Classes resumed in area schools this week, but Educational Outfitters continues to see plenty of clientele who suddenly realized they need last-minute school items.
Educational Outfitters also offers in-house tutoring by current teachers and retired principals.
They visit the store during personal conference times and lunch breaks, after school and on weekends, said Cindy Schoel who co-owns and operates the business with her husband, Randy.
Randy Schoel manages the warehouse, which stocks classroom and office furniture.
Typical patrons are new teachers who just finished college.
“Returning teachers ... also come by and shop to find materials that will help them rekindle ideas for the job ahead,” Cindy Schoel said.
The plethora of books, wall decorations, teaching aids and supplies caters not only to local teachers but provides resources for public and private schools from pre-k through early college, Schoel said. Educational Outfitters even attracts students from Bible schools and Central Texas College’s nursing program, as well as grandparents, parents and students in the tutoring classes.
“To send a message of credibility, we employ teachers only,” Schoel said. “They are either currently working in the teaching field or are retired from the classroom.”
During the last three weeks of summer, the business becomes a well-orchestrated circus, Schoel said. Managers train new teachers and guide them toward success.
One of Schoel’s employees remembered what it was like to be a first-year teacher, and created a simple supply list for Killeen ISD newcomers.
“Many of them don’t have a clue where to begin and are rather overwhelmed by their first teaching job,” Schoel said. “The list also includes how to focus their time and energies and make their first time in a classroom a successful one.”
The store is full of provisions that cater to every area of teaching, including reproducible books, noisy things for kinetic learners, computer software, foreign language, handwriting skills, flash cards and resource reference books.
Educational Outfitters has stood in three different locations during its 18 years in the area. It’s currently at 400 E. Central Texas Expressway.