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Meet Sheri Conn 

It is no secret that the foundation of accomplishing the American Dream begins with a proper education. Sheri Conn dedicated her career to just that—empowering others to grow and achieve through education.  

For Sheri, this was her calling from the start.  

“I always wanted to be a teacher or an educator. I remember I was watching a special education television show, and I remember saying, ‘I want to help those children with disabilities, mom and dad. How can I do that?’” With her mind made up and her American Dream set, Sheri did just that—studied hard and landed her first job teaching in Lansing, Michigan as a K-5 resource special educator. She served in that position for 19 years, then transitioned into a 1st grade position for 12 years.” 

While many would have simply retired after 31 years of teaching, Sheri couldn’t get enough.  

“I still have so much love for children. I couldn’t just sit at home,” she said.  

Sheri is now a paraprofessional, working with elementary students who have autism in the East Lansing school district. 

After over 30 years in the education system, Sheri recognizes teachers do more than teach. They are also the students’ cheerleader, counselor, and advocate. With many hats, stepping into these roles are some of her favorite memories of her career. 

“My favorite moments are watching my students meet their goals. Many come back each year to visit and keep me informed of what they’ve accomplished in their life. Seeing that smile and hearing those stories are some of my most fond moments in teaching. I love seeing my students be proud of themselves and who they’ve become, reminiscing about all the days in the classroom that I had.”  

“Teaching is more than just learning the curriculum,” she continues, “It is also being there for students and listening to their problems. Being a teacher means you’re also a counselor, and you’re always there for them.”  

To Sheri, teachers and parents are a team to build their student’s education. She offers this advice to parents: 

“It’s so important to have an open communication policy with faculty, families and students. Parents need to feel comfortable working as a team with teachers to get what’s best for their child. Asking questions, attending meetings, and joining groups with the school are the easiest ways to stay involved in your child’s education. Even simpler: ask your child how his or her day was. This one question can go a long way.”  

As for advice for new teachers, her biggest piece of advice: be consistent.  

“If you’re not consistent, kids can’t have a routine. Set your routines and communicate with the parents and verbalize what is not going to be tolerated in your room, but as well as what rewards and consequences you’re going to give. A classroom that has order will be remarkably successful for everyone involved.” 

She also says teachers must take time for themselves—because they are examples for their students and the greater community.  

“Education is important and related to the American Dream by providing teacher knowledge, compassion, and love as a teacher to all students. Teachers have the opportunity to equip kids with the best education and a platform for growth and success for every individual. Our profession is a source of good and is essential to teach the youth of our country. You wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a teacher. If you don’t learn, you can’t grow.” 

Sheri has accomplished her American Dream: empowering others to be successful and appreciating the journey.  

“The foundation of my American Dream is beyond myself. It’s students being successful and enjoying learning. Students attending school every day and knowing that they are loved and valued. Anyone can do it, if you put in the time. Don’t give up or look for excuses, earn what you have, and you will appreciate the gifts the Almighty gives you.”  

Sheri stands by LEAD’s purpose of believing in each other and empowering the American Dream. 

“Kristi and Mike are leaders to ensure the American Dream by both advocating for students, staff and administrators. They’re addressing issues with families, communities, and states that impact our American Dream today. Mike and Kristi are people who care and know the importance of a good education and know how education can open doors. You can’t sit and do nothing. Like Mike said, ‘We will fight for everyone to get a solid education. We need to let Americans fall in love with America again.’”  

You’re invited to LEAD and share your American Dream story here