Former Navy man joins math department

Alexandria Schulz
Contributing Writer

Schultz_Math teacher
New math teacher Michael Siebels is eager to share his knowledge from previous experiences with his students. “Math touches basically everything; it’s all around us,” Siebels said. Photo from Michael Siebels

Over 20 years ago, math teacher Michael Siebels joined the Navy because he did not feel ready for college. Today, he helps teach other people how to be successful throughout their high school and college careers.

Siebels joined the Navy at age 18. His grandfather who was also in the Navy inspired this decision. For 20 years he was stationed in different parts of the globe, including Italy and many states up and down the east coast.

Siebels has traveled all over the world, but his favorite place that he traveled during his military career was Sicily where he lived for two years in his early 20s. He ended up being stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and decided he was ready to get his education. He started attending classes at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, while he was still in the Navy.

After attending Old Dominion University, he earned his master’s in education. Shortly after he started working at Fort Zumwalt West.

“If there’s a job worth doing, it should be done right,” Siebels said.

Teaching provided stability for him that the Navy couldn’t. He was in war almost the entire time he was in the Navy which led to an unpredictable job and an inconsistent life.

After working at Fort Zumwalt West, he found what he was truly looking for in teaching. He wanted a diverse environment that is inclusive to everyone and he felt that Webster provided that. Siebels likes the fact that there can be open conversations at Webster and feels as if this was what he was seeking.

Siebels teaches Algebra I and II and wants his students to know, “Through hard work and perseverance, everyone can be successful.” He added success comes through failure. “You can learn from what mistakes you make so you can prevent them in the future to get better,” Siebels said.

Siebels’ students believe he is a devoted teacher who wants to help his students.

“He is nice. I like the way he teaches. He makes sure everyone understands,” freshman Grace Walkenbach said.

Freshman Dayton Stahl agreed, “He explains everything very well, and if you don’t understand he will help you out,”

Siebels is happy to be in the Webster Groves School District. He is happy that it is such a warm welcoming place, especially for teachers. Webster is different from Fort Zumwalt West in many ways. He said Webster is much more diverse and is open to having the tough conversations Fort Zumwalt West did not provide for students or staff.

Siebels is not involved in any outside activities yet but coached golf and basketball at his last school, so may consider getting involved later on. For now, though he is getting settled in and learning the new ways Webster teaches and works.

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