Second Grade

Welcome! ¡Bienvenidos! Bienvenue! 你好 Nǐ hǎo

Our mission, in second grade, is to provide a learning environment that fosters affective growth for every learner. Through problem solving strategies, students will develop critical, creative and analytical skills as they relate to the content areas.

Students are expected to demonstrate behaviors that promote social and emotional growth through our character education program, which focuses on commitment, integrity, respect, cooperation and appreciation. Together these experiences will support and develop an independent learner.

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Joyce Garfinkel

Email: JGARFINK@houstonisd.org      Phone:  713.726.3630
 
Education:  I attended the University of Texas and graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Education. 
Certifications:  I am certified in Elementary Education (K - 8), English as a Second Language (ESL), and Gifted and Talented Education (GT).
Professional Experiences:  I taught in two Southwest area private elementary schools for over 25 years and am beginning my seventh year at Kolter.
Hobbies - Interests:  I love to dine out with friends all weekend. As much as I love dining out, I also enjoy entertaining at home especially making decadent desserts for company. I read mysteries, novels, and cookbooks and often enjoy foreign and Indie films at the MFAH and the River Oaks Theater.
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Catherine Palis

Email: Catherine.Palis@houstonisd.org      Phone:  713.726.3630
 
Wiki:  
Education:  I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Supply Chain Management. I then received my teaching certificate through Texas Teachers. 
Certifications:  I am certified in Early Childhood Education (EC-6) and English as a Second Language (ESL).
Professional Experiences:  I started my teaching career at Kolter in 2016.
Hobbies - Interests:  I enjoy traveling, crafting with my Cricut, and spending time with my husband & dog.
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Lizzie Smith

Email: Elizabeth.Smith@houstonisd.org      Phone:  713.726.3630
 
Wiki:  
Education:  Albion College, Albion Michigan 
Certifications:  BA in English/Creative Writing
Professional Experiences:  After I graduated from college I moved to China where I went to Beijing University to get a TOFL certificate and took language courses. I then taught Oral English in a Chinese middle school for two and a half years. When I came back to the US I joined Americorps and was placed in a program called ACE where I worked in a 1st grade classroom giving early literacy intervention to struggling readers. I moved to Houston and taught at KIPP Shine Prep the past 8 years.
Hobbies - Interests:  I love to be outside and spend time with my family! I also love dogs and going out to movies :)
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Stephanie Fontana

Email: Stephanie.Giesler@houstonisd.org      Phone:  713.726.3630
 
Wiki:  
Education:  I graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2015 with my Bachelor of Science in Education. 
Certifications:  I am certified in Early Childhood through 6th grade- Generalist, as well as a certification in English as a Second Language.
Professional Experiences:  I started my teaching career in 4th grade in 2015. I have been at Kolter Elementary since 2017 and love being a part of this amazing community!
Hobbies - Interests:  I love to hang out with my little family(husband and pup), trying new restaurants, exercising, and watching the Astros!
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Joanna Richardson

Email: Joanna.Richardson@houstonisd.org      Phone:  713.726.3630
 
Wiki:  
Education:  I grew up in the Houston area and attended school in Friendswood ISD. I went on to earn my bachelors degree from Louisiana State University. GEAUX TIGERS! 
Certifications:  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education EC-4, as well as a Mathematics 4-8 certification.
Professional Experiences:  I have taught second grade self-contained for the last four years in Pearland ISD. I am very excited to be teaching second grade at Kolter this year!
Hobbies - Interests:  I love to craft, travel, and read. I am trying to learn to cook (although it is not going very well!) I enjoy watching LSU football games with my friends and family, we often travel to Louisiana for home games.