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The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

photo by Gretchen Turner

Leading with Love

Jamie Marshall named Teacher of the Year for seeing kids as more than just students

When a Spanish teaching job opened up at SHS in 2017, former Principal Brian Knight already had in mind who he’d hire.
Jamie Marshall, who was serving as an SMS guidance counselor at the time, had been itching to get back into the classroom.

So when Knight approached Marshall at a basketball game and told her about the position, she gave it some thought.

Marshall missed the classroom. She missed being able to talk with and build connections with students. So she decided to make the jump from guidance to the classroom.

“You have somebody that has that level of talent and personality and skill and cares about kids at an unbelievable level,” Knight said. “You never turn down that type of hire.”
Marshall is in her seventh year of being back in the classroom. After spending seven years working as a counselor, the transition from being in guidance to the classroom was challenging for her.

But for Marshall, there were a lot of familiar faces roaming the hallways that helped her adjust.

In Marshall’s Spanish classes, the students made posters about internet safety.
photo contributed by Elizabeth Choi


The SHS seniors at the time were the same students that she had worked with during her time in guidance.

“It was so fun, and cool and just really special to now see these 18-year-olds, seniors in high school, walking through the hallways,” Marshall said, “and to see who they had become and what they had become in the four years since they had been with me.”

For the last several years, Marshall has fostered a caring environment that has allowed her to shape her students’ futures, and that connection with her students is one of the many reasons she has been named the 2024 SHS Teacher of The Year.

Instructional coach Courtney Worley has seen her passion firsthand, which motivated her to nominate Marshall.

“She’s very student-centered,” Worley said. “She really tries to go the extra mile at figuring out how to support the kids.”
Breaking barriers
Marshall teaches Spanish classes but noticed that there was an abundance of native Spanish speakers in the first-level classes.

According to Marshall, many native speakers took that language class because they believed it was an easy “A.”

But there were some problems. Marshall noticed that the native speakers might not fit in with the rest of the class, either due to lack of effort, feeling left out or even feeling superior.

Thus, the Heritage Speakers class was born.

Marshall decided to group all the native speakers into one class. This allowed her to teach those students at their level without confusing anyone else.

Because the Heritage Speakers class started this semester, Marshall has decided to experiment a bit with it. For example, instead of just giving vocabulary quizzes, she has her students write little stories using new vocabulary to have them focus on writing.

She has spent the semester getting used to the new curriculum and class but has some future plans, for example, projects involving recycling.

One of the students, freshman Erika Torres, says she enjoys the Heritage Speakers class because of how relatable it is.

“I like the class because I can feel comfortable speaking about the problems I have …, ” Torres said. “Most people in there experience the same problems that I have, especially in Spanish.”

Marshall’s help to native speakers even extends to some that aren’t in her classes.

Three years ago, alongside Principal Amy Boone, they created the Latino Advocacy Mentorship Program (LAMP).


“It was actually a professional goal that I had written to intentionally support our Latino students because that was our largest population of (minority) students,” Boone said, “but we had no intentional supports in place.”

As a part of the program, SMS identifies eighth grade Latino student mentees who have the potential for high school success and pairs them with Latino mentors in SHS’s junior class. The mentors and mentees bond and explore the school together so that the mentees get used to SHS.

When the mentees get into high school, they are placed into the same iPass with their mentors so they can continue bonding.

The program goes full circle, meaning that the mentees will eventually become the mentors for another class of students.

According to Boone, the program wouldn’t have gone this far if it wasn’t for Marshall’s contributions.

“She cares very deeply …, ” Boone said. “You would almost say that she is a second-type of mom or parent figure for students.”

Building a bond
To build relationships with students, Marshall implements mini-games in her classroom.

One of these activities is called “Where in the World is Mrs. Marshall?” in which students try to find where she is located on a world map using context clues that are in Spanish.

Marshall also tries to get the students engaged, usually by telling them to turn and talk to the people near them in Spanish and hold daily conversations like, “How are you?” or “How has your day been?”

Marshall helps a student brainstorm ideas for their project. They started a project on making things out of recycled materials.
photo by Salem Ortega-Morales

Activities like these help students like senior Jenny Monroy, who nominated Marshall for S.T.A.R.S.


She even says Marshall assisted her this year by helping her clear up future plans.

“Towards the beginning of this year, I was very stressed out with college and trying to decide what I wanted to do,” Monroy said. “Mrs. Marshall helped me a lot. She sent me to a lot of people and connected me with a lot of things.”

Occasionally, Marshall says she listens in on conversations students have. When she hears that a student might not be having a great day, she stops her lesson and makes sure to ask why that student isn’t having the best day and if there’s anything she can do to make it better.

“It is very rewarding to feel as though you’re making a difference in somebody’s world,” Marshall said, “even if it’s just making them feel safe or secure.”

Before the classroom
Marshall wasn’t always set on being a teacher. In college, she majored in international business and double-majored in Spanish.

During the second semester of her junior year, she took an internship opportunity for Motorola in Costa Rica and fell in love with the language while she was there.

Spanish teacher Jamie Marshall (right) studied abroad in Costa Rica in 1994.
photo contributed by Jamie Marshall

So when Marshall came back from her trip, she took night classes in order to fulfill the requirements for a teaching license, all while interning in the international division of Allied Van Lines.

After leaving Allied Van Lines, she joined Coldwell Banker Relocation, a company that helps people relocate to new homes either domestically or internationally.

The hours were long. Sometimes she’d arrive at the office at 8 a.m. and still be there at 6 p.m.

After seeing a lot of the other female employees clock out to take care of their families, Marshall’s vision changed. She knew that she didn’t want to stay in the office after work hours and not be there for her family.

“(I) knew I didn’t want that for myself as I got to the point of having children …, ” Marshall said. “My vision really shifted as to where I saw myself and what I saw myself doing.”

While still in the process of getting a teaching license, she landed a teaching job at Monrovia High School. This change allowed her to free up space in her day to take care of her children.

“My parents were both teachers when I was growing up,” Marshall said, “and they were home with me during the summer and around, and I wanted that for my kids too.”

The teaching job at Monrovia allowed her to do just that, while enabling her to take care of her students as well. And it was at Monrovia that she says she found her love for teaching.


“You see that lightbulb go on when a student is struggling to understand something, and then all of the sudden they get it,” Marshall said. “To be a part of that journey, that exploration, and to help bring that kind of pride to a young person is just awesome.”

Monroy says she looks forward to Spanish class and feels more confident in her abilities because of Marshall’s teaching.

go on when a student is struggling to understand something, and then all of the sudden they get it,” Marshall said. “To be a part of that journey, that exploration, and to help bring that kind of pride to a young person is just awesome.”

Marshall spent two years teaching at Monrovia before teaching at Center Grove High School for five years. In 2006, she moved to SMS where she worked as an Assistant Principal for for four years and a counselor for seven years. In 2017, she joined the SHS teaching staff.

Now, after 17 years working in Perry Township, Marshall plans to teach in the future.

“I’ll stay in the classroom so long as I continue to love it,” Marshall said. “If the time comes that I feel burnt out or as though I’m not able to give all that I should be giving to my students, I think that’s when I would probably look to make a change.”

She says as long as she’s still in the classroom, she’ll teach not only so that people learn but so that she can continue to leave a positive impact on her students. And even if she’s not in the classroom, she’ll use her new position to inspire others to leave the same impact.

“Life’s too short not to do what you love,” Marshall said, ”and teaching is too important not to love it.”

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About the Contributor
Thang Khai
Thang Khai, Features Reporter
Hello everybody. My name is Thang Khai, and I’m going to be a Feature writer for The Journal this year. I am a sophomore here at SHS, and I’m on the Cross country team and the Track and field team. Most of the time, I hate running. But there are special occasions where it’s decently fun. I like to get involved, so you might see me volunteering at concessions or playing music for the Perry Township Art Show. I’ve played the violin for around four years now, and I believe the best kind of music is classical music. And I think people will hate me for this, but I’m a Boston Celtics fan. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but being in Indiana and telling people that I’m a Celtics fan might not be the best idea. My family is pretty huge. I have five siblings (including myself) and my parents. All of that aside, I’m pretty excited to be in The Journal and I can’t wait to start writing!

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