JES teacher's passion for teaching, building relationships helps inspire students

JES teacher's passion for teaching, building relationships helps inspire students

Since she was a junior in high school, Angela Schindler knew what she wanted to do with her life.

“I took a class called social justice,” Schindler said. “We were able to go out into the community and serve in a lower socioeconomic environment in which we were contributing to society in some way. I volunteered in a preschool setting at BridgePointe in Clarksville.”

While at BridgePointe, she would help the teachers and work with the children doing crafts, during recess, and helping them learn letters and numbers.

“It was here that I began my idealistic dream of being about to make a difference and help others,” Schindler said.

In order to make a difference, Schindler decided to become a teacher. After graduating high school, she attended Indiana University Southeast while working up to two part-time jobs as a full-time student. The jobs she took while at IUS worked right into her life goal: teaching.

“I held jobs that would provide teaching experiences. I taught gymnastics classes at a gym in the evenings. I taught computer classes at preschools in the area for a company called Computer 4 Kids, Inc.,” Schindler said. “I would teach the preschool children to use the computer programs that were installed on the computer, which at the time were very simple programs, of course, back, in 1996.”

With her love of teaching and helping children, Schindler earned her elementary education degree with endorsements in Kindergarten and Early Childhood Development in 1997. After graduation at IUS, she took a teaching position in a half-day kindergarten program until she found a full-time position at a Catholic school in Louisville, Ky.

“This experience was quite a rewarding one,” Schindler said about teaching sixth-grade students. “It broadened my view of the world around me and my place in it. It taught me perspective.”

It was at that middle school that she learned about cultures all around the world.

“The St. John Vianney student population was very multicultural. I taught students that had recently immigrated from countries, such as Vietnam, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Congo in Africa. They told stories of their homeland and living in areas where they would play chase with monkeys!”, Schindler said.

While they told stories of growing up in different biomes and different environments, the students also told stories of heartbreak.

“They also told stories of civil war ripping apart families,” Schindler said.

Five years after Schindler began teaching at the middle school, the Catholic Archdiocese System closed the school due to financial problems. Schindler went to work in Nashville, Tenn., until she learned about Scott County School District 2 from a friend, who she made while attending IUS.

“After this school closed, I spent some time out of the classroom and missed it so much. Then, when telling a friend of mine from college this, she told me about the school system she was working in and loved, Scott County School District 2, and that they may be hiring,” Schindler said.

She filled out an application and was hired to work at Vienna-Finley Elementary School.

“I spent my first 11 years in SCSD2 at Vienna-Finley Elementary School, and I can’t count the number of times I received help from others. I was able to work with a great group of professionals and families,” Schindler said. “We shared ideas and collaborated about what is best for students daily. I really developed some excellent relationships and had some great successes and experiences at Vienna-Finley Elementary School that I will never forget.”

After 11 years at VFES, Schindler moved to Johnson Elementary School this school year. JES is closer to her home and is a place where both her children, Paxten, 6, and Bella, 4, can attend.

“I feel very blessed to have this opportunity this year. The school is close to my home, which is very convenient. The school has a fabulous preschool program, which is directed by Pam Akemon, [and is where] my 4-year-old attends. It is a real asset for the school to have a preschool program. It prepares the students for what the school’s expectations are in the coming years, kindergarten especially,” Schindler said. “I love having my children at the school I am teaching. And, they love it too.”

Throughout her career, Schindler has been able to rely on JES principal, Doris Marcum.

“She has a great outlook towards life in general; is a positive influence to work around; expects the best of all students, parents, and teachers; and I have the privilege of working for her this year,” Schindler said.

While working at SCSD2, Schindler had a chance meeting at Walmart that lead into a reunion with her students from more than a decade ago. She ran into her former middle school student, and the student recognized her. The two caught up in the shopping market aisle.

“Then, the next day, she friend requested me on Facebook. Then, a number of other former students friend requested me within the day. It was amazing how fast that happened with social media! Then, within a month, the first reunion that class has ever had, was planned,” Schindler said. “The reunion happens each year — so far — now. Other former students are in careers, such as the military, physical therapy, landscaping, dental hygiene, and one student was on America’s Got Talent as a comedian and lives in New York, and travels doing comedian shows now. They are getting engaged, married, and having children.”

Because of Schindler’s passion for her job, she helped inspire many children to reach their dreams.

“My passion for teaching today is directly related to what interested me in the career in the first place. When a student shows tremendous growth or masters a skill that was difficult and smiles a big smile or is proud of an accomplishment, those are the days I walk away knowing I have done what I set out to do all those years ago when I decided to become a teacher,” Schindler said. “I want to make a positive difference, inspire others to meet their highest potential, believe in themselves, and achieve their dreams.”

To Schindler, relationships matter. Because of her passion for teaching and her willingness to follow her dreams from early on, she has inspired many children to follow their dreams and reach their goals. At Scott County School District 2, Schindler’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.