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Get to know: June Blaine, Gateway Point teacher

June Blaine in her classroom

June Blaine was told during most of her high school years she should be a teacher.

“I think I tried to fight it,” Blaine said. “I had the mentality of ‘you’re not going to tell me what to do.’”

After starting as a psychology major in Illinois, Blaine eventually moved to Arizona and received her degree in elementary education from ASU.

Blaine began student teaching at Power Ranch Elementary School. After two years of student teaching and interning, Blaine was asked to help open Gateway Pointe Elementary School.

“The area was growing so quickly,” said Blaine. “I was honored when they asked me to come open [Gateway] and I haven’t left since.”

But Blaine’s first year was not without its struggles. Blane’s classroom was still under construction, so she taught her class in the library.

Blaine said it was a challenge, but she “fell in love with the families and community” at Gateway.

“It’s such a great feeling to see families move through and to have the siblings of my students,” said Blaine. “I’ve loved being here.”

This year also came with its challenges. Blaine currently teaches sixth grade math at Gateway.

“Every time I say that I can handle anything or that I have seen everything, something new comes along,” laughed Blaine. “So, I’ve stopped saying that.”

Whether it is teaching in person or online, Blaine has learned that the focus is always about her students and watching them grow.

Blaine remembered how she received a letter from her former student as she was about to go to high school. The student thanked Blaine for all she’s done for her.

“When I came across that letter, it was a big reminder and a much-needed reminder that it is about making connections with the kids,” said Blaine. “It’s about being there for them on a larger level than just their academics.”

 Gateway Pointe Elementary, in Gilbert, Arizona, is part of Higley Unified School District.