Raegan Pollard Rangel ’96 chose Shenandoah University because of its outstanding music education program. “SU provides competitive program opportunities for students,” said Rangel. “You are NOT a number at SU. I always felt that the professors cared about me and knew me. This matters!”
Some of Rangel’s fondest memories at Shenandoah were her classes with professor emeritus James Laster and his mentorship throughout her time on campus. “He was very supportive of my decision to travel to Taiwan for a semester of non-music related work,” said Rangel. “This created a bond that propelled me when I worked as a music teacher in Costa Rica. He is a kind soul who positively impacted me then and now.”
Rangel is an assistant principal at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Virginia. In her position, she works with stakeholders to support growth and success for all of Millbrook’s students. The most rewarding part of Rangel’s career is seeing the results of the time, love and care that are invested in moving students and teachers forward. She is grateful to be at Millbrook and work alongside an outstanding team of educators who try to help all of their students experience success and growth.
“My soul is filled by the people I work with because I am inspired by their passion and commitment to do what it takes to help a student,” said Rangel. “Each day becomes a gift when you work in a field you love and you feel like you are making a difference.”
In 2003, Rangel was the only teacher in Virginia recognized as a Milken National Educator, and was one of 100 teachers to be nationally recognized that year.
Outside of the music education training Rangel received at Shenandoah, she believes one of the most beneficial experiences she had was being selected to spend a semester in Taiwan teaching English at a partner school of the university. This opportunity alone opened multiple doors for her, including the chance to teach in Costa Rica where she learned Spanish, which now helps her make connections with more students and families. It also helped Rangel keep inclusive practices in the forefront of everything she has done professionally.
Rangel’s advice to students is: “Always do what it takes to meet ALL student needs. Find a positive tribe to propel you. Take time for yourself to recharge. Never be the same teacher you were the first year you started as you need to be in your last year of teaching. Teaching is a very rewarding profession that takes heart, patience, perseverance, true collaboration with peers and stakeholders, and a commitment to staying current with best practices in pedagogy and content.”