She may be in her first year of teaching, but Turner Elementary school kindergarten teacher Maddy Shackelford has already developed and created a system of excellence that’s noticeable throughout the Kansas City, KS community. Her love and passion for teaching, especially younger students, originated from her mother and father. Both were educators who inspired Shackelford to dive into the world of teaching and challenged her to be the best she could be on a daily basis. While her inaugural year as a kindergarten teacher certainly had its fair share of challenging moments, the reward of seeing the children in her classroom grow has made this an inspirational year that will lead to an even bigger and brighter future.
Shackelford is most proud of the relationships she’s been able to build with her students and other staff members in such a short time span. The assistance she receives, and the welcoming environment that’s on display, makes every day exciting and unique.
“The students at Turner Elementary make the school what it is,” said Shackelford. “Their smiles, hugs, willingness to grow and love for school make me so proud to be an educator! It is so rewarding to be able to build relationships with students, as well as see them grow academically.”
With strong student diversity at Turner Elementary, Shackelford is constantly looking for new and creative ways to engage and communicate with her students. She strongly believes that there is always room for growth and that everyone, students and teachers alike, are worthy of the same love and attention.
“The biggest piece of advice I often give my students is that mistakes are not a negative thing to get disappointed in ourselves about,” said Shackelford. “Through social emotional learning, we discuss how making mistakes actually help us to learn to better understand things. I always encourage hard work with positivity, and to treat mistakes as an opportunity for growth in my classroom.”
Shackelford’s kindergarten class participates in numerous hands-on activities and projects. The purpose of this type of teaching is to help grow and expand their learning, enhance their creative minds to think outside-the-box and develop alternative solutions to various problems and situations. While her class discusses the importance of setting and achieving goals, one of her major initiatives is to strive for growth each day.
“We discuss how to overcome challenges and big feelings of various things that may scare us,” said Shackelford. “I enter each day with a positive attitude and explain to my students how everything we do helps our brains grow and develop. Making mistakes is simply part of the learning process and something I verbalize with them daily. To see their excitement from their own personal growth is so rewarding to me.”
Having lived in the Kansas City area since she was in first grade, Shackelford is energized by her ability to make an impact in the city she knows and loves. Seeing her students strengthen their emotional and social skills while also advancing academically, is a monumental step forward for this first-year educator.
“This year has taught me a lot through many challenging, and yet rewarding moments,” said Shackelford. “I cannot wait to continue the learning journey for myself, my students and those around me through my teaching career.”
“None of the hardships or obstacles Miss Shackelford has faced in her personal life, or as being a first-year teacher, have kept her from showing up every day to provide a welcoming, loving and enriching classroom environment for those who deserve it most in the world, the children,” said Kathryn Johnston, one of Shackelford’s 11 nominators. “The work, effort and passion that is put into her lesson plans show how much care she has for ensuring these young bright minds will be on the best path possible as they grow into the rest of their academic and personal lives.”
“As evidenced by 11 nominations for Miss Shackelford, she has quickly made a significant impact on her students and their families at Turner Elementary,” said Jenny Housley, Blue KC Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Maddy has embraced a powerful feedback model for her students to ensure they learn from mistakes and turn those experiences into growth opportunities. I am proud to recognize such a strong educator, person and community partner – Maddy’s work will undoubtedly leave an imprint on many for years to come.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans will continue to be recognized monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games. Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online at https://www.sportingkc.com/BlueKC.