After high school, Natalie attended a technical college. “I still didn’t see myself as college bound.” Much to her own surprise she excelled—and really enjoyed the learning process. She proceeded to go to a four-year college where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, graduating with honors. She started teaching and earned her Master of Science degree—with honors again—in counseling education.
She put her education to great use. For nearly 20 years, Natalie taught in two well-respected Florida public school districts, Broward and Osceola County, and worked with students from all ages and levels of education, from pre-kindergarten to college. She was an elementary school teacher, a middle school curriculum specialist, and a high school guidance counselor, as well.
And now Natalie wants to “pay it forward.”
“My varied experience working with students from all walks of life has really helped me learn how to build the relationships necessary to push my students to their full potential,” she says. “I have lived it. It wasn’t all that long ago. I know the power of some extra encouragement. My passion to help students succeed is my biggest strength!”
What does a day in the life of Coach Natalie look like? “Every day is different,” she says. “I proactively contact our students to check in on them. If someone has not been working, I call and find out what is holding them up. If a student is frustrated because they didn’t do well on a test, I help them get the academic support they need. If they are having technical issues, I help them find the solution. Many of our students aren’t used to being proactive. I help them—even when they don’t ask!”
For example, one of her students had not been online for a while—and she called her to find out why. “This student had earned a scholarship to Smart Horizons through the fast food restaurant where she worked. She was worried because her husband’s new job had him travelling a lot so she wanted to be at home with her kids. But she was worried about not being able to work and losing the scholarship.” Natalie helped her think out of the box and come up with a solution, which they then worked out with the student’s supervisor. The student maintained her scholarship and is back on track.
“Like I tell my students, ‘you can reach your fullest potential. The sky is the limit—one day at a time!’”