It takes a special person to make a good kindergarten teacher. When instructing children of that tender age, it helps to be nurturing, warm and friendly.
University of Wisconsin-Superior senior Haley Stalls possesses all of these traits, and more. This elementary education major, who will graduate in spring 2024, can’t wait to have a classroom of her own.
“Ever since middle school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she shared. “I love the comforting aspects of what a teacher can provide. You can always count on a teacher to be there for you.
“And in kindergarten, their brains are like little sponges,” she added. “Getting to see those ‘a-ha’ moments of understanding has me so excited to be a teacher.”
Finding a Home in Superior
Stalls is originally from Adrian, Michigan, where she was raised in a hard-working, blue-collar family. Her father, Jeff, worked for the BNSF railroad, and her mother, Cindy, worked at Wal-Mart. Stalls has three older sisters.
In order to afford one of the girls’ insulin medications, the family made the difficult decision to relocate to a less expensive area. Jeff received a job transfer to Superior, and the family moved in 2012.
Young Haley adapted quickly, and ultimately fell in love with Superior. “Ever since we moved, I never wanted to leave Wisconsin,” she noted. “Superior has become my official home.”
Upward Bound Guidance
In 8th grade, Stalls applied for Upward Bound, UW-Superior’s college preparatory program designed for first-generation, low-income students. As the first in her family to attend college, Stalls was grateful for Upward Bound’s helpful guidance.
“The program taught me things they don’t teach you in school, such as how to talk to a professor and how to fill out financial aid papers,” she noted.
After participating for four years, Stalls now serves as a tutor and mentor for the program. She also worked as a resident assistant for a time.
“Angie Hugdahl, the director of Upward Bound, likes to say, ‘You get out of Upward Bound what you put into it,’” Stalls shared. “And this is definitely true. It has been a life-changing program for me.”
On Campus Involvement
In addition to her coursework, where she currently maintains a 3.92 GPA, Stalls is involved in many other initiatives at UW-Superior. She is a student supervisor at UWS’ Educational Success Center. She is involved with the University’s annual Weekend of Welcome, and has served as a Jumpstart student leader.
She is a TRIO McNair Scholar. She is a former teacher education student assistant, and supplemental instruction leader. And she is also past president of the Future Teachers’ Association.
In her spare time, Stalls enjoys spending time with her animals. She and her boyfriend, Eathon Basinski, who works as a carpenter, have six pets: a dog, cat, three bearded dragons and a leopard gecko. Stalls also enjoys gardening.
Looking Toward The Future
Upon graduation, Stalls hopes to teach locally, but remains open to whatever life has in store. She also plans to continue her education.
“Once I graduate, I want to get a job in the classroom. After a few years, I plan to go to grad school,” she noted. “I want to study school psychology or something related to education and psychology. And later, I would love to get a doctorate in education.
“I try to dream big,” she added. “I know it takes time, and I will make it happen. I just love learning.”
Stalls has had a very positive experience at UW-Superior.
“My advisor, professors, and all the staff are just wonderful,” she said. “They’re all cheerleaders who just want to see us succeed.”
This care and concern has extended to her personal life, too.
“My bosses here on campus even attended my dad’s funeral in 2021, and continued checking in on me to make sure I was OK after his passing.
“This campus truly cares for who we are. Here, we are seen as a whole person, and not just a number.”