School Page: Renaissance woman at Three Oaks Elementary

Former PTO president and school board member is now help students in the media center

From her cozy corner of Three Oaks Elementary, Lisa Pockrus introduces students to the world.

In the school's media center, they can pick up books about different cultures, new places and experiences unlike any that they've ever known.

Pockrus, 45, knows all about perspectives.

Three Oaks Elementary Media Specialist Lisa Pockrus reads a story written by fifth-grader Corinne Kuchar in the media center at the school on Wednesday.

Photo by Jeremy Lyverse, Bonita Daily News

Three Oaks Elementary Media Specialist Lisa Pockrus reads a story written by fifth-grader Corinne Kuchar in the media center at the school on Wednesday.

A mother of three who started her education with a bachelor's degree in geology, she's a past PTO president. While attending college for her master's degree, she sat four years on the Lee County School Board.

Parent, politician, now teacher, Pockrus, having seen education from all angles, has found a place she loves, working with the each of the school's close to 1,000 students.

It's interaction with children that led her to a school setting in the first place.

Being there means never having to wonder what impact you're making on the world, she said.

"Every day makes a difference," she said.

Once a stay-at-home mom, when her children went to Tanglewood Elementary School years ago her goal was for it to be the best, she said. What she intended to be a behind-the-scenes role in the Parent Teacher Organization quickly led to a position as president.

Outspoken there, she found herself being urged to make a run for a school board seat, which she won in 1998.

Voters were ready to see a mother with kids in school having an impact on a district level, she said.

The next four years brought decisions on the district offering a class on the Bible, updating all schools to meet fire code and controversy on class start times. It also put Pockrus in place to share some of the biggest moments with Lee County students; shaking their hands at special moments like graduations was one of the things she liked best, she said.

Even while acting as an elected official, she craved that contact with students.

Pockrus volunteered in schools and kept pursuing her degree. When a modification of five voting districts drew her out of the area she had been representing, she finished her term and retired from politics.

She didn't give up her ties to Lee County Schools, however.

She remains active as a parent as well, sitting on the school advisory council for Fort Myers High School, where two of her children attend class.

Three Oaks Elementary Media Specialist Lisa Pockrus works with fifth-grade students in the media center at the school on Wednesday. Pockrus had the students write holiday stories and drawings to bind together to make a present for their teacher.

Photo by Jeremy Lyverse, Bonita Daily News

Three Oaks Elementary Media Specialist Lisa Pockrus works with fifth-grade students in the media center at the school on Wednesday. Pockrus had the students write holiday stories and drawings to bind together to make a present for their teacher.

Its chairman, Kevin Anderson, said Pockrus as a parent and a teacher is able to look at issues that face the school from both sides.

Her background on the school board also has been advantageous, he added.

"She brings to the table just a wealth of knowledge," he said.

After earning the master's degree that gave her a specialty in running the multifaceted media centers that are the modern version of a school library, Pockrus said she never thought about moving to another district or a private school to look for a job.

Lee County is home, she said, and now, so is Three Oaks Elementary.

Pockrus speaks enthusiastically about the school's Core Knowledge curriculum, which focuses on what skills students need to learn at each grade level.

Beyond finding a place she enjoys teaching, she's found a role in education where she's happiest, helping kids to learn.

Three Oaks Elementary School Principal Vivian Posey said Pockrus is always looking for unique ways for children to learn how to read, just as she constantly keeps a lookout for funding opportunities to bring more learning materials into the school.

Each year, Pockrus has landed several grants for the school's media center.

"She certainly understands the need to have as many resources as possible for the children, both as a parent and a teacher," Posey said.

As a teacher, Pockrus said she understands issues from a different point of view than she did while sitting on the school board, she said, just as her four years as an elected official gave her insight she didn't always have as a parent, she said.

"I always knew this was a tough job, but it's three jobs in one," she said.

It's one she said she'll be happy doing for a long while.

© 2005 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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