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SpEd Spotlight: Diverse Paths, Shared Dedication - The Paraprofessionals of SSHS

SpEd Spotlight: Diverse Paths, Shared Dedication - The Paraprofessionals of SSHS

Carrie Hall and Jenna Muhme are both paraprofessionals at Steamboat Springs High School. 

While they have the same job title, Hall and Muhme bring different experiences to the classroom. Hall is a veteran teacher and paraprofessional who has been at SSHS for 12 years and is retiring in December. Muhme joined the SSHS paraprofessional team in August. 

Hall and Muhme’s resumes may look different, but both paraprofessionals provide exceptional support to students needing individualized support to reach their full potential. 

Muhme is a former SSHS student, and her oldest son, who just graduated from SSHS, inspired her to return to her alma mater for a job. She originally applied for the campus supervisor position. However, Jay Hamric, SSHS principal, approached her about being a paraprofessional.

“He knows how much I love being around and working with kids,” Muhme said. 

Before becoming a paraprofessional, Muhme spent the last four years managing an auto shop in Steamboat Springs and has always put being a mom over her career. Now, she spends her days working with the significant support needs (SSN) students, who also have a lot of energy. Muhme loves her job because each kid is unique and fun. She said they teach her as much, if not more than she teaches them. 

“It suits me because I cannot sit still,” Muhme said. 

To be a paraprofessional, Muhme emphasizes the importance of being patient, open-minded, and laid-back. Sometimes, the kids don’t have the words to express themselves. Patience is crucial in deciphering what they are trying to say. 

She has recently started utilizing the kitchen in the SSN classroom and bakes with the students each week. The activity is a great way to provide an opportunity to practice life skills with the students while also enjoying delicious treats. 


Jay Hamric (right), SSHS principal, and Carley Bender (right) enjoy freshly baked treats at SSHS.



Jackson Johnson (left), Lola Kovach (center), and Jenna Muhme (right) work together to serve homemade sweet treats at SSHS.


“This is by far one of the best jobs I have ever had,” said Muhme. “I have a blast every day. These kids are awesome.” 

While Muhme is new to the classroom, Hall has made her career out of being an educator. She taught for 15 years in Michigan, and when she moved to Colorado, she decided to take a paraprofessional position, working for three years in Summit County and 12 years in Steamboat. 

The opportunity to make a difference in kids' lives keeps her coming back each year. Hall finds it fulfilling to help special education students navigate more challenging classes and watch them succeed in their goals. 

She primarily assists students with Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE), a program that helps students achieve goals outlined in their Individualized Education Program or IEP. The plans can range from recognizing signs within the community, writing their name and address, or simple addition and subtraction. Hall loads the goals into the program, providing different exercises to help students develop these various skills. Hall works with students for 15-20 minutes at a time and then takes a break to do what the student needs to unwind. She says doing these weekly exercises is essential to help retain the skills. 

“You must be flexible to do this job,” said Hall. “You might know what your day will be like, but it often isn’t the case. It’s all about the kids you are with and what is going on in their life.”

Hall is retiring in December and thoroughly enjoyed her years in education. According to Hall, being a paraprofessional is a good position for retired people who want to give back to the community, stay-at-home parents who want to work a few days a week, or recent high school graduates who are exploring career opportunities. 

“I hope people give it a shot,” said Hall. “You would make a huge difference in the lives of your fellow paraprofessionals and the lives of the students you are working with.” 

SSSD is hiring paraprofessionals to support our students. For more information and to apply, visit SSSD’s website

About Steamboat SEAC: The Steamboat Springs Special Education Advisory Committee is a representational committee made up of parents, educators, and community members working together to improve outcomes for special education students.