Introducing the April Volunteer of the Month

Deep breath, educators. April is now in the books. ATPE knows how incredibly hard you are working—for your students, your families, and your communities as a whole.
Every month, we look forward to celebrating one of our awesome ATPE volunteers with our Volunteer of the Month program. Nominees for Volunteer of the Month are those who go above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to ATPE and public education—volunteers who exhibit outstanding leadership and tireless efforts.
This also is our last Volunteer of the Month for the 2019-20 school year. Thank you to all our incredible and hardworking ATPE members who make the association so great. It is our honor to support you, and we look forward to what next school year brings.
With that said, let’s meet our April 2020 Volunteer of the Month, Gidget Belinoski-Bailey of Willis ATPE! Gidget is an educational diagnostician at Roark Early Education Center and Parmley Elementary in Willis ISD. She’s been with Willis ISD for six years—her hometown district—but prior to Willis, Gidget served Spring ISD for 16 years. “I always like mentioning where I worked previously because it is the great educators there that helped shape me into the educator I am today,” Gidget says.
How long have you been an ATPE member? Why did you choose ATPE?
To be honest, I do not really know. I was a member way, way back in college and became a member again when I moved to Willis to work.  In my previous district I was a member of that “other group.” I was not involved—just joined to have insurance and ATPE did not have a presence [in that area at the time]. But as soon as I got to Willis, I knew ATPE was the group for me, not to mention I was “voluntold” by a couple great ladies, Judi Thomas and Donna Ward!
What made you want to be an educator?
My mom was a paraprofessional for 26 years before she retired. While growing up and throughout high school and college, I was always exposed to special education and fell in love with it. She made sure that I knew that paraprofessionals are teachers too, and I 100% agree!
What is your favorite part of your job?
In my 23 years of education, I have been the newbie, both a special and general education teacher, an instructional coach, and an administrator. All of these jobs have made me a better diagnostician. I am better because I have learned over the years that my favorite and the most rewarding part of my job is the relationships I get to build with teachers, students, and families by providing “great customer service”! I 100% believe that no matter your role in education, NOBODY cares about what you have to say until they know you CARE! This is even more important in my role, when you may have to tell a family their student has an intellectual disability. You have to be a mom in that moment first and think about how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. I pride myself on being there for my special education families and for my ATPE family.
Anything else you want us to know?
I have lived in Willis, Texas, all my life. My daughter is the third generation of our family who has gone to school in Willis ISD. It is a great place to live and work. I am fortunate to serve Willis ISD and ATPE with some of the best people who have huge service hearts!
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