As a member of a military family, she’s lived in many places, but for the past four years, Teaching Assistant Rebecca Rehlender has called Cuyahoga Heights Elementary School her home. Although she’s usually behind the scenes supporting both students and teachers in multiple classrooms, she’s in the Staff Spotlight for November. The Board of Education recognized her contribution to the district at the November 16 meeting.
Rehlender has been with the Cuyahoga Heights Schools for four years. During that time, she has developed a reputation for building trusting and respectful relationships with students. “She gets to know each one as an individual and is able to help support his or her needs,” said Kaylin Runger, who nominated Rehlender for this recognition. “This is especially impressive as she works with all students K-5. It is evident that she loves what she does and the kids love her.”
According to Runger, Rehlender brings exciting ideas to team collaborations and is “willing to try anything,” to get students excited about learning. “It's always fun to collaborate with her,” added Runger. “She is enthusiastic, creative, and a great person.” In helping to manage arrival and dismissal to ensure that all students are accounted for and sitting safely on their respective buses, she is often one of the first adults the children see in the morning and the last in the afternoon.
Rehlender works with gifted and high-achieving third graders to provide opportunities for students to think critically and develop leadership skills. She is known for being a great listener who is professional, approachable, dependable, and committed. Rehlender is able to draw from her many educational experiences to find something unique about every student. During her husband Greg's career in the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, Rehlender taught sixth and seventh grade in Virginia; Pre-K in Florida; first grade in Okinawa, Japan; and third grade in Arkansas.
Having moved often, it’s no wonder that her personal mantra is “Home is where you make it,” and that spending time with family is one of her favorite pastimes. The Rehlender’s have two children – Louden, a senior, and Natasha, a sophomore, both at Padua Franciscan High School. Among the family’s favorite things to do are to attend concerts, try new places to eat, watch movies, and take family vacations. Along with her husband, she also completed the Tough Mudder, a challenging obstacle course; and a Warrior Dash, a fierce 5K run. Rehlender also enjoys walking the family’s two four-year-old Bernadoodles, Mindi and Merci, listening to audible books, and watching movies and TV series. She confesses that if she weren’t in the classroom, she’d enjoy a career as a movie critic.
“She goes above and beyond to build positive relationships with both staff and students,” added Runger. “She is passionate about the students, their learning, and their success. She is an exceptional educator who contributes to the positivity and success of our district in so many ways!”