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Erin Snellgrove

Erin Snellgrove was born to serve others. A teacher, coach, athlete, baker, mother, wife and friend to many, she grew up in Ohio but has spent the last 15 years in Murfreesboro where she has served the community in many ways — and had fun doing so.

“But on a deeper level, I do feel like we are called to share our gifts with others,” said Snellgrove, who teaches fifth grade at Barfield Elementary. “I’ve found that we fail more often than not when trying to live a Christ-like life. While I will trip up from time to time, I do believe that giving is better than receiving. More love and sacrifice can never be a bad thing, whether that’s in dealing with family, friends, colleagues, or even strangers.”

Born in St. Louis, Snellgrove was actually raised in a big (extended) family in a small hamlet in Ohio. A three-sport high school athlete, she used volleyball and softball scholarships to pay for her higher education, which she received at Malone College in Canton, Ohio. During her senior year, she met her husband and eventually they moved to Murfreesboro where they are now raising their two sons, ages 10 and four.

In addition to giving her students her best in the classroom, Snellgrove pursues a number of other passions with her remaining hours each day.

“I’m dedicated to keeping my mind and body healthy, capable, and strong,” she said. Healthy living is a priority for Snellgrove, and for the past decade her family has enjoyed a plant-based diet. Having said that, she also has a sweet tooth and loves baking, which has become an outlet for her creative impulses. Her hobby has even blossomed into a little business called Ode to Joy Baking.

“I was raised in a loving Christian family, and try to display Christ-like qualities in my own life,” she said. “But like with my training and baking, there is always room to grow.” Snellgrove loves seeing people she’s helped excel, whether it’s a student mastering a concept they thought they’d never understand or someone she’s trained reach a goal.

“I love it when someone I’ve coached thanks me for motivating them to hit a training goal,” she said. “I feel like I won, too, in a strange way.”

Snellgrove developed her passion for teaching at a young age; her mother was a teacher as were several of her other relatives.

“When I was growing up in Northeast Ohio, teachers were looked up to in the community, respected, and many of my teachers had an impact in shaping my life,” she said. “I wanted to provide that same inspiration and direction to the next generation.”

As an athlete her entire life, Snellgrove learned early on, through sports, a universal truth that hard work and dedication are key factors in terms of achieving goals.

“You may beat me, but you won’t out work me,” she said. Another driving principle that guides her in life is kindness. Snellgrove has been blessed to have mentors throughout each phase of her life, but one of the most incredible influences to her, even beyond her passing, was her Grandma Strebler.

“She lived a truly sacrificial life,” Snellgrove said. “She never met a stranger and welcomed all into her home. She made everybody feel like somebody and brought joy wherever she went …

She served for the sake of nothing more than showing people love.” Having learned the importance of serving others at an early age, it’s no wonder Snellgrove is so giving toward her own community.

She feels lucky that her career in education allows her not only to serve the community in a professional manner, but also provides a platform that allows her to help beyond the classroom.

“Our family has run across many wonderful people dedicating their lives to helping the most vulnerable in our community, and we actively listen for their calls for help and jump when we hear them,” she said. “I’ve also found being a part of the Junior League has opened up other ways to serve.”

As she looks back on life, Snellgrove says it took her time to develop into the wise woman she is today. She encourages young professionals starting out in life to take risks and not be afraid to fail.

 “I spent too much of my life trying too hard to be perfect,” she said. “You never know what you can accomplish unless you are willing to put yourself out there.”

Reflecting on the honor she’s earned as being called a woman of inspiration in Murfreesboro, Snellgrove is honored to share the distinction with so many worthy women.

“I’ve met many amazing and inspirational women in my 15 years here … I see myself more as a representative of this community of strong, capable, inspirational women,” she said.

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