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Life in the Spotlight

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Theresa Buell


Theresa Buell is passionate about her career as a Special Education Teacher, serving students at Portage High School. She loves helping students find their path in life and watching as they follow their dreams.

“Connecting with students and getting to know them is my favorite part of the job,” Buell said. “I enjoy working alongside students and teachers to help make the material accessible for all.”

Buell grew up in Chesterton. After graduating, she attended Columbia University and earned a BFA in Advertising Art Direction. Shen, then, landed a job at an ad agency, but something did not click.

“It wasn’t for me,” Buell explained. “It felt heartless, so I took some time off and thought about teaching.”

Buell originally wanted to teach English at secondary level but was intrigued by special education. She attended Indiana University Northwest and took a few classes to measure her interest.

“After a week or two of special education classes, I knew it was for me,” Buell commented.

Buell completed a Master’s in Special Education and obtained a teaching license. She has taught for almost five years through Porter County Education Services. It is safe to say she has found her true calling.

“I have a caseload of students, and I stick with them for the 4 years that they are in high school,” Buell said. “I may not teach all of them, but I get to watch them grow and help them find resources. I help them become who they want to be.”

Even though Buell first pursued advertising, she was interested in education growing up. She credits some special teachers for sparking her interest. For Buell, her teachers demonstrated the power that a teacher can have and lit a fire in her heart for education.

“I had an English teacher who placed emphasis on being inclusive and fostering relationships with students,” Buell said. “Also, my art teacher, Mrs. Reneham, influenced my path for graphic art and helped me prepare to go back for teaching and inspired me to go in the field.”

Buell dedicates time to her students, even outside of normal school hours. She has an impressive array of school related activities, including: Academic Decathlon Coach, Super Bowl Fine Arts Coach, Academic Team Coordinator, and SSD Coordinator. Through these extra activities, she enjoys enriching the lives of students. When she is not on campus, you will catch her spending time with family and friends or with a knitting project in her hands.

Buell lives in Portage with her husband, Aaron, and two dogs: Darcy and Wesley. She is proud to be a member of the Portage community and is thankful to be involved in preparing students for life beyond high school.

“Portage has a very large special education program,” Buell said. “Those students are like everyone else and want to do something really great with their lives. They are going out in the community it’s great to be a part of that.”

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