Unexpected path from boardroom to classroom

Life today for Tavan Elementary School teacher Shelly Rose is not what she was expecting when she first moved to Arcadia 28 years ago. Before the move, she was a single, carefree college graduate, who had landed an accounting job with a company she loved in Dubuque, Iowa. About a year and a half later, the company relocated to Phoenix in the summer, and they took Rose with them.

She got married, had two children and worked hard in her accounting career. Her children attended Tavan and she experienced an inviting, supportive and close community there. She was an active PTA member and served on the board as treasurer.

What Rose did not expect is what came next. Two things happened around the same time. Her employer closed down and a long-term substitute teaching position at Tavan would soon be available. The kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Quihuis was expecting a baby and had her maternity leave planned.

Principal Serna had gotten to know Rose well through her outstanding involvement with Tavan and the community. Serna had planted the suggestion to Rose that she take on substitute teaching. 

After 16 years of working in accounting, when Rose’s employer closed, it caused her to question her career.

“I had two little kids at the time… and my job was so demanding that it kind of took away from what I wanted to give them,” Rose explained. “I loved accounting but when this company went out of business, I wondered, ‘Who benefited from all of that work?’ I thought, ‘I need to do something that’s going to matter.’”

She accepted the substitute teaching position and was inspired to start a second career. She enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Phoenix. While completing her continuing education, she accepted another substitute position. Mrs. Quihuis had another baby.

Three years after taking on her first substitute job, Mrs. Rose had earned her degree and was a full-time member of the teaching staff at Tavan. Her youngest son was in the fourth grade, learning in the classroom right next to hers and she eventually even taught Mrs. Quihuis’ children.

Mrs. Rose’s children are now grown. The oldest is 23 and an EMT and the youngest is a senior at Pacific University in Oregon with plans to attend medical school. As a teacher, Mrs. Rose’s work continues to be rewarding.

She shared, “You get kids who come back. I just had two kids pop in yesterday who are seniors in high school now. You know, you hear from all of these kids. Now they are a bit taller than me and going to college and doing great.”

When asked what she wants most for her students, Mrs. Rose said, “I want them to feel good about themselves, and if they do, they’ll work hard and see the value in working hard.”

Principal Serna had recognized qualities in Mrs. Rose that she believed would serve the teaching community well and was not disappointed.

“She is such a great role model for all of the teachers that I have here. And she takes leadership roles without being asked… She is highly requested by parents and many of my new teachers go in and observe her. She is wonderful.” Principal Serna added, “I’ve been trying to get her to go into administration, but she says she likes the classroom.”

Mrs. Rose speaks highly of her fellow staff members. “We have such a strong team of people at Tavan… We all go above and beyond what it takes to take care of these kids because we have such a diverse population.”

Mrs. Rose is in her 13th year of teaching and says this about choosing teaching as her second career, “Having worked in corporate America and raising kids,… was a huge benefit. It really helped me a lot in understanding the whole job.”

Teachers chosen for the Arcadia News Teachers We Love Award receive an Arcadia News tote, a $125.00 gift certificate from Salon Sandoval, a $100.00 gift certificate for Postino Wine Cafe and an invitation to an end of the year luncheon for the year’s winners.