Longwood’s Values in Action

Erin Schultz’s Journey in Special Education

Erin Schultz’s time in Longwood’s Master of Science in Education program transformed her into a skilled — and licensed — special education teacher. It also left a lasting impact.

“Throughout my five years at Longwood, I was able to build professional relationships,” Schultz said. “I still reflect on presentations from classes, resources that professors have shared and conversations that have been held with colleagues from the program.”Erin Shultz holds a first day of school sign

Schultz earned her Master of Science in Education in 2020 as part of the special education program’s five-year track, completing graduate school in only one additional year at Longwood. As a teacher by day and graduate student along the way, Schultz regularly applied knowledge she learned in Longwood’s classrooms to real-world situations. Throughout her residency, her professors were there to observe, support and offer personalized feedback that helped her grow professionally. 

“The professors are great mentors,” Schultz said, “and they are there to support all of their students with their journeys in the profession.”

In fact, while studying in such a close-knit, engaged community, Schultz built relationships with faculty members that have continued long since graduation. After taking several classes with Assistant Professor in Special Education Dr. Karen Feathers, Schultz collaborated with Dr. Feathers in Buddy Ball, a community volunteer program that allows children with disabilities to access adapted sports. To this day, the two stay in touch, with Dr. Feathers offering advice and answering Schultz’s questions.

“These professional relationships have impacted my career path,” Schultz shared. 

In her fifth year of teaching, Schultz has found exactly where she wants to be: the adapted curriculum classroom. She currently works with students diagnosed with moderate to severe disabilities as a community-based instruction special education teacher at Powhatan High School. In this role, she focuses on helping her students build functional life skills, such as job and social competencies, that will support their independence as they transition into adulthood.

“It gives me the freedom to build more personal relationships with the students. To see the personal growth of each individual student is the most rewarding part of my job.”

In other words, Schultz has taken Longwood’s key lesson on how to build lasting relationships and put it into practice. In fact, she has become an advocate for some of Longwood’s own programs as she supports her post-graduate students. 

Longwood Life has become one of the transition options for our students to enroll into,” she explained. “At this time, Powhatan has two students enrolled in the Longwood Life program, and they are thriving.”

In adapting Longwood’s lessons to her own classroom, Erin Schultz makes a lasting impact.