Batavia mom, daughter teachers guiding students at different schools in the same district – Shaw Local

Editor’s Note: This story originally was published as part of Shaw Local News Network’s Thank you, Teachers coverage in May 2022.

Batavia High School Spanish teacher Lisa Stoneberg often gets emails from younger students whom she doesn’t teach.

Her mother, Sam Rotolo Middle School teacher Jody Stoneberg, also gets her share of errant emails that were intended for her daughter. Their same last name, combined with being in the same district, can make it an easy mistake for students.

“She’ll get Spanish stuff and I’ll get sixth grade science assignments,” Lisa Stoneberg said.

Jody Stoneberg, who has been with the Batavia school district for 25 years, said the accidental emails are among the many highlights of working in the district with her daughter. Working at Batavia High School has given Lisa Stoneberg the chance to work with some of her mom’s former students.

“Since I’m at the high school level, I have a lot of students who were in my mom’s class,” she said. “They say, ‘Oh, is Mrs. Stoneberg your mom?’ It’s just a fun connection to have.”

Her mom gets similar questions.

“Because of her tennis, too, since she also does that in the summer, then I get kids who are like, ‘Do you happen to know Ms. Stoneberg?’” Jody Stoneberg said. “I say, ‘Yes, I am vaguely familiar with her.’”

Becoming a teacher wasn’t in Jody Stoneberg’s original career plan. She studied counseling and psychology in college and worked as a private sector counselor before her family moved to Batavia.

“I think Lisa was in kindergarten at the time and [the school district] needed subs,” she said. “And so I thought, ‘Oh, this is a great job, I can just go in when the kids are in school and I can see what’s going on in school.’”

Jody Stoneberg (right) teaches science at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia while her daughter, Lisa Stoneberg, is a teacher at her alma mater, Batavia High School.

After working as a substitute teacher within the district for nearly a decade, Jody Stoneberg decided to begin teaching full-time.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I should be doing this full-time,’” she said. “‘I should have my own classroom. I love being around the kids and the whole idea of it. So I went back to school and got a job in the district.”

Lisa Stoneberg, who has been a teacher at Batavia High School for 12 years, said her mother’s experience in the district was a great influence on her future career.

“My mom was a teacher subbing and then a teacher full-time for most of my childhood, so I was around a teacher every day,” she said. “She loved it. She got to have so many teaching experiences as a sub.”

A handful of Lisa Stoneberg’s family members already were teachers, including both of her mom’s sisters. Nevertheless, she wasn’t sure she’d end up in a classroom for her career. She already had some experience in education working as a tutor in high school.

“I wouldn’t say that I knew right away that I wanted to be a teacher,” Lisa Stoneberg said. “I knew I loved Spanish. And then I knew I had been around so many teachers because we have a lot of other teachers in the family, too.”

Though they teach in different buildings and different age groups, Jody and Lisa Stoneberg come together to organize Rotolo Middle School’s tennis club in the spring.

“I’m a tennis coach here at the high school for the girls team. Since my mom’s over at the middle school at Rotolo, she’s got the connection there,” Lisa Stoneberg said. “So it’s been really fun to work together on that.”

Jody and Lisa Stoneberg agreed that the highlight of working in the district together is the ability to learn from each other as teachers.

“It’s really a nice experience. I’m always just so impressed with what she does and how she can do it,” Jody Stoneberg said. “As a parent, to have other parents talk about their child being in her class and how great that is … obviously that is pretty cool.”

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