Staff Spotlight: Karissa Hensel Therapeutic Emotional Support Teacher

Karissa Hensel is currently a Teacher in the Therapeutic Emotional Support program at Middle Smithfield Elementary School, East Stroudsburg Area School District. She was previously an Associate Teacher in the same program, and her CIU 20 journey started as a daily substitute.
She credits her team (Arielle Medina - Mental Health Worker, Amanda Avvento - Associate Teacher, and Winston Horton - 1:1 Associate Teacher) for making a positive environment for her students, "We all have our own roles we play and when we come together it is like a well oiled machine. The fact that we all have each other’s backs and will help is what makes this classroom so successful!"
Karissa says the most rewarding part of her job has been the relationships she's created, "This job is filled with some of the most genuine people that I have ever met. The IU staff as a whole, the school district staff, my students, and their parents/guardians! Over the years, I have met so many amazing people at all levels within the IU community from many different departments."
Cultivating a Sense of Community
With the help of Debra Latimer and Amanda Avvento, Ms. Hensel created the "IU Spooktacular" with the three other CIU 20 classrooms at Middle Smithfield Elementary. Amanda Haese's Therapeutic Emotional Support classroom and the Autistic Support classrooms of Yessica Lopez and Ashley Fehr were in attendance. Students enjoyed games, crafts, dancing, and a sense of community with their peers.