CU profs build life together

Photo courtesy of Andrew Wilson.
The Wilson family smiles on a sunny afternoon.

Stephanie Wilson sits in her office by her computer. Her husband, Andrew Wilson, sits across from her on the other side of the desk. It’s his office as well. The two joke around, taking jabs at each other and rolling their eyes, but each time it always ends with a laugh or a smile.

Both are part-time faculty at Castleton University, sharing an office and teaching in the same department. The couple has been married for 21 years, also owning and running a business together for the same amount of time.

Teaching was just another thing they said yes to, and in 2003, they took on the challenge for the first time.

“I think a lot of our success, either between WestView or Castleton or whatever it is, is that we’re not afraid to say, ‘yeah, I can do that,’” said Andrew.

“That’s our philosophy in life,” Stephanie said in response to her husband. “’I’ll do it!’ Or, ‘We’ll do it!’”

It was then when the Wilsons had to balance three important endeavors in their lives together:  family, a business, and teaching.

Where it all started

It was 1998 when Andrew and Stephanie Wilson tied the knot.

At the time, they both had the comfort of full-time jobs. Andrew was working for David Giancola at a video production company, and when Giancola began focusing on movie production, the Wilsons made a big decision.

Andrew was editing long hours each day, and the two decided they wanted to take what Giancola had left behind when he turned to movies.

The Wilsons created WestView Digital, a community-based video production company that films TV commcerials, marketing videos, and other types of video for their clients. They left their day jobs to take the risk of becoming self-employed business owners.

“We didn’t have children to support, but we had to spot a house, so it was scary to say the least,” Stephanie said.

Fast forward five years.

The couple had welcomed their first child, Steven, a couple years back. They also now have a daughter, Katherine, who was born just a few years ago.

At this point, Andrew was on an advisory board with Castleton Professor Bob Gershon at Stafford Technical Center. Stephanie had Gershon as a professor when she was a student at Castleton.

When Stephanie had run across for an advertisement from Gershon to teach a broadcast performance class, she took interest.

“I thought, ‘well I coach people all the time, clients and people that we’re working with on shoots, I could probably do this,’” she said.

Castleton was also looking for a part-time professor to teach an introductory course on computing arts and humanities.

Andrew took that one.

“We both ended up with our feet in the door,” Stephanie said. The couple began teaching part-time in the same semester at the same college, beginning a new challenge in their life.

Gershon, who is now a retired professor, spoke highly of both of them.

“While I think both Steph and Andrew were equally wonderful, I kinda hate to lump them together. Each was one of our best faculty and each routinely went out of their way to help their students,” he said.

Gershon mentioned how although they were both only part-time faculty, they would each go above and beyond for their students. They also went above and beyond at Castleton, continuing to pick up classes as needed.

Stephanie covered for former professor Roy Vestrich when he went on sabbatical, and Andrew covered Gershon’s video courses when he had an eye surgery.

“I was kinda afraid to come back for fear students would be disappointed to have me instead of him,” Gershon said of Andrew.

By then, the Wilsons had established themselves in the communication department at Castleton. Sixteen years later, they’re both still here, teaching whatever courses they can.

A Couple in Communication

After 21 years of marriage and owning a business, plus 16 years of teaching, the Wilsons truly reflect the idea that marriage is two lives becoming one.

“We’ve structured our entire lives around having more time together,” Stephanie said. Both Andrew and Stephanie agreed that it has not been easy. However, they make it work.

“I feel like I could devote more time to either one,” Andrew said of trying to balance all three. “There’s always something to do.”

Stephanie agreed with him.

“Balance doesn’t really exist. You’re always doing a little better in one area and dropping the ball over here,” she said.

Although it hasn’t been easy, Stephanie mentioned how the two are always helping each other out. Collaboration is important.

Whether it’s Stephanie checking for edits on one of Andrew’s video projects, or the two of them talking about how to be better teachers, or even working together to help students, the couple is always trying to bounce ideas off of each other to improve.

Students who have been in both of their classes may see this in their tradition of asking a question during attendance. Both of the Wilsons try to make this a regular thing in all of their classes, although Andrew admits he did not come up with that idea.

“I stole that from her,” he said. “Her questions are usually better than mine.”

The two joked about how students are sometimes surprised to learn that the two of them are married.

“They have a class with both of us and say, ‘oh, he’s your husband?’ And then they start to tell me things about him,” Stephanie said.

“I usually get the, ‘I took your class because I like Stephanie so much.’ Then I’m like, ‘well, then you’ve got a lot to learn, that was your first mistake,” Andrew said with a laugh.

Auburn Sendra has taken classes with both professors.

“I feel like I’m their kid honestly,” she said. “It allows us to have a connection with them, like when one of them talks about the other, I know who they’re talking about and I love that.”

Sendra has taken many classes with Andrew, and she even dressed as him for Halloween. Although he was not on campus to see the outfit in-person, Stephanie thought it was accurate.

But what it all comes down to is happiness. Stephanie and Andrew have made their lives together work. They both love their students and their family, and both are certainly happy.

“I still get excited when he walks through the door,” Stephanie said.

She said she once told her son, “Your dad and I still love to talk to each other, we love to hang out in a room together, even if we just go to Aldi together and do some shopping.”

Later on, Andrew said to his wife with a laugh, “I’m not sick of you yet.”

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