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THE HEARTBEAT OF THE SCHOOL: One educator makes a difference in Collier County for generations

THE HEARTBEAT OF THE SCHOOL: One educator makes a difference in Collier County Schools for generations
Posted at 10:00 PM, Mar 26, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — Most people can think of a teacher growing up who made an impact on their lives, and thankfully there's no shortage in Collier County.

However, one teacher at Vineyards Elementary School in Naples has made a difference in hundreds of her students' lives for several generations.

"Throughout the day, the buzzer out front, will ringing and somebody's like, 'Mrs.Shonda, someone's here to see you,' and when I go out there, it's like parents bring the kids back," said Shonda Dewberry, who has worked at Vineyard Elementary for 27 years. "There's not a day that goes by where this doesn't happen. They're like, 'Mrs.Shonda you're still here!' and I'm like 'Yes, I am still here shaping and molding our future.'"

Shonda Dewberry has worn many hats while working at Vineyard Elementary.

She spends every day from 6 in the morning until 6 at night serving as a mentor to teachers; making sure the school is safe; and running the before and after school care programs.

"I can't walk around this campus without anyone saying 'Mrs.Shonda, Mrs.Shonda,' so it does get louder and louder," said Dewberry.

The love for Mrs. Shonda does not just come from current students.

Two students who came back to reunite with Mrs. Shonda after they graduated from Vineyards Elementary say she truly is the heartbeat of the school.

"The way that she cares for everyone has always been something that I've looked at her and like wanted to be that way, just because of the way that so many students look up to her and so many children have learned so many things from her," said Kailey Miller, a CCPS alum.

"I could show up to work in the worst mood ever and she'll brighten my day," said Hailey Lintz, a current CCPS student.

And Mrs.Shonda tells Fox 4's Bella Line she's not going anywhere anytime soon.