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Shelton Lower School teacher Charlotte Fisher is a Montessori trained teacher and an engineer.
Eight Shelton teachers and staff members were the recipients of the 2022-2023 Shelton Parents' Association Recognition Kudos (SPARK) Award on May 25 at the Shelton End-of-the-Year Staff Appreciation Luncheon. This is the eighth year for the award to be presented by SPA. Awards were based on comments received in the spring parent survey. Each awardee received a SPARK crystal statue and a check for $500. 
Lower School: Charlotte Fisher

Peers described EE-4th grade STEM teacher Charlotte Fisher as "creative," "organized," "dedicated," "brilliant" and "helpful." Students said, "She is fun," "We learn about teamwork," "She helps with our mistakes," "She teaches us how to learn" and "I like so many things about STEM, it's hard to choose!" Charlotte is a Shelton parent of two boys, a Montessori trained teacher, an Academic Language Practitioner and an engineer. 

Upper Elementary: Cheryl Prince 

Upper Elementary's Cheryl Prince has generously given her gift to Shelton students for 35 years. One Shelton parent said, "Mrs. Prince is able to read my child, knows when she is anxious and instinctively knows exactly how to help." Others commented, "She is a true advocate and looks at all aspects of the child" and "Mrs. Prince brings out the best in our child. She got him
to not only want to read, but to love to read!"

Middle School: Georgana Jinks 

Middle School teacher Georgana Jinks is an avid reader who shares that passion with students. Parents described her as patient, kind and a good listener, and they appreciate the individual attention and support she gives to students. Georgana has touched many lives not only through her reading and English classes, but also through Middle School Drama, Upper School Theatre and the Chargerettes. 

Upper School: Kim Self 

Upper School teacher Kim Self is described by her peers as "creative, enthusiastic, patient, kind and one of our favorite coworkers." Shelton parents said, "Her expertise, knowledge, care, concern and overall instruction are unmatched" and "She is a master teacher who holds students to a high standard." Kim started working in the Shelton Upper School 20 years ago and has taught Biology and now Reading. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and has tutored countless students over the years. Her  daughter, Kennedi, graduated from Shelton in 2022.

All Around: Librarians Kelli Yonker, Mary Drexler, Deanna Wallace and Melissa Montgomery

Shelton's four librarians — Kelli Yonker, Mary Drexler, Deanna Wallace and Melissa Montgomery — embrace connecting with our students and encouraging a belief of self. Even though some Shelton students are challenged with the written word, Shelton librarians have created a culture in which students flock to the area of the school where they are surrounded by written materials. The four have cultivated a culture of joy within our libraries, allowing students to be transported by and immersed in books. The libraries are the heart of each division, and Kelli, Mary, Marissa and Deanna are in the hearts of Shelton students. 






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The Shelton School celebrated the graduation of 92 students on May 20 on the school’s football field. 

Members of the Class of 2023 have received 376 acceptances to 162 different colleges and universities and received $9.6 million in merit scholarships. They are headed to 50 different colleges, across 21 states. Valedictorian Callie Wakefield scored a perfect score of 36 on the ACT Reading and Science sections. Callie will attend the University of South Florida, where she plans to major in Marine Biology. Callie has been accepted into the USF Honors College and will be a member of the Division 1 Track and Cross Country teams at USF. Ten other students scored 30 or higher on ACT Composite and 23 scored 30 or higher on the ACT Reading. Salutatorian Kendall Bernbaum will attend Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., where she is considering majoring in the Health Sciences field and will play for the women’s basketball team at Macalester. Eight members of the Class of 2023 have committed to play sports in college in five sports. Maisie Doerr completed a year-long audition process that resulted in an acceptance into the prestigious Musical Theatre program at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In addition, members of the Class of 2023 have contributed more than 3,997 service hours in our community.

In her speech, Callie said, “I believe that the members of the Shelton Class of 2023 are going to succeed in the next steps of life. We have learned to work harder than the average student at other schools. We have learned to overcome challenges that others could never imagine. We have learned to adapt to whatever life brings us. We have learned to advocate for ourselves. And most importantly, we have learned to embrace our differences and turn them into strengths. Our differences are what makes us unique individuals. This special class is a powerful force.”

Graduation speaker Rev. Paul L. Rasmussen, Senior Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas and father of the Class of 2023's Luke Rasmussen, spoke about the value of the simple things and the importance of treating every job like it’s the most important job that you will ever have. He advised the graduates to answer the question, “What kind of person do you want to be?” before deciding what they want to do. He also spoke about the value of failure, using the analogy of Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with “liquid gold.” “Failure is not a destination ever,” he said. “Failure is a pass through to something excellent. Failure is something that will lead you to improvement. I know of no other place in the city of Dallas that is better than Shelton in taking young men and women with learning differences — what the rest of the world would consider a flaw — and figuring out how to take each broken piece and putting it back together until they discover that they are more gifted, more valuable and more important to the future of our community and our world than they ever could have been in their original form.”

Executive Director Suzanne Stell congratulated the class on their resilience. “We believe this senior class has emerged stronger for the difficulties they have experienced,” she said. “This class is marked by empathy and compassion, an unselfish attitude of quiet leadership and a commitment to serving others that leaves a lasting legacy. We see in you the leaders that take action with the joy of a servant’s heart and with compassion. You are definitely what our world needs today.”

Read interviews with Shelton’s Class of 2023 Top 10 graduates at this link.

Watch a video of the 2023 Shelton graduation at this link.

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Rev. Paul L. Rasmussen, Senior Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, will be Shelton's 2023 graduation speaker on Saturday, May 20, at 10 a.m. on Shelton's football field (rain-out date is May 21). His speech at the 2022 Shelton Senior Luncheon about being the best you can be was so powerful that that Shelton administration wanted this year's graduating class to hear the same motivating message.

Before entering seminary in 2000, Paul served as an assistant men's basketball coach at Centenary College for five years. During his tenure, Centenary was one of seven NCAA schools to graduate 100 percent of its players. Paul left coaching in 1997 to pursue a career in sports marketing where he served as the National Sales Director for SportsCare USA, Inc. He began pursuing his call to ministry in 2000. He has served on the staff at Highland Park United Methodist Church since 2000.

Paul began an internship at HPUMC in 2000 while studying for his Master of Divinity from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. In 2001, he began preaching at Cornerstone, Highland Park United Methodist Church’s contemporary worship service. In 2013, Paul became the eleventh senior pastor to serve HPUMC congregation’s of over 15,000 members. Paul has overseen several new church plans. In 2011, Munger Place Church was renovated and reopened serving as an East Dallas satellite campus. The Grove Church launched in 2017 in North Dallas and Uptown Church began in 2021. He also played a key role in the opening of the Tolleson Family Activity Center in 2019, which is home to HPUMC’s Belong disAbility Ministry and Family Ministry.     

A native of Shreveport, La., Paul is a fourth-generation United Methodist minister. He holds an undergraduate degree in History from Centenary College of Louisiana, a Master of Arts from the University of Richmond and a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology.

Paul and his wife Ashley, a real estate agent in Dallas, have three children: Paul, Jr., Arden, and Luke, who is a member of Shelton's Class of 2023.

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Eleventh- and twelfth-grade students attended Shelton's 21st Ethics Symposium, "Evolving Ethical Standards in the Digital Age," on March 1. Activities included guided discussions, small group exercises and panel discussions with guest presenters. Keynote speakers and panelists engaged students with lessons learned from real-world professional experiences.  

Leona Allen, Deputy Publisher and Chief Talent and Diversity Officer at The Dallas Morning News, gave the charge for the day and spoke with students about the importance of ethical decision-making in their personal lives. Kristin Kendrick, Case Manager at Cafe Momentum, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the value of second chances. Cafe Momentum has changed the lives of more than 1,000 teens by employing and providing life-skills training to a staff of young women and men exiting the Dallas County juvenile detention facility. 

Panels included: 

Ethics & Media:

  • Tom Huang, Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives, The Dallas Morning News
  • Gilbert Bailon, Executive Editor, KERA
  • Elvira Sakmari, Digital Director for
  • Keri Mitchell, Executive Director, Dallas Free Press

Ethics & Technology

  • Ryan Stafford, AVP of Labor Relations, AT&T
  • Terri West, Chairman of the Texas Instruments Foundation Board and former Senior Vice President of Texas Instruments Incorporated
  • Anna Benoy, Senior Technology Analyst, Southwest Airlines

Ethics & Sports

  • Mechelle Lewis-Freeman, Head Women's Relays Coach for USA Track & Field, 2008 Track & Field Olympian and CEO/Founder of TrackGirlz, a nonprofit empowering girls and women through track and field
  • Mark Brandenburg, Senior Managing Director of Finance for JLL and former pitcher for the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox
  • Franco Broyles, Owner and Director of The Texas Travelers and Broyles Baseball Academy, former University of Arkansas baseball player

Shelton is the world's largest school for students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD.


Shelton Admission Director Meghan Miller will host an Upper Elementary Prospective Parent Tour on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 9:00 a.m. Register by Feb. 20 by clicking the link here. Shelton is the largest independent school for students with learning differences. Upper Elementary services students in third-fifth grades. Shelton is located at 17301 Preston Road, Dallas. 

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Shelton School offers a free presentation "Early Signs of Learning Differences and How to Respond" on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 9 a.m. This program will be led by Shelton's Executive Director Emerita Joyce Pickering and Associate Head of School Amy Cushner in Shelton's Outreach Training Room. Register at this link.

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Congratulations to Shelton’s Instrumental Music Teacher Ken Utz for winning the CHADD’S ADHD Educator of the Year Award. CHADD, which stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is an organization that seeks to improve the lives of people affected by ADHD. 

Ken has worked at Shelton since 2003 with the Upper Elementary, Middle School and Upper School Band students. He began working with Lower School and Upper Elementary General Music in 2014.  Ken is a recipient of Shelton’s SPARK (Shelton Parents’ Association Recognition Kudos) Award for the 2020-2021 school year. 

In addition to his time at Shelton, Ken is the Vice President of the Music Learning Band Program where he works closely with Jerry Bishop and their team providing instrumental, vocal and general music programs to more than 40 different schools across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Eastern Arizona.

Ken says his educational philosophy is to do no harm, make music a little better and help students get a little better each day. “I believe that each student can improve every day and that improvement is an individual accomplishment. Each student’s improvement may not be the same, but he or she can leave our classroom a little more confident about something than when they entered.” 

He says that working with the youngest students has helped the whole music team create a full curriculum arc for music throughout a Shelton student’s journey. “Music at Shelton is tactile and experiential,” he says. “Our students learn by physically playing the instruments, especially recorder, xylophone, drums and wind instruments. For the ADHD student, this approach involves their whole body. We also learn how to read music gradually, using strategies like color coding for younger students on the same music they read as they get older. We tap our foot to the beat and count out loud to learn complex rhythms. From ages 3-18, we are using our bodies to experience music."

Thanks in part to Ken’s instruction and leadership, many Shelton Band members have gone on to study music in college. “Not every student leaves Shelton wanting to study music, but they do leave with an appreciation of music,” Ken says. 

“Ken is truly a remarkable person and outstanding educator,” says Shelton Executive Director Suzanne Stell. “His dedication to so many young people is truly overwhelming. There is not anything that I ask Ken to do for Shelton that he doesn’t do with 120 percent enthusiasm. Our students follow his lead. They are inspired by Ken. He is an unbelievable role model for our students and an inspiration to me. His days are very long with before-school band, after-school band and evenings and Saturdays filled with band, and he does it all with a smile on his face. Ken makes everyone around him better.”

Ken is a graduate of the University of North Texas, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. While at North Texas, Ken was a member of the Concert Band, many Jazz Bands including the 5:00 Lab Band and the Catholic Campus Music Ministry. An Eagle Scout, Ken is a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow and previously served as the Staff Director and Camp Director of Circle Ten Council’s Winter Camp at Camp Trevor Rees Jones. 

Ken and his wife Haley have three children, Kenny, Natalie, and Meghan. Kenny is a sixth-grade Shelton student and member of after-school band and drumline. Ken is an active member of Christ the King Catholic Church where he serves as a Lector and Usher.




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Shelton Upper Elementary teacher Tricia Harden wins SPARK Award.

Seven Shelton employees were the recipients of the 2021-2022 Shelton Parents' Association Recognition Kudos (SPARK) Award on May 26 at the staff appreciation luncheon. This is the seventh year for the award to be presented by SPA. Awards were based on comments received in the spring parent survey. Each awardee received a framed SPARK award and a check for $500. A crystal statue will follow. Thanks to Shelton parent Emily Touchstone for coordinating these awards and to parents for taking the time to send comments about Shelton's teachers and staff. 

Lower School: Peggy Krug. Parents praised this teacher for helping develop their child's trust and academic self-confidence. She is calm, patient and kind. Her students feel loved and cared for and they are thriving under her guidance. "She sees who my child really is and makes a plan for his personal success."

Upper Elementary: Tricia Harden. Each year parents sing the praises of Ms. Harden. She is described as "wonderfully supportive," "an excellent communicator and resource," "found my child's talent and passion" and "keeps the fun in learning."

Middle School: Marsha Harris. Ms. Harris is known for her expertise in building young writers. She steadily and consistently teaches her students to unlock and organize their thoughts so that they can be shared with others. Her gifted approach is to work beside her students, conferencing with them, gently challenging and guiding them to develop the ability to find just the right words to express their unique thoughts. One parent shared, "She not only provided support but challenged my child to think for himself and do his best. She helped him realize he is smart and able to do much better work."


Upper School: Nancy McCord. Ms. McCord is supportive and makes learning positive. She is patient and understanding and knows when to give consequences and when to provide redirection. She is a gifted teacher who helps students believe in themselves.

All Around: School nurses Eve Herman and Lisa Nagid have kept the school running safely during another year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have kept abreast of all things locally, statewide and nationally. They wrote policies, teamed and communicated with administration, faculty and staff, tracked Shelton-specific stats, oversaw seven drive-through COVID vaccination clinics and consulted with staff as each event was planned throughout 2021-2022.

Anne-Marie Shiflet, Lower School and Upper Elementary. Ms. Shiflet is described as, "incomparable, joyful, and packs a punch in a small package!" She is the first to arrive and last to leave, and is dedicated to taking care of everyone in Lower School and Upper Elementary. An incredible supporter, encourager and friend, she is absolutely irreplaceable. No matter the day or circumstance, she shares with us her consummate smile, contagious laugh and servant's heart.

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You’ve probably seen senior Patrick Corwin leading Shelton’s drumline as the tenor drum section captain, but did you know that he plays 14 instruments, including the saxophone, his favorite? When he’s not in Shelton’s percussion ensemble or honor band, Patrick is in the theater as a member of the orchestra or part of the props crew. He impressed the Shelton crowd when he told his story at Grandparents’ Day. Patrick, who has dyslexia and dysgraphia, started Shelton as a sophomore and says his favorite class is Physics 2 Honors. He’s been accepted to the University of Portland with a $102,000 academic scholarship and to the University of North Texas mechanical engineering program. Patrick hopes to study mechanical engineering with a double major or minor in music. His top three picks for college are NYU, California Polytechnic State University and UNT. “I tell freshmen to really involve yourself,” he says. “You can always do less if it becomes too much, but you want to start off getting involved, meeting new people and really making time for your academics.” Watch the video of Patrick Corwin here.

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The Shelton School has implemented a school-wide Wellness Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Moody Foundation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health came to the forefront as students dealt with anxiety, depression and separation disorders. Children with learning differences, such as language learning differences, attention difficulties and sensory-motor challenges have always been at risk for stress and anxiety. The pandemic has made things exponentially harder for our most vulnerable children. They worry about themselves, their families and friends getting sick, as well as the economic crisis that many families have faced during this time.

The Shelton Wellness Initiative is a specialized intervention program for students, with the possibility of adding Shelton parents, teachers and staff in the future. The program, which currently targets EC-12th graders, is designed to educate, alleviate and combat the effects of stress on a physical, mental, emotional, psychological and behavioral level. Students discover how to control their emotional reaction to stress, in real time, by learning how to recognize the presence of stress in their body and how to implement specialized relaxation strategies to calm down.

Shelton is partnering with experts in the community, including Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, Chief of the Division of Mood Disorders and the founding director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Rusty Lozano, M.ED LPC BCB, founder and director of the Center for Biofeedback and Behavior Therapy, LLC. Rusty is the program director of Shelton’s Wellness Initiative and Evan Hampton is the program manager.

The program has currently launched the “Coping Skills Training” phase, which has two parts: Black Box Skits and Lab Training. Black Box Skits are unique group seminars that are designed to introduce different concepts of stress and stress control. Atmospheric lights, therapy animals, audience participation and other special effects (such as electronic dance music, puppets and props) create a visually and auditory appealing show. 

“The kids are having a blast,” Lozano says. “The shows are very cutting edge and interactive. We’ve created an ambience where the children are learning through audience participation and examples demonstrated through their peers, which make the lessons  memorable and very entertaining.”

Lab Training is designed to train relaxation techniques using technology. The students are assigned a laptop and a heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor is a pulsometer sensor that gently clips onto the student’s ear lobe and can detect stress via heart rate.  The heart rate program ( interface is user friendly and easy to use. The program color-codes various stress states in the body. Red means stress, blue means relaxed, green means very relaxed. 

“The feedback is immediate and clear,” Lozano says. “If a student utilizes a relaxation strategy and relaxation is achieved, their efforts are immediately reinforced by a bright color-coded LED on the heart monitor unit followed by an indicator chime from their laptop and color-coded box display on their computer screen. The performance results are communicated to the user loud and clear.”   

The students are introduced to breathing and body strategies designed to promote relaxation. “Mindfulness concepts are then tied in to help students recognize the various sensations in the body associated with stress,” he says.

This spring, third-fifth grade students will participate in the “Horses and Humans” equine assisted therapy program on campus. Students will interact with horses and develop essential skills, such as an appreciation of nature, situational awareness, concentration, balance, motor-skill enhancement, verbal and non-verbal communication, empathy, relaxation, core strength, teamwork, self-esteem, confidence and leadership.

Another part of the wellness initiative involves Upper School students. Upper School students are participating in UT Southwestern’s Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM), which is an evidenced-based program delivered by certified facilitators in the classroom setting. It is a five-hour interactive mental health promotion program delivered over three to five weeks, designed to encourage increased discussion and knowledge about mental health, the development of problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.

The Moody Foundation's funding ensures that Shelton can provide our students with the resources they need to help them navigate this difficult time in our society. The Moody Foundation's philanthropic commitment to mental health is inspiring and Shelton is grateful for their support. 

The Shelton Wellness Initiative was created and developed using proven and accepted treatment modalities in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA).  

For more information, contact or