During a Friday afternoon lesson, art teacher Meghan Fisher is helping Standing Bear Elementary students finish up a sculpting project. “I literally choose to work every day. The pain is there, every day. As long as I can understand that the pain isn't physically damaging me, I push through, and I love what I do,” says Fisher.
Fisher is a proud product of the Omaha Public Schools district. Her story is one of courage, determination and passion. Life as a kid meant moving frequently. She grew up in poverty but never felt that would stop her. She was homeschooled and also attended Dodge, Lothrop, and Spring Lake elementary schools, Morton Magnet Middle School and graduated from Northwest High School in 2002. Fisher believed as long as she stayed in school, worked hard and kept her grades up, her future would be better.
Fisher made a decision early on that she wanted to be a teacher and specialize in art. She credits her elementary art teacher but her grandmother was her biggest inspiration. “She told me I could do anything. I’d draw her pictures and mail her letters. She kept a collection of my work and that made me feel good about myself,” says Fisher.
In the fall 2002 with the help of scholarships, Fisher began her studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha but life threw her an unexpected curve ball. In 2009, doctors tested her for lymphoma. The tests were negative but something else was wrong. Fisher was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, and fibromyalgia, a disorder that causes chronic muscle pain. The worst and most disabling part of her condition is extreme fatigue and weakness, not to mention a series of medications she must take with unnerving side effects. This wouldn’t stop Fisher. Shortly after her diagnosis, Fisher began student teaching at Monroe Middle School and Skinner Magnet Elementary. She then graduated from UNO with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art with a concentration in painting. Ever since, Fisher has dedicated her energy to teaching.
She was hired to work for Omaha Public Schools in 2010. As Fischer pursued her career, her desire for teaching grew. “The students gave me energy, their enthusiasm and love for art was contagious,” says Fisher. She’s taught at Boyd and Benson West Elementary schools. Today, Fisher is an art teacher at Standing Bear Elementary. Some days Fisher hobbles in and out due to chronic muscle pain. It’s a daily reminder of her battle against Sjogren’s Syndrome and fibromyalgia but her passion for teaching art overpowers her pain. “The students, they give me energy. They give me 110 percent it sucks me in. They’re so excited, eager and enthusiastic,” says Fisher.
In 2015, Fisher had to take medical leave but her faith, passion for students and profession are a driving force. She’s now pursuing her master’s in art education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. “It's hard to put into words the effect is has on me - the privilege to work with over 500 youth every week in a diverse and urban district is amazing,” Fisher said. Her hope is to inspire others to overcome obstacles in their lives and this is what drives her to teach.
Meghan Fisher is one of many dedicated teacher’s in the Omaha Public Schools district. As part of our #OPSProud and #OurStory campaign, we are celebrating our OPS teachers and staff. We salute Meghan Fisher. What teacher or staff member do you think deserves recognition? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org