A former Mineral Springs Elementary School art teacher will spend two years in China teaching children.
Kelly Wheeler, born in Rockingham, will work with the International Schools of China to teach Visual Arts and English to K-12 graders at the Shenyang International School.
A graduate of East Carolina University at Greenville, she obtained her degree in Fine Arts and Art Education and said she was led into teaching by having multiple family members as educators. Her mother, the late Janis Wheeler, was also an educator.
She said she has always had a heart for struggling learners and has worked with surrounding counties to teach children from diverse backgrounds. Wheeler was also the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Petty Racing Family at Victory Junction and worked with children suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses.
In 2006, Wheeler began working with alternative youth in Stanly County at the high school level. She returned to Richmond County and served as the K-5 art teacher for Mineral Springs Elementary School, from August 2008 until June 2009, while also coordinating a trial reading program for third and fifth graders. She also helped gain funding for the Youth Arts Festival held at Richmond Senior High School through the Bright Ideas Grant with Pee Dee Electric.
She has written additional grants for classroom instructional materials, technology and classroom renovation for Scotland High School.
Wheeler, a National Board candidate in Early Adolescent and Young Adulthood, has also work as the Assistant Director of SALT High School (Service, Adventure, Leadership, and Teamwork) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, under the Volunteers of America Education division.
Her dad, Tom Wheeler, said she has also spent several years in St. Paul, Minnesota, after working in Mineral Springs, as a principal in the local school district before returning to Rockingham in December 2012.
“Obviously, as a parent, I’m concerned about her safety,” Tom said. He said he got accustomed to Kelly’s company when she stayed with him for three months before flying to China.
“I’m very proud of her doing what she’s doing. It takes a lot of guts to do what she’s doing,” Tom said.
Wheeler, who left the United States on Saturday, flew into Seoul, South Korea, before flying into Shenyang, China, where she will stay.
International Schools of China falls under Learning Development International and offers academic programs to children in China. ISC has six schools around the country and serves more than 1,600 students and offers an American curriculum as well as a college preparatory system of instruction.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.