In August, Michele ‘Mimi’ Saidi received a well deserved recognition as the South Windsor Public Schools Teacher of the Year. One only needs to watch her second grade classroom or speak to this very special SWEA member to recognize her dedication to her profession. This is especially apparent during her favorite time of the day, “I LOVE reading to my students,” she says. “It always amazes me when they groan and get disappointed because I have to stop at the end of a chapter or finish a book. I love the way they love to be read to.” Students, parents, administrators and her peers profess a deep admiration for Mimi and what she brings to the lives of her students and their families. What makes Mimi so special, however, is that this gift for education has not always been one she has been comfortable with. Her convocation speech revealed, “I don’t think my journey to becoming a teacher was typical. I struggled as a learner in elementary school. In high school, I was still unsuccessful and I was afraid of what I was going to do with my life. But because of a few dedicated, caring teachers who took the time to get to know me and help me…look where I ended up.” Now in her 35th year where has she ended up, at the pinnacle of her profession and recognized for her efforts throughout the district. For Mimi these accolades come with a responsibility, giving back to the fresh faces she sees all around her. To new teachers she explains, “Watch, listen, observe everything…ask questions. Veteran teachers are a wealth of knowledge…take advantage of them. The majority of us are thrilled to help out. And most important…remember every day is a new adventure…enjoy it!” SWEA is honored to join the district in celebrating an educator that comes to school knowing that regardless of what happens there is going to be adventure. Congratulations Mimi!!