By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford Community School’s 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year will retire at the end of the school year. Joining the district in 1993, Peggy Mueller taught music to young Wildcats for 27 years.
Over those years, The Leader often featured her Oxford Elementary and Clear Lake Super Singers, holiday sing-alongs and concerts for residents of Hope Senior Apartments. In 2006, she helped Clear Lake students write an official school song.
Mueller loved working with students the most. Teaching at the elementary level allowed her to work with students throughout their entire elementary education. “I love watching children develop their confidence and come into their own as they mature,” she said. “My position also afforded me the opportunity to teach entire families, although I must admit that I would sometimes confuse the sibling’s names!”
The district shared some anonymous quotes from her Teacher of the Year nominations:
“She has made a difference in our world and will always be remembered for the light and joy and fun that she creates and inspired. It is undeniable the legacy she has left on our school and on our hearts.”
Another said, “Peggy is a gift! Full of spirit. Full of life. Full of love. She is kind, fair, and unafraid to speak up. She has formed caring, loving relationships with her students and invented memorable performances that have paved futures for many.”
The biggest lesson she has learned is that we are all lifelong learners. “As I reflect back on my career, I know that I have grown as a teacher. I learn something new each day from a number of ‘teachers’ including my failures, successes, administrators, colleagues, students and families. I love the fact that we all have the opportunity to learn and grow every day, personally and professionally.”
That attitude might have been her secret to success. “Organizing 5 or 6 classes of students for grade-level music practices and performances is no small feat,” another nomination said, “but being able to do it with grace, passion, creativity, and patience is truly magic. It is magic the way she can take shy students, or students with stage fright and create opportunities and inspire them to perform in front of their peers, the entire school, or the public.”
Mueller feels blessed to have worked for Oxford Community Schools. “They have continuously supported the Arts through some very difficult times,” she said. “I have no concerns in regard to our future! I work with and for wonderful people, including students and their families, and know that our future has great things in store for us!”