By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published February 7, 2022
MARIETTA—Even after more than 26 years in the classroom, Roseanne Cornejo still gets excited and anxious about the first day of school as she welcomes new learners.
“First day is never boring. It’s never exactly the same. I always feel like God puts these children in your path for a reason and what I can do for them is what is meant to be,” said Cornejo, who is 57.
Cornejo was selected as employee of the year from St. Joseph School in Marietta. She’s been a teacher for 26 years, 17 of them at the school. Her fellow teachers, school staff, along with parents get a chance to nominate the award winner.
The comments submitted with the nomination reveal she is a beloved member of the school.
“Mrs. Cornejo has taught both of my children how to be Catholic in their everyday lives by being good people,” said one parent.
Another nomination stated: “Roseanne ensures that her students are prepared in their faith, in their academics and in their personal abilities. She shows her students that they are capable!”
Part of Cornejo’s mission is to put together the building blocks for future learning.
“How can I make kids in kindergarten, love school and learn and want to come back? That’s my number one goal because they have a long road ahead of them. I want them to love school and like being with me,” said.
Her favorite classroom area is the cozy reading nook. There, the young students gather around as she sits in a wooden rocking chair, a gift from a grateful parent. Students can cuddle stuffed animals, Coconut the cat and Golly the dog, as rewards for their listening and learning.
“I also love the fact I can see kids—K through 8—I can see them progress. Kids that either were really shy or really struggled and you can see them succeed,” she said.
Cornejo followed her mother into the classroom, both as an educator and teaching at St. Joseph. When the family moved to the area from Long Island, her mother taught at the school for many years. Cornejo attended public school, but when her three children were ready for school, the family sent the children to St. Joseph. What started for her as a substitute teaching role became a full-time teaching position. All her children graduated and then went on to Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell. She and her husband, Ricardo, attend Transfiguration Church in Marietta.
The school is very community based with high standards held together in a loving environment, she said. Receiving a Catholic education, students are “pushed to do the best that they can do” with academics and establishing a moral foundation to contribute to the community as adults, she said.
“Our staff in general is just full of fabulous teachers, so I really do feel like it’s an honor. There are many better (teachers) and also worthy of the award,” she said.
In the two years of teaching in COVID, the school has largely been open for in-person learning. The measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus forced teachers to adapt new ways of educating and some are better, said Cornejo. Virtual parent conferences are one feature that she thinks has been helpful.
“What I learned is that there’s always a different way to do something,” she said. “Your kids will always enjoy it if you enjoy it.”