I began teaching for Springfield Public Schools in 2001. I started teaching computer skills to middle school students, and we eventually transitioned from that curriculum into Project Lead the Way. In 2014 I had the opportunity to move to Parkview High School, and I taught a variety of classes in the business department there. That’s also when I started teaching business classes for Launch as an adjunct teacher. I really love teaching Personal Finance, because students will make personal finance decisions every day of their lives.
Last year was my first year as a full-time Launch teacher. I love the flexibility that it gives students, and I love the challenge of creating engaging and relevant learning experiences for distance learners. I remember as a kid, sitting in class and thinking, ‘Where am I going to use this?’ I really yearned to connect what I was learning to my own life, so that’s the way I try to teach. My favorite teachers were those who made their lessons relevant.
I think about how I can make learning personal and connected for my students. I start with the “Why” in lessons and videos—I tell them why we are learning this, why it matters, and how it can connect to their lives and their future careers.
I also build in Career Spotlights. So, if I’m teaching how to calculate gross pay in Personal Finance, I’ll build in a career spotlight and tell students that if they like this work, they could be a Payroll Specialist or work in Accounting one day. Connecting the information I’m teaching to their future careers is really a passion of mine.
I'm very excited to be taking on the position of Assistant Principal of Launch Missouri's Workforce next year. The program is going to be extremely valuable for a lot of high school kids, because it's going to give them a vision of what their future could be, and it will be an important part of preparing them for college or a career. Being able to prepare students with skills and certifications and allowing them to gain experience in career fields before they graduate is going to be a game changer for many young people.
High School Business Teacher
Home District: Springfield R-XII
Years in Education: 22
Degree:Bachelors Degree, Business Administration & Finance; Masters, Business Administration; Specialist, Educational Leadership (in progress)
Fun Fact: Mary once worked out alongside Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg at a hotel in New Orleans.