Hillsboro High School special education teacher Shandi Tobias began her career teaching English in Nebraska, but after that year earned her special education endorsement, allowing her to work more with students individually instead of in a regular classroom.
“I really like giving the one-on-one support to students, giving them the help to succeed,” Tobias said Thursday. “You have to treat each student as an individual and assess what they need.”
She provides some primary instruction to students who aren’t in a regular classroom, but most of her teaching is supplemental help for students who take regular classes. Tobias also works with four para-educators, as well as communicating with classroom teachers about students’ needs and accommodations.
HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said Tobias’ skill set makes her able to do a lot of different things, and she is always a team player. But he said her people skills and ability to form relationships are her biggest assets.
“You just like being around her,” Heinrichs said. “Students do. Students love her.”
Tobias earned a bachelor’s degree in English at McPherson College and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Doane College in Crete, Neb., before her first foray into teaching.
She then worked for four years at McPherson College, doing some teaching, before arriving at HHS in fall 2011. She said she heard USD 410 is a good district, and she hasn’t been disappointed by the support people show one another.
“I’ve really enjoyed both the students and staff,” Tobias said.
She grew up in Davenport, Neb., where her mother served as an inspiration to become an educator.
“My mom was a teacher, so I saw how much she enjoyed working with her students, and it was something I always had in the back of my mind,” Tobias said.
She has two children. Grace attends kindergarten at Hillsboro Elementary School, and Gabe is in preschool.