Educator and author, Dr. Simone T. Lewis, was born in Kingston Jamaica and migrated to the United States in 1999. She attended Broward College where she obtained her associate degree in General Psychology with the intent of becoming a psychologist. However, what was supposed to be merely a source of income along the way, her job as a preschool teacher, quickly derailed her plans as she soon realized that teaching was her true calling. She later furthered her studies at Nova Southeastern University where she obtained her Bachelor of Applied Studies with a concentration in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Reading. To strengthen her pedagogy, Simone Lewis pursued her Educational Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at NSU, focusing on teachers’ perception of the increase in reading comprehension of nonfiction selections through the utilization of Project Based Learning and Total Physical Response. Dr. Lewis’s passion for education has led her to effectively complete over fourteen years working with children from preschool to middle school, serving as not only an educator, but also as a reading specialist at a Title 1 school in Broward County, Florida. Along with being recognized as the City of Margate’s Teacher of the Month three times, Dr. Lewis has been honored twice as Teacher of the Year—an award of the greatest distinction.
In December 2016, she published the first in an anticipated series for children’s book, “The Adventures of Seth and Shadow, Super- Duper Student of the Week.” Inspired by the daily routines of her then four-year-old son, Seth who struggled with accepting the weekly defeat of not being selected as student of the week. Seth would often cry, stating that he would never be good enough to be student of the week no matter how hard he tried. When he finally persevered and became student of the week, his mother decided to document his adventures with Shadow, the classroom mascot, by creating a book using pictures she had taken and the services of her local pharmacy’s photo development department. Little did she know that this would give birth to Seth and Shadow Books.
Dr. Lewis’s experiences as an educator and her now new role as a parent of a kindergartener, brought to light the need for character traits to be taught at an early age. Dr. Lewis realized that teaching character development is a vital component of raising a child. However, in the race to get our children ready for the educational demands that they will face in our competitive world, teaching these important traits are often neglected. The Seth and Shadow book series aims to fill this void, by offering entertaining and relatable stories that covers topics such as perseverance and self-acceptance. Each book comes with bonus coloring pages for children to complete as a follow up activity and Florida State Standards aligned teacher guides for educational institutions that are interested in implementing the series as a curriculum. Since its launch the book has been featured in the Kids Lit Magazine, BookMad Magazine and Dr. Lewis was interviewed on the Uplifting Communities talk show. She hopes to have the Seth and Shadow series in every home and preschool thru kindergarten classroom, with plans of launching a new book with students with disabilities as the main characters. She often refers to her mission to promote character development and acceptance as the “Seth and Shadow Movement."
Most recently, she has been spotlighted in the School Board of Broward County’s Reimagining Grades Staff and Student January 2019 Newsletter for her work on Project Based Learning and on their social media outlets in 2020, for her ability to authentically engage students during remote learning. She started the #WYACW, “ Where You at Class Wednesdays” hashtag as movement to inspire educators to commit to checking on their students educational and social and emotional wellbeing during distance learning by creating her own music video, which has been shared numerous times on social media platform, including on the Black Teacher Project’s Instagram page. Dr Lewis believes that the possibilities with distance learning and student engagement are endless if educators are willing and open to stepping out of their comfort zones. I am always seeking new ways to engage my students, because teaching is more that my passion— it’s my purpose. My students are the stars and I am merely the producer. Whenever I am engaging them, whether virtually or in a brick and mortar setting, I am always ready for the lights, camera and action!”