Feature teacher; Denise Shimel


How long have you been working at Bellwood-Antis School District?

I started in August of 2008 for the Class of 2009.  This is my 14th school year here at Bellwood.


Was teaching your 1st choice?  If not, what was?

YES!  I always wanted to be a teacher.  For as long as I can remember.  I went to college specifically for teaching – though Lycoming College does not have Teaching as a college major!  I loved Biology in high school and had the best anatomy teacher that I hoped to emulate.  It was a tough decision to choose biology over Spanish tough.  I really enjoyed learning and speaking Spanish both in high school and in college, but didn’t feel that I had a strong enough background as a non-native speaker.  It may have been easier for me, but I enjoyed science and biology is really what I majored in and wanted to teach so I stuck with that.


I have my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Class of 2000.  My college minor was Spanish, and I had a specialization in teaching since teaching was not offered as a major at Lycoming.  Later, I attended Wilkes University and earned a Master of Education in Development and Strategies, Class of 2011.


Why are you a teacher?

I loved school as a student for as long as I could remember.  I enjoy helping people and wanted to be around others in my job and like providing a necessary service.  I hoped I could make a positive impact on others and lend my expertise and even my struggle from when I was a student in high school and/or college.  Learning does not always come easy to me and I always had to work hard to earn good grades.  I hoped that I could connect with and help others who struggle academically to reach a higher level with my guidance.  I am a firm believer that school should be a safe and nurturing place to help students rise above their current circumstances because knowledge is power.  My parents instilled in me that education is a key to a brighter future.  So, I hoped I could be a good guide to assist students to prepare for a better life outside of the school building and have future success.

I graduated from West Branch High School in 1996.

I graduated from Lycoming College in Williamsport in 2000.

I graduated from Wilkes University in 2011

I love my job, even on bad days.  I sometimes need to remind myself that I do love my job on occasion.  I am so happy to be back to in-person learning.  I wasn’t a fan of hybrid and/or virtual learning during this crazy pandemic!  So, no matter how busy or stressed I feel at times, I know that it’s a great job and I love what I do and working with students and helping to make a difference in someone’s life – even if I never know what that impact might be.I teach the entire sophomore class here at Bellwood for the Keystone Biology Course.  I also have a 2 different semester classes = Microbiology and Anatomy – which is for juniors and seniors who met the prerequisites.