Timing Perfect For Teaching Couple's First Year in Springdale

posted Aug 29, 2017, 12:24 PM by JACKSON BRASWELL   [ updated Aug 29, 2017, 12:26 PM ]

After a visit to see family in northwest Arkansas, Rick and Michelle Cotter fell in love with the city of Springdale. Fast forward less than a year later and they are both teaching in the Springdale School District.


The Cotters were previously living in Wichita, Kansas and felt like it was time for a change in scenery. Michelle, a teacher for 22 years and Rick a teacher for eight, knew that Springdale was where they wanted to be. The two packed up after the school year in May and moved to Northwest Arkansas in hopes of finding employment in the Springdale School District.


For Rick, the wait was short as he was hired at Monitor Elementary to teach fifth grade within two weeks of arriving.


“I was so excited about the opportunity to teach at Monitor,” Rick said. “I absolutely loved the administrators here and kept thinking that my wife would be  next to find a job in the district.”


Michelle was also excited for her husband but was concerned that she hadn’t heard from any schools. Besides, she was the one who introduced Rick to teaching. Rick worked for a printing company for many years and decided to volunteer in Michelle’s classroom one spring. After seeing Rick work with the students, Michelle knew he was hooked.


“He went back to school the next fall, got his degree and has been teaching ever since,” said Michelle. “He was surprised he found a job before me just because of my experience but I kept telling him that he was a great teacher too and would do great at Monitor.”


June went by as did July and Michelle was starting to fear that she would have to abandon her love of teaching to find a new career.


“I was really sad and couldn’t imagine after 22 years not walking into a classroom full of children on the first day of school,” said Michelle.


 However, the administrators at Monitor were there to lend a helping hand.


“Andi Acuff the assistant principal at Monitor sent out a text this summer telling people about me to help me get a job,” said Michelle. “That would never happen in Wichita and it just further affirmed to me that Rick and I were in the place we needed to be.”


Just as Rick and Michelle began to lose hope, Michelle received a call from Elmdale Principal, Michelle Hutton asking her to come in for an interview that afternoon. While Cotter was excited, she was a little nervous because it was a week before school started and she had missed all of the training sessions in the district. However, she went in for the interview and left knowing she was meant to be an Eagle.


“I walked into the office and Mrs. Hutton said, ‘Don’t be nervous we are just normal people.’, and that was like a weight off of my shoulders,” said Cotter. “After that point I didn’t feel nervous, it just felt right. It was the easiest interview I had ever been a part of because the principals made me feel so welcomed. I just feel like everything happened the way it was supposed to.”


Rick, who was waiting in the car knew as soon as he saw Michelle’s face that the interview had gone well.


“She was so excited when she came out of the building,” said Rick. “She had the biggest smile on her face. I knew it was a done deal in her mind and that she wanted to work there.”


The interview went well as Michelle and Rick had anticipated and Michelle was hired at Elmdale on the Monday before school started. While that week leading up to the first day was stressful, the Cotters were thankful that they would both be teaching in the district they planned to work for when they moved.


The first few weeks of school have been great for the couple and they are firm believers that there is a reason they are in Springdale serving the students of this district. Springdale Schools welcomes the Cotters who are great additions to Springdale and are among the reasons why Springdale Schools is #THEChoice