Teacher Spotlight: Paul Shoup, a lifetime at MCE. 

January 19, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: Paul Shoup, a lifetime at MCE. 

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbystatebank.com with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

CUSTER – Red and yellow run deep in the veins of Mason County Eastern Superintendent Paul Shoup. Shoup has been working his entire educational career at MCE, but unlike a lot of educators at MCE, Shoup also attended MCE kindergarten through 12th grade. His family’s history with the school district goes back several generations. 

“I have worked my entire career at Mason County Eastern,” Shoup said. “The first 15 as a middle/ high school science teacher. During that time, I coached cross country for 12 years, track and field for 15. Also, I was the quiz bowl coach, class advisor, assistant athletic director, and the junior high basketball coach for many years.”

In the last 14 years, he has been the transportation director, Middle School/High School principal, K-12 principal and then superintendent/principal. 

“During that time, I have been school counselor and athletic director. Currently, I am the superintendent, athletic director and transportation director.”

After graduating high school, Shoup received an associate degree from West Shore Community College, bachelor’s degree in science education from Ferris State University, master’s degree in curriculum and teaching from Michigan State University, master’s degree in education administration from Grand Valley University, and his superintendent certification from the Michigan Association of School Administrators program.

He credits a professor from Ferris State who made him realize that he needed to go into education as a career.

“Dr. David Stewart at Ferris State University was a key person in me going into education,” Shoup said. “I worked under him for two years as a teaching assistant in his laboratory classes at Ferris State University. During that time, he encouraged me to pursue a degree in teaching. I also had the privilege to have many great teachers during my K-12 years at MCE and my two years at WSCC that helped me decide to pursue this career. My family has a long history in education, my grandmother, and many aunts and uncles and also my wife is a teacher.”

Having spent his entire career at MCE, Shoup has had a unique opportunity to watch students grow from young learners to successful — work or college bound — young adults. 

“My favorite part of education is helping kids become successful and watching them become young adults,” he said. “I am blessed to be able to work with staff who have the same passion about helping and serving kids.”

Shoup said there are many things in education that he really enjoys, but there are a few things he wishes would change for the betterment of all students.

“If I could change anything in education, I’d wish to allow some additional flexibility to serve students,” he said. “Education is not similar to a factory making a product. There are no one size fits all system.”

As COVID-19 has changed the educational world in so many ways transitioning to distance learning last spring was a challenge. Shoup said he and his staff have worked hard to continue to learn new skills to be able to transition to online learning if need be again.

“Last spring was difficult,” he said. “We were not given much warning that school buildings were going to be closed to in person instruction. Because of that, students and staff had to transition to remote learning without having time to discuss how instruction would occur. Students lost so much that is part of school: field trips, sports, prom and even a traditional graduation. 

“This year, we were able to provide in person instruction again with remote options. It still has been challenging, but to have students and staff back in the building has been wonderful. We still have had to deal with challenges with quarantines and high school students placed on remote learning and sports delayed for winter, but it’s good to have some normalcy to the school year. I look forward to the time when we will have all students back to in person learning.”

Shoup credits his wife, Susan and their children, Abraham, Campbell, Lucienne and Afton, along with their former exchange student Johanna Delmas, for their help and encouragement throughout his career. Loving his career and the different positions he has been able to hold, Shoup said education is a great career choice for anyone who has the passion for working with kids.

“The advice I’d give would be, be passionate about your area of study,” Shoup said. More importantly love kids and have a desire to help them be successful.”

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