Paraeducator: What is the Job Like?

Paraeducator: What is the Job Like?
Posted on 04/09/2023
Paras Yelle & Pepelis

Once a banker, Kelly Yelle is now a 17-year veteran paraeducator at Center Woods Elementary School.  What began as a volunteer job in the preschool when her children were little, has turned into a lifelong passion. “One day a long time ago, someone said to me, 'we need paras, you could get paid to be here,'  so I said yes,” said Yelle.

Kelly always thought when her kids left CWES, that she would leave, but the schedule still matched her needs to get her kids to after-school activities and sports. When they got to high school, she found the schedule was still perfect because she could get to their games. 

“Well, now they are out of college, and I’m still here!  I love the age group I work with, and I love the people I work with--they are all like family and friends,”  she continued.

Kelly starts at 8:10 am by greeting students and sharing a compliment to start their day then she’s off to morning meeting and group activities and centers (literacy in the am for an hour and math for an hour in the afternoon) in small groups alongside classroom teacher Sean Ward. 

“The fast-paced days where no two days are the same are a major draw for me, as well as all the stories from the children make me smile,” she said.

A native of Weare, Austin Pepelis is in his second year as a paraeducator at the Weare Middle School.  Following graduation from John Stark, he left Weare and worked for Burton Snowboards for close to ten years. “I was living in Burlington, Vt, and had the urge to come back home and to my family,” said Pepelis

Once home, he decided to check out working as a paraeducator. His mom, a former substitute teacher in the Weare District, had told him how she had enjoyed working in schools. 

“It’s all about the journey and, for me, about doing something more enjoyable than sitting at a computer.  As a paraeducator, every day is different. You’re in the same place and kind of doing the same thing, but every day is fresh, exciting, and new,” said Pepelis. “We all have so much more in common with others than we think. Kids have different perspectives than adults. Kids are really honest and they have no filters. Every day at WMS puts a smile on my face,” he concluded.

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  • Center Woods Elementary School
  • James Faulkner Elementary School
  • Henniker Community School
  • John Stark Regional High School
  • Weare Middle School
  • SAU 24