Sheila Koenig has a master’s in curriculum and instruction, and began her professional career as a teacher. While at South View Middle School in Edina, Shelia designed and implemented a district-wide 9th grade Pre-AP Language Arts course. In 2015, she changed careers and now works as a transition coordinator at Minnesota’s State Services for the Blind. In just a short time in her role, she has implemented a new statewide program for high school students who are blind, low vision or deaf/blind; and put on a career expo to connect students with employed adults for networking and mentorship.
In my current job, which I've held since 2015, I am most proud of:
In my 15 years of teaching English in Edina, I am most proud of having designed a district-wide 9th grade Pre-AP class open to all students.
National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, Board member (2013-present)
National Organization of Blind Educators, President (2001-2013)
Keynote speaker, Missouri Children’s Vision Summit April, 2005
“Engaging Students in Active Viewing and Thinking” in TeachingMediaLiteracy.com, A Web-Linked Guide to Resources and Activities by Richard Beach, 2006
"Blind Educator of the Year" award, National Federation of the Blind, 2007
"Rehabilitation + Education = Success after High School", Presentation at both Minnesota Education Association and Charting the C's conferences
I remember the sense of community created in Tim Lensmire's writing class. The class was about writing, but it was also about identity, race, and voice. We explored ways to help our students develop as writers and embrace their identities, and in that process we experienced the beauty of deepening community.
As I moved from my job at South View Middle School to a job at State Services for Blind in July 2015, I realized that many of the values most important to me in teaching were also vital in my new role as transition coordinator for blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind students. The goal of each job is the same: to empower students to embrace their own personal authority with a sense of confidence and pride. I believe this shines through the curriculum at the U of M.
Tim Lensmire and Richard Beach were most influential for me. Both allowed us to explore how we could teach students to think critically and live authentically.
Dave Peterson was the principal who hired me in Edina. He was really a gifted leader and still is. He is the kind of person that listens whole-heartedly, takes risks deliberately, and embraces change steadily. This model of leadership is something I try to emulate as I work to create opportunities for students and young leaders in our state.
One of the most essential skills is to embrace your own authenticity. As a teacher, literature was a means of not only discovering other lives and other worlds, but also developing the power of reflection. Literature and language can both reveal another perspective, and simultaneously illuminate the self. This self-discovery helps students to live authentically. The capacity to live authentically is what enables us to create positive change and shape the world in which we want to live.
I enjoy running, cooking, watching movies, biking, and new adventures.
Optimistic, positive, energetic, and fun
Reflective, insightful, motivated
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 11-22-63 by Stephen King, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Each day I think about what new opportunities I can create for students. I love seeing them learn a new skill, make a new connection, or dream a new possibility.
I have a secret desire to write a screenplay and direct the film it inspires!