Teacher inspires students to learn in online environment
Mindy Pyle began her career in education in 2006 as an 8th grade math teacher at Ohio Connections Academy, an online public charter school serving students K-12. Within five years, the students in her grade level improved their state test scores by 12 percentage points.
According to OCA Superintendent Marie Hanna, Mindy’s biggest strength is her ability to engage the students and work with the parents. “She inspires the students to learn and succeed and she does so by constantly trying new ways to increase student achievement.
“I have received several emails and phone calls from parents expressing their appreciation for the way Mindy connects with the students and inspires them to learn,” she continued. “In fact we’ve had a couple graduates come back to OCA to be teachers and they point to Mindy as the reason why they became educators.”
Anna Ridenour, a 2012 graduate of Ohio Connections Academy and current math teacher, thinks back to how Pyle instilled in her the confidence to believe she could go on and succeed in math. It was Pyle’s patience and encouraging approach that helped so many students to realize their full potential. It was also Pyle who inspired her to not only become a teacher, but to one day teach at Ohio Connections Academy.
“Going to an online school means I had an unconventional educational journey, but the story of why I became a teacher is the same as almost every other teacher I’ve ever talked to,” Ridenour said. “I had a Pre-Algebra teacher who has a gift for making students feel valued and respected, and I realized I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I am incredibly lucky that Mindy Pyle was my teacher and she continues to remind me daily why I chose this as my career.”
Pyle spends most of her day working one-on-one with students over the phone and in the online meeting rooms, which she often describes as her favorite part of her job. Her colleagues consider her a problem solver and one who constantly tries new approaches to increase student achievement.
Her students and their parents value her calming approach and friendly personality that help students feel capable of mastering difficult concepts because they know she will work with them for as long as they need.
“As her former student and now as her co-worker, she continues to be the model for the kind of teacher I want to be for my own students,” Ridenour said.
For a few years Pyle served as the middle school assistant principal at OCA and successfully improved OCA achievement for all grade levels. In addition, the 8th grade scores met state averages in both the Ohio Achievement Assessment and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests. In 2014 Mindy requested to return to her first love - being a math teacher - so she now serves as a master teacher on the 9th grade team.
Whether it is in her own classroom or leading math department meetings, Pyle’s positive outlook and commitment to student achievement has an effect on everyone around her. Her clear communication and respect for others generates a productive working environment where the entire faculty and staff collectively share the same goal. For any teacher, kindness and hard work are expected and necessary traits, but no one exemplifies those traits more than Mindy Pyle.