Before joining the Rainbows’ team, Teresa Shackelford had no previous experience working alongside children with special needs. Teresa had moved back to Wichita and was looking for a job where she felt she could make a difference rather than working sales. Her daughter worked for Rainbows and suggested she give Rainbows a try. “She said it was very fulfilling for her and I would like it,” said Teresa. “And she was right. I have been here 20 plus years.”
“Little did I know when I accepted the job at Rainbows, that a few years later I would be blessed with a granddaughter who later would be diagnosed with dual dyslexia,” said Teresa. “My experience at Rainbows has helped me to understand her frustrations and anxieties and to help her through the rough patches.”
Teresa started out as a para educator in the child care center and a part-time bus driver, then left the classroom and took the Transportation Lead position. She now works as the Center Based Scheduler for Family Support Services. “Daily I put schedules together to meet our families’ needs,” she said. “Whether it be for afterschool latchkey care, weekend respite care or care for days that schools are out, I’m creating the schedules.”
Helping with Camp Woodchuck preparation, working on Quality Assurance forms for the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization (SCDDO), filing and working on the daily center time sheets are other parts of Teresa’s job. “When I took the position of Scheduler, I was able to reconnect with kids and their families that I had as babies in the nursery at Kids’ Cove,” she said. “To see them as teenagers in high school or preparing for high school is such a joy. The kids are definitely my favorite part of my job. They are such a blessing.”
“Teresa is very dedicated to our families,” said Lynlea Southards, Family Support Services Coordinator. “She is always willing to go above and beyond to help or support families with any needs they might have.”
Teresa has two grandchildren, often traveling to watch her grandson play basketball and sharing special adventures with her granddaughter. On the rare occasions she is home, she loves to read.