Science teacher hits a high note in and out of classroom

North Penn High School teacher Shaleen Manning has many talents beyond just teaching


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Ms. Manning uses her voice to teach Biology and Botany, but she also uses it to sing.

TOWAMENCIN- “When I decided I wanted to go back to school and become a teacher, I chose to come back here because I wanted students who look like me to see that they could become whatever they wanted to be. I wanted to instill that in them,” explained North Penn Biology teacher Ms. Shaleen Manning.

After moving to the North Penn School District during her junior and senior years of high school, Manning had some trouble adapting to the huge school and abundant student population. But just in a couple months of being a Knight, Manning was surrounded by friendly faces while she finished her career at North Penn. After graduation, Manning attend Tuskegee University in Alabama, a HBCU (historically black college/university) where she majored in Biology.

“Believe it or not, I was terrified of dissection, so biology was really not my friend in highschool. But when I got to college it just interested me to learn more about the human body,” explained Manning as she reflected on her major at Tuskegee. It was around 6 years after graduating college when Manning realized she wanted to go back to school.

After surrounding herself with youth in her free time, whether it was tutoring or at church, she realized teaching would be the best career move for her. Manning went back to school and received her teaching certificate and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2003 she started subbing at North Penn after applying for jobs in the general area. Two years later, Manning got her own classroom and has been there ever since. Biology and Botany have been her two major subjects, and she teaches at the 4.0 and 5.0 levels.

When Manning is not in the classroom she still uses her voice, but it a totally different way.

“I started singing when I was 8 years old, and I sang all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I was in district choir and accepted into the regional chorus. I then sang in college as well. Now I am a semi professional singer,” reflected Manning. To this day she hasn’t left music for a note.

Manning is in the spotlight of her first production, Jesus Christ Superstar, from April 20th to May 5th. All of the lines in this production are musical, there are no spoken words. Now that she is no longer teaching summer school, Manning now has time to involve herself in more productions like this one.

Along with singing in productions, Manning has been very involved with her voice in her Church. Director of the Youth Choir and apart of the Praise Team are only some of the ways Manning incorporates music and religion together. Being apart of the Praise Team, she introduces songs to the community which will be sung that day, and also leads a small section where they lead out in song.

The first thing that comes to my mind is spiritual. Most of the things I do center around my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have always been spiritual, more now than when I was younger; I tried to be a little rebellious as a teenager”

— Ms. Shaleen Manning - NPHS Science Teacher

“The first thing that comes to my mind is spiritual. Most of the things I do center around my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have always been spiritual, more now than when I was younger; I tried to be a little rebellious as a teenager,” said Manning.

Ms. Manning is also involved with her own choir, and they are very successful.

“For the first few years of working here, I taught summer school. For the last few years I have been traveling with my choir, we go all over. This summer we are going to Italy which is going to be a really great time. We’ve also traveled to New Orleans and Memphis, we were nominated for Rhythm of Gospel award and we were also nominated of a Grammy. We put out a CD a couple years ago and that CD was nominated for a Grammy in the first round. We did not get passed the second round, but we did win two awards and traveled to receive the award and perform there too,” stated Manning with gratitude.

Juggling both her passions of teaching and singing can be a lot when there are only 24 hours in a day. A tight schedule with time set out to grade, lesson plan, and practice all help keep things on track. 

Manning has enjoyed great success in both teaching and singing, and is a great example of the importance of embracing passions in life. While it is easy for students to see teachers only in the context of a classroom, Manning’s life reflects the variety and depth that each staff member brings to the North Penn family.