Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough's top teacher takes students for a ride

TAMPA — Students shrieked as a black stretch limo pulled up to Cleveland Elementary School early Thursday.

Waiting in front was fourth-grade teacher Megan Allen, who last month was named Hillsborough's Teacher of the Year. The limousine ride is one of the perks for being named the county's best.

And her students were about to share her prize.

"It's like flying in space," said Hector Rivera, 10.

"Watch," Allen said, pointing to the ceiling lights. "They change colors."

Allen circled the block with groups of fourth-graders until everyone had a ride. They sang a bumpy version of the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song that ended in a debate about why his pants are square anyway. They waved at dogs, at a man jumping rope in front of a house and anyone else they saw.

Cleveland principal Peter Russo hired Allen, 30, to start at the school in August. In her job interview, he said, she talked about her students' accomplishments and not about herself. Her peers at the school nominated her for the award, sponsored by the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

"Obviously, she shines," Russo said.

Now Allen vies for state Teacher of the Year.

"I'm very lucky to have a job I love," she said.

In class, Allen tells corny jokes and sings songs to teach students the difference between mean, median and mode. She sometimes dresses like a ballerina or a fairy cat mother.

"Which is embarrassing," said Tiana Bass, one of her students. "And she drinks coffee, she says, 'to get my caffeine going.' "

She started a green team at the school to focus on the environment. In class, her students are raising butterflies and making rocks. She has a butterfly garden at home, less than a half-mile from the school. She often rides over on her moped.

On Thursday, she drove a black Lexus — another prize for the next year.

In class, Allen separates best friends Tiana and Kayla Porter, both 9.

"We get in trouble," Kayla said.

"She talks too much about boys," Tiana said.

Nuh-uh, said Kayla.

Uh-huh, Tiana replies.

Allen understands. "I don't sit next to my friends at workshops because I like to talk, too," she tells the girls.

But in the limo, the girls ride side by side.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

Hillsborough's top teacher takes students for a ride 03/19/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico

    World

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'

    World

    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."