Faculty Farewell: Shawn Larson-Walgren

Amaya Wagner, Chief Editor

Shawn Larson-Walgren, otherwise known as Mrs. L.W., has taught in the Muscatine Community School District for over 30 years. With this being her last school year before entering retirement, she reminisces on her impactful career.

Mrs. L.W. began her teaching journey in Tripoli, Iowa in 1987, where she taught Title One Reading for grades first through fifth. Three years later she came to Muscatine and began teaching ELA in sixth grade at Central Middle School, where she remained for 29 years. In 2019, the school district decided to move sixth grade to the elementary level.  Amongst this change, Mrs. L.W. moved to a new position as an Instructional Coach at Franklin Elementary, but in 2021 she moved back to middle school level, and continued working as an Instructional Coach at Susan Clark Junior High.

“Being in education for many years, I have learned the importance of taking time to truly listen and to see situations from different perspectives,” said Mrs. L.W.

Mrs. L.W. has had many different experiences with many different students and co-workers. These experiences are what she will miss most about her career as an educator.

“I have been so fortunate to work with the best colleagues that have inspired and challenged me to be a better educator and human.  I will miss these interactions and also having a place to advocate for students,” said Mrs. L.W.

Another perk of her career was the long lasting connections she made with her students. Some of them being the ones she made with the children of past students.

“I have had the opportunity to teach the children of parents that I had earlier in my career, in my classroom.  It has been fun to have those connections and to teach different generations.  I have also had the pleasure to teach with my past students. Seeing these students develop into dedicated educators was very rewarding,” said Mrs. L.W.

There are many lessons that come with being an educator. Mrs. L.W. has gained important things from her teaching career.

“I have learned to be more patient, and the importance of recognizing and embracing the strengths that each individual brings to the table,” said Mrs. L.W.

The people around Mrs. L-W feel that they have gained important things from Mrs. L-W through her teaching carreer. Two of those people, her two daughters, Mrs. Jordan Meyer, Math teacher at Susan Clark Junior High, and Mrs. Alex Rauenbuehler, ELA teacher at MHS.

“My mom is the definition of a professional educator who has dedicated her life to teaching for the betterment of students,” shared Mrs. Meyer. “At first when we started working at the same building I thought we would be in too close of proximity, but I quickly realized how much of a gift it was to work with my Mom because of the standards she held for herself, her colleagues, and her students.”

Mrs. Rauenbuehler shared how her mom’s dedication would also be seen at home throughout her childhood.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher because I witnessed firsthand the power of the difference a teacher can make in a person’s life through my mom and her desire to consistently work hard so that her students and school benefited. We spent countless hours on weekends and in the summer wandering the halls of Central Middle School as she worked extended hours in her classroom,” said Mrs. Rauenbuehler.

“I always tell myself if I am just half the teacher my mom is, then I would be labeled a “good” teacher,” said Mrs. Rauenbuehler.

Looking back at the amazing career Mrs. L.W. had, she shared that there isn’t anything she would have done differently.

“I would not change anything about my career. I have loved teaching, and I am very glad that I spent the majority of my career as a teacher in the classroom, interacting directly with students,” said Mrs. L.W.

“I am happy for my mom’s retirement. She will be deeply missed at Susan Clark because of the impact she has made amongst the staff and being one of their biggest supporters. I am proud of her legacy and that I got to be a part of it,” said Mrs. Meyer.

After all of the years of hard work, it’s clear that Mrs. L.W. has earned her retirement.

“During retirement, I plan to spend extra time with my grandchildren, and volunteer within the community,” said Mrs. L.W.

Even though each year our district loses such great teachers, we are always blessed with new ones to take their places, that are just as great. Mrs. L.W. shared some words of wisdom for the incoming MCSD educators.

“There will be days as an educator that you will question if all the obstacles and struggles are worth it, but know that you are making a difference each and every day,” said Mrs. L.W.