Three Sisters Pursue Education Degrees from Eastern

March 16, 2023

A passion for early childhood education and special education unites sisters Josie, Tanner and Cassidy Schultes. Even as high schoolers in their hometown of Rockford, Washington, there was no doubt in their minds that EWU was the right place for each of them to pursue their education and careers. 

Josie, the youngest of three, transferred to Eastern from Spokane Falls Community College. She is a senior and is student-teaching at the Spokane Head Start/Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program at the Northeast Community Center. Tanner, the middle sister, graduated from EWU last winter and is substitute teaching in West Ridge Elementary School, in Post Falls, Idaho.  Cassidy, the oldest, graduated in 2021 and is a kindergarten teacher at Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley.

All three say that positive experiences at Eastern set them on the path to success to becoming professional educators. 

Josie currently student teaches in a local preschool program which serves low-income families. Her students are from ages three to five, and are a mix of general education and special education students. 

“I like it, it’s nice being in the classroom and it’s different because I haven’t been in a classroom like this, it’s my first time ever working with kids in special education,” says Josie. “It’s been different and a really great learning experience.” 

In the future, Josie says, she could teach kindergarten through third grade. She says her goal is to teach second grade general education, but she wanted a special education background as well. The reason, she adds, “is to be prepared for students who come in with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and need the extra help.” 

Like her sisters, Josie says she was inspired to become a teacher by the many other teachers in her family. The Schultes’ grandmother, for example, was a teacher in the Grand Coulee Dam School District. Their aunt taught at the Freemen High School where all three of the Schultes sisters attended. Other members of their family are working in education all across the country. 

“I think it was just growing up around the teachers and seeing that and I think that all of us decided that teaching might be a good career path,” Josie says. “I love kids and I wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

Tanner, the middle sister, graduated from EWU just last winter in 2022. 

“I had a good experience at Eastern,” she says. “I initially went to Washington State University then transferred to Eastern. The EWU community is so friendly and I really enjoyed being on campus. The professors that I had were all very knowledgeable and I enjoyed every class I attended.”

She plans to continue as a long-term substitute at (school district) while raising her young child and weighing professional options. 

“I am applying for more substituting positions to try out new school districts and get some experience,” says Tanner, adding that spending time with her child is a priority because she was a student through much of her daughter’s infancy. “I continued school when she was born, and did not take time off.”

Cassidy, the oldest, graduated in 2021. She is currently a kindergarten teacher at Trent Elementary School.    

All three enjoy having siblings in the same field. Josie says, at two years apart in age,  they have always been close. “It’s nice to have them [around], they already have the experience of being in the program and student teaching,” she says. “So it’s nice to be able to rely on them and ask them questions and feel comfortable enough to ask those questions.” 

Adds Tanner, “It’s fun to have two siblings in the same field. We can have engaging conversations about education. It’s great to share the passion of education with siblings and being able to relate in our professional positions. We often talk to each other and get advice for different strategies to use in the classroom,” she says.