People often pursue their careers. In the case of respected, veteran educator Lieda A. Shadwick, MAT, her career found her. Initially desiring to become a certified public accountant early on, she instead found herself substitute teaching, giving private music lessons, accompanying students at music competitions, teaching Sunday school, and helping her church during summers with vacation Bible school – and loving every minute of each assignment. Today, Ms. Shadwick, a certified teacher in Illinois and Missouri, is a career and technical education (CTE) teacher at Riverview Gardens High School (RGHS) in St. Louis, Missouri, and possesses added expertise in marketing, web design, and computer applications.
Securing a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and education technology from Webster University in Missouri in 2005, Ms. Shadwick was first a CTE teacher at RGHS starting in 2005 and left in 2010 shortly after being named its Teacher of the Year. She returned to RGHS in 2019, reprising her current CTE role in addition to serving as the yearbook advisor until 2023. Further, Ms. Shadwick is the secondary DECA advisor and was awarded the Virtual Business-Personal Finance Grant for inclusion into DECA. Her previous teaching, advisory, and other positions at all secondary school levels have been extensive and spanned more than 20 years.
Deeply and continually connected to her career outside of the traditional classroom, as an entrepreneur, Ms. Shadwick is an independent contractor with VIPKid ESL (now known as VIP Teacher) a global online format through which she has been teaching Chinese students since 2018. Her professional connections extend to memberships in a litany of organizations that include the National Education Association (NEA), the Riverview Gardens NEA, Delta Pi Epsilon, Mu Phi Epsilon, DECA, and many others. Moreover, Ms. Shadwick was the first vice president turned president of the Collinsville High School Band Parent Association in Illinois between 2009 and 2012.
Ms. Shadwick’s educational foundation was established at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), where she earned a Bachelor of Music in music performance in 1994 and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1993 in addition to having the honor of being chosen to participate in the SIUE Student Leadership Development Program from 1991 to 1993. Ms. Shadwick counts her eight years in the military as her most notable achievement, having reached the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving in the Gulf War in 1991, and now maintaining membership at American Legion Post 365. Her husband, David, too, is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army during Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991.
Ms. Shadwick has been included in Who’s Who publications as both a student and a teacher in the past four decades. Along with being thankful to her husband and mentors for their invaluable support during her educational and professional careers, Ms. Shadwick attributes her success to watching the proverbial light bulb click on in her students’ brains when they realize that they understand something she has explained. She has also been invited to former students’ weddings, graduations, and baby showers as well as current students’ graduations and extra-curricular events. Her advice to her students and to young, emerging professionals is to not be affected by minor details and never let anyone tell them that they cannot accomplish something.
Ms. Shadwick intends to return to school to pursue a degree in English as a Second Language (ESL) and to study photography. Her goal in the coming years is to continue her current journey in education, contributing to the lives of more students and helping them to be successful. Her students are like her own children. Still, most important to her life is her family – her husband; daughter, Victoria; grandson, Oliver; and parents Bernard and Martha Ripple. Ms. Shadwick’s personal interests are baking, reading science fiction books, spending time at the beach, ice skating, and skiing.