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THRIVE Time: Owens finds perfect classroom

Lisa Owens opens her heart up to her students as an adapted curriculum teacher with the THRIVE program.

The THRIVE program is designed for students with profound disabilities, both intellectually and physically, and many of them are medically fragile. THRIVE is all one team, from teachers and nurses to the substitutes and paraprofessionals, working towards the goal of helping the kids thrive.

Everybody who works here loves our students,” said Owens. “Our students are amazing. They are. Most of them can’t talk, but they can communicate in other ways, and they are amazing.”

After graduating from college, Owens wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. She got a case management job with a Board of Developmental Disabilities in Ohio. She helped families find needed resources, oversaw group homes and day programs, and investigated cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

She found she was drawn to assisting families and being a voice for the voiceless.

The people with the most disabilities have always been my heart,” she said.

She got her first taste of working with the THRIVE program as an elementary-level paraprofessional. When she first joined Fayette County Public Schools, she was set to be a parapro with the Sprouts Pre-K program, but the role was cut because enrollment dropped during the pandemic. Owens was instead offered a spot with THRIVE.

“(I knew) that would be my perfect classroom, and that’s still the case,” she said.

She knew she wanted to come back to that role, and she did after other stops within the school system. Owens likes being able to do a little bit of everything with THRIVE. Her role includes one-on-one education, a bit of medical care, and a little bit of social work.

Communication is key, both in teaching students ways to be heard and in regular communication and updates with families. It ensures Owens and the families stay on the same page.

Every day brings a new opportunity to help students.

“I always just want to help others,” said Owens. “I like helping families know the things that their kids can do and the things that they can do to help their kids, and that’s why I’m here.”


“The Honor Role,” an official podcast for Fayette County Public Schools, features employees, rotating through key stakeholders, including teachers, staff, nurses, custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. Join us as we dive in and learn about their journeys, their inspirations, and their whys.

Episodes are available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and promoted on the social media channels of Fayette County Public Schools.

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Posted 7/2/2024