Educator Spotlight: Scottville Elementary’s Mary Scheffler.

April 3, 2022

Educator Spotlight: Scottville Elementary’s Mary Scheffler.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, Staff Writer.

Educator Spotlight is a presentation of is a presentation of Smith & Eddy Insurance, with offices in Scottville and Manistee, offering discounts for MEA members and school employees.

SCOTTVILLE – Not everyone decides on their life-long career right after high school, or after college or even after working for a while, this is the case of Mason County Central teacher, Mary Scheffler.

“I attended Utica High School for one and a half years, then my family then moved to Suttons Bay and I attended there for two and a half years,” Scheffler said. “I graduated from high school in 1985. I moved to Ludington when I got married to my husband, Scott in 1989. I attended Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and graduated from there in 1988 with an associate of arts degree. 

“Later, after my kids were a little older, I decided to go back to college and I enrolled at Ferris State University and earned my bachelor’s in elementary education in 2007. I continued on and went to Ferris State University part time while teaching and got my masters in curriculum and Instruction with a focus on special education in 2015.”

Scheffler has been at MCC for almost 20 years and she’s had many different roles during her career there.

“Before teaching I was an educational assistant for seven years,” she said. “For six of those years, I worked one to one with students with autism. My seventh year was in a variety of classrooms at the upper elementary. Most of these years I worked with third through sixth graders. This is my 13th year teaching. I started my career as a third grade teacher and did that for two years. Then I was moved to fourth grade for only one semester. With budget cuts and changes, I was moved to sixth grade to teach English language arts. I did that for about one and a half years. I was then moved to second grade after more cuts and staff changes. This is my ninth year teaching second grade. Being an elementary teacher, I teach all subjects. The thing I feel is most important is to help kids build confidence and develop a love and excitement for learning.”

Coaching several volleyball and soccer teams before and during her teaching career, Scheffler knew she always enjoyed working with kids and that helped her make her decision to return to college to receive her teaching degree.

“I have always enjoyed being around kids,” she said. “They make me laugh and amaze me each and every day. After earning my associate degree, I wasn’t sure which direction to take so I took a break from college, got married and moved to Ludington in 1989. As my kids grew older, I decided that I wanted to work in the schools. I started out working as an educational assistant. Then after about two years of doing this, I decided that I really wanted to be a teacher so I went back to school to get my teaching certificate. I was very fortunate because Ferris State University started a cohort with West Shore Community College. This made my life much easier as many of the classes were brought to WSCC and held on the weekends. For some of the classes I had to travel to Ferris State University, but they also were on the weekends. This allowed me to still attend all my kids sporting events, plus continue to work  full-time at MCC. One of the reasons I went into education is to help make a difference in the lives of students. It is rewarding to help them discover new and learn things throughout the school year. I love seeing their excitement and enthusiasm throughout the year and also watch them grow and become more confident each day.”

Working with kids and seeing their changes over a school year has been one of Scheffler’s favorite parts of teaching. She enjoys helping each student obtain their own potential in and out of the classroom.

“Some of my favorite things in working in education include that each day is different,” she said. “I enjoy watching and seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces as they discover and learn new things, I really enjoy helping students develop a love for reading and writing. I love connecting with my students and building relationships. Last, but not least, working with a great team, staff, principal, and district makes going to work each day enjoyable.”

Working in education for almost 20 years, Scheffler has had the opportunity to work with many different ages and subject matters. She stated that she tells students who want to pursue education as a career to really investigate different ages and subjects to see what they really have an interest in.

“They may not end up exactly in the grade they prefer, so flexibility is important,” she said. “Once they land that first job and throughout their career it is important that they reflect on what instructional and classroom management practices worked and which ones could be improved. What works one day, may not work the next. Also they need to be creative in the way they teach and work with the kids. It is important to not only get the kids excited about learning, but to be excited yourself. When the kids see you are excited about something, they will be excited, too. Lastly, take care of yourself. Be sure to laugh with the kids each day, and smile often.”

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