Going Above and Beyond

. December 29, 2014.

While teaching kindergarten at Jefferson Primary School in Findlay, Audrey Stoffel also volunteers for Clothe-A-Child, The Leader in Me (a youth leadership program) and was recently a 2013 Semifinalist for the Golden Apple Award. Of her teaching experience thus far, Stoffel says it “has far exceeded anything I could have ever imagined… going to school doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like a way of life. I live for my students, staff, and school community.”

Committed teachers know that their role does not end when the school day does. “I really enjoy building relationships with each of my students, watching them grow academically and socially, and providing a solid foundation for young learners.” Inspiration struck early for Stoffel, due to positive experiences with her own teachers. “I connected with those teachers who nurtured and cared for students. One nurturer was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Munsey. She was there for each of her students on all levels: academically, emotionally, and socially. I have taken her passion for life and teaching and I try to utilize that in my own life and classroom each and every day.”

Nurturing others through education

Besides nurturing her students within school walls, Stoffel also helps children through Clothe-A-Child, a program which benefits children who receive services as well as those children who volunteer to help others. “I became involved with the Clothe-A-Child program when a fellow colleague and incredible educator, Tina Gephart, asked me to assist her. We raised awareness of the importance of being philanthropic at any age. We are able to take 20-25 students to Kohl’s to shop for winter clothing. Some of our students have never been to a department store. It is an incredible experience. The students that donate are so proud and happy to help those in need. The students who shop are so appreciative and happy. You can see empathy, kindness, appreciation and sincere gratitude exuding from students.”

Another opportunity for Stoffel to instill confidence in young people is The Leader in Me, a whole-school leadership program which applies the popular business model, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to school children. Stoffel said, “The 7 Habits allow for students to be successful at whatever their strength or skill may be and to be leaders wherever they go. Students that don’t have these life skills learn them and those that do possess the habits, further enhance them. The Leader in Me and passion from our principal, Krista Miller, together has created an environment at our school that is extraordinary. We are a school, yes, but we are so much more than that. We are a family.”

Stoffel’s career fulfillment is rooted in joy  while watching her students thrive. “Although my students are young in age and small in stature, my hopes for them are quite large. I want to foster intrinsic pride in work, empathy for others, a genuine passion for learning, a solid academic foundation, and to help students find their own strengths and passions as leaders and learners.”