Feature Teacher – Mrs. Connie Hebblethwaite

                                                                                                                      Photo submitted
Mrs. Connie Hebblethwaite is pictured with five of her kindergarten students, 
from left: Zeke Rinne, Prayli Smith, Peyton Cooper (front), Tripp Martin and Waylon Reed.
By Supt. Cristina Wright
Licking R-VIII School District

Few career pathways require individuals to be as carefully planned yet flexible, compassionate yet firm, patient yet persistent, and professional yet playful as teaching. Many would argue that kindergarten teachers are a special breed, and here at Licking R-VIII School District, we agree. This month, administrators recognize Mrs. Connie Hebblethwaite for her dedication to teaching and extraordinary gift for guiding children in their first year as elementary students.
Mrs. Hebblethwaite embarked on her 17th year of public education this year. A graduate of Licking High School, Mrs. Hebblethwaite earned her Bachelor’s degree after working outside of education and she began her career at Dent-Phelps prior to accepting a teaching position at Licking School District. In addition to her eleven years as a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hebblethwaite has been a fifth, first, and second grade teacher in her time of service. In fact, Mrs. Hebblethwaite remembers the first year one of her elementary students was a graduating senior. “It’s the students that keep me coming back,” Mrs. Hebblethwaite reflects. “It’s a new adventure every day, and each of my students becomes my own. Sometimes people ask how many children I have, and I pause because I think of my entire classroom!”
When thinking back about some of the challenges in her career, Mrs. Hebblethwaite recalls the year she had 33 students (now this year’s 7th grade class), and the year she had to usher her second grade class inside during a tornado warning which resulted in the district losing power and students eating sack lunches in the hallway! Despite a few obstacles, Mrs. Hebblethwaite says she has always been blessed with wonderful teammates with whom she enjoys planning, collaborating, sharing ideas, and improving teaching so students can perform better. Some of Mrs. Hebblethwaite’s fondest memories include the 2nd grade field trips to the St. Louis Zoo which followed construction of a “zoo” in her own classroom and the Thanksgiving feasts teachers hosted at Intercounty Electric for the first and second grade classes. As a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hebblethwaite remembers implementing a parent program at the end of the year and an activity for Grandparents Day with Mrs. Robin Wallace.
Throughout the years, many changes have taken place, but Mrs. Hebblethwaite believes one of the biggest improvements to campus has been the FEMA building which allowed teachers to have PE on the elementary end of campus instead of walking to the high school. When asked about her support team in addition to her work family, Mrs. Hebblethwaite was quick to share, “My husband, my children and my mom have all been a wonderful support system over the years. My sister, Debbie, has provided numerous supplies, hats, gloves, socks, pizza and cupcakes for my students.”
Mrs. Hebblethwaite and her husband, Doug, celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary last fall. She is mother to three children of her own; Devin and his wife, Lindsay; Laken and her husband, Cameron; and Brady, a seventh grader at Licking Junior High School. Her favorite role to date is that of Mimi to her granddaughter, Finleigh, and looks forward to welcoming another granddaughter in June.
While Mrs. Hebblethwaite is quick to share how blessed she has been in her life, family, and career, we believe our community is blessed by Mrs. Hebblethwaite’s influence. We look forward to many more years to come and thank Mrs. Hebblethwaite for her ongoing service to the district.



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