August’s School Therapist of The Month: Samantha Laratonda

August’s School Therapist of The Month: Samantha Laratonda

Samantha is August’s School Therapist of the Month! She moved from Michigan to Juno, Alaska to complete her CF with Advanced and did a stellar job. She is about to start her second school contract with us for a district in Centralia, Washington as a CCC-SLP.

Melissa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP, Clinical Director at Advanced School Staffing and Samantha’s CF Supervisor, could not speak more highly of her. “She is the epitome of a school traveler. She has an adventurous spirit. She is gifted when it comes to treating kids. I believe she has really found her niche.”

Samantha has also developed a strong bond with her Advanced Recruiter, Joe Beach. Here’s what he has to say about her:

“Sam is an exceptional clinician and an overall amazing person. Her positive attitude is contagious! She is an asset to my team and a valued member of the Advanced family.”– Advanced Recruiter, Joe Beach

Get To Know Samantha

School Therapist August Samantha 2What drew you to pursuing speech-language pathology as a career? When I was in 8th grade, I decided that speech pathology seemed like an interesting career after learning about it from my aunt. As the years went on, it was something I never got out of my head. I went through high school and undergrad surrounding myself with experiences that confirmed being an SLP was actually a perfect fit for me. I loved the idea of being able to make a positive impact on the lives of others in a career that I found fun, interesting, and challenging. I’m not exactly sure how my 8th grade self knew this is what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life, but I’m sure glad I found my passion!

Why did you decide on travel therapy as a CF? I definitely had an interest in traveling and have always felt a huge draw to explore other parts of the country. After going to ASHA in Denver, I received a call from Advanced. While talking to my recruiter, I realized it could be an incredible opportunity. I wanted to travel while knowing I would get the support I would need as a CF. I have always wanted my life to be an adventure and that is what I got!

How was your CF school assignment? What did you love most about it? My CF assignment was an amazing experience! I have never done anything in my life that was more empowering. I feel I grew so much as a person and an SLP. I worked with a wonderful group of passionate, hardworking people who inspired me to be better every day. By far, the thing I loved the most was my kiddos! It was so rewarding getting to know them and helping them achieve their goals!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish as a traveling school SLP? I hope to continue to grow in my skills and confidence. This will allow me to become the therapist that each child on my caseload deserves.

What has the biggest surprise been so far? My biggest surprise was how accepting, welcoming, and trusting everyone was of me as a new grad. One thing that made me nervous as a CF was that people wouldn’t respect my professional opinions because of my age and being fresh out of school. This couldn’t have been more untrue! I felt like a respected and valued member of the team from day one.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? I am currently in the process of learning to play the guitar and the ukulele! Music is a huge part of my life and I have wanted to learn these instruments for years. It’s been so much fun!

Like Samantha’s story? Check out our benefits for contractors and travelers and learn more about how you can start your Advanced School Staffing adventure today!