Skip to main content
Transparency Reporting

Second Grade Teacher Builds Relationships at a Crucial Point for Students

For Shannon Ginther, teaching second grade is an interesting inflection point for students. It’s a time when they are still young but are old enough to know right from wrong and experience a lot of growth.
In her 10 years at Timberland Charter Academy, she has come to find that kids who might be the toughest to get through to end up being her favorites and come back to visit as middle schoolers. She sets high expectations for students, and that doesn’t end when they leave the classroom. She always asks about their grades when she sees them, even years later.

Ginther with students

“I just develop those relationships and I start seeing academic growth every single year,” she said. “I feel just developing those relationships is my favorite part of my job. I just hope that they know that I’m always here for them. I’m always a person that will love them and care for them no matter what they end up in life.”
Working toward a student’s success requires working with their family as well, which Ginther knows all too well. And when those former students stop by her classroom to say hi, she makes sure to ask how their family is doing, as well, knowing that academic growth and building relationships go hand in hand.
“I just like to check in with them, even if they’re not in my class,” she said. “I just hope that they know that and a lot of them do. They know that I’m still going to check in on them. I'm still a supportive person.”
Having spent 10 years at Timberland, which outperforms the district, Ginther appreciates being able to serve the community. She strives to show students that there is someone who cares for them, which is made possible by the school’s close-knit environment.
“The community is great,” she said. “I feel like everything that I do is purposeful. I feel like I am giving back to the community. I also love everybody that I work with. We’re just like a big, big family here. Everybody supports each other. We’re all in the trenches together and super supportive.”
Keep up the excellent work, Mrs. Ginther!
Check out a school near you!

About Timberland Charter Academy
Timberland Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Muskegon, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

Visit Timberland Charter Academy's blog to read more stories like this.