Middle school principal drives close to 800 miles to show appreciation for her teachers

Cheri Leavitt leaves signs in teachers yards

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been almost a month since distance learning went into effect in Orange County -- now school buildings and classrooms are empty and teachers and students are connecting virtually.

Cheri Leavitt is the principal of Freedom Middle school in Orlando and she wanted to take the time to express her gratitude and appreciation for her teachers, despite those challenges.

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The mother of three took it upon herself to have special signs made for all 90 of her educators.

The signs read: This is where a rock star teacher lives and works.

"I can say, and I do say often how much I appreciate them and how much I love them and how lucky I am to work with such an amazing group of professionals, but actions, a lot of times, speak louder than words," Leavitt said.

Leavitt has been the principal for Freedom Middle school for the past five years and joined Orange County Public Schools 15 years ago when she moved from Chicago.

For Leavitt, it’s small acts of kindness that impact others and encourage them to do the same.

"We can always do something nice for other people, and the more we do nicer for others the more others do nice for others," she said.

From Metro West to Ocoee, the Dr. Philips area and all-around Orange county, she placed a total of 90 signs in the front yards of her teachers.

"It's really not about me and what it means to me. It's about my teachers," she said. "When they go out for the mail or when they go to walk their dog or if they get in their car to go somewhere essential and they see the sign."

Leavitt also understands the challenges parents are facing nowadays with distance learning. She says it’s important to not get overwhelmed and to be open to flexibility.

“This is not meant to be overly stressful,” she said. “We have to be flexible we have to give each other grace and there is a time where a student is struggling then just give them some time, just take a step back and give them some time.”

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