Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2011 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Hill City, SD
Bio/Overview: Sharla Steever is currently a Learning Specialist at the Technology and Innovation in Education Office in Rapid City, South Dakota and previously taught 4th grade at Hill City Elementary in Hill City, South Dakota. Her primary focus of work is American Indian Education Issues addressing the achievement gap between Native and non-Native students. Steever spent her year as a 2011 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow focusing on rural issues, including American Indian education issues for a large part of the year. She toured the reservations of South Dakota as well as one in New Mexico learning about the issues facing these important populations and captured the interviews and round tables in a video, “Tokata” which is the Lakota word for future. The video has been shared with local, state and national education leaders and was considered for PBS. Steever also worked as a facilitator for a rural collaborative at the Labor Management Conference II in Cincinnati, Ohio. Steever has lived her whole life in the rural beauty of the state of South Dakota. Both sides of Steever’s family were farmers from the central plains, and both saw education as a top priority in life, so it wasn’t a surprise then that she chose to embrace the life of a teacher. Steever’s experience in education includes over a decade of classroom experience at the elementary level, as well as many years of outdoor education at two different camp and retreat centers in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Educational Values/Philosophy: "Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them." Richard L. Evans. Steever loves the word “cherish” as it relates to educating children – for it is when we find the beauty in each individual child and foster its growth that we, as educators, help to shape the future with confident, motivated learners.
Achievements: Steever is a published author with her first book, My Garden Sprouts, A Journal of Classroom Growth, hitting the shelves in March of 2012. She was also published in a book, More Best Practices of Award Winning Teachers by Randi Stone, where she outlines her methods of meeting the individual needs of her students. Steever is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher and a SD science recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Education – true highlights in her teaching career. She also received the Making It Happen regional technology teacher award, honored at the 2011 ISTE Conference in Philadelphia, PA.
Leadership Experience: As a 2011 Teaching Ambassador Fellow, Steever dedicated her time to learning more about and giving a voice to teachers and other educational leaders on American Indian Reservations in her area which led to the development of a video in conjunction with the SD Technology and Innovation in Education Office. She also served on SD’s ESEA Waiver writing team and Teacher Evaluation team, offering the voice of a classroom teacher in these very important conversations. In her district, Steever created, planned and implemented a program for total technology immersion for one to one laptops at the 4th grade level. Steever has also presented her work with technology with her students at South Dakota state technology conferences for several years, and also took students to present with her at the ISTE (International Society for Technology Educators) Conference in Denver in 2010, and again in 2011 in Philadelphia. Steever also works at the state level as a leadership team member of the Teacher to Teacher Support Network, a virtual and face to face program to mentor new to the profession teachers, teachers on American Indian Reservations, as well as teachers who are in schools that are in the deepest levels of school improvement. Steever is part of the Teach to Lead work and helped organize a Leadership Lab at Sinte Gleska University in Mission, SD in April of 2015 and is currently facilitating the writing of North Dakota’s Native American Essential Understandings with elders from the five tribal areas in ND. The Leadership Lab elevated the work with Native American education Steever has been doing over the past few years to regional, national and international levels. In July of 2016, Steever presented her work at the International Council of Education for Teachers (ICET) Conference in Kingston, Jamaica as a result of the connections made through the Leadership Lab. Steever has been working directly with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the US Education Department, the Bureau of Indian Education, and ISTE to develop a new program supporting teachers in schools serving large populations of Native American students to become Nationally Board Certified.
Affiliations: SD Department of Education, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Indian Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Society of Elementary Presidential Awardees.
Education: Steever received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern State University, and received further training in Environmental Education on the job as the Environmental Ed. Director at Storm Mountain Center. She went on to graduate from Yankton School of Theology as a licensed minister before receiving her National Board Certification and completed her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Technology Integrationist from Black Hills State University in May of 2014.
Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Native American educators and students
- Teacher preparation and support
- Rural education issues
- STEM at the elementary level
- National Board Certification