All About Mrs. DeGraaf

Who am I?  

I was born and raised in Plant City, Florida and am the 7th generation of my family to reside here.  I received my BA in Psychology from the University of South Florida.  I worked with severely mentally ill adults at Northside Mental Health Center in Tampa for 11 years.  I stopped working to have my son Levi, who is now 5 years old and in kindergarten at Shiloh Charter Elementary School in Plant City.  I have attended Plant City's First Baptist Church since I was a baby.  I have been married to my husband, Rob DeGraaf, for 10 years.  He is an environmental scientist and has his own company, Sweetgum Environmental.  We have one inside cat named Sprockets and many outside cats (Cheyenne, Sheba, Tippy T, Gnocchi, Bruschetta, Shnickers, Tabby T, Katie, plus even more).

Why I am a teacher:

My mother taught school for almost 40 years at Bryan Elementary School in Plant City.  I have seen how much she has meant to her former students and what a positive impact she had on their lives.  I have really enjoyed spending many hours in my son's kindergarten class and watching his teacher encourage and enable her students (my son included) to grow and learn so much this year.  This sparked an interest in me to pursue getting my teaching certificate and to work with elementary students of my own.  I am completing my coursework at the Educator Preparedness Institute at HCC and will take the necessary tests to obtain my Florida Teacher Certification.

Things I love to do:

to read, to hike, take photos, to bike, to shop, to cook, to travel, to geocache, to visit with my family: MOSI, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, and Dinosaur World.

Favorite colors:  

pink and purple.

Favorite flowers:  

wildflowers, gardenias, plumeria, hydrangea, sunflowers, daisies, wisteria, passion flowers.

Favorite authors and types of books I prefer:  

John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, Jane Goodall, Eric Carle, Shel Silverstein, Bill Bryson, E.B. White; non-fiction, adventure, biographies/autobiographies

Favorite books:  

Charlette's Web, The Giving Tree, The Help, The Notebook, The Little House, The Runaway Bunny, I'll Love You Forever, The Last Lecture, Tuesdays with Morrie

Favorite movies:  

Legends of the Fall, The Bridges of Madison County, How to Make an American Quilt, Love Actually, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, What About Bob, The Sound of Music, Notting Hill, Gone with the Wind

Favorite artists:  

Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Georges Seurat, Isabelle Dupuy, Ansel Adams, Clyde Butcher

Favorite quotes:   

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back & realize they were the big things." - Robert Brault

"Days are long, but the years are short." - Author unknown

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ? Charles M. Schulz

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." -Honoré de Balzac

"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along." Margaret Culkin Banning

"There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." -Jill Churchill

"When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself." -Nancy Friday

"A mother's arms are more comforting than anyone else's." -Diana, Princess of Wales

"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." -W. R. Wallace

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." -James Bryce

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important." - Kathryn Stockett, The Help

"Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it.  I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte.  'That in itself is a tremndous thing." - E.B. White , Charlotte's Web

Contact info:

cell:  813-967-2637

work:  813-707-1060