March 4, 2019 - PE Aide Leonard “Lenny” Gross is a bit of a legend at Pine View School. The former hair stylist and salon owner first became interested in teaching after he received his GED from the Sarasota County Technical Institute. Lenny was so impacted by the informative and compassionate staff helping him every day that upon receiving his GED, he knew he wanted to become a teacher’s aide.
When he checked in with Sarasota County Schools, he learned he needed additional training and education to take the next step towards his dream of helping others. With a passing score on the Para Pro Assessment Test, Lenny officially joined the substitute pool and was excited when shortly after, he received his first assignment call for Pine View School. A day turned into a week, which turned into an opportunity for Lenny to serve out the rest of that school year as a PE Aide.
One week was all it took for him to fall in love with the job. Lenny jumped at the chance to interview for a full-time PE Aide position and six years later, he still describes the work as “incredible”. An inspiration to all the students and staff he encounters, Lenny humbly maintains that “The kids give more to me than I could ever give back to them. I get excited when I see the kids make good decisions for their future success. I am proud of everything they accomplish”.
Lenny’s service to the community doesn’t stop when the school year ends. For the past five years, he has been the summer leader of the teen center at the Boys and Girls Club. Lenny hopes he can encourage and inspire all kids to work hard and reach for their dreams. Sarasota County Schools appreciates you, Lenny, and all you do for our community!