Like any teacher, Melissa Peterson Stangle ’87 finds that the parents can be the most challenging part of the job.
But Melissa — who was recently named Teacher of the Year at Boerne ISD’s Cibolo Creek Elementary School after just six years of teaching — has a resume that includes six years in the business world and another 15 as a stay-at-home mom.
“All of my life experiences have helped me be a better teacher,” she says. “I spent time as an outside field adjuster for USAA (assessing home damage and determining whether it was covered by the homeowner’s insurance). I often had to communicate in a difficult situation and had to position bad news. That often was difficult for someone who’s only 4’11.”
“I also raised three kids — two boys and a girl — who were each different types of learners,” she says adding that she volunteered as PTA president and with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). “All that helps me relate better to the parents of my fourth graders.”
Having experienced both situations, Stangle says she believes stay-at-home moms who are active volunteers at their schools and in the community have resumes that certainly stack up with those who chose the business world.
As I think back, “organizing volunteers is far harder than organizing people who are paid to be there,” she says with a laugh.
Stangle arrived at Baylor planning to enter the business world rather than teaching, despite having two educators as parents.
“My dad was a high-school teacher and football coach; my mom was a bookkeeper at the high school,” she says, adding that she planned to go into business after college because she saw how hard her parents struggled to put their three daughters (Melissa, Marcie Peterson Warner ’91, and Mandy Peterson Rice ’94) through Baylor with no student debt. It’s even more difficult to believe now, as my husband and I realize that we really can’t consider sending our children to Baylor — as much as I loved my time there — because of the high cost of tuition.”
Stangle, who has moved around a lot because of her husband’s collegiate volleyball-coaching career, says she expects to continue focusing on teaching math to fourth graders. “I like this age,” she says. “They don’t have an attitude quite yet and they still want to please.”