Member Highlight: Danielle Kesler, Instructional Assistant-Special Education (Westmont)

Danielle Kesler
April 25, 2023

This woman will change your life. Her patience, perseverance, industriousness, and honesty are qualities that some of us can only hope to achieve.

Meet Danielle Kesler. Her late mother and father were great examples of what a parent should be to their children. They instilled in Danielle these qualities that have helped mold her into the wonderful person she is today. I think they did a pretty good job, and her students would agree. “I love what I do,” says Danielle. 

Danielle has been working in the special education instructional series for 15 years. She began working in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) classification and then transitioned to the severely disabled classification. For the past three years, she’s worked as a special education paraprofessional. While working with students having special needs, Danielle and her coworkers focus on a student’s specific goals based on their individual education plan (IEP). She also accompanies her students participating in the visual and performing arts (VAPA) program. “Our goal is to help each student reach their full potential. It gives me great pride when our special day class (SDC) students are mainstreamed partially or exclusively in general education,” explains Danielle.

Danielle has always been passionate about supporting her students and their parents. “It takes a village to achieve this kind of success, and I’m grateful to work with a highly dedicated team at Westmont who are committed to the social, emotional, academic success and well-being of our students. It’s such a pleasure to see our hard work pay off,” Danielle says with joy. 

Danielle absolutely loves the beauty of mother nature. “Being in nature fills my cup,” she reflects. Born in Oahu, Hawaii, she was surrounded by beauty and considers herself an island girl at heart. She met the love of her life, Phillip, on the island, and they will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in June. Congratulations to you. Together they have two sons, Logan and Jordan. “They are my pride and joy! I am very proud of them,” Danielle exclaims.

Some of Danielle’s hobbies are photography, gardening, camping, hiking, and arts and crafts for her kiddos in class. Not only are her parents her biggest inspiration, but she has also been inspired by Nelson Mandela, Temple Grandin, and the Dalai Lama. “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.” An inspirational quote from Dolly Parton that is obviously contagious, because I see Danielle always smiling to brighten up one’s day.

I asked Danielle what advice she would give to someone just starting out in her field. She replied, “Remember that everyone has ideas and strategies to promote success while working with our differently-abled students. Communication and collaboration are key. Be respectful and a team player.” That’s great advice. I’ve known Mrs. Kesler for a very long time, and I can tell you that everyone that has worked alongside her is a better person because of it, including me. Her classroom runs smoothly because she’s kind to others, uses direct communication, is optimistic, and promotes positive attitudes. Mahalo for all that you do for our students and staff at Ocean View School District.