Stacy Shuler is a first year teacher at TJ Harris Elementary School in Meridian, a single mother, and a recent graduate of Mississippi State University Meridian.
Shuler will be the first to tell you she didn’t plan on becoming a teacher. Growing up near Columbus, Ohio, she was surrounded by engineers, including her father and grandfather. Eventually even her brother became an engineer.
“Even if I had thought about teaching,” said Shuler, “my father had concerns that I would not be able to earn very much as an educator, so I went to Ohio State University after high school with plans to become an engineer like the rest of my family.”
Shuler soon left OSU and a career in engineering behind, however, and moved to Pensacola, Florida, to stay with her dad’s sister, who was a school teacher in Santa Rosa County Schools.
“I started subbing and realized right away that teaching was where my heart was.”
Shuler then began working with the Head Start program in Pensacola.
“All my kids (at Head Start) were going in or coming out of protective custody, and I realized that this was my passion – I really wanted to stick with this and teach at-risk children.”
That’s when Shuler decided to move to Mississippi, where her parents now lived, and with their help and support, she enrolled at Mississippi State University-Meridian in elementary education.
“It (MSU-Meridian) was such a change from Ohio State,” Shuler noted. “At OSU there were 56,000 undergraduate students, my professors didn’t know me, and I saw my advisor just one time in person. At MSU-Meridian my advisor worked closely with me to get me admitted into the program and my professors knew me by name and were very accessible whenever I needed them.”
Shuler earned both her bachelor and master’s degrees in elementary education from MSU-Meridian and plans to start work on her education specialist degree in the near future.
Excited about her first teaching job, Shuler wants to give her students a ‘love of learning’ that she has.
“I don’t have rose-colored glasses on. I know that not every child that comes into my classroom is going to be reading on grade level and scoring proficient or advanced on the MCT2,” said Shuler.
“But I love to learn, and I want the students in my classroom to love to learn too. I want them to enjoy coming to school, not counting down the days until summer vacation. I believe in integrating the arts in each subject area and I learned a lot of fun and creative ways to do that through the Whole School Institute I attended this summer at MSU Riley Center. And now I finally get a chance to share with my students what I learned. I can’t wait!”
Last Updated: 9/20/11