 years in third grade. She began her career at J. Colin English Elementary School teaching fifth grade for four years. She moved to Colonial Elementary School teaching fourth grade for four years and third grade for two years. Ms. DuBrava was named “Lee County Math Teacher of the Year” in 2001-2002. Ms. DuBrava help open up Harns Marsh Elementary School and taught fourth grade for three years. While teaching there, she was a Building Representative for TALC and was an Area Coordinator for the TALC Executive Board. Once again, she is a Building Representative for TALC for the last two years at Manatee. Last year, Ms. DuBrava was honored as a “Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction” in 2015-2016.
Born and raised in Binghamton, New York for the first 21 years of her life. She went to Ridley Lowell School of Business for 2 years. Ms. DuBrava served in the United States Army for 3 years. She spent time overseas in Seoul, Korea. Attended “Primary Leadership Development School” and “Mountaineer and Repelling Training” on Chejadu Island. After her military experience, she moved to Fort Myers, Florida in 1988. Ms. DuBrava graduated from the University of South Florida in 1995 with her BA in Elementary Education as well as a SCATT Honors Graduate. Ms. DuBrava has a son, Matthew 17 and a daughter, Malorie 15 who both attend Riverdale High School. She has two Boston Terriors, Jersey and Lexie. Her parents live in Blackhawk, Colorado as well as her brother Michael and niece Miranda. Her other niece Melinda lives in Orlando, Florida. Ms. DuBrava loves spending time at the beaches and in the mountains both in quiet settings. Loves listening to all kinds of music and enjoys food with good conversation with friends.
My name is Heidi Van Waus and I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. After graduating high school, my family and I moved to Florida where I attended Edison College, now FSW. While in college, I met my husband of 41 years, Keith. We have two adult children, Lisa and Mark, and 5 grandchildren. Shortly after, I returned to college and attended University of South Florida on the Edison campus. My hobbies include walking/hiking, reading, and having fun with my family. My goals for my class this year are to inspire my students to develop a passion for learning, demonstrate the importance of working together, and provide them with the tools necessary to help them be successful and follow their dream.
Fourth Grade Team
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota
School: The College of Saint Benedict
Family: My family consists of my dad, my mom, and my twin sister Katie.
Hobbies: My hobbies include running and swimming. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family.
Goals for your class this year: My goal this year is that each of my students looks forward to coming to school each morning!
Family-2 boys, 1 dog
Hobbies-reading, Words with Friends, collecting LPs
Goals for your class this year-Students will leave the 4th grade as better readers and writers.
My name is Kerstin Morris and I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. I received my associate degree from Palm Beach State College before moving to Fort Myers to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, where I completed my bachelor's degree in elementary education. My fiancé Rick is in the military, currently serving in New York. We have an Australian Shepherd (Storm) and a rabbit (Cinna-Bun). My hobbies include baking, reading, and shopping. This year I will be teaching English language arts and social studies. The goals for my classes are to have all students make reading level gains, to have all students meet or exceed individual AR goals, and to have no students earn N's or U's in English language arts nor social studies.
Visit my classroom website ... click HERE
Hello, my name is Francine Swickheimer. I grew up in Oklahoma and moved to Florida after graduating from high school. My husband, Jerry - a retired military veteran, and I enjoy our lives together here in South Florida. I am also the proud parent of two adult children, Jeffery and Christina and one grandson, Conner all who have moved back to Oklahoma. One of my favorite things to do is travel back home to Oklahoma to see my family.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida and both a Masters and Doctorate degree in Reading and Literacy from Capella University. I have been an educator for 20 years teaching grades kindergarten thru 5th. My goal this year is to help all my students realize their full potential and find their passion for learning so they can reach that potential.
Fifth Grade Team
My name is Bill Love. This will be my tenth year of teaching. I was born in Riverside, California and I attended college at Florida State University.My wife, Vicki, and I have a son, Edwin, who is eighteen years old. He attends Fort Myers Technical College. My hobbies include boating and fishing. My goal for the year is for all my students to make gains on their standardized assessments.
Name: Alexandra Newman
Birthplace: Jacksonville Beach, Florida
School: Manatee Elementary
Hobbies: Phsycial Fitness, art, yoga, dancing, and music
Goals for your class this year: Every student will leave my classroom with work ethic, a smile ,and independent skills to further their learning.
Greetings Everyone! My name is Daisy M. Ochoa. I was born in New York City and raised in Brooklyn. I graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with my Bachelors in Elementary Education. My husband and I have two baby girls together, a fourth month old; Isabella Grace and a four legged hairy German Shepard; Riley. We currently live in Punta Gorda. My favorite color is white and gold, my family is my life, and the best thing in life is enjoying a good book at the beach with my family.
Name: Brian D. Tull
I was born at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. I attended many schools when I was a kid but I graduated high school in 1976 at Minonk-Dana-Rutland High School. When I was barely 18 years old I joined the Army and went to many schools. Ground Surveillance Radar School, Intelligence Analyst School, Air Assault School, Army Recruiting School, Guidance Counselor School as well as many different levels of Leadership Schools. I retired from the Army in 2001 and decided in 2010 to become a teacher and enrolled and graduated what is currently known as Florida Southwestern College here in Fort Myers, FL.
I am a father of three boys, and I have two grandsons and one granddaughter. I have many things I like to do such as golf, fishing, traveling, and eating at nice restaurants, I love the beach and dancing is fun as well.
My goals is to prepare my fifth graders for the next level of schooling so that they too can enjoy the benefits of a great education. I look forward to working with a great team of teachers and learning about them as well.
Enrichment Team | Coaches | Specialists
Teacher Leader / 5th grade classroom teacher
My name is Jessica Conley. I was born and raised right here in Lee County, Florida. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Kyle, and together we have three wonderful children: Logan, Kelley and Keagan. I have been a teacher in Lee County for eleven years. I earned my bachelors degree in Elementary Education and my masters in Educational Leadership from Florida Gulf Coast University. My goal for this year is to support teachers and students as much as possible so that they may reach their highest potential. I am happy to be part of this great team at Manatee.
I have been in the education business for almost three decades. I have enjoyed being a fifth grade teacher, a third grade teacher, a Curriculum Resource Teacher, and now a Media Specialist. My current job is the best: books, kids, & computers. My favorite part of my job is reading to students and getting then excited aobut books and great stories. My hope is that all children will love books and reading.
If I have free time, I enjoy teaching marching and choreography and designing the visual programs for high school marching bands. I also enjoy exercise and participate in running 10K and 1/2 marathon races.
Additional Team Members
My name is Laura Barrow, and I am proud to serve Manatee Elementary School as one of its two school counselors! I have quite a diverse educational and career background over the past 32 years that covers not only school counseling, but also education at the college level (faculty and administration), sports, pharmacy, and law. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but spent the majority of my formative years in Gulfport, Mississippi. Before moving to Florida in 1995, I lived in Texas for 13 years. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (Go Horns!), a graduate degree from the University of Houston, and my final graduate degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. I have been married for 28 years to Rich Barrow with whom I have two adult sons who grew up in Lee County – my younger son Daniel is currently a senior at Purdue University, and my older son Michael is a graduate student at the University of Michigan. In my spare time, I love to watch sports, read, play the guitar, and ride my bike. My goal at Manatee Elementary School this year is to help all students find meaning and purpose in their lives as well as acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become capable human beings.
Name: Susan Galatz - aka: Ms. G-
Birthplace: NYC, NY
School: Graduate of: Wm H. Taft HS Dowling College for both Undergrad and Graduate
Family: 3 adult children: Mike: Health Professional, Matt: ADA in NYC, Loren: Phlebotomy. Remarried 4 years ago to someone I knew 40 years ago!
Hobbies: Fishing, Sewing, Archery, Scroll-saw (woodwork), Movies, movies, movies.
Goals for your class this year: To show students how to be successful in inches which will later become yards for them.
Any other information you would like to share: I am looking forward to working with a team that inspires not only their students but one another.