Your Neighbor: Meet Andrea Marckel

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

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By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — With students and teachers settling into their routine after several weeks in school, Andrea Marckel is one of them that still gets excited at the promise of a new year.

“I love this time of year,” Marckel said. “I always knew as a kid that I wanted to be an educator and make a difference in children’s lives. Ironically, as a kid, I thought it would be the preschool age, but that evolved over time.”

Growing up just outside of Detroit, Marckel was enticed by the many educational programs that developed future teachers.

“I loved English and history and started to gravitate toward those subject matters the older I got,” Marckel said.

The active youth, who also found a love for sports, decided to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo for college.

“It was 2.5 hours away from home, and I felt like it was far enough to feel independence but also close enough that I could drive home,” Marckel said. “I also liked living on the western side of the state to try something different.”

While affirming her professional path, Marckel met her future husband, Justin, who was also an aspiring teacher and administrator.

“We met in college, but we didn’t hang out or spend much time together at first,” Marckel said. “However, when we started doing our student teaching, our mentors had thought we would make a good couple. They had successfully set up another couple and thought they saw the same potential with us. I didn’t say yes at first. But once I did, we started dating seriously.”

After Justin and Andrea graduated, they quickly realized that teaching opportunities were scarce because the programs in Michigan were graduating so many new teachers, and not enough positions were available.

“We decided that we would move to North Carolina because we thought it would be a nice place to live for a couple of years while we got some experience,” Marckel said. “And it was much better than the Michigan snow. Two years has now turned into 16 years.

“I immediately started teaching seventh-grade middle school at a Title I school for the first two years. The kids had a lot of needs, and I knew right away what you were doing was beneficial. That first group of kids are now adults, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them to this day.”

Since Marckel brought her passion to educate and impact other students, her principal asked her to join him when going to another middle school, Flat Rock.

“I got my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction when I started teaching there, too,” Marckel said.

After several years teaching at Flat Rock Middle, Marckel was asked by the principal of the Early College of Forsyth to consider a position there.

“The principal mentioned to my husband the opportunity and my considering it,” Marckel said. “I’m so glad that I did because it’s the best-kept secret in our area. You apply to attend there before the ninth grade. Once you begin, you get both a high school and two years of college coursework completed to earn an associate degree in arts and science. It came about through the Melinda Gates Foundation to target first-generation college students.”

Marckel has loved the smaller and individualized environment of the Early College of Forsyth.

“It’s just under 400 kids, and I feel like I know all of them because of the size,” Marckel said. “I’m teaching journalism and a freshman and junior seminar that teaches a lot of life skills that allow students to be successful. For instance, how to take notes to retain information and new subject matters and how to properly write a paper, including essays for college. It allows these students to get the foundation as freshmen and build on it as juniors in a supportive role.

“The students are so grateful for all of the support they are getting, too. We also provide so many different clubs to allow their interests to be developed and explored. Many of the ideas for the clubs were inspired and introduced by student’s ideas. If students want to play for a sports team, they can do so by participating with their local school.”

While inspiring others’ kids to learn to be the best version of themselves, Marckel acknowledges the difference in raising her own.

The Marckels are parents to Emerson, 10, Devin, 8, and Henry, 4.

“Raising your own children is totally different and terrifying,” Marckel said. “Emerson was born when my husband was an assistant principal, and that’s a very time-consuming job. Luckily, these kids have been raised amongst teachers and have such a wonderful community to support them. Many people are shocked that our emphasis really for them is to be good people, not always just what grade they bring home. With both girls playing soccer, gymnastics and taking music lessons, we really believe in raising well-rounded kids. Because at the end of the day, we want them to also make this world a better place, and that starts by being kind to others.”