January 17, 2022 Believe. Achieve. Succeed

Special education teacher celebrates the many firsts in her role

Lisa D'Auguste
Special education teacher Lisa D'Auguste says her students have taught her the power of positivity and not to sweat life's small things.

Sioux City, Iowa – Special education teacher Lisa D’Auguste celebrates the many firsts in her role: first bites, first steps, and even first words. For the past 15 years, Lisa has learned as much from her students as they have learned from her.

“Throughout the past several years of teaching, I have had the honor to work with some of our district’s students who are considered to have medically complex needs. These students come to school each day with the most positive attitudes and desire to learn and thrive, often facing more struggles than most people face in a lifetime,” says Lisa.

During her time in the District, Lisa has worked with students with significant cognitive disabilities as part of the District’s Foundations program. A career that started at the former Washington Elementary School has taken Lisa to Spalding Park Environmental Sciences Elementary School where she currently works.

While her role is challenging, Lisa says her students keep her motivated.

“I get the privilege of assisting some of the most amazing students and watching them grow throughout the time that we are together. I have been able to witness students utilizing communication devices to communicate their first words, students taking their first bites of food by mouth after years of food aversions, and students increasing in their independence,” adds Lisa.

While there never seems to be enough time during the day to complete everything that she would like, Lisa is grateful for her support team at Spalding Park Environmental Sciences Elementary School.

“The Spalding Park staff shares my vision for the students we serve, striving to build connections with our students and their families on a daily basis. It is those connections and relationships that help Spalding Park students feel at home and thrive in their academic performance,” says Lisa.

The relationships that school staff not only have with students but also with each other make a world of difference notes Lisa. When she lost both her mom and grandmother during a short time span, the Spalding Park staff rallied around Lisa.

“I have seen our staff come together to support both students and staff as they endure difficulties, whether it be a comforting hug, an ear to listen to, or collecting donations to provide meals for families in need,” Lisa says.

When she isn’t working, Lisa is a busy mom to five children, including two sets of twins, and enjoys attending their activities with her husband who is also a special education teacher. Two miniature dachshunds round out Lisa’s family.

“My students have taught me so much over the years. I have learned not to sweat the small things that I once thought were big,” adds Lisa. “My students come to school every day, ready to give 100 percent. I am a better teacher because of my students.”