Teacher Lindsey Kreye Heil ’07 finds her niche in special education
Lindsey Kreye Heil ’07 of Savage, Minnesota, is now licensed to teach special education. Years ago, when looking for a elementary teaching job, Heil took the position of a student support paraprofessional, someone who works either one-on-one, or with small groups of children with special needs.
In the classroom, she supported children with a wide range of needs, primarily students on the autism spectrum. Heil helped students with many things such as reading, writing and math as well as those who struggle with motor disabilities. “I provide academic supports, life skills opportunities and assist with the personal care of the students I work with,” Heil says.
Heil enjoyed her job very much, but she wanted to work even more with special needs children. “I wanted to be able to provide them with the direct instruction of the teacher.” In 2013, she began the graduate level Special Education Licensure Program at Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
She took part in a graduate level Cohort, designed for people with teaching licenses. She completed her field experience at the middle school level, teaching two structured English classes, which are small group classes to help students who are reading below their grade level. She assisted in writing many evaluations and wrote IEPs — Individualized Education Programs — tailored to each students needs and also learned unique teaching methods for special needs students.
Heil also participated in a cultural home visit, she met with a Cambodian family with a special needs child and learned how people of other cultures can view their children’s special needs.
Heil accumulated 150 hours of student contact, working with students with autism, learning disabilities, emotional behavior disabilities and other health disabilities, as well as co-teaching an eighth-grade inclusion math class and seventh-grade inclusion English class.
Throughout her licensure program, Heil maintained her job as a student support paraprofessional and maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout. For this school year, she is teaching two study skills classes and three sections of team-taught English in a high school special education program.
“My hope as a special educator is to provide all of my students with individualized opportunities so they can reach their highest potential and enjoy school and learning,” Heil says.
Megan Sohr ’18