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Staff Spotlight: Shakeela, Jodi, and Gina

Staff Spotlight: Shakeela, Jodi, and Gina
Posted on 04/11/2017
dragonfly staffDragonfly After School & So Much More!


Shakeela Darden

What do you do at G&P and how long have you worked here?
I wear many hats at G&P. I have worked at Dragonfly After School since I was an undergrad. I also started helping during lunch and recess time in 2015. In addition to those things I help out in the office from time to time as well as in some classrooms.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Cambridge... the Coast to be exact.

If you could have anyone as principal, who would it be and why?
If I could have anyone as a principal it would be Tupac Shakur... most know him as a outspoken outlandish hip hop artist, however he was a wonderful poet as well as a political activist who fought for the rights of the poor as well as gave back a lot in poverty stricken communities. He is the true definition of a human being - we all have many layers. Not everything is black and white; we have to accept people for their good as well as their bad. I think people should be able to see each person as an individual.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
I think I'd make a good radio personality if I wasn't a social worker/ after school teacher…I love Music, movies, and pop culture. I'd be awesome!

Who inspired you to work with youth?
My 7th grade teacher. Mrs. Viaud was amazing, she had special connections with every kid. She made me feel important. She made me feel like the things I was interested in were important. She gave me my confidence back. She taught me that believing in yourself was half the battle. She still teaches at the Tobin School. She's amazing...


Jodi Rich

What do you do at G&P?
I am the Executive Director of the Dragonfly After School Program which uses the art room at G&P everyday. I am also substituting for Mrs. D in the Main Office everyday while she recovers from her surgery.

How long have you been at G&P?
I have been working for Dragonfly here at G&P for 7 years.

Where are you from?
I lived in Barrington, RI until I was 8 years old. Then I moved with my family to Cape Cod and lived in Falmouth, MA until I finished High School. Now I live with my son Maxwell in Jamaica Plain.

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?
Vice President Joe Biden!

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
I studied Theatre in college and when I was younger I always wanted to be a writer on Saturday Night Live when I grew up.

Describe your all-time favorite activity to do with children?
I really enjoy cooking with the children I work with. At Dragonfly we cook every Thursday. My father had a restaurant when I was growing up and I loved visiting him at work and hanging out in the kitchen with the chefs.

Who inspired you to work with children?
When I was growing up I used to visit my great-grandmother in Malden during school vacation weeks. She was in her 80’s at the time but she still went to church every Sunday to take care of the babies in the nursery. When I was visiting I would go with her and help. It was something I always enjoyed doing. Years later when I graduated from college I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I remembered that and found a job in an after school program with the Greater Providence YMCA. I haven’t had any kind of job that didn’t involve children since.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
Mr. Cali, my Junior Year English Teacher because he had a great sense of humor and I remember laughing a lot in his class.


Gina Hallisey

What do you do at G&P?
I work in room 106 and at Dragonfly Afterschool.

How long have you been at G&P?
This is my second year working here, but I used to go to school in this building!

Where are you from?
I am from Cambridge, MA.

What are three things every teacher should own?
A water bottle, a pack of band-aids, and a pencil sharpener.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
I’ve always thought that I’d be a good interior designer! I love to decorate and organize friends’ homes and my own.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
My favorite teacher was my seventh grade teacher, Mr. Langdon. He always had special events and parties in our classroom, plus he played lots of pranks on us!

What do you love about G&P?
I love how friendly everyone is! No matter where I go in the building people are smiling and laughing with each other. It’s definitely a fun place 
to be!