Phoenyx DernerEDWARDSVILLE - For Phoenyx Derner, the path to becoming a teacher was simple: She just has a passion for helping others.

The fourth-grade teacher has a full classroom at Worden Elementary, and she goes to school excited to see her students. She enjoys helping them succeed as they become lifelong learners.

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“I love spending my days with my 4th graders!” Derner said. “Kids have a way of making the world around us seem better. They are such a positive part of my life!”

Derner especially loves when her students have “lightbulb moments” and finally understand difficult concepts. It’s important to her that her students learn as much as possible in a safe, supportive environment, and she enjoys guiding them through lessons both in and out of the classroom.

This passion for helping kids means that it can be challenging for Derner when she doesn't have the tools she needs to help all of them. There are times when students need more than she can provide.

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But she goes out of her way to make sure they have every resource she can give them, and students can count on Derner to be a positive force in their lives. She truly enjoys her job, and that passion impacts all of the kids she teaches.

When Derner isn’t at school, she can be found hanging out with her family, friends and fiance. She loves hiking, though she might love shopping even more.

But, of course, teaching tops the list. As Derner reflects on another successful school year, she’s excited for the future and more fun times ahead of her in the fourth grade. She can’t wait to see what will come next, and her love for the job is as strong as ever.

“Teaching is a difficult but rewarding job,” she said. “Some days are harder than others but it feels great to be making a difference in the community each day.”

Thank you to Ms. Derner for your work as a teacher!

At, we are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6 to May 10, 2024, by highlighting a Riverbend teacher every day. If you would like to nominate a teacher to be profiled, email with their name and email address.

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