Lindsey Conardy knows what it means to teach on multiple levels.
As an eighth grade math teacher in the Sedalia School District 200 this year, she has returned to her alma mater to become the head volleyball coach at Smithton.
“I started out teaching in a small school district 12 years ago,” Conardy said. “I was the only math teacher in the junior high so I had all the students and when they had me as a teacher in eighth grade they knew what I expected of them.
“Here even though I have 115 students each day, I still don’t have all of the eighth graders and I still don’t know all of their names, but that will come after a few more classes,” she added with a smile. “This is my fifth year in the district and I like teaching here a lot.”
Teaching is something Conardy originally did not realize she had a passion for. After graduating from Lindenwood University, Conardy’s degree was in finance.
“I got my degree in business/finance and I began work for a billing company in St. Louis,” Conardy said. “I made a lot of money, but I hated it.
“I had a little cubicle, and little interaction with people,” she added. “I hated the drive and really just about everything I was doing that was work related.”
An adviser at Missouri Baptist told Conardy about a shortage of math teachers in the state and helped Conardy land on the fast track toward her teaching degree.
Coaching fell into her lap, according to Conardy.
As a member of the Smithton High School volleyball team that finished second in the 1997 state tournament, Conardy knew many aspects of the game. A scholarship athlete at Lindenwood, it was there that her knowledge of the game developed more.
“I learned about the game playing in high school and college, but it was the first coach (Laura Helwig) I worked with when I started teaching who I learned so much more from in terms of the game and how to really explain it,” Conardy said. “It was a memorable experience when we went to state my senior year in high school but that is not how I define my volleyball career.”
Conardy was an assistant to Helwig for six years before she and her husband and their twin boys left Crystal City and returned to Sedalia.
“My husband was transferred with his work and it was hard to leave,” Conardy said. “I stayed at home six months with our boys when I heard about the teaching position in Sedalia.
“During my second year of teaching here a coaching position became available, but my boys were only one and a half and it just wasn’t time to get back into it,” she added. “When I heard about the opening at Smithton in January it made me realize how much I truly missed coaching.”
Conardy commented that one of the things she wanted to do was help her players learn and understand all aspects of the game.
“I’m very proud of my girls and their desire to work,” Conardy said. “It’s very early in the season and we are young but they have been working incredibly hard on developing and building their skills.
“One year isn’t enough to turn a program around and there has to be consistency,” she added. “I hope the girls know I am committed to them and I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
In the last decade, the volleyball program at Smithton has seen six head coaches, not including Conardy.
“The Kaysinger Conference is not an easy conference to win in volleyball because there are a number of very capable, talented teams,” Conardy said. “We go through waves in the conference and we have to work with what we have.
“I really think we could be in the top three in the conference with the talent and desire that the girls have,” she said. “I can see the fire in their eyes and that is good because I think one thing the girls really want is to be pushed to get better.”
Conardy added that her level of intensity is an area of her coaching she plans to focus on.
“I think sometimes I need to soften the intensity and passion I have for the game,” Conardy said. “Winning is always nice but that isn’t what our focus is — it’s about learning and becoming better with each game.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.