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Unlocking Young Minds Never Gets Old for Second Grade Teacher

Each day, Shannon Swartz gets to help second grade students open their eyes to a world of knowledge. That sentiment can be said for students of any age, but it’s especially true for the younger ones.
“There’s something about the younger kids,” she said. “You can have fun with the older kids, but with the younger kids you can see the excitement in their eyes.”
Being a teacher wasn’t something Swartz, who is in her first year at Winterfield Venture Academy, always envisioned. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go to college; school lessons didn’t always come easily for her and took extra time to grasp the material.
She started out by taking early childhood education classes at a vocational school in Archbold. After enrolling at a two-year college and taking some early childhood education courses, she realized she didn’t want to teach preschool her whole life and transferred to University of Toledo to further her education.
“Going to college wasn’t in the forefront, but I’m glad I did,” she said. “I work with small groups of kids here every day. Being able to give them opportunities and exciting activities to do, I love it.”

Shannon Swartz, 2nd grade teacher at Winterfield Venture.
Swartz didn’t immediately take a full-time teaching position out of college. When she got married and had kids, she made them the priority and took long-term substitute teaching positions for a period. She had been teaching for about 10 years before coming to Winterfield, which outperforms the district.
While she has been at Winterfield for a short time, Swartz has enjoyed creating hands-on literacy and math activities the kids can get their hands on that correlate with the curriculum and the skills they are working on. She consistently has at least 80% of her class proficient on their math assessments and her class’s reading progress has improved.
“She has been a leader in her hallway by sharing ideas and materials, leading by example, holding her students accountable, teaching with the NHA core values in mind, and by truly making WVA the best choice for Toledo families,” said Winterfield Principal Kimberly Scribner.

Along with academic progress, Scribner said Swartz has quickly excelled at creating relationships with students. While she wants them to enjoy learning and have fun while they’re doing it, she also tries to make sure that they’re being held accountable for their actions.
“If you’re not going to follow directions, I’m going to hold you accountable,” Swartz said. “Someone described me, ‘You’re a little bit of sweet, a little bit of sour. You hold them accountable, you make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, but you also have fun.’”
Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Swartz!

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About Winterfield Venture Academy
Winterfield Venture Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Toledo, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten 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

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