This month’s National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month is Chelsea Shields from Saginaw High School in Saginaw, Texas. Nominator Courtney Parker describes how treating everyone with kindness and positivity can make a big difference in a school’s culture (lightly edited):
“Chelsea and her husband Stephen, who is also a teacher at Saginaw HS, have worked tirelessly to start the Rider Renaissance organization. Chelsea is only in her second year here and has one of the biggest hearts I know of. From organizing the faculty coffee/soda bar outside all staff meetings, hanging encouraging monthly posters to brighten our hallways, greeting students and staff as they arrive to school with a smile and treat, monthly awards that help us shine a light on students and staff doing amazing things, to just her general positive spirit with students and staff alike. Chelsea serves as the principal secretary and is always juggling multiple things at once. But she is always willing to help whenever needed with a smile on her face. She is a go to for all things at Saginaw and even if does not involve her, will lift a helping hand. In just the first year of the Rider Renaissance organization I have already seen a great improvement of school culture. I can’t imagine the impact these special students being lead by Mr. and Mrs. Shields will have as they continue to grow.”
What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?
Before our winter semester finals this school year we as a Renaissance club decided to go into our cafeteria during breakfast to tell students good morning and good luck on their tests. I was with a few of my students when we approached a young man sitting by his self. When we talked to him he told us it was the first time someone had talked to him at breakfast. After that, we sat and had breakfast with him. Now I make it a point when I see him to say “hi” or “have a good day” whenever I can.
How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?
Even though it is only our first year with Rider Renaissance, I feel our impact has been felt by both students and faculty members which was a very important goal for us. We work hard to strike a balance with encouraging both students and faculty members. It is amazing the smile, hugs and thankfulness that is received by just greeting a student as they walk in for the day, or giving an appreciation card to a teacher or custodian. Renaissance has helped me and a lot of students realize that small acts of genuine kindness go a long way.
How has Renaissance affected you personally?
It has helped remind me that everyone has a story. Every person you encounter has a life beyond whatever environment you are sharing with them in that moment. And to remember you may not be catching someone on their best day. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still be a positive influence or leave a lasting impression. All of us can have a “why” when it comes to making excuses or being in a bad mood. Renaissance has helped me remember to see beyond my bad day or mood and to the bigger picture.
What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?
It takes time! I am guilty of wanting to see instant results and instant change. But Renaissance is about investing in people and in your school. A culture change doesn’t happen overnight. You have to love the process.
Chelsea will receive a shirt and a lapel pin, and was entered into a drawing for free registration to this year’s Jostens Renaissance National Conference.
To nominate someone in your school for the National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month honor, click here.