Renee Sherriffs’ love of learning and being around children led her to want to become an educator since she was a little girl. Renee was born and raised in Enfield, CT with her loving parents and two older brothers. In 2000, she graduated with High Honors from Enfield High School. Renee attended Rivier College in Nashua, NH, where she obtained a dual certification in Elementary and Special Education.
Renee’s first teaching position was a high school special education case manager in Raymond, NH. Wanting to be closer to family, Renee moved back to CT and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT for her Master’s degree in Education. Renee later became a 3rd grade teacher in Ellington, CT. After teaching summer school in a classroom for students with multiple disabilities at Batchelder School, Renee fell in love with Hartford’s children and school community. Renee is currently in her 9th year as a special education teacher in a self-contained iGoals classroom at the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS). She considers herself incredibly fortunate to be part of such a caring, compassionate school community that welcomes and includes her students.
Renee’s students are special and unique. The students in her classroom face many physical and learning challenges. Renee instructs using a multi-sensory approach for her students who have multiple disabilities, including being nonverbal, non-ambulatory, vision impairments and high medical needs. It is part of her everyday lessons to incorporate academic learning, communication skills, mobility exercises, social skills, and self-help skills through hands-on learning. Students have learned to walk, use pictures for communication, and feed themselves while in Renee’s classroom.
She has great relationships with the families of her students, often keeping in touch long after her students graduate. It is not uncommon for Renee to visit her students while they have been hospitalized or living in long-care facilities due to medical needs. While there, Renee brings school to the students, singing their favorite learning songs, exploring familiar school items, and reading books of their choosing. These visits bring home and school together, which helps the student feel included in their school community, provides smiles, and brings a little bit of comfort while being away from home.
Renee gives back to Hartford’s community by tutoring students who are homebound due to medical needs. She makes it her goal to bring as much energy and excitement for learning to those students who cannot attend school in person. She worked with 2nd graders virtually on improving reading and math skills as part of the HPS Afterschool Tutoring Program. Renee’s class partners with Hartford Performs Virtual Arts Integration Program twice a year.
When not in the classroom, Renee can be found spending time with her nephew and nieces or shopping! Renee spends the summers at her pool with family and friends and at the beach. She currently teaches religious education to 2nd and 3rd graders at her family church- Saint Marianne Cope Parish in Broad Brook, CT. Her main goal is to raise awareness for an INCLUSIVE, safe school playground for ALL students at Moylan School. Renee’s class has had multiple field trips to “Jonathan’s Dream” in West Hartford, an INCLUSIVE playground that includes adaptive equipment critical for her students to be able to physically participate and socially connect with their peers. It is her belief that every single Hartford Public student is beautiful and capable in their own unique way.