Sommer Farhat is currently a 2nd grade teacher at Mandarin Oaks Elementary with experience teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. She is a Jacksonville, Florida native and graduated from Mandarin High and University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, is ESOL endorsed and certified to teach Drama k-12. Ms. Farhat began teaching 18 years ago at Mandarin Oaks and has never left because she loves being a part of the Mandarin Oaks family!! In addition to teaching academics, Ms. Farhat is also the after school Theatre teacher at MOE through the Cathedral Arts Project. She has a strong theatre background and performs in plays locally at community theatres. She uses her dramatic flair in her teaching style to entertain the students and keep them engaged in learning. She is Palestinian, American and speaks conversational Arabic. The students in the school all know she loves to collect things with sugar skulls on them and loves being on the back of her fiance’s Harley Davidson. She has no children but has fur babies, two dogs, Penny and Lacey and two cats, Luna and Stegosaurus.
Holly Hughes currently teaches in the Gifted And Talented Education program (GATE). She graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she received her BS in Elementary Education. Her first four years of teaching were in New York, however, when her family relocated to Jacksonville, she fell in love with the south, and has been here ever since. She received her master’s degree from the University of North Florida in special education, with a concentration in deaf education, and is fluent in American Sign Language. In addition to being a National Board Certified Teacher, she is endorsed in reading, ESOL, and gifted education. She has a wide variety of classroom experience having taught all of the elementary grades as well as inclusion and GATE classes.She has taught 2nd and 3rd grades for the past several years. She has called Mandarin Oaks Elementary her home away from home since 1994 and is proud to say that her now adult daughter attended Mandarin Oaks throughout her elementary years. Ms. Hughes loves working with children and cannot imagine doing anything else!
Cindy Linder is a second grade teacher for Mandarin Oaks Elementary with 30 years of experience. Ms. Linder was born and raised in the Orange Park and Jacksonville area. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Florida. Her undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development, while her graduate degree is in Elementary Education with an emphasis on reading. Cindy Linder is also ESOL and Reading endorsed. She started her career teaching in Clay County and moved to Duval County public schools. Over the years, she has taught 1st through 5th grade in the general education and inclusion setting(s). Ms. Linder has spent many years mentoring College of Education students within the University of North Florida environment. She is CET certified, which allows her to be a mentor to education majors still in college. Ms. Linder has been awarded Walmart Teacher of the Year and was also named Mandarin Oaks 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Jennifer McCormick is a second-grade teacher at Mandarin Oaks. She grew up in Orange Park and attended the University of North Florida where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has taught in Duval County Public Schools since January 2010. She is certified in PreK-3rd grade, Kindergarten-6th grade, ESOL, and ESE. Mrs. McCormick has her Reading Endorsement and is working toward her Gifted Endorsement. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Gladys Roddenberry Fellowship for Teaching Excellence award. Mrs. McCormick also works in the extended day program at Mandarin Oaks, is a teacher mentor, and volunteers for Girls on the Run. Mrs. McCormick enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. Mrs. McCormick is an avid runner and likes to read in her spare time. Mrs. McCormick lives in the Mandarin Oaks neighborhood and her children attended Mandarin Oaks during their elementary school years. Mrs. McCormick was a member of the PTA, SAC committee and active in her children’s classrooms in various ways. During this time as a Mandarin Oaks parent, Mrs. McCormick realized her desire to become an educator and continues to enjoy working at her neighborhood school
Sheila Martineau is a 2nd Grade Teacher at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. She is a seasoned teacher with 35 years of experience. She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and attended local area schools. Upon completion of high school, Mrs. Martineau was fortunate to attend the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. In her career, Mrs. Martineau has been a directing teacher for over 20 pre-interns/interns, and has been recognized with many honors, including Teacher of the Year at two local elementary schools. (Reynolds Lane and Hyde Grove Elementary) She collaborated with Reynolds Lane Elementary, being honored with Highest Writing gains for “Florida Writes” in the state. Additionally, Mrs. Martineau was selected as ESOL Trainer of the Year for Duval County. She was a “STAR” Teacher (special program to support over-aged students) for 15 years and an ESOL District Facilitator for Duval County/Schultz Center for over 20+ years. Mrs. Martineau has been endorsed in ESOL, Gifted, and Reading. She has taught all the primary/intermediate grades 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. She currently holds a Florida Professional Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education. Mrs. Martineau has been married for 8 years and enjoys spending time with her retired husband and grandchildren. (Tiffanie, Israel, and Elijah)
Gina Parson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but grew up in South Florida. She moved back to Jacksonville after high school and attended the University of North Florida. When she graduated in 1993 with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, she took time off to raise her two daughters after her husband was stationed in Hawaii. Spending almost 5 years there, instilled a love of the islands and nature in her entire family. Once she and her family returned to Jacksonville in 2006, she began working as a long-term substitute at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. In 2012, Mrs. Parson began teaching Kindergarten at MOE and has since moved to 2nd grade. In her spare time, she enjoys attending FSU football games, cheering on the Atlanta Braves, traveling, tending to her butterfly and hummingbird garden, and most of all, spending time with family.
Mrs. Peterson is looking forward to a “Sweet” year of teaching Second Graders to learn and grow. She graduated from her hometown college, Valdosta State University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She fully appreciates her awesome experience of teaching in Georgia, Mississippi and both California and Italy for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. For the past twenty years, she has enjoyed teaching for Duval County Public schools. She has earned ESOL Endorsement, CET Endorsement, and National Board Certification. More importantly, she has a real love of teaching and helping students to reach their learning goals by encouraging a positive mindset and enjoyment of the learning process. In her spare time, she likes to read, bike ride, and spend time with family.
Laura Studstill is a second grade teacher for Mandarin Oaks Elementary. Mrs. Studstill was born in Waycross, Georgia and moved to Florida at the age of two. She has lived in Jacksonville since that time and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Florida State University. Mrs. Studstill taught in Clay County for 8 years, and has been teaching for Duval County Public Schools for over 25 years. Her teaching experience includes Pre-K, first, second and third grades and is both Reading and ESOL endorsed. Over the years she has co-taught many times and has enjoyed the experience working cooperatively with other teachers to enrich the learning environment for the many different levels of students in the class. She loves seeing her students learn and grow throughout the year. Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Studstill has been on many different committees, including Science Lead, Hospitality, Reading, Writing, Math, and Safety. She is an enthusiastic Seminole fan and loves reading books, singing in the choir, traveling, and going to the movies. Mrs. Studstill has two grown children, one living in Orlando and the other in Colorado. She is the current owner of two rescue labs, one that is currently being fostered until adoption.