Degrees and Certifications:

Sheri Gonsioroski

When I look at my life, one thing stands out as being important to me and makes me who I am. It is my closeness with my family. They taught me to live, love, explore the world around me, and to believe in myself no matter what life throws at me. My parents told me to never be fearful of the unknown, to always think positive, be strong, and to believe in myself. Of all of the life lessons I have learned from them, the most important is the importance of love for one’s self and others.

I remember many times in my life when I was hurting physically or emotionally and my parents were right there to help me get through every one of those instances: whether it was when I was being bullied in high school, taking challenging courses and wanting to give up, dealing with tough teachers or professors, or having a severe drug reaction when I was hospitalized at sixteen, having to undergo several major surgeries. My parents were always there for me 100%. This taught me about the bond of love that a parent has for a child and how they always will be there standing right beside you no matter how old you are.

I’ve known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl, and I feel that I was destined to teach Special Education because my sister has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and by the time she was diagnosed, she was about 5th grade. By then, the educational system ruined her by making my sister feel as if she was not smart enough. After witnessing her struggling in school, I vowed that I would fight for students with disabilities, so they would never have to feel less. I would be that caring cheerleader that would be there for them no matter what. I would assist them in believing in themselves, to learn to value their gifts, and to persevere no matter what life throws at them. I realized after coming to Open that my passion really is older students and I found finally what felt like “home”. I feel very blessed to be part of this great school.

Despite all of my own experiences I have had, nothing compares to the one that taught me how to appreciate life and to live every day a new. That was my grandfather's death five days before my sixteenth birthday. I thought I would have been prepared for it since he had a terminal illness, but I wasn't. This experience taught me that you need to get out and enjoy life and to not postpone joy, as you never know what life has in store for you.

My life experiences have taught me to spend valuable time with my family because they will offer you the love and guidance to get through anything life throws in your path.