Around Our Town...Outstanding Educators
Mr. Michael Stedillie
05/01/2006 - by Tami Watts
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Normally an educator has one classroom. Our featured educator, Mr. Michael Stedillie, has many. Being in the drama department at Kelly Walsh High School, he has a traditional classroom with chalkboard and desks, a shop for building scenery, a makeup and costume room, a lighting room, a control booth and his favorite – the main stage – the place that "offers limitless opportunities for different characters and worlds."
In describing his greatest reward as an educator, Mr. Stedillie did not speak in monetary terms. He spoke of his students. "When a theatre teacher sees a shy and unassuming kid slowly blossom and grow into someone much more confident and self-assured on stage, it's a feeling that cannot be described."
Mr. Stedillie tries to tailor his instruction to the individual needs of his students. He gives them opportunities to "evaluate their old ideas and explore new concepts." His theatre and stagecraft students reflect his philosophy on education. "Teaching, education, must be alive."
Owner of the Bon Insurance Agency, Mr. Des Bennion, is a father of current and graduated students of Mr. Stedillie. Mr. Bennion gives our featured educator high marks. "He is very caring, yet not a pushover. He helps develop character – on and off the stage."
Mr. Bennion and his wife, Carrie, along with many other parents, find it a joy to work with him. Some parents make costumes. Some work backstage, handing out Band-Aids, safety pins, ice packs, food, water and hugs during each performance.
Mr. Stedillie is married to the finest teacher he has ever known, Mrs. Ebba Stedillie, chair of the Communications Department at Casper College. They have two grown children. Their son, Tony, is the technical director for a theatre in Chicago. Their daughter, Alaina, named Outstanding Senior in the College of Arts and Science at Creighton University, has just finished her second year of law school in Boulder, Colorado.
What keeps our featured educator teaching for so many years, thirty-one to be exact? He cares about the youth in our community. He believes in what he is doing and he believes in our youth.
Mr. Stedillie considers himself a lucky man. "Most people spend their whole lives finding what it is they were supposed to do on this Earth. I was lucky. I found it the first time."
Mr. Stedillie and drama department at Kelly Walsh, we are grateful to have you. Thank you for all the times you have taken us to another time and place.