Students at Fairfield High School were greeted today by a new face on their first day of school.
Stephanie Mishler is the school?s new associate principal, taking over the role previously held by Tim Bartels, who is now a secondary principal in the WACO school district.
Mishler grew up mostly in Ottumwa and later moved to Ames where she graduated from high school. She attended the University of Denver where she obtained a degree in biology while playing on the golf team.
She quickly realized that her true passion was education. She returned to her home state and obtained a master?s degree in secondary science education at the University of Iowa. After graduating from Iowa in 2009, she accepted a job as a middle school science teacher in Ottumwa. It felt good to do what she loved, and affirmed her decision to pursue a career in education. At the same time, she saw how not all the students were as excited as she was about school.
?I have nothing but the greatest memories of school,? Mishler said. ?I?d like all kids to experience that ? a sense of belonging ? and really believe they can create the life they want. That is what continues to drive me.?
Mishler moved into a new role teaching high school science in Ottumwa, mostly because she was already coaching high school sports. She was the head girls? swim and girls? golf coach, and helped with basketball and softball, too.
She taught mostly freshman science, which included biology and physical science.
?Studying science in college made me passionate for the subject matter, and being able to take that into the classroom was impactful for students,? Mishler said. ?The more enthusiastic I was about the content, the more engaged the students were.?
Mishler taught at Ottumwa High School for six years. Wanting to reach even more students, she sought a job in administration. She obtained a master?s degree in education administration from Iowa State University in 2016. Mishler drove to Ankeny every Wednesday for class, and then just like her high school students, had to do homework the rest of the week.
After obtaining the degree from ISU, Mishler worked for two years as Ottumwa?s curriculum director. Earlier this year, she accepted the job to be Fairfield High School?s associate principal.
?Several teachers live in Ottumwa and work in Fairfield, or vice versa, and the people I knew who worked in Fairfield just sold it to me,? she said. ?When the job was posted, I reached out to people to find out about what?s happening in Fairfield. I discovered so much that was positive that I had to pursue the opportunity.?
Mishler said she felt good about her decision ?from the moment I walked into the building.? She has heard so many good things about the students that she?s excited for the school year to get underway.
?The students are highly engaged, and there?s a ton of community support and pride in the schools,? she said.
Mishler?s role as associate principal will involve supporting teachers.
?I?m looking forward to removing barriers teachers face in helping kids, whether that?s through discipline or behavior interventions or instructional feedback,? she said.