Friday Feature: Cindy Steele, Special Education Coordinator
by Mary Ann Mitchell, public relations and communications coordinator
District #7 special education coordinator Cindy Steele has always had a passion for children, their well-being and happiness.
She has been with the district for 29 years, joining the D7 family as a school psychologist before moving into her current role in 2006.
“I have been fortunate in my role. It has allowed me to work as part of a team, which is critical in problem-solving and student needs. I get to look at different issues through the lenses of parents, teachers, administrators, and the child.”
Steele has always had an interest in mental health and while working in a psychiatric hospital for children, knew she wanted to concentrate on school psychology.
“Working on the different units in the hospital setting, one of the common themes of all the children was their educational experience and how they struggled in school because of the needs they had. I knew I wanted to do psychology in an education setting. It is such an important part of student’s life.”
Throughout her career, she has been able to work towards the well-being and happiness of students in a variety of ways.
“I have a bunch of passions within that overarching passion for kids and that includes social-emotional health. The impact I hope to leave is helping to develop programs for kids and systems of support that allows them to recognize their strengths and celebrate what they are good at and their impact on the world, while also giving them the skills and tools to navigate all the challenges.”
Another passion of Steel’s is reading and helping kids unlock the code and developing programs for students with developmental disabilities, specific learning abilities and medically fragile children.
Steele said she has been fortunate to work with many different teams across all school buildings as well individuals throughout the community.
“I’ve had the privilege of partnering with SIUE and their school psychology department when we built a program for students with autism spectrum disorder and are now working with SIUE to develop multi-tiered systems of support.”
She has also been able to work with law enforcement partners, school resource officers, nurses, and even bus drivers and transportation team members.
“Edwardsville and this community have a lot of compassionate people who are dedicated to what they are doing. I love my job and it can be challenging at times, but I have always felt very supported because of the people alongside me that share the same passion for kids.”
Steele said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing a program developed that has a significant impact on a student.
“I want every child to feel successful here, which is part of our mission statement. Seeing their successes and making sure they also see those successes is so rewarding.”