Effie was an educator employed at Giant Steps School since 2007. She was exceptionally dedicated, caring, and so very passionate about her work with our students on the autism spectrum. She worked both at Giant Steps School and in various inclusion school settings where she is remembered as being very professional.
Effie was always open to feedback and even sought it to continue improving her work. As a colleague, she was supportive, helpful, and always ready to jump in to provide a helping hand with whatever was necessary. She would take care of everything in the class, including the organization of shelves, cleaning surfaces, and even looking after plants! Most importantly, she meticulously prepared activities and taught the students to better understand academic and social lessons.
Effie was very patient and always maintained her composure in difficult situations with the students. If students needed repetition to understand certain concepts, she creatively presented them in different ways until they were able to make sense of them for themselves. She was firm, but students felt safe around her and respected her. She was compassionate and loved the students unconditionally.
Effie was a fighter and advocate for others, especially when it came to the rights of students with autism who are often misunderstood. This quality would prove to be a great asset in her personal life as well. At the age of 39, she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer. Despite the dim prognosis, she fought vigorously and courageously, never losing hope while constantly maintaining a positive outlook on life and encouraging others through their own difficulties. While she was very discreet about her personal life, many did not know about the extent nor the severity of her medical condition. For the few of us who did, she was an exemplary model of strength and optimism.
Effie never lost touch with our Giant Steps family. Even in the last few years of her life when she was unable to be physically present at the school, she remained informed about the latest developments at the school through emails sent to all staff and personal contacts with a few of her colleagues. On May 24th, she sadly succumbed to her battle with cancer and died peacefully at home, at the age of 43.
Many students, their families, and staff developed deep and lasting relationships with Effie while she was alive, forever forging personal memories in their hearts. We will eternally be grateful and thankful to her for having had the opportunity to walk along her side. We extend our sincere love and condolences to all who have been touched by her presence.