Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Shingler

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Mr. Shingler is one of the art teachers at Leesville Road High School. He has been a part of the Leesville staff since 2020. 

Known as an open and comforting person and teacher to be around, Mr. Shingler is a favorite teacher  for many students.

Early Life

Mr. Shingler grew up in Tallahassee, Florida where he enjoyed building tree forts and playing in the woods. 

“I didn’t really realize my love for art until my junior year when I took AP art; that’s kind of when I decided I might want to pursue art as a career,” said Shingler.

After discovering his love for art, he became Vice President of the National Art Society.

Another hobby of Mr. Shingler’s was swimming. He was a part of his school’s swim team and this love of swimming shines through as he coaches Leesville’s swim team.

College and Early Work Life

Mr. Shingler attended college at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida where he majored in fine arts but focused on sculpture. 

“I was really involved with my major. In college, I mainly focused on making my art and completing my major,” said Shingler.

Because there were fewer students who took his major, he was able to get to know his fellow students well.

As a sculpture major, Mr. Shingler ran the woodshop at his college. He made sure all of the equipment was safe and well-maintained and that the students knew how to properly use them.

Mr. Shingler took a gap year between his undergraduate and graduate programs.

He worked for his father-in-law’s construction company before finding a job at an elementary school working as a substitute teacher.

Mr. Shingler also spent some time as a set builder for the NC Shakespeare Festival in Highpoint.

He spent the rest of his gap year working as a full-time art teacher at the same elementary school.

Coming to Leesville

While he was teaching at the elementary school, Mr. Shingler earned his MFA in studio arts at Mt. Clair University in Montclair, New Jersey. 

Shingler said, “I had to make a whole new body of work [his grad program portfolio] while teaching elementary school art.”

After graduating, Mr. Shingler spent some time working in studios in Brooklyn, New York before working at the Newark Museum of Art in Newark, New Jersey.

At the museum, Mr. Shingler handled and maintained the art and artifacts displayed in the Museum.

His love for working in a museum led him to Raleigh, where his goal was to find work in one of the many museums here.

However, through a connection, he applied for a teaching position at St. David’s School and took the job. He was at St. David’s for eleven years before transferring to Leesville.

What Teaching is to Mr. Shingler

As of this year, Mr. Shingler has been a part of Leesville for 4 years. 

He has been the head coach of swimming and diving at Leesville for all 4 years.

After teaching art at all educational levels, Mr. Shingler discovered that he likes high school best.

Mr. Shingler loves being able to break students out of their shells and help them become the best version of themselves. He loves getting students out of their comfort zone and helping them harness their potential and talent. 

High school students fit best for him and how he wants to impact students’ lives. 

As an art teacher, Mr. Shingler tries to let students be creative and interested in their work. He gives his students as much creative freedom with their projects as possible.

“I love introducing new mediums and new materials; I love providing opportunities for new experiments with art and new techniques,” said Shingler.

Mr. Shingler strives to connect with each and every one of his students. He tries to create a comfortable and safe environment for every student he meets and teaches.

What COVID looked like

When COVID hit in 2020, Mr. Shingler had only been teaching at Leesville for a single semester.

Covid made it incredibly difficult to connect with and teach his students.

On zoom calls or google meets he would share his screen with the class and for the first fifteen minutes of class he would play old-timey cartoons like Tom and Jerry.

Shingler said, “Because of the pandemic, I had to come up with creative projects with good tutorials that students could complete at home… now that we’re back in school, I have a bunch of good backup projects to do that I came up with while in lockdown.”

Despite COVID being a challenge, Mr. Shingler feels that his experiences during the pandemic help him to be a teacher who can better look out for his students and their needs.

“I’m a little bit more aware of students who might need a little more emotional support- I make sure to check on them a little more often,” said Shingler.

Even during total lockdown when all students were at home, Mr. Shingler still managed to make art class fun for the students in his virtual classes.

What the students have to say…

When asking any students who know Mr. Shingler as a teacher, swim coach or even lunch monitor, the nearly unanimous response is usually, “Oh my gosh! I love him!”

As an art teacher and a swim coach, Mr. Shingler’s reputation precedes him– an easy-going, light-hearted, and funny teacher everyone loves. 

“He’s really collaborative and engaging and he connects with everyone; he’s super open and understanding with all of his students,” said Victoria Taton, junior.

Taton often eats lunch in Mr. Shingler’s class along with multiple other students. 

“It’s really comforting to know that you have an almost father figure to go to at school,” said Tatonn

When walking into one of Mr. Shingler’s art classes, one realizes that he is rarely at his desk. He is constantly walking around and checking on his students, helping them if they ever need it.

Kendall Copeland, sophomore, said, “Something about the vibe in his classroom just makes art more fun.” 

Mr. Shingler allows his students to have full creative freedom with the projects he assigns. Clara Davis, sophomore, said, “I like how he’s so open to many different perspectives in art; he lets you take a lot of artistic liberties.”

In person and on paper, Mr. Shingler is truly a teacher students love to learn from and simply be around. His teaching style and comforting aura make him approachable and friendly. He is an incredibly valued teacher here at Leesville.

 

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