Deb Wensel reflects on career as Kane teacher

Deb Wensel literally followed in her husband’s footsteps when she began her Kane teaching career in 1984.Craig Wensel’s shift to the high school that year left an opening for a math teacher at the middle school. His wife, Deb gave up her post-college role as a “stay-at-home mom” to fill the vacancy.“I inherited his job,” Wensel joked as she reflected on a 28-year teaching career that will end in the three weeks with her retirement.The Wensels are both St. Marys natives, but they didn’t meet until their college days at Edinboro University. They married in 1972—the same year Craig began his teaching career in Kane. He retired 10 years ago as a high school math teacher and head football coach.“We’re a family of educators,” Deb said.The Wensels have one daughter—Michele “Shelly” Smith of Kane—who currently is a long-term substitute teacher at Kane High School. Smith’s husband, Nathan, is a Kane High School math teacher and is the school’s golf coach.The Wensels have two sons—Rick of Kane, who is employed at Kane Hardwood, and Jason, also of Kane, who is a product engineer for Metaldyne in Ridgway. Jason’s wife—the former Christa Jamerson of Kane—is a Spanish teacher at St. Marys High School.The Wensels have five grandchildren with a sixth “on the way this summer,” Deb said.Teaching school has been Wensel’s ambition since she was in the third grade.“I love coming to work,” Wensel said. “I’m so grateful for the career I’ve had. I can’t imagine a better job.”Over the years, Wensel said she has seen a “change in clothing” worn by her students. But the student personalities “are still the same” now as they were when she began teaching 28 years ago, she said.“Middle school is a hard time with the many physical and emotional changes for students,” Wensel said.Although several middle school students are facing difficult situations in their personal lives, Wensel believes “most kids are excited to be here and learn.”She said she often thinks about the “kids who make you smile every day” at school.But she also has thoughts about the “kids who aren’t as motivated to learn and study” math courses such as Algebra.See full article by purchasing the May 19 edition of The Kane Republican.