Alumna Starts New Teaching Job but Leaves Behind Something Amazing in Arkansas

Maddie Stinson and an Arkansas Miss Amazing participant.
Photo Submitted

Maddie Stinson and an Arkansas Miss Amazing participant.

Maddie Stinson graduated from the University of Arkansas in May and is now teaching fifth grade special education classes at Sky Ranch Elementary in Oklahoma City.

She left behind something amazing in Arkansas, though.

Miss Amazing is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build their confidence and self-esteem. Stinson brought it with her when she became a student at the U of A.

She had volunteered for the non-profit while attending high school in Belleville, Illinois.

"I instantly fell in love with it," she said. "I started traveling to different states to participate in their events, and when I decided I was coming to the U of A, I knew I wanted to bring Miss Amazing with me."

So, at age 17, Stinson became the Arkansas director and built the organization from the ground up. Under her leadership, Miss Amazing expanded to other Arkansas universities and the U of A chapter formed partnerships with organizations like Special Olympics, Easter Seals and local 99 Balloons.

She also involved her peers in the College of Education and Health Professions at the U of A as well as college students in special education teaching programs across the state.

"We really wanted to make sure we were providing resources and an opportunity for collaboration with teacher candidates statewide," she said. "These were things as simple as a Facebook group where teacher candidates or novice teachers could share ideas and talk about difficult situations that they came across in their internships and practicum placements."

Stinson has since placed the Arkansas chapter in good hands and still serves as an advisor. Now she's on the board of the Oklahoma Miss Amazing chapter. When it can safely be held, she'll help them run their Miss Amazing pageant, an event Stinson headed up in Arkansas for four years.

A teacher at heart from a young age, Stinson constantly invited family and friends to play school with her—worksheets and all—so she could grade their papers. Her two best childhood friends had siblings with autism spectrum disorder.

"I always loved them so much," she said. "From this, my passion grew for the special needs community and I started volunteering with organizations like Miss Amazing.

"When I realized that I could combine these two passions—to teach and work with some of my favorite people—I knew that teaching Special Ed is what I was meant to do."

During her last year at the U of A, when Stinson was in the midst of her internship year in a real special education classroom, she felt validated.

"It showed me how much I am meant to be here to watch my students grow socially and academically," she said. "I love being able to pour love into my students and see their confidence grow so they can reach their maximum potential."

Contacts

Shannon G. Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, magsam@uark.edu

Headlines

Civil Engineering Awarded U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Grant

Three civil engineering faculty members received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate existing pavements and evaluate their structure for military infrastructure problems.

U of A Poultry Judging Team Takes Second at National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest

The team included Kylie Roesler, who placed first overall individually; Ethan Strobel, who finished seventh overall; and Kaleb Barenberg and Cayla Wilson. The team is coached by Dennis Mason.

Winter Holiday Videos and Music Available in Mullins Library Multimedia Department

For the winter holidays, the Multimedia Department in Mullins Library has compiled a list of streaming videos and music available to all students, staff and faculty. Physical items will be in the Hodges Reading Room.

Can't Sleep? Men Needed for Study on Sleep and Stress; Earn Up to $400

If you are at least 21 years old and have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be eligible to participate. 

Adult Participants Needed for Gut Microbiota Research Study; $50 Gift Card Available

Researchers at the U of A are currently conducting a research study about gut microbiota and their relationship to obesity. The study is looking for research participants.

News Daily