Students have always been the focus for Shelley Aistrup.
As a classroom teacher, Aistrup looked to her students’ individual characteristics and found resources that helped them.
“When I began fourth grade,” writes a former student, “ I was becoming depressed and disenchanted with my educational experience. Dr. Aistrup displayed a great understanding of my needs as a student by giving me material that truly challenged and excited me.”
A classmate, the former student recalled, worked best while standing up.
“As this did not disrupt other students, Dr. Aistrup allowed him to stand and learn in the way that was most beneficial for him.”
As a building administrator for both Northview Elementary School and College Hill Preschool in Manhattan, Aistrup inspires teachers and staff to strive for excellence in themselves while remaining focused on their students.
“She guides and teaches through example,” writes a colleague. “She is an integral part of many committees at school and in the community, always showing that giving to the profession does not end at the classroom.”
Aistrup helps direct a before- and after-school program that serves more than 120 students from 7 to 8:15 a.m. and 3:35 to 6 p.m.
“The students participate in club-based activities that are focused on state standards and designed to raise student achievement,” Aistrup explained. “All students receive additional support to complete homework, increase reading comprehension and build math concepts.”
Aistrup’s belief in children’s future also drives her community service. She is an active member and past president of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club, an organization she chose because of its focus on serving the community’s youth.
“One of the phrases from the Optimist Creed is especially important to me,” said Aistrup. “‘To think only the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.’”
Aistrup’s optimism has brought success in projects to increase technology in the classrooms of her schools as well as the project of which she is most proud — creating a school library at College Hill Preschool.
A graduate of Maryville (Mo.) High School, Aistrup earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Fort Hays State University, a master’s degree in instructional systems technology from Indiana University in Bloomington and her Ed.D. in educational leadership from Kansas State University.