RVHS graduate, Shandra Bavier, has returned as school social worker

Troy Krause
Shandra Bavier is serving as a social worker for middle- and high-school students in the Redwood school district.

When Shandra Bavier graduated from Redwood Valley High School in 2004, she already knew what she wanted to do with her life.

“Going into the field of social work was a goal of mine since high school, because I had a desire to work with people, specifically children and families,” Bavier explained.

After beginning the pursuit of a college degree at the Moorhead campus of Minnesota State University, Bavier completed her education in social work at the Mankato campus of Minnesota State University. She earned that degree in 2008.

For the past decade, Bavier has been utilizing that degree as a social worker for Redwood County Human Services and Southwest Health and Human Services.

In that social work role she served in a variety of areas, including child protection, children’s mental health case management, permanency, forensic interviewing and children’s centralized intake.

When the 2020-21 school year began, Bavier made a career change. She is now serving as a social worker for students in the Redwood Area School District. 

“I am currently serving students in fifth-12th grades as I am a school social worker for the middle school and high school,” Bavier explained. “I have always known I wanted to work with children and youth. While I was attending college, I completed an internship at North Intermediate Middle School in St. Peter and truly loved the school setting, and I personally set a future career goal of becoming a school social worker.”

Bavier said she feels social workers deeply care about helping people implement changes to help better themselves or their environment.

“Social workers truly are an advocate and a voice for others and for that person’s specific need(s). I believe in the role of a social worker, so I knew it was a career I wanted to pursue,” added Bavier.

Bavier’s role as a social worker has many facets, but due to COVID-19 and with the implementation of the parameters, she feels very fortunate she is actually able to meet with students and begin fostering relationships.

“As a school social worker I not only meet with students to help them with emotional, developmental and educational needs, but also act as a link for school, home and community for students,” Bavier explained. “My goal is to support students in their individual needs and offer guidance in meeting their educational and life goals while attending Redwood Valley Middle and High School.”

This is Bavier’s first time working in a school setting.

Looking back, Bavier said there was a school counselor who had a positive impact on her.

“Barb Sellevold was a great influence on me while I was in school. She always offered myself and other students support in finding ourselves and where our paths may lead us,” explained Bavier. “I feel that her role within the RASD impacted me and showed me that we need to help students find ways to solve problems they are facing and use resources available to them or provide them information on resources available they may not have known about.”

Bavier’s maternal grandparents were both strong believers in education, and both of them worked in a school setting. Her grandpa, Carl Peterson, was a former superintendent of schools in Belview for many years, and her grandma, Lucille Peterson, taught a specific secretarial-geared class also at Belview.

“I really enjoy being a part of this community and believe the school district is doing great things for the students,” added Bavier.

For Bavier, the school year has been great so far.

“Meeting with students and building relationships with them has been amazing and affirms why I wanted to work in the school setting. The teachers and staff at RASD have a passion for helping students in their academic success and have positively supported me with my transition to the school setting," indicated Bavier.

Bavier resides in Redwood Falls with her significant other and two children. She has a daughter, Kataleya, who is seven years old and in second grade at Reede Gray Elementary School and a son, Krew, who is 18 months.

Outside of school, Bavier enjoys spending time in the community going on walks, enjoying Ramsey Park, biking, spending time with family and friends, boating, water activities and spending time at the family’s cabin near Alexandria.