• Linda Reeder: Paraeducator at Bellefonte Area High School

    lr21The most important thing for Linda Reeder is building trust with students when she walks into work every day at Bellefonte Area High School. She said it’s the foundation of her job that allows her to help students when needed.

    “It’s pretty cool because a lot of the time you create a bond with some of the students,” she said. "They can be really sweet and over time you build a good rapport with the kids.”

    Reeder has been a paraeducator at Bellefonte Area School District for more than 20 years, hoping originally to work at the elementary level, but instead ending with secondary students since being hired in 2000.

    “When I applied, there was an elementary position open and that’s what I wanted because I though I’d never be able to do middle or high school,” she said with a laugh. “I thought, ‘I need to be with elementary,’ and during the interview, I found out it was an interview for three different positions, so I’m just sitting there praying to please put me at elementary school.”

    Instead, she was hired for a position at Bellefonte Area Middle School, where she worked for a year before transferring to Bellefonte Area High School.

    “I was really nervous about working there, but now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but up here,” she said.

    Her responsibilities are primarily working with learning support students to make sure they get additional help if struggling in the classroom. The number of students Reeder works with at any given time varies throughout the course of the school day.

    And when a student is embarrassed about getting help in front of their peers, Reeder said she does her best to be discrete about it, while still providing her best services. That’s where she says the trust part of her job is often at play.

    At the same time, she shared that working on projects and lessons with students is just as rewarding for her as the students learning the knowledge, making note that one of the best lessons she was a part of was in business teacher Andrew Weigold’s class when he was teaching students about personal finance in the real world.

    Reeder said when she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with family, who sometimes help her check off items from her bucket list. A couple years ago, she said she visited her son in Colorado and together they hiked the Rockies in Estes Park.

    “My dream was hiking this mountain and I ended up making it the whole day,” she said. “It was tough, but fun.”

    She also has another son who lives locally and a 15-year-old grandson who is the light of her life.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD