Elementary Music Specialist
“Most of my professors were public school teachers themselves. They would open up about their own experiences, ideas, lesson plans, and issues. It made what we were learning about applicable in the ‘here and now."
Shaylee McComb is an elementary music specialist at Weaver Elementary School in Maplewood, Minn. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education in K-12 vocal and classroom education and always planned to complete her master’s degree.
“I knew that I could go on to get a master’s in music, but that was not what the Lord had in mind,” she recalled.
Though a master’s in music would have been applicable to her day-to-day classes, a different path emerged for McComb. Weaver Elementary is a Title I school where the student body is culturally and socioeconomically diverse. Over half of their students participate in the free or reduced lunch program and a high population of students is EL and highly mobile. She knew these factors contributed to teaching at Weaver, so she sought a better way to reach her students.
“I wanted to know more about my students and how I could teach them best. Concordia’s Master’s of Education in differentiated instruction was exactly what I was looking for,” McComb said.
Differentiated instruction emphasizes meeting an individual student’s needs. McComb saw the value of utilizing those tools in her classroom at Weaver. Fittingly, she feels that Concordia’s professors demonstrated exactly that for her as a student in their classroom.
“Most of my professors were public school teachers themselves. They would open up about their own experiences, ideas, lesson plans, and issues. It made what we were learning about applicable in the ‘here and now,’” she expressed.
In addition to her professors’ support, McComb appreciated the sense of community that her online cohort built in their two years together. With just 15 students, the class was the perfect size and McComb left her with lasting friendships and new colleagues along with her degree.
McComb’s graduate degree took her existing passion for music education to a new level as she aims to create a creative, challenging, and supportive environment for her students
“Music is a universal language and I believe that with enough creativity, it can be taught to anyone who is willing to learn it,” said McComb. “Since music is a form of expression, it is very important for students to have an open mind when approaching it. It is my job to connect with them.”
That mindset combined with her dedication to her students hasn’t gone unnoticed. Recently, McComb was named a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.
McComb believes that teachers are lifelong learners and is interested in pursuing her doctorate in the future. She stays connected to the CSP community through alumni events and the Concordia University Alumni Book Club.