At Hiawatha College Prep, scholars see a familiar face in their math class every day. More than a friendly helper, Shawn Regan brings his skills as a former math teacher to the classroom to make sure every scholar is reaching their full potential.

Shawn helps scholars with their toughest math challenges three hours per day, five days per week. Sometimes he works with a small group in the back of the classroom and other times he floats between individual scholars to make sure all their questions are answered.

He learned about Hiawatha Academies because he frequently drives past HLA – Northrop near Cedar Ave. and 46th St. He attended the inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new high school building in January, where he realized that Hiawatha’s values aligned with his. From that point forward, he was eager to get involved.

“I find so much joy in seeing that spark in a scholar’s eyes when she solves a particularly challenging puzzle,” Shawn said. Scholars and staff certainly teach him a lot in return. Whether he’s learning classroom management techniques from Assistant Principal Laura Schilling, who he describes as a role model; or learning more about scholars’ culture, families and personal challenges, Shawn knows that learning is a two-way street.

Before his career as a teacher, Shawn was a newspaper reporter, a manager at an insurance company and held other private-sector jobs. “My favorite thing to teach scholars is probability,” he said, pointing to its importance for college and career readiness. “I have used probability to guide decision-making in every career that I have had.”

Now that he is retired, he hopes to grow with Hiawatha, possibility tutoring scholars at the new high school. “I like to keep myself challenged, so high school math would be a good next step for me,” Shawn said, noting that he is especially excited about geometry.