In October, Starchman, who teaches music at St. Lawrence Catholic School in Monett, was selected as Teacher of the Month by EFCO, a Pella Company, and The Monett Times.
Starchman said she was inspired by her high school choir director Wayne Lawson to become a music teacher. During a voice lesson one day, Mr. Lawson told Starchman she should consider becoming an elementary music teacher.
"I was very intrigued, because I didn't know there was such a profession," said Starchman. "I didn't have a music teacher when I had been in elementary school. I thought about it and decided to give it a try. I never regretted that decision; elementary music is what I love to do."
Starchman earned her bachelor of science in education degree from Missouri Southern State University and began her teaching career in McDonald County. She taught kindergarten through eighth grade music at Anderson for six years before joining the Cassville faculty where she taught elementary music for 27 years.
Starchman, who also holds Orff Schwulwerk certification, now teaches kindergarten through sixth grade general and vocal music at St. Lawrence.
"I enjoy watching the children grow musically," said Starchman. "I always hope to instill in my students a joy of producing music, whether singing or playing instruments."
Currently, Starchman is busy preparing students for the annual Christmas program.
"What I enjoy most about teaching is seeing my students have an aesthetic experience --making that magical connection through the performance," Starchman said.
Outside of teaching, Starchman enjoys reading, attending concerts, doing crafts and spending time with family. She and her husband, John, have a son, John, who lives in Joplin and is the general manager of the Red Onion Cafe, and a daughter, Janelle Hurn, who has followed in her mother's footsteps and now teaches elementary music in Cassville.
Starchman is also very involved in church music activities. She directs the Chancel Choir and the Hand Bell Choir at the First United Methodist Church in Cassville. She also offers private piano and voice lessons out of her home in Cassville.
"This award has really touched my heart, because it was student driven," said Starchman. "I am truly honored that students nominated me for this award.
"There is no greater reward for a teacher than for a student to say you have made a difference in their life," added Starchman.
Starchman received a Teacher of the Month plaque and a $250 check from EFCO in honor of her achievement. She plans to use the money to purchase instruments for the St. Lawrence School's music classroom.
The Teacher of the Month program is sponsored by EFCO, a Pella Company, and The Monett Times. Any public or private school teacher who teaches kindergarten through 12th grade in Monett, Purdy, Verona, Pierce City or Freistatt is eligible for the award. Nominations can be made by students, parents or fellow educators.
To nominate a teacher for the award, email firstname.lastname@example.org.