For the 2021-22 school year, the Middle Keys has fresh recruits to teach our public school students. We thought you’d like to meet a few of our new teachers from Marathon Middle High School. Let’s give a hearty welcome to these new faces.

Michele Yablon

Hometown: Runnemede, New Jersey

Degree from: Southern New Hampshire University

How long have you been in the Keys? Almost seven years 

Why did you decide to become a teacher? A few years ago, after Hurricane Irma, I had decided that I was ready to move on from a long career in the dental field. There was a need in this community that I thought I could help fulfill and enjoy, and that was being a part of our education system. I wanted to help guide the youth of the community through their educational journey with exciting things that I experienced in mine. 

What is your teaching style/philosophy? I haven’t quite found my teaching style yet. I feel that comes with time and experience. For now, I want to form relationships and help the students enjoy their time at school as much as possible while learning.

What are your hobbies outside of school? Outside of school I like to sketch and paint and create art. I also like to read and I love being a student myself.


Lara Wheeler

Hometown: Born in Helena, Montana; grew up in the Seattle, Washington area.

Degree from: University of Phoenix, bachelor’s in human services; working on master’s in psychology.

How long have you been in the Keys? 2 years and 2 months.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? It felt right: my passion is to work with children and their families. 

What is your teaching style/philosophy? Communicate and interact – stimulate the mind and enjoy everything we do.

What are your hobbies outside of school? Learning, swimming, family.


Rhonda Crutcher

Hometown: Arkansas City, Kansas

Degree from: Southern Nazarene University (among others)

How long have you been in the Keys? Two years.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? It’s all I ever wanted to be. I loved school as a kid and never wanted to leave! I remember as a child lining up my dolls, and sometimes the other neighborhood kids, to “teach” them lessons just like my teacher did! Between teaching college for 16 years and being back in K-12 for 6 years now, I’ve made education my career.

What is your teaching style/philosophy? Education is about the whole child, not just a few skills that they can demonstrate on a standardized test. We must teach so much more than traditional topics like English, math and science. We also must teach them what it means to be a good citizen, how to be a responsible adult, how to interact with and positively impact your community. And all this requires good relationships with your students, which I try to create little by little each day.

What are your hobbies outside of school? I love theater, and have performed extensively in community theater and semi-professional theaters for many years now. I am on the board of the Key Players in Key Largo and often perform with that group. I am also a vocal musician and in my free time love playing with my cat, Henry.


Lesley DiFransico

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Degree from: Ohio State University

How long have you been in the Keys? About a year

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I have always loved learning new things and sharing that knowledge with others. After graduate school, I found a position teaching college where I really fell in love with teaching. I am excited to now be working to support Marathon High School students in their learning and growth.

What is your teaching style/philosophy? I value classroom community and collaborative discussion. I want my students to work together to tackle ideas and problems and to learn from one another.

What are your hobbies outside of school? I enjoy running, biking, kayaking, fishing and all the great outdoor things the Keys have to offer. I also love reading and baking. 


Timothy Crutcher 

Hometown: I don’t have a place that I claim as a hometown, since I grew up moving a lot. If I had to pick the place I lived the longest, it would be Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Degree from: My degrees are from Southern Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary and the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). 

How long have you been in the Keys? I’ve lived in the Keys for just over two years now. 

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I always wanted to be a teacher. I love learning and sharing information and helping other people see the world in deeper, more significant ways. After teaching college for nearly 20 years, I became a high school teacher because I wanted to be a part of changing the lives of the young people in Marathon. 

What is your teaching style/philosophy? If I had to pick a “teaching philosophy,” it would be something like “Sharing wisdom through relationship.” I care about the kind of learning that makes navigating the world easier and more effective, and I work hard to connect with my students, whoever they are and at whatever level they find themselves. 

What are your hobbies outside of school? When I have free time, I enjoy reading and computer games and kayaking when I get the chance. 


George C. Crume

Hometown: Bardstown, Kentucky

Degree from: Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Nova Southeastern University.

How long have you been in the Keys? I have lived in the Keys permanently for 2 years , I have owned a home here for 17 years.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I became a teacher because I enjoy working with young people.

What is your teaching style/philosophy? My teaching philosophy is I try to make the work as much fun as possible.What are your hobbies outside of school? My hobbies are swimming, golf, boating and fishing.

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