Ashley LaMar is in his second year as Principal of Manatee Elementary School and 21st 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 eight children and are active members of the St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church.
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!
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.
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 15 years ago. I earned my Master’s degree in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University. I have a strong desire to help people and I believe that education is the best way to achieve that goal. I also believe that early childhood is the age where educators can have the most impact on a child’s success in life. I love my job as a pre-school special education teacher and I love working at Manatee Elementary!
My name is Lynne Fallica. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Long Island. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in both Child Study and Exceptional Student Education. I also earned a Master's degree in Education, with concentration in Literacy. I have been teaching for 13 years, mostly in New York, and now happily teaching in Manatee Elementary School. My husband and I reside in Cape Coral, with our two small dogs, where we enjoy cooking, biking, swimming, and dancing. We have 4 children, and 6 grandchildren, that live in Long Island. My goal this year, is to have my Kindergarten students discover the joy of learning, reaching their highest potential in Reading and Math.
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.
First Grade Team
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.
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. My family moved to Fort Myers in 1957. I attended all my schooling in Fort Myers. I was a Green Wave, then a Buccaneer, and finally a Bull. We have four very grown up offspring, who live all over the world. I have 3 grandchildren. The hobbies I enjoy most are 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. All my students call me, Mrs. Shannon.
I was born and raised in Allentown Pennsylvania, and have been in Florida since 2002. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Miami in 2007, and immediately began my career as an educator. I have been a kindergarten teacher at Manatee Elementary since it first opened. I am excited about moving to the 1st grade. In 2011, I received a Master of Education in Reading K-12 from Florida Gulf Coast University. When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy many hobbies. I have a three year old daughter, and take care of 17 animals on my family’s hobby farm. We have 4 ducks, 12 goats, and a Basset Hound dog. I am married to a former educator, and as a couple we believe that literacy is paramount to success in life.
Second Grade Team
I am originally from Colorado but moved to Florida last summer. I have 5 boys, ages 7-14. I graduated with my B.A. in Education from Colorado Christian University in 1999, and received my Master Degree in Education in 2001 from Grand Canyon University. My husband and I enjoy riding our Harley's and visiting beaches. My hobbies include photography and reading new and interesting books.
Third Grade Team
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.
I am honored to have the opportunity to work with your child, to be a part of Manatee, and the 3rd grade team. This is my 6th Year with the School District of Lee County. I hold a B.S. degree in Education as well as being Reading and ESOL endorsed. This year, I attained my ESE Certification.
I have three amazing children that range in ages 18 to 32. My fiance and I just launched a not for profit organization called Starfish Music. The organization's goal is to connect aspiring young musicians to guitars. Although I am Brooklyn, born and raised, I have a passion for the outdoors, nature and the Sciences. I love hiking, kayaking, and working in my garden.
My goal this year is to facilitate a love of learning, and a belief that each and everyone of us, can find success.
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
My name is Jonathan Coven. I was born an raised in Ocala, Florida. I graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, exercising, golfing, and being on the water. My goal this year is to guide and encourage my students to be the best they can be and prepare them to be successful not only in 4th Grade, but in life.
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.
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.
I am originally from 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 in Minonk, Illinois. I joined the Army when I was 18 and retired after 22 years of service. At 55 years old I graduated Cum Laude from Florida Southwestern College with a BS in Middle School Science.
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 so that they too can enjoy the benefits of a great education. I look forward to my 4th year here at Manatee Elementary.
Greetings Everyone! My name is Daisy M. Vaughan. 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.
I have been in the education business for almost three decades. I recieved my Bachelor's Degree in 1990 from Northern Illinois Universitey and my Maters in Educational Leadership in 2001 from Aurora University. 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 them excited aobut books and great stories. My hope is that all children will love books and reading.
In my free time, I enjoy teaching marching, choreography, and designing the visual programs for high school marching bands and color guards. I also enjoy exercise. Crossfit is my exercise of choice and I have been know to participate in running 10K and 1/2 marathon races.
Hello! My name is Dianne Fabii, and I was born and raised in Philadelphia, but spent most of my adult life in southern New Jersey. My bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University is in special education and music, and my master’s degree from St. Joseph’s University is in education and health. I’ve worked at various levels in education and counseling, from primary through graduate school. Recently I completed my Ph.D. in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University in New Jersey. In addition to school counseling, my varied work life includes spending a year teaching in a suburb of London, directing an internship program in the mid-Atlantic region of the US and managing a private career services and mental health counseling practice. Having relocated to Florida in 2015, I now am in my third year with Lee County schools. My passion outside of work is traveling in India where I’ve done extensive volunteer work, following my mantra of “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something” to make a positive difference in the life of another human being. I hope to achieve the same here at Manatee.
Coaches | Specialists
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.
My name is Anthony Tocci. I was born and raised on Long Island, NY and this is my ninth year in education. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Education from St. Joseph’s College in NY and my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida. My family moved to Cape Coral, Florida in 2013, where I began working for four years as a third grade teacher at Patriot Elementary School. My mission is for my students to realize their fullest potential every day and to leave my classroom with the pride and confidence necessary to lead in the 21st century. I am honored to be joining this wonderful team of professionals this year as a Teacher Leader at Manatee Elementary School.
I am a 5th grade ESE Resource Co-Teacher. This is my third year at Manatee Elementary, my 11th year in the district. I earned my Master’s in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). I was born in Tampa, Florida. I am happily married to the love of my life. We have 3 sons, a daughter-in-love, and 2 beautiful granddaughters! We are proud pet owners of 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a bird. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is that each student leaves the classroom with a sense of accomplishment and a positive mindset.
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.
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.