Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Lauren Spagna

Lauren Spagna began her career in the Yonkers Public Schools in 2009 at School 16 teaching second grade.  In 2010, she transferred to her alma mater School 22 teaching sixth grade and she noted, “What a DREAM come true.” Unfortunately, Lauren was laid off in 2011 with hundreds of Yonkers educators and staff. That did not deter Lauren from teaching; she immediately began substitute teaching in Yonkers until she was rehired in 2013 assigned to School 13, now known as the Las Hermanas Mirabal Community School, to a fifth grade position.

Ms. Spagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology and a Master of Science in Teaching Early Childhood and Childhood Education, both from Iona College. Ms. Spagna holds teaching certifications for early childhood, birth to grade 2, and childhood for grades 3 through 6. 

When asked what she liked the most about her job, Ms. Spagna responded, “Teaching is my passion. I have been a teacher since I was a very little girl, always ‘playing school.’” It is a dream come true for me to serve the children of Yonkers since I was once one as well. I am so proud to be teaching in the community I love, grew up in and still live. Las Hermanas Mirabal Community School is a very special place with loving students, families and an outstanding staff. My students are incredible and we become a family for life. Probably the most rewarding part of my job is still hearing from many students long after they graduate. They continue to make me a part of their lives and remind me how important I was to their success. So many have reached out after hearing I received this award and I am truly honored and humbled.

Teaching 5th grade is a rewarding experience because I get to see my students grow into young adults before they leave for high school. I am also continuously motivated by my amazing colleagues who go above and beyond for our school community every day. They motivate me to be my best! I have also found a new passion working with new teachers as a mentor in the district. This has been extremely rewarding because after all the years of experience I am still a lifelong learner and will continue to grow in my craft. My aunt always told me to find a job I love to do and I will never work a day in my life. Receiving this award has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and I am most grateful.”

In her application, Lauren shared the most essential component of her instructional program – the power of communication and relationships. “… the most successful initiative I have found over the years of teaching is the use of ‘Community Meetings.’" Community Meetings are held daily in my classroom. They usually happen in the morning before the day begins and this allows students to share and "clear" their mind. Our discussion topics vary, students may suggest a topic to speak about and we vote on it as a class. Students also write questions they want to discuss and we pick them out of a hat or the discussion topic is a result of an incident or current event. Whatever the case, we use a talking token and pass it around the classroom by sitting in a circle and speaking our thoughts with each other. There is no judgement during our community meetings but often respectful feedback, encouragement and support when needed. All of my students participate and I have found that by having these brief meetings before a lesson really sets the tone for instruction.”

Lauren Spagna is a lifelong resident of Yonkers where she grew up and lives today. She is a “proud graduate” of Saunders Trades & Technical High School from the Construction Facilities Management magnet Class of 2003, and attended School 22 and Emerson Junior High School.  

Lauren’s parents also reside in Yonkers; her father, Robert, is retired from Westchester County in the Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Plant and her mother, Patricia, is a retired Teaching Assistant from the Yonkers Public Schools retiring in 2021 after 24 years.

Lauren noted, “By watching my hardworking parents; I learned a work ethic that molded me into the person I am today. My mother absolutely loved her job and watching her impact the lives of her students made me want to follow in her footsteps.

Her brother, Brian, is also a lifelong Yonkers resident who graduated from Saunders Trades and Technical High School in 2007.