Ese CoordinatorSLA, PLA, OHI, and PI Teachers
Mrs. Elizabeth Cunningham has 34 years of teaching experience in Exceptional Student Education and General Education. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Harris-Stowe Teacher’s College in St. Louis, Mo. After successfully teaching 2 years in an Emotionally Disturbed classroom in the St. Louis Public School system, she journeyed to Ft. Worth Texas and taught Language Arts for one year at the middle school level and 7 years in an Emotionally Disturbed elementary classroom in the Everman Independent School District (EISD). At the completion of 8 years in the EISD, she moved to Jackson, Mississippi. She was a 3rd grade teacher and a Literacy Coach for 5 years in the Jackson Public School system (JPS). During her tenure at JPS, she earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and moved to Jacksonville, Florida and continued her passion for teaching Exceptional Education students. Mrs. Cunningham has taught 19 years in Duval County Public Schools and currently teaches Intellectually Disabled students at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. Her motto is “Every Student Can Learn.”
Linda FitzGibbon is an Exceptional Student Education Teacher. She works with students who have Intellectual Disabilities on a Supported Level in a self-contained setting. She grew up as a “Marine Brat” and has enjoyed living all over the United States, including overseas. She also has a twin sister! Ms. FitzGibbon graduated from Florida State University with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. After graduation, Ms. FitzGibbon counseled adolescents who lived in a short- term group home and enjoyed working with young adults with disabilities in a job coaching capacity. With a child of her own that once attended Mandarin Oaks Elementary, she became passionate about working with younger children in a classroom setting and set her career in a different direction. Starting in 2003, she became certified as an ESE Teacher and has loved working at Mandarin Oaks ever since! She is also certified in PK-3 and has an ESOL endorsement. In 2016, Ms. FitzGibbon collaborated with the Duval County Public Schools District ESE Department to develop and rewrite baseline tests for K-2 students with disabilities. While working at Mandarin Oaks, Ms. FitzGibbon has volunteered as a Patrol Sponsor and enjoyed taking groups of fifth grade students to Washington D.C. for weeklong patrol trips in 2005 and 2006. She was recognized as Mandarin Oaks’ Teacher of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year. Ms. FitzGibbon loves to see her students growing and learning inside and outside of her classroom every day!
Mrs. Hill is originally from Virginia, where she met her wonderful husband of 25 years, Brian. They have one grown son, Derek, and two crazy cats. Shortly after they had their son, they moved to Ohio, and there Mrs. Hill found her passion for teaching students with disabilities when she began working at the Cleveland Clinic for Children with Autism. However, after four years of fighting the lake effect snowstorms and cold weather, they decided to move to sunny Jacksonville. Mrs. Hill has worked for 15 years at Greenfield Elementary as a PreK CSS teacher and has worked Extended School Year at Mandarin Oaks for the previous 14 summers. As a lifelong learner, she decided to challenge herself and felt the beautiful MOE family at Mandarin Oaks was a natural fit.
Marla Hollan has been a teacher for 18 years and has taught students from ages 4-12. She graduated from Montclair State University in 2005 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Hollan graduated from University of North Florida in 2013 with her Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership with a focus in technology. In 2012, Marla Hollan was awarded the Gladys Roddenberry Fellowship for teaching excellence. Marla Hollan is certified to teach Exceptional Student Education (ESE) K-12, General Education K-6, English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) K-12., Physical Education K-12, and has the Reading Endorsement. Mrs. Hollan has experience teaching general education in all grades from Pre-K to 2nd grade, and teaching ESE for all grades pre-k to 5th grade, in addition to her experience teaching English online to ESOL students. She has extensive experience in developing communication systems, using physical therapy equipment throughout the educational environment, and enhancing student independence. She believes that it takes a village to raise a child, thus she strongly believes in collaboration and team work to meet the needs of each student. Through grants, she has successfully secured items, such as iPads and a whole classroom speaker system, to enhance student instruction. Marla Hollan is married to John with two children. Her daughter is a 5th and her son is a 2nd grader. In her free time, she likes to travel, go to community events, and exercise.
Mrs. Kemper grew up in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC and graduated from George Mason University in 1994, where she received a degree in Anthropology. She moved to Jacksonville in 1995 and completed her teaching certification courses at the University of North Florida. She began her teaching career in 1997 and taught for 11 years before taking a leave from teaching to stay home when her first child was born. She started at MOE when she returned to teaching in 2018. She has teaching certifications in Specific Learning Disabilities K-12, Exceptional Student Education K-12, PreK/Primary Education Age 3- Grade 3, and Elementary Education K-6. She also holds a Reading Endorsement and ESOL Endorsement. Her passion is teaching students with special needs, and she can’t imagine doing anything else! Mrs. Kemper and her husband have been married for 15 years and have 2 children. Lilly is 14 and going into 9th grade at Mandarin High School and Luke is going into 6th th grade at Mandarin Middle. In her spare time, she loves reading and spending time at the beach.Mrs. Wesner
Hello! My name is Erin Wesner. I have been married for 20 years. We have two children, Madelyn 14 and Mallory 11. We have one dog, Blair, and two cats, Layla and Lilly. We spend our free time outdoors camping! I enjoy gardening, reading, and helping others.V.E. Resource TeachersMs. Dacles
Ms. Margie Lou Dacles is a Varying Exceptionalities teacher at Mandarin Oaks Elementary School. She was born and raised overseas specifically at Agusan, Cagayan De Oro City, Philippines. She took the opportunity to come and teach here in Florida as a Cultural Exchange Teacher from her country. She graduated with a Bachelor of Elementary Education specialized in Special Education and Master of Arts in Teaching major in Special Education at Filamer Christian University, Philippines. This is her 11th year in teaching (1 and one- half years as a General Education Teacher, 5 and one-half years as a SPED teacher in her home country, and now is her 4th year here at Mandarin Oaks). She is passionate, flexible and loves children. She is grateful to teach here in the US and able to visit some historical places so that when she goes back to her home country, she will have a lot to share with the students and teachers there.
Although Mrs. Heather Howard was born in Jacksonville, she didn’t spend much time here during her childhood. Six days after her birth, her family moved to Chichester, England. She has lived in many different places including Colorado, California, and Hawaii. Mrs. Howard even spent a summer in college working as a missionary in Paraguay, South America. She is married to the love of her life, Steve Howard (even though he is a Seminole). They have three children who bring them great joy–Courtney (a freshman), Whitney (a junior), and Delaney (a senior). Mrs. Howard has taught for 18 years in pre-kindergarten/primary grades including general education, ESE inclusion, and ESE self-contained classes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education as well as Reading, ESOL, Gifted, and Pre-K Disabilities Endorsements. Her certifications include Pre-K/Primary, Elementary Education, and ESE (Exceptional Student Education). She believes teaching is a labor of love with global impact. It is her personal vision to touch the future by inspiring the hearts of students today.
Tammy Gicalone is going into her 18th year as an educator. She is from Michigan (Go Blue!) and moved down to Florida right after graduating from Western Michigan University. After years of teaching in the classroom and being an interventionist, she decided to take two things that she loves, reading and collaborating with others, and make that a way of work by becoming a reading coach and specialist. Aside from reading, Mrs. Gicalone also loves taking road trips and anything to do with water since she grew up around lakes. She is married with two little girls, one who is eight and going into 3rd grade and one who is five and will be starting kindergarten this year.
Chris Kern is an ESE inclusion teacher for Mandarin Oaks Elementary and goes into classrooms to provide support to students in order to help them be successful. She grew up in Wisconsin, moved to Washington D.C. during high school, and then to the Jacksonville area after she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in both Elementary Education and Special Education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. She also has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Florida. She is certified in K-12 Varying Exceptionalities and 1st – 6th General Education. She is ESOL and Reading endorsed. Mrs. Kern has been teaching since 1998 and has been at Mandarin Oaks since 2006. She has been acknowledged by the State of Florida and Duval County as a High Impact Teacher in 2017. Ms. Kern enjoys watching softball games, spending time with her husband, two daughters, and her dog.
Teresa LoMurro has been a member of the faculty at Mandarin Oaks Elementary for the past 21 years. She has one son and one daughter, both of whom attended Mandarin Oaks Elementary. Growing up in Ocala, she moved to Orlando, FL to attend college at the University of Central Florida. GO KNIGHTS!!! After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders, she continued at UCF obtaining a Master of Arts in Varying Exceptionalities. Mrs. LoMurro is dual certified in both Exceptional Child Education and General Education and completed her ESOL endorsement in 2019. She has taught English Language Arts and Mathematics in 1st through 5th grades in Clay and Duval county schools as both an inclusion and self-contained teacher. While at Mandarin Oaks, she was in the Top 5 for Teacher of the Year and recognized by Duval County Public Schools as a Highly Effective Teacher. She has served in many capacities while at Mandarin Oaks with one of the most fun being her time as Patrol Sponsor with fellow teacher Vicki Lappen. Mrs. LoMurro, enjoys traveling the world with her family, reading, crafting, and outdoor activities. She strives to educate, motivate, and inspire her students “to be your best self, because everyone else is already taken.”Speech/Language Teachers
Mrs. Mackay was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. She has been at Mandarin Oaks for 10 years and has been a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 2003. She has certification from the American Speech and Hearing Association and state licensure in Speech-Language Pathology. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and received her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Prior to becoming an SLP, she worked for several years with adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings. It was during this time that she had the chance to work alongside an SLP who inspired her to improve the lives of those with communication challenges. She has extensive experience working with children and adults on the autism spectrum and has a background in ABA therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, watching Jacksonville Jaguars football, reading, and family time.
Kara Ozimkiewicz, M.S., CCC-SLP
Ms. Kara Ozimkiewicz is a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and moved to Florida to start her career in Duval County. She graduated from Temple University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science and continued her education at Salus University. She graduated with her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology in 2021. During her time in graduate school, Ms. Ozimkiewicz partook in a variety of clinical settings including the Speech-Language Institute, Temple University Hospital, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Wood Services School. In her free time, Ms. Ozimkiewicz enjoys spending time with friends and family, staying active, trying new foods, and relaxing at the beach.
Ms. Kristin RussoO.T. and P.T. Teachers
Mrs. Griffenkranz is from upstate New York but has called Florida her home since 1987. She started working as a PT in 1984, and has been with the school system for 10 years. Prior to working with the school system, she worked in the area of early intervention and adults with neurological issues for 25 years. She has been married for 35 years and has 3 grown children. She enjoys watching soccer and her favorite team is the Women’s National Team. Additionally, she also enjoys being outside and has run several half marathons and has done a couple of sprint triathlons.
Maggie Jones is an occupational therapist at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. She was born and raised in Jacksonville, graduating from Jacksonville University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and then attending the University of St. Augustine for her Masters in Occupational Therapy. She has been an OT in Duval County for 2 years and has enjoyed helping her students become as independent as possible within their classroom environment. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Benton, and their sons, Tripp and Auden. She also loves working out, running, and volunteering at her church.
Andrea McElroy is an occupational therapist at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. She is originally from Colorado but made sunny Florida her home 11 years ago. She holds Bachelor degrees in Biology (2002) and Integrative Physiology (2008) and graduated in 2012 from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. She is passionate in working with students to access their curriculum and school activities. She spends her free time volunteering for a youth equestrian team and riding and showing quarter horses.
Ms. SoricelliHearing Teacher
Ms. StanalandVision Teacher
Ms. KirkendallOrientation and Mobility Teacher
Ms. MichelsonESE Clinic