EDWARDSVILLE - Lincoln Middle School has three new teachers in its classrooms this year, including seventh and eighth-grade science teacher Abby Reller, sixth-grade science teacher Cody Schafluetzel and special education-CASTLE teacher Josie Swafford.
Reller is in her second year of teaching, but is no stranger to District #7, having grown up in the District and graduating from EHS. She worked at her alma mater last year, teaching chemistry, environmental science, and earth and space science.
“I love being able to teach in the district that I went to school in,” she said. “I had such a positive experience and it is great to be working with some of the most influential people in my life!”
Reller graduated from SIUE in 2018 with a degree in biology and then returned to school to earn her teaching certificate in secondary biology education.
Her love for science and wanting to provide a safe learning space for students to develop that same kind of love is why she became a teacher.
“I remember gaining interest in science starting in eighth grade, and my hope is to do the same for my students! I hope to make students excited about learning and make them feel welcome and valued in my classroom.”
Reller and her fiancé, Andrew, also an Edwardsville native, will be married next June. They have two cats, Tommy Pickles and Oliver.
When she’s not in the classroom, Reller loves to be lazy at home and relax after a long day of teaching. She also enjoys watching new movies, putting together jigsaw puzzles, reading books, and playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch.
Family is important to Reller and she feels lucky to have her parents both nearby to spend time with. She also has a sister that lives in Yosemite National Park in California.
Schafluetzel graduated last May with his Bachelors of Science in elementary education with a middle school science endorsement.
He wanted to become a teacher to make an impact on students’ education.
“I want to not only help them become better students, but I also want to help them become better people.”
Schafluetzel is enjoying all the people of District #7, calling them “very helpful” while he is in his first year.
He and his wife Lindsay, a teacher in the Mascoutah district, were married last year.
When Schafluetzel isn’t in the classroom, he enjoys weightlifting, golf, and hiking.
Swafford is in her fourth year teaching. After graduating from SIUE with a degree in science of special education, she became a program director for a behavior intervention company in St. Louis, working in the behavior intervention realm for three years. After COVID closed most school locations, she taught English to students in an online setting. When she decided to go back to in-person teaching, she was accepted to work in the CASTLE classroom at EHS for about five weeks.
Swafford originally became a teacher because she wanted to help struggling readers.
“I’ve always loved reading and know how important reading is in all aspects of life,” she said. “As I started my journey to become a teacher, I realized the connections between students who struggle in reading (and other academics) and their behavior in the classroom. I believe that every person has the right to a meaningful education no matter what.”
The thing she has enjoyed the most about being part of District #7 is the opportunity to learn from so many different staff members.
“I really enjoy seeing the different teaching styles and interactions with students. The amount of support I have already received is also immeasurable.
When she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys going with her family to Six Flags, saying they go as many times as they can and have already been to Fright Fest twice. She has 10 and three-year-old daughters and six-year-old sons.
Swafford is also the cheer coach for the JV high school cheer team and is also a student again herself, having recently begun her master’s degree in special education with a specialization in reading and literacy, as well as a graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis.
“My goal is to become a board-certified behavior consultant.”