Education alumna speaks of the importance of relationships at MSUM

Stephanie Ballard is the commencement speaker for MSUM’s 2023 graduating class. She is excited to come back to where it all started and see the new faces entering the post-college world.

Stephanie earned her degree in elementary education with a license in special education in 2014. She currently works as a seventh-grade math teacher in South Dakota. She also helps teach inclusion math classes and works with other special education teachers to help every student in the classroom succeed.

For her speech, Stephanie wants to highlight the importance of having a community around you. This is a life lesson she learned at MSUM and in her professional work.

Stephanie’s undergraduate journey left her with a lot of fun and rewarding memories. She was a part of the dance team, a member of the student athletic advisory committee, and even worked in residential life.

She also loves the lifelong friendships she gained during her time on campus.

“Organizations and opportunities at MSUM solidified relationships with friends I am still in contact with today,” she says.

Stephanie has always wanted to work with others. She realized education could equip her with the knowledge she needs to make changes in a classroom. MSUM provided her with the practicum she needed to do it on her own.

Stephanie Ballard 2023 Commencement Speaker

“MSUM’s practicum gave me tons of experience in the classroom,” she says. “I never stepped into student teaching or my first job feeling underprepared.”

Working in education has many challenging but worthwhile aspects to it. Over the years, Stephanie has seen her students grow up from learning multiplication to graduating high school.

She believes that everyone has the opportunity to make genuine connections with the community around them. In times of need, having that community of support makes all the difference.

“My biggest success as a teacher is the relationships I build with others and choosing to authentically connect,” she says.

Elementary Inclusive Education Program

The online and on-campus Elementary Inclusive Education program at MSUM gives you hands-on experiences observing, assisting and teaching in schools, so you can learn to focus on the needs of all students in the classroom.

Learn More About Elementary Inclusive Education

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