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Welcome new teachers!

August 27, 2019
David Swartz - Managing Editor (dswartz@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Over this past summer, the Estherville News has reported on the changes in the Estherville Lincoln Central administration.

Those changes all came within the school system. For a quick recap, Frank Christenson is now middle school principal; Connie Humble is the new elementary principal at Demoney; and Shane Kalous is now the ELC activities director/assistant high school principal.

The middle school will have the most new faces this year with nine new teachers while Demoney has six new teachers and the high school has one.

Article Photos

Here is an introduction to the new teachers at the middle and high schools. The Estherville News will introduce the new elementary teachers in Thursday's edition.

Alex Oleson

Hometown: Terril

Education: Graettinger-Terril, Kirkwood Community College, University of Iowa

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 5th Grade Science

What do you like best about working with students?

My favorite thing about working with students is watching them discover content that they are passionate about. I love seeing the students make new discoveries and become excited about learning when they do.

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

I love that everyone has been so welcoming. Everyone I have met has welcomed me with open arms, and helped me out in any way they can. From school staff to community members everyone has made me feel at home here.

Bryson McCabe

Hometown: Spirit Lake, Iowa

Education: Montana State University

Please list family members: Spouse- Jenna McCabe and dog Wrigley

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 5th-8th grade Health/Fitness teacher and High school Health

What do you like best about working with students?

The thing I like best about working with students is seeing them meet goals they set for themselves. Some of these goals take years and some only take a couple days but being able to see the faces of the students once they meet their goals is something special.

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

The community and faculty members I will be working with have welcomed me with open arms. It is a very tight knit community that I am very excited to be apart of.

Christen Foster

Hometown: Hampton Iowa

Education: Bachelors degree from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.

Please list family members: Child of Heather and Chad Foster, Engaged to Grant Thomas, Owner of Blossom the Pekingese.

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 8th Grade Science

What do you like best about working with students?

What I enjoy most about working with eighth grade students is their ability to understand and continue to question. Students at this age want to know so much and in my classroom, I am not only promoting questions, but I get to witness the spark and the "ah-ha" moment when they find their answers.

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

I enjoy the community events and how students, families, and teachers are all in a community together and help to support one another. In other words, I appreciate that Estherville works well in uplifting each other.

Danielle Hart

Name: Danielle Hart

Hometown: Eldridge, Iowa

Education: University of Northern Iowa

Please list family members: Husband, Michael Hart. Father, Tony Phillips. Mother, Theresa Phillips. Sisters, Jessica and Bethany Phillips

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 7th Grade Science

Please answer the next two questions in complete sentences:

What do you like best about working with students? My favorite thing about working with students is helping create an environment in which they can enjoy learning.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? I am enjoying how close knit the community is here in Estherville.

Murray Gafkjen

Hometown: Columbia Heights, MN (Twin Cities)

Education: Augustana College SD,

University of Arizona (Tucson)

Please list family members: Wife Karol; Son- Samson; Daughters- Susannah, Nola

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: Middle school special needs teacher

What do you like best about working with students? The chance to be there when the student has the "a-Ha" moment, and things begin to make sense for them.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? Being one of the new kids on the block, everything seems so fresh and new, and I can't wait to see what is around the corner. After the first day I was asked if I was excited. I realized it was an overwhelming sense of curiosity for learning new names, places and ideas. In that process, everybody has been fantastically supportive.

Joan Enockson

Hometown: Laurens

Education: BA in Vocal Performance - Dordt College, AA in Administrative Assistant - Dordt College, BA in Secondary Education - University of South Dakota, MA in Vocal Performance - University of South Dakota, Endorsement in Talented and Gifted - Morningside College.

Please list family members: Husband - Sid Enockson, Sons - Lucas Van Holland, Ethan Van Holland (wife Avery), Step-Daughter - Nikole Bennett (husband Brian), 5 grandchildren.

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: Talented and Gifted Teacher

What do you like best about working with students? I love seeing their faces light up when they are excited about learning something new, and seeing the look of understanding when connections have been made.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? The staff has been extremely welcoming and supportive. I am impressed with the systems the District has in place for the success of all staff and students.

Mara Rhodes

Hometown: Nevada, Iowa

Education: Attended Nevada Community Schools from kindergarten through graduation. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Simpson College in 2019 with endorsements in Special Education, Reading, and Language Arts/English

Please list family members: Mark and Lynn Rhodes (mom and dad); Hattie Rhodes (sister)

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 8th Grade Special Education Teacher

What do you like best about working with students?

For me, the best part of working with students is the relationships you are able to create. I love getting to know my students and helping them improve in not only academic content areas, but also social skills, communication skills, and character.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? I love the staff and the energy. Everyone has been more than welcoming and helpful. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to start my teaching career with.

Meridith Spykerman

Hometown: Sanborn, Iowa

Education: Buena Vista University BA

Please list family members: Brett Spykeman, spouse and Markie Spykerman, daughter (27)

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 6th grade science

What do you like best about working with students? I love the "ah-ha" moments. I love to see the smiles on their faces when they succeed at a task.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? Having been in central Iowa for the past 20 years, I am really excited to be back in northwest Iowa. Everyone has been super friendly and welcoming.

Tamara Thompson

Hometown: Spirit Lake

Education: BA in Elementary Education with reading endorsement

Please list family members: Husband Ronald, Daughter Sage, Daughter Sara, Son Sawyer, Daughter Sicily, Dog Jasper, and Grandson Grayson.

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 8th grade Writing

What do you like best about working with students? What I like best about working with students is getting to know each and every student. I love the different personalities and the individual passions and interests that are unique to every student. I love helping them on their journey to becoming wonderful citizens of our community. They all have something valuable to contribute and I love the opportunities that I have to bring that out in each student.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? Estherville is such a homey and inviting place. Everyone is just wonderful here. The whole community has made me feel very welcome and appreciated already. It is also a beautiful place and a really awesome school. I have had an absolutely joyful experience so far in this school district.

Nicole Craig

Hometown: Altoona, IA

Education: B.S. in Agricultural Education

Please list family members: T.J. Craig (Cindy Lorius) and Sally (Jeff) Vetter, younger sister Sami and younger brother Mathew.

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: Agricultural Education and FFA Advisor

What do you like best about working with students?

It excites me that students are creative and think outside of the box when it comes to the world of agriculture. Also, I love seeing that "aha" moment when something clicks, especially on a task they find difficult.

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

Everyone I have met has been so kind and helpful to me.

Matt DeVries

Hometown: Sibley, IA

Education: BA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Master's in Education from Morningside

Please list family members: Wife - Sara DeVries

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: 2nd grade teacher

What do you like best about working with students? I love seeing them grow as students and learn. I love being a positive role-model for them.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? Everyone has been so friendly. I am excited to be part of Estherville-Lincoln Central!

Eleanor Witt

Hometown: Pella, IA

Education: K-12 in Pella Community Schools, Class of 2015. Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music Education from Central College in Pella, Class of 2019

Please list family members: Dad- Jon; Mom- Lori; Older sister- Emily (lives and works as an astrophysicist in Boulder, CO); Doggie- Molly (corgi)

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: TK-4 General Music Teacher at Demoney

What do you like best about working with students? My favorite thing about working with students is getting to know them and finding out what they love, then connecting what they love to what I'm trying to teach. It's a whole new level of watching the lightbulb light up in their brain when they understand on their own terms.

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

I like how welcoming everyone has been! Everyone is always so willing to help if I have questions or am not sure what to do! Also, I moved here the weekend of Sweet Corn Days and that was so much fun!

Sara West

Hometown: Graettinger

Education: BVU

Please list family members: Richard Brewer, Norah West, Warren Brewer

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: ELL Teacher

What do you like best about working with students? The feeling of seeing that lightbulb go on in there head when they finally understand something that they have been struggling with.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? I am really enjoying getting to know the staff and the relationships that they have built

Betsy Nusbaum

Hometown: State Center, Ia

Education: Elementary Education from Buena Vista University

Please list family members: Parents live in State Center; Brother lives in Sioux Falls

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: First Grade

What do you like best about working with students? The best thing about working with students is their curiosity, comments, and caring hearts.

What do you like about Estherville thus far? What I like about Estherville thus far is that the people have been nothing but helpful and welcoming.

Jana Ludwig

Hometown: Hinton, IA

Education: University of Northern Iowa- BA Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Please list family members: Bart- husband, Maddex- 6, Leo-4, Charlee-2, Beau- newborn 6 weeks

Position at Estherville Lincoln Central: Kindergarten teacher

What do you like best about working with students? I love the moment when students get that spark in their eye when they just learned or discovered something new!

What do you like about Estherville thus far?

Estherville is such a welcoming community; everyone was so friendly and personable when we moved here. Just after a year of being here our family feels so loved and supported!

 
 
 

 

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