Sanika Sathe: Anytime I Can Be Around Students, I Am a Happy Camper
Family Services Specialist
J.C. Crumpton Elementary School
Count your blessings every day and live with positivity. These two tenets shined through in a virtual visit with J.C. Crumpton Elementary’s Family Service Specialist Sanika Sathe.
Sanika has lived in the United States, India and Malaysia, and feels so fortunate to have met brilliant, gifted, kind-hearted, caring people throughout her life. What she has learned along the way is, “the best gift you can give anybody, especially children, is that they can be accepted unconditionally. This is the ah-ha moment!”
As a young girl, Sanika grew up in India. She pursued her masters in economics while teaching on the side and it was then that she says she, “absolutely fell in love with teaching.” After she received her masters, she moved to the United States, including Kentucky, Arizona, and upstate New York before finally settling on the Peninsula in California. It was in New York where she served as a long-term substitute for 16 years before her daughters encouraged her to get her masters and certificate in teaching. She went back to school, got certified in New New York, but then found herself in California in 2008, when many districts were laying off teachers.
Sanika said for years she was persistent in applying on EdJoin while substituting at the high school level. For a brief period she stepped away from the public education setting and dabbled in the nonprofit world; however it was not far from teaching as she shared the joy of reading in a train the trainer model where she trained teachers and teachers trained parents.
Now in her sixth year as a family services specialist at J.C. Crumpton School in Marina, Sanika loves her role. She raves about Crumpton stating, “It’s a phenomenal campus - an absolutely wonderful place to be!” She has been at Crumpton for three years, and prior to that she split her time between Olson Elementary and Crumpton Elementary. While she enjoys teaching, she says serving as an FSS is a nice change. Her passion for students is undeniable and she says she would do anything at a school site to serve them. “Anytime I can be around students, I am a happy camper. Give me a stop sign, and I will even help them cross the street,” she says.
Whether it’s children or adults, people just want to be understood and accepted, and ensuring students belong is what lights Sanika up. “With elementary students, I let them know they are my joy and I accept them. This is the best feeling you can give anybody.” (NOTE: In fact, in this interview to get to know Sanika, she turned the interview around and asked the interviewer to learn about her background - talk about being present in the moment, investing in relationships, and accepting people for who they are. Thank you, Sanika.)
A day in the life of a family services specialist includes individual and group counseling, but Sanika takes a different approach and visits each and every class almost daily (sometimes it's every other day) and practices mindfulness, sings songs, engages in math activity, and instills the joy of learning. “I do it in a playful manner so that every child feels like they are included.”
She feels this investment in daily visits has great payoffs when it comes to one on one counseling with students because they know her, are familiar with her, and ultimately feel comfortable in her presence.
Sanika is very humble, and attributes her success to Principal Sarah Hudson and the wonderful and dedicated teachers and staff. She especially extends a shout out to the instructional aids and support staff. “Everyone wants to be at Crumpton for the kids, and it genuinely shows,” she says.