Full name: Linda Reinbold
Town in which you live: Lower Saucon Township
Job description: Director of (SMNS) and head teacher of a morning 4-year-old class and afternoon pre-K class.
How long have you been at St. Margaret’s?
"At the end of this school year I will have completed 22 years at SMNS. I have been a teacher at SMNS for 22 years and the director of the school for the last 15 years."
Tell us why you've been so committed to what you do.
"After my son was born, I made the decision not to return to teaching until he was older. After several years, an opportunity arose to teach part-time at SMNS. I felt that I would stay there for a few years and then return to public school teaching. But I soon realized that my heart belonged at SMNS.
"The staff works as a team and puts the needs of the child first. The volunteer school board, made up of parents, community reps and church members is dedicated to the development of the preschool child and the overall advancement of our program.
"I was fortunate to have found a place to teach that was more like a family and where children are taught in an atmosphere of creativity, understanding and respect for themselves and others. It is a wonderful place to share my love of teaching and children."
What's your favorite part about being a preschool teacher?
"My favorite part is overwhelmingly the children.
"The preschool age child is full of wonder and amazement. They are eager to learn and love to explore. In addition to the normal preschool curriculum, I include a lot of children’s literature as well as science experiments. I have been teaching Spanish and sign-language to my Pre-K class for many years and they pick it up like sponges. In addition to teaching them, not a day goes by that I don’t learn something from them."
Is there a "special" moment you can recall from your time with the preschool children?
"My most special moment is very easy to recall.
"Approximately 16 years ago I had a wonderful bubbly little girl in my 4-year-old class who developed a brain tumor. She had several brain surgeries in an attempt to remove the tumor. She also had several chemotherapy treatments. Due to the drugs, she lost all of her beautiful hair, gained weight and had a difficult time sitting and balancing. Her mother kept us informed of her progress and told us that they could not remove the entire tumor.
"One day she called me to ask a very simple question. Her daughter had shared with her that the one thing she wanted to do was “go back to school.” I replied that we would do whatever we needed to make her wish come true. I talked with the class about what had happened to their classmate and how she would look different and might need some extra help. Young children have a sense of grace and acceptance that overwhelms me.
"The children were amazing to her. My bubbly little girl returned to school for a short time. It became more and more difficult for her to sit and she had many headaches. She lost her battle with her disease during that year.
"She drew many rainbows that year – it became her symbol. Every time I see a rainbow I think of her and she makes me smile. I learned determination, perseverance and the meaning of love from her and her family."
Have you stayed in touch with any of your students as they've grown up?
"Because I have been here for 22 years, I have the unique opportunity of working with the children of “children” I taught my first years at SMNS.
"Also, I have taught many siblings and cousins in one family over the years. We have many alumni who visit us each year, and I get graduation announcements and pictures from many former students. SMNS is also very fortunate to have alumni parents who continue to support the school with both monetary and supply donations."
What's your favorite thing about working in Emmaus?
"I love the small-town atmosphere and friendliness of the people in Emmaus."
What do you like to do when you're not teaching?
"My work schedule requires me to work full-time during the school year and part-time during the summer. In my spare time I love to read, work in my flower garden, do crafts and spend time with my grandson who lives in Rhode Island."
What's your favorite children's book and why?
"Anything by Jan Brett. Her illustrations are incredible and her stories share wonderful imagery with children and always have a wonderful message."
Favorite adult book?
"There are too many to name. I try to keep current with recent releases, but I have always loved the books by Maya Angelou."
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
"Take one day at a time and be prepared to change your lesson plans at a moment’s notice, because you never know what interesting and exciting thing a child may want to share that day."
Every Friday the Emmaus Patch will help you to get to know another of the many people who make our hometown such a wonderful place to live. If you would like to recommend someone for us to highlight in the future, please tell us in the comment box or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda Reinbold was recommended for “People In Our Neighborhood” by one of our Emmaus Patch readers.