Volunteer of the Month



Every month we choose a Volunteer of the Month based on volunteer hours logged (either at school, on field trips or at home), as well as willingness to help and dedication to the school! Although the Volunteer of the Month is recognized in both PTA and school newsletters, the best part is the awesome Parking Spot at the front of the school that can be yours for one month!


Mary Bakanec has enjoyed volunteering at Bryant over the last 13 years in various areas, such as Fall Festival, Ready Reader, Boosterthon, Gingerbread gift shop, media center, lunchroom, classroom and
office helper.  Her oldest daughter started at Bryant in 2007 and her youngest daughter just graduated from Bryant last year. Bryant has been a huge part of their family and Mary says they have truly enjoyed
their time here.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, going to movies, and exploring local attractions.

Mary says she is looking forward to volunteering in the future at Bryant and continuing to see the success of our great neighborhood school!

Thank you, Mary, for all of your many contributions over the years!!


Onyii Oguine graduated from the University of Nigeria School of Engineering with a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering and met and married her husband, Samuel two years later.  Before moving to Tampa with her husband and three children (Kene is in 4th grade, Kamzi is in 3rd grade, and Kaine is in Kindergarten), Onyii was running her private business providing learning and play centers for children in Nigeria.  She is currently a graduate student of University of South Florida, College of Education, pursuing a Masters degree in Education Leadership.

Onyii is a graduate intern at the school and in between classes and volunteering at the school, she is raising her three kids and taking them to their various activities.  She enjoys her work as an intern learning from Mrs. Oberschall and Mrs. Morse on “behind the scenes” activities that sustain the level of excellence that is seen at Mary Bryant Elementary.  Some of Onyii’s volunteering activities include the Bronco 5k Stampede, the book fair, homeroom parent, and helping in the front office.  Thank you, Onyii, for all of your help at Mary Bryant!


Roxanne Neuhaus is in her 7th year as a parent at Mary Bryant.  Her oldest, Reagan, started Kindergarten here and now attends Farnell.  Roxanne and her husband, Ryan, have a 3rd grade son, Jackson.  They enjoy attending as many school activities as possible and love watching their children grow. Roxanne says being a part of the kids’ school activities keeps them very involved in the community.  They especially love the Mary Bryant staff and faculty, and say that through volunteering it's easy to see what a
heart this school has for its students!

Roxanne has been a Home Room Mom for the last seven years! She enjoys this, because she gets a chance to interact with the parents at our school, from helping coordinate the class booth at the fall festival, to organizing class celebrations.

Other activities that she has helped with through the years include Book Fairs, Friendship Grams, Building Better Readers, Story and Craft Parent, Copy Parent, Holiday Gift Shop, chaperoning field trips, and teaching Junior Achievement.  This year, Roxanne was the Chair for the Veteran’s Day Celebration. She loves the way our school and community honors our Veterans.  She is also on the SAC committee at both Mary Bryant and Farnell.  She says, “Volunteering at our school allows me to feel
very connected and is just a small way for me to show my appreciation.”

In their spare time, they love to spend time together as a family.  They are at Ed Radice several nights a week cheering on their children’s sports. They also enjoy traveling every chance they get!

Thank you Roxanne, for all the years of dedication to Mary Bryant Elementary!


Karen and Mark have been married for 14 years.  They lived in Westchase and moved into this district specifically for Mary Bryant Elementary School.  When their daughter was about to enter Kindergarten, Karen started visiting local schools.  She had a school
tour at Mary Bryant and met, at that point, Vice Principal Ellen Oberschall, and she says she immediately felt this is where their kids should be.  They have now been at the school for 5 years.  Adley, Karen’s daughter, is in 4th grade and her son, Bryce, is in the
2nd grade.

Karen has served as homeroom mom each year for one or both of her kids’ classes.  She has chaired Red Ribbon Week for the PTA for the past three years and has helped as the assistant this year with the Gallop to Greatness school wide fundraiser.  She has also helped with book fair, student council elections, Holiday Gift Shop, and Fall Festival.

Karen says she loves helping out at Mary Bryant and doing a small part to help our school be one of the best elementary schools in the county.  She has had the opportunity to meet a lot of people through volunteering, and feels it has been great working with other parents and the staff at Mary Bryant.

Thanks, Karen, for being a big part of why our school is one of the best in the county!!


Nicole Woodroof and her husband, Trent, have one 10 year old son, Tristan.  Tristan is in his final year at MBE in Mrs. McSherry’s home room class. Tristan started at Bryant his Kindergarten year, and the Woodroof’s have been proud Broncos ever since!  Nicole says they feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this elementary school and community.  The staff at MBE are exceptional and the parent volunteers are very invested in their children’s school.

Nicole has been volunteering since Tristan’s Kindergarten year in Mrs. Kloehn’s class, and has had so much fun making lots of great friends along the way.  She has been involved in events such as Building Better Readers, Bedtime Stories, the Book Fair, Fall Festival, Gingerbread Gift Shop, Holiday Breakfast for Teachers, the Mother-Son Event, SAC, home room mom projects, and The Gallop to Greatness Walk for the second year running. 

In their spare time, they love to travel as a family, go to the beach, attend sporting events (mostly Tristan’s) and just generally spend time together with family and friends.

Nicole says, “It’s been a pleasure volunteering here at Mary Bryant and getting to work with the staff and other families and we will truly miss this school.”

Thank you, Nicole, for all your many contributions to Mary Bryant!!!


Julie Chavanu moved to the area right before her youngest, Erin, now in 4th Grade, started Kindergarten. Her oldest daughter, Natalie, is now at Farnell. This is the third year she has worked with Spirit Nights and she says she likes helping with the classroom Fall Festival booth every year. Julie has been in schools where parent participation and volunteering is not as encouraged, so she knows first-hand how big a difference volunteering makes in everything at school!  

Corinne Adams has two children at Bryant.  Hailey is 9 and in fourth grade, and Parker is 7 and in first grade.  Corinne and her husband, Jordan, have been in Tampa since 2006 and work together in their sports television distribution business, as well as consult with companies on new product development.

They have been at Mary Bryant ever since Hailey started Kindergarten.  Corinne has been a homeroom mom or co-homeroom mom for both children during their time at Mary Bryant.  She has also enjoyed doing Ready Reader for the kids’ classes, participating in Fall Festival, being a classroom helper and most recently, co-volunteer for Spirit Night!  Jordan is the new emcee for the Galloping to Greatness fundraiser and always enjoys participating in the Great American Teach-In.  They love to be involved in their children’s lives and to help support the school and their children’s educational and extracurricular endeavors.

In their free time, their family loves to go on adventures and experience new activities, locally as well as travelling to visit friends and family.  The kids like to keep a log of out of state license plates that they have seen – they are still looking for Hawaii and Alaska!


Julie Overing is a retired Marine Biologist who enjoys organizing events, especially sailing regattas and now golf tournaments! Her family has been a part of Bryant Elementary since her daughter started Kindergarten in 2002.  Julie confesses her kids have grown up fast…Mackenzie is finishing her Freshman year at Florida Gulf Coast University, and her son Maxwell is finishing his Freshman year at Sickles High School.  Both of her children have excelled throughout school thanks in large part to the foundations they were taught at Bryant Elementary. As a result she has enjoyed giving back to the school and our community by volunteering for the last 15 years in the classrooms, Media Center, PTA and now the Golf Tournament.

Thank you, Julie, for your dedication to Mary Bryant Elementary!!


Michelle Chase and her husband Brian have three children, Kendall (age 8), Nathaniel (age 6), and Logan (age 3). Kendall is in Mrs. Brown’s third grade class, Nathaniel is in Mrs. Kane’s kindergarten class, and Logan attends Keystone Christian Preschool.

Michelle has lived in Tampa since 1994. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She taught English at the secondary level for the Hillsborough County Public School system from 1998 through 2014. She also coached junior varsity and varsity volleyball for Sickles High School and Alonso High School during many of those years.

This year, Michelle was the chairperson for the Great American Teach-In and is also the co-chair business partner liaison for the Mary Bryant Business Partnership program. Michelle has also volunteered at the Fall Festival, Grandparent Read-to-Me Day, Book Fair, Running Club, field trip chaperone, and as homeroom parent. Volunteering has allowed Michelle to stay active within the school system, while spending quality time with her children.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys training mom friends at the gym for fun and meeting new people. She can often be found at the school helping with various tasks or shuttling her three children to soccer, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, Jui Jitsu, or swimming. She is extremely grateful for the teachers, staff, and administration at MBE and all they do for the students! Michelle looks forward to many more years of being involved at Mary Bryant Elementary!  Thank you, Michelle, for all of your volunteer work!!


A year and a half ago, Samantha VanSteenburg moved to Tampa from Seattle for her husband’s work. She is presently in school finishing her degree in interior design and working at Studio M, a design firm in Tampa. Samantha says she was thrilled to have the opportunity to redecorate the teacher’s lounge when asked. First, because the teachers work so hard and need a peaceful space to relax. And, second, this gave her the opportunity to volunteer since her busy schedule rarely affords her the opportunity to help out during the day! She is grateful to be able to give back to the teachers and the staff!

Thank you, Samantha, for giving back to the school!  We know the teachers and staff appreciate it!


Kimberly LaMura and her husband, Mike, have 2 daughters who attend Mary Bryant Elementary.  Victoria (8) is in Mrs. Bukovan’s Second Grade class and Fiona (5) is in Mrs. Kloehn’s Kindergarten Class.  Kimberly graduated at Ohio State and worked as a geneticist before she met her husband, Mike.

This year Kim was the chair for our Grandparent Read-To-Me Day.  She says she has enjoyed helping our teachers in any way possible with being a homeroom mom, copying, or helping in the mailroom.  She has participated in the Building Better Readers program, Junior Achievement, Fall Festival, and the Great American Teach-In and loves helping with the Book Fair, Holiday Shop, and The Mary Bryant Golf Tournament.

In her spare time, Kim co-leads her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, loves watching her Ohio State Buckeyes, being a mom at home and cheering on her daughters’ in their activities!  She has really enjoyed getting to meet all of the teachers and staff at Bryant, as well as other parents and volunteers, and feels so lucky to have both of her children at such an amazing school!

Thanks, Kim, for all the ways you help make Mary Bryant an excellent school!

October 2017 VOM – Amanda Vanscoten

Amanda Vanscoten has three kids at Mary Bryant…. Bella, who is in iPeeps; William, a 1st grader, and Reygan, a 3rd grader.  She has been volunteering at Mary Bryant for about three years now. Amanda says her kids love to see her and she has met some other amazing parents just by volunteering! She has volunteered for Lunch on the Lawn, Friendship Grams, Awards, Book Fair, Picture Day, and one of the kids’ favorites, the Holiday Gift Shop. When she’s not volunteering at the school, she is running the kids to Gracie Palm Harbor where they do Jiu Jitsu and MMA. Amanda is an avid reader and actually proofread for an author! She is very proud to be a part of the Mary Bryant Family and looks forward to many more years of volunteering!

We are proud to have you Amanda!  Thanks for all you do!

September 2017 VOM – Kristi Ward

Kristi Ward and her husband, Michael, have two daughters – Grace, who is in the 7th grade at Farnell and Mya, who is in the 4th grade at Mary Bryant. They have lived in Tampa for almost nine years.

Kristi began volunteering at Mary Bryant eight years ago when her oldest daughter started Kindergarten. That year she was the homeroom parent and the class Fall Festival coordinator. Since then, she has volunteered in many ways including homeroom parent; fall festival class booths; class parties; copy parent; Holiday gift shop; Building Better Readers program; 5th grade Double B Jamboree; field trip chaperone; field day; and this year she helped Nicole Woodroof with The Gallop to Greatness Walk.

Kristi says she really enjoys volunteering at Mary Bryant and has met so many wonderful people. The staff, families and children at Mary Bryant are the best.  She has felt very lucky to have the opportunity to help out around the school and in the
classroom and, by doing so, she gets to spend a little extra time with her children!

In her free time, Kristi enjoys CrossFit, running, traveling with her family, and cheering on her daughters at their swim meets and soccer games.

Thanks Kristi, for all the years of dedication to Mary Bryant!