“I LOVED elementary school; especially my fifth grade teacher, who made learning so much fun,” Mrs. DiTirro said. “I played school every day in my basement with a real chalkboard and my sister and my dog were my students! I wanted to make learning fun for students and have an impact on their lives. I would love for one of my students to say they became a teacher one day because of me!”
For the past 29 years, Mrs. DiTirro has been fulfilling her childhood aspiration and for the past 14, she has worked side-by-side with her Grade 2 teaching partner at Old Trail, Laine Vereecken, who may know her tremendous impact on students better than anyone.
“Barb prides herself on her amazing ability to tap into individual students’ strengths and needs and can support them almost instantly,” Mrs. Vereecken said. “She is kind, fun, can sing better than any teacher I know, and does it all with a smile. I consider myself lucky to have worked alongside Barb for the past 14 years.”
When asked why she enjoys teaching at Old Trail, Mrs. DiTirro had no shortage of answers – including the school’s tradition of academic excellence, innovative curriculum, and the remarkably beautiful backdrop of the national park. But ultimately, it’s the tight-knit community that fills her with the most pride.
“I truly feel like we are all family at Old Trail,” she said. “I love getting to know my students and their families, and watching the children grow and develop – not only in second grade but all the way through eighth grade. It is so rewarding to watch my students engage in their learning and have those ‘ah-ha’ moments.
“But I also love teaching at Old Trail because of the relationships that we develop. The positive relationships with my colleagues, students and families foster a feeling of trust and open communication, confidence to take risks as both a teacher and as a learner, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.”
Throughout the years, Mrs. DiTirro has had a positive impact on hundreds of children both at Old Trail and beyond. In addition to her teaching duties, she was also once the choir manager for the Summit County Choral Society Children’s Choir. During that time, she traveled the world with the group, making stops in Sicily and Malta. She also shared that she once met Bruce Springsteen in a restaurant years ago when he was in town for a concert!
Thank you for all your talents, Mrs. DiTirro! Our school community is stronger because you are a part of it!
#TeacherFeatureFriday is a series that aims to help the OTS community get to know our faculty and staff better. On select Fridays throughout the school year, we will use this space to highlight some of the amazing individuals who make Old Trail such a distinctive place for children to learn and grow.Past Teacher Features