Mrs. Wheeler wraps up 18 years on the Hill

English teacher applied her business skills to her instruction


Ashlynn Bakemeyer

English teacher Mrs. Nancy Wheeler, who will retire at the end of the semester, says she looks forward to watching “Perry Mason” reruns, traveling with her husband and maybe doing some subbing on campus next year.

Leah Craver, Reporter

At the beginning of the next school year at least one teacher will not be back on campus. But with her departure, her impact will remain.

 English teacher Mrs. Nancy Wheeler said, “I am retiring, I’m going out on top.” Wheeler said she has taught for 18 years and wants to leave while she still enjoys teaching.

With all her new free time, Wheeler said, “My first thing is to sleep in, then just read.” She said, “You’ll probably see me as a sub once in a while.”

Even with all of her years of teaching, Wheeler started off with a different job.

She said, “I graduated from IU with an English degree, but not a teaching degree.” Wheeler said, “I spent 25 years in business and I was bored. I was an entrepreneur and I hated every moment of it.”

Wheeler then decided to enroll at the University of Indianapolis Master of Arts in Teaching program. She said, “(It allowed you to) get your teaching license and your masters (degree) at the same time. I was then placed (at Cathedral) to be a student teacher.”

Wheeler said, “When I got my teaching license I thought I would be teaching in (a) Washington Township middle school and then Mr. (Dick) Nuttall, my supervising teacher here, said no, you’re going to teach here.”

 “Next thing I knew they hired me to teach, and I had a semester off because I had graduated early in December. So, then (Nuttall) called (me asking if I) can come in (and) finish up (his) classes in May for the last month. I said sure. We were scheduled to meet but I had to cancel. Then, that afternoon I got a phone call he had died here in Loretto. And so I immediately was asked to take over his class, which I did and then I just stayed.” Wheeler said, “Every time I thought about leaving something happened telling me to stay. God wanted me to stay.”

It wasn’t just divine intervention that caused Wheeler to stay. It was also her students.

She said, “I teach the (college prep) seniors and freshman academic.” Wheeler said, “I can be pretty honest with a class here, and the kids are receptive.”

Wheeler said, “I remember the first time when a kid came down the hall and hugged (me). I thought, what is wrong with this person. It took me awhile to get used to that.”

Wheeler’s business background also has impacted her students. She said, “I know what businesses want which has been good for my teaching here. I know what businesses look for in writing. Which I think I have been good, especially with my seniors, in that area.”

One person who can attest to this is Wheeler’s former student, Michael Cohen ‘17. Cohen said, “Going back to a lot of those papers I had to write (in college) when they are accounting based, they are pretty difficult and require some research and some background knowledge.” He said Wheeler set up meetings with him and her daughter, a certified public accountant, during his time in college. Cohen said, “Having that background definitely helped.”

Cohen said, “I have actually stayed in touch with her all four years.” He said, “She is good (at) connecting with the students, getting to know you on a personal level and I felt like that just benefitted me as a student. Just having her always care for (me) always mattered to (me),” said Cohen.

Even with Wheeler leaving next year, she wants to still stay in touch with her students. She said, “I hope that someday I’m still remembered, somebody will come to the nursing home to see me. At least one person will come to my funeral and say something nice about me.”