AmeriCorps in Action

Tutor and career changer Sheila smiles while wearing her yellow program gear

From the MRI Room to the Classroom

Sometimes life hands us experiences that completely switch our paths. Sheila became an Early Learning Corps Tutor in Duluth after experiencing one of these events and decided to change careers after working in her field for 17 years.

After 10 years as an x-ray technician and then seven as an MRI technician, leaving healthcare wasn’t in Sheila’s long-term plan. But plans changed when she learned she had a brain tumor. 

Thankfully, Sheila fully recovered, but her relationship with the healthcare field shifted after undergoing treatment, and she needed a change. She also wanted to spend more time with her family. Early Learning Corps was the solution for her. 

“I just really wanted something different,” she explains. “I have two children. Having the same hours as them was super appealing. My husband started to travel for work, and it was getting kind of messy working shiftwork, so having their days off and being able to be here when they get off the bus was huge for us.” 

In 2019 Sheila traded the MRI room for the classroom, and she hasn’t looked back. “I love everything about it,” she says. “They exude so much love. I get hugs every day. They just think you’re this star in their life.” 

Early Literacy tutors join a prekindergarten classroom where they help provide extra support for developing early literacy and numeracy skills. That means talking, playing, reading, writing, singing. These activities not only help build skills but also promote a love of learning.   

“Whenever we come in from outside, we always sing the alphabet knowledge song, and I was helping a student get his jacket off, and I could hear them singing in the classroom without me!” she said. “It made me feel like what I’m doing is important in their little days.” 

Students in Duluth schools still need support! If you or someone you know are looking to change careers and are interested in becoming a tutor, visit 

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