Professor Willms believes students must be highly ‘engaged’ in order to learn effectively and you will often see students actively participating and engaging in activities or discussions while in her classes.
Prior to serving as assistant professor of education at Waldorf, Professor Willms was a classroom teacher for 15 years at the preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school levels; a curriculum coordinator for 3 years and an educational consultant at Northern Trails Area Education Agency (NTAEA) for 3 years. While consulting for NTAEA, she supported districts in the development of caring cultures and climates for learning. She worked with initiatives in Succes4, conflict resolution, restitution, applied control theory, assessment, math exemplars and early literacy. Sheila also taught facilitator’s training for Northern Trails Area Education Agency. Professor Willms continues to provide consulting services for districts, particularly in the areas of assessment,teacher mentoring, facilitation training, and behavior and discipline. Together with her partner, Robin Galloway, from Iowa State University, she has developed the Behavior and Discipline website used by School Administrators of Iowa (SAI).
While teaching at Waldorf University (since 2001), she has helped develop its new teacher training programs. Sheila has taught courses for Waldorf students in: behavior and discipline, assessment, methods (music, movement, art and drama), educational psychology, ethics and religious diversity and language development. Professor Willms has also supervised student teachers in the field and while serving as assistant professor at Waldorf. She has been nominated for “Professor of the Year” six times by Alpha Chi. She has also served as sponsor for the Waldorf Education Club (ISEA-SP) since 2003, receiving the “Sponsor of the Year” award from the Iowa State Education Association in 2005. She also represented ISEA-SP sponsors on the national writing team in Washington D.C. in 2006. Professor Willms is currently a member of the Iowa Association of College Teachers of Education (IACTE), and has served on the Assessment for Learning (AFL) Committee of that same organization, receiving the Iowa AFL training from Margaret Heritage.