Sheila Stuhlsatz, of La Center, Washington, died from cancer on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in the loving presence of her husband. Sheila was born on Dec. 9, 1959, in Long Beach, California, where she met and later married John, the love of her life and husband of 43 years, and received her training as a bilingual teacher at California State University, Long Beach. The family moved to La Center in 1994, where Sheila continued teaching and was very active in 4-H. Sheila is survived by her husband John, children Erin and Greta, grandchildren Warren and Adele as well as numerous siblings, niblings and cousins.
Sheila, nicknamed Maestra (teacher in Spanish), worked for 20 years in the Kalama School District as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She was a true exemplar of teaching excellence. Her life modeled this famous teaching quotation: A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others. Sheila didn’t just teach the Spanish language to her students. By using the beauty of the language, preparing Mexican and Latin meals, immersing students in cultural music, literature and art, she gave them opportunities to appreciate and embrace the wondrous diversity of the human experience. She did this by using best practices in teaching and a warm, nurturing teaching style that encouraged students to learn. She was recognized for her teaching excellence, earning certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 2013, she was named regional “Teacher of the Year.” Sheila was one of the nine finalists for Washington’s “Teacher of the Year,” and in 2023, she was a semifinalist for induction in the National Teachers Hall of Fame. She taught in the district long enough to teach the children of former students.
Sheila Stuhlsatz lit a candle of light and understanding in the lives and minds of hundreds of students, fellow teachers, her beloved family and her community. That light continues. A memorial was held on April 23, 2023 at Kalama Schools. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Sheila’s gofundme account at gofund.me/070f502d, which will be used to fund a scholarship in her name.