Teacher’s Final Lesson Is To Hold Family Close, Appreciate Life

PASCO COUNTY, FL — There’s one family photo that captures Renee Dermott’s effervescent spirit. It’s an unguarded moment during a family fall trip up north as she grabs up a pile of colorful fall leaves and tosses them into the air, laughing as the leaves rain down on her.

Her family said that photo exemplifies her love of life, a quality she brought to her career as a school teacher for nearly 20 years.

“She loved her kids. She loved her husband. She loved her home. She loved teaching,” said Madalyn Ziongas, one of Dermott’s two daughters. She was always the first to arrive at school and the last to leave, said the family now grappling with grief.

The 51-year-old New Port Richey resident had just begun teaching at Seven Springs Middle School last fall — first teaching English language arts and then American history — when the pandemic was

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Is your career on hold? Here’s how to reclaim it

women careers - PATRICK LEGER
women careers – PATRICK LEGER
Stella magazine promotion
Stella magazine promotion

Returning to work after the birth of my second son, I was insecure. After seven months in a baby bubble, so much had changed at the publishing company that employed me, and I felt completely disconnected and irrelevant. A restructure had given me a new boss and it felt like they didn’t know what to do with me. Sitting there in a planning meeting, my usual confidence was replaced by a rabbit-in-headlights expression that I just couldn’t hide.

That expression is a common sight in workplaces across the UK among the ‘Interrupted’ – people whose careers have had to take a temporary back seat while they attend to big changes in their lives. Babies, bereavement, chemo, divorce, surgery, burnout or caring for a sick family member are all common causes – and now, of course, a global pandemic. The Interrupted are often

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