Meet new Sonoma teacher Lauren Jolly

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While it is a teacher’s job to teach the kids, Sassarini Elementary’s new first grade teacher Lauren Jolly admits the kids are often the ones teaching her.

While growing up in Benicia, Jolly had her first taste of teaching as a swim instructor when she was 15.

“I liked figuring out what works for each kid,” Jolly said. “I like teaching kids they can do whatever they want to do and not let preconceived notions get in their way.”

Still, Jolly went to the University of Oregon and received her bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, but she still felt something pulling her toward education. So following graduation, she continued on to Simpson University, where she received her teaching credential. She went on to obtain her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University in 2012.

While attending school, Jolly was already racking up almost eight years of experience in Oregon. She started by working as a kindergarten teacher from 2008-15, an intervention specialist from 2014-15 and a third grade teacher from 2015-16.

While she loved Oregon, Jolly and her husband decided to move back to California to be closer to their family and adapted to Sonoma living quickly.

“I like that the state of the town feels calm. People have been really welcoming. I like already running into people I know and seeing familiar faces,” Jolly said. “It’s really walkable here and there’s lots to do.”

Jolly got connected to Sassarini Elementary in March when she met the principal Jacqui Parker at a teacher’s job fair in March. Parker remembers being impressed by her experience and background and the way they agreed in teaching philosophy.

“She was so ready, prepared, professional and eager,” Parker said. “She is super positive and energized.”

Jolly began teaching first grade this school year and already feels welcomed and supported by the community and school. Jolly is also super excited to be around “fabulous kids.”

According to Parker, Jolly has already began mentoring a new teacher and has joined lots of committees.

“It’s been great. She’s been getting to know students and is analyzing her class and is eager to change. The students love her and I believe that the people who work around her have picked up on her eagerness,” Parker said. “She is becoming Miss Popular around here.”

Jolly likes hiking in her free time, and has enjoyed exploring Sonoma trails. She appreciates reading, going to the coast, traveling, volunteering and spending time with her family now that she has moved back near them.

Jolly says she loves watching all her students be curious, discover things and explore the world. Over the years, she has learned the same thing she has been trying to teach her students: that everyone can learn and do what they want to do.

“Everyone has their right kind of learning environment; everyone’s different,” Jolly said. “I also learned kids know more than we think they know. They have voices too, and we should listen.”

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