Shannon Vanwagner takes on Special Ed position with determination


Muriel Rowley

New special education teacher, Shannon Vanwagner

Kaitlynn Dibblee, Writer

Shannon Vanwagner is an experienced, hard-working teacher that is new here at Foothill. However, she is no ordinary teacher; she’s apart of the Special Ed team, dedicated to helping high schoolers with special needs have a successful and enjoyable school life.

Vanwagner has an incredible position here at Foothill,  “at Special Ed we design curriculum, we monitor students, there’s a ton of paperwork, we communicate with parents, it’s everything I’m assuming all general teachers do, plus there are the additional steps of doing IEPs, which are Independent Educational Plans,” she humbly stated. 

Being the only special needs teacher in her previous job at Pierpont Elementary, Vanwagner decided to work at Foothill, where she could be apart of a team. She has also worked at Aspen Elementary and Highlands Int. in Hawaii. Not only does she love the team she now works with, but she also enjoys Foothill’s atmosphere. 

When it comes to her own education, she has a Bachelor’s Degree in English, “I started off wanting to teach HS English. I love teaching ELA and exploring all the different genres,” Vanwagner said. She truly does enjoy teaching and “seeing all the positive messages around school.” Her ultimate goal is to “foster a positive learning environment for [her] students and demonstrate that through effort and hard work, [her] students can accomplish many things,” Vanwagner states.

“I think there are some amazing kids here, like walking the halls I love the fact that kids look me in the eye and they say ‘hi’ and they don’t know me. I think that’s awesome and I think that’s something not a lot of kids do these days,” Vanwagner said.

Vanwagner loves athletics and enjoys all manner of activity. Skiing, going to the beach, camping, hanging out with friends and traveling are some of her favorites. One of her favorite things to do is “traveling with my family… I love Hawaii! The last time we went, my family of four could finally all snorkel together,” she warmly stated. 

Her advice to students at Foothill is to always have a positive outlook, and believe that you are capable of anything. “Not to accept things for how they are, just because maybe in life we’ve been told that, you know, ‘this is how it is because you were born this way’ but that our mind is growing, and through effort you can make change,” she expressed. Her impact on others here at Foothill will only add to the school’s welcoming tenure. 

What do you think?