At my last stop, I had the pleasure of working with Donna Ragaini. Donna was a special education paraprofessional and spent a period a day with me while I taught academic biology each year. I taught the 10th grade section that included all of the special education students and always appreciated Donna’s candor, dedication to the students, and ability to reach them on a personal level. I think we really made a great team. I often told Donna that she should have been a special education teacher – she had all of the skills, knowledge, and certainly the dispositions. She had a gift – she could hold students to very high expectations while being a compassionate, caring adult. She had children of her own, a bit older than mine, and would sometimes pass along a used Leapster or funky sweater that was too small. At the all-to-young age of 46, Donna passed away. Even though we aren’t working together now, I know I will miss her wit, sensibility, and friendship. Donna was a 21st century educator – the ones we are really looking for now.
From the New Haven Register: