Ms. Gianfriddo named KHQA Excellent Educator

Diagramming sentences, subject/verb agreement and vocabulary -- the words themselves might make a junior high student roll their eyes.

But those are some of the reasons that make a teacher at St. Francis school in Quincy this month's KHQA Excellent Educator.

Ms. Rhonda Gianfriddo has taught at St. Francis for 31 years.

Her students, both past and present, are thankful for her years of service.

Ms. Rhonda Gianfriddo, or Ms. G. as she's known to students, teaches 8th grade at St. Francis. She's known as the "writing guru" and teaches students everything they need to know about the English language -- from grammar, vocabulary and even how to diagram sentences. Those lessons, we're told, have gone a long way.

Tom Liesen said, "I think her language and English abilities are excellent and are above and beyond anywhere I've seen in town. I think she's done a great job. Everyone who goes through St. Francis gets those English and language basics from her and uses them from then on in life. For me, I hated it when I was in her class. I didn't like writing and English, but now as a police officer, I use it everyday, and I fall back all the time on those things that she taught me in school."

Tom Liesen had Ms. G. in the early 1980's. Now his niece, Katie, has Ms. G. for a teacher.

Katie Liesen said, "Everyone in my family has had her. I have nine uncles and two aunts on one side of my family, and most of them have had her. They were always talking about her."

Was that intimidating before-hand or were you excited? Katie Liesen answered, "I actually thought she would be kind of scary."

Was she? Katie Lisen answered, "No, she wasn't at all! Like the first day, she was really fun."

Ms. G was a little camera-shy, but she did answer some questions for me off-camera. She told me she chose to teach at St. Francis because it was challenging, exciting and also gave her a way to connect her religious beliefs into her students' academic studies. She says the challenge is still there, especially in today's age of texting, social networking and communication shortcuts. But Ms. G.'s students say she overcomes those challenges very nicely.

Katie Liesen, "She brings real world events into classes, and she makes religious sentences, so if we don't watch the news, she encourages us to do that so we can know what's going on."

And those are just some of the reasons that make Ms. G this month's KHQA Excellent Educator.

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