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Andersen Teacher of the Year

Music teacher Julie Shadle was named the Andersen Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.

“My love for music led me to the decision to become a music teacher during my high school years,” Shadle said. “My first solo was in church at only three and started piano lessons at five years old.  I joined the band in fifth grade and played the clarinet.  Our family lived in a small town in Kansas and didn’t have an elementary music teacher.  It wasn’t until junior high that I had band and choir every day.  How exciting it was to be in a select singing group in junior high called ‘Belles and Beaus’ and another select group in high school called ‘Madrigals.’ During this time in my life, I absolutely fell in love with music and made my closest friends.  It was during that period of time I realized that I wanted to share this love of music with young people and teaching was what I wanted to do with my life.”

Being a “specialty” teacher, Shadle sees every child Andersen, kindergarten through fifth grade.

“With such an age span, there are many different needs and many ways to try and help,” she said.  “When giving directions in class, I always model what I am asking the students to do.  If I’m asking the kids to turn to a page in their music book, I tell them the page number and also write the number on the board. Placing a child who needs extra help by a student who enjoys helping, has proven to be very successful for everyone concerned. This is also true when we play games, dance or play instruments. I also like to move around the room during an activity to monitor and help any student that needs a little extra help.

“There are also students who come to music with greater learning needs, therefore an aide accompanies them. This is very helpful, as the aide can help them participate, as I integrate them with the other students in the class.  It always warms my heart when there is a child or two who really care about these students and try to help and include them in class.  I also have students that come to music that are completely immobile and unable to speak.  Many times their eyes will light up or they will start kicking in their chair when there is music playing. On those days, we have a couple of extra songs just for them. Whenever possible, I encourage our special needs students to be included in our grade level music programs, even if they can only be on the stage for a song or two.” 

First and foremost, Shadle hopes that her students will come away with a love of music.

“My goal is that they will have had the satisfaction of working together as a group, that they will have felt connected with others and have had the joy of making music,” Shadle said. “I want them to have learned that music can bring happiness in their lives whether or not they choose to further their music education.”

Shadle started teaching at Union in August, 1992, after graduating from college in May. 

“My student teaching supervisor received a call from Union asking for recommendations for an elementary music teacher,” she explained. “After interviewing at the Education Service Center, I was hired that day!  I will forever be grateful to my professor for submitting my name.  It was evident to me that Union was a GREAT place to be and I have never wanted to teach anywhere else!” 

Continuing, she said, “In five years, my goal is to still be teaching music.  Unbelievably, that will be my 30th year of teaching at Andersen Elementary.  What a journey it has been and I will be extremely proud to have taught that long for Union Public Schools!  My husband and I will be “empty nesters” by then, so I look forward to having more time for some new adventures in life and in my teaching career.”

Educational background:

  • Great Bend High School, Great Bend, Kansas
  • Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma 
  • Bachelors in Music Education
  • Certified general music Pre-K through 12th 
  • Certified vocal music Pre-K through 12th
  • Certified elementary education 1st through 8th