All posts by goldstar

Stacey Yoder, Holmes Jr. High

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 7th & 9th Grade Math Teacher

Years Teaching: 19 years

Hobbies/Interests: Actively spending time with my family. Coaching my boys in soccer for the fall and spring season. Working out, being outside, family trips, and reading.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? What I enjoy about teaching is that I have an opportunity every day to help my students learn, grow, and mature to the greatest extent possible. I enjoy seeing them expand on their understanding of math concepts, but I also thrive on watching them grow as respectful human beings. Collaborating with my colleagues is an important part of why I enjoy teaching as well. Being able to share teaching strategies is a benefit for all students! Finally, the relationships I get to develop with my students and colleagues are priceless. Allowing time in the day to talk about life is so important and I cherish those moments of my teaching days.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? I believe the most challenging aspect of teaching is time. It seems you are always up against the clock to get lesson plans done and papers check or reteaching students who may not have understood the lesson the first time. There is always something on your plate to do, but never enough time in a day to get all the items checked off the list!

Best tip for new teachers: Take one day at a time! You can plan for the entire year, but you have to take one day at a time or you will burn yourself out. This profession is very rewarding, however, it can also take away valuable time from your personal life if you allow it.

Best tip for career teachers: Remember why you wanted to be a teacher. Remind yourself monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly if you have to! Lean on your colleagues because they are there to support you and assist you. Lastly, smile. Don’t forget to smile at your students who do enjoy you as a teacher! A smile will brighten up your classroom!

Favorite piece of advice for students: Embrace knowledge! When you get out of bed to go to school, find one thing you look forward to that day…just one. You will be amazed how quickly your mindset will shift to a positive one when you have one thing to look forward to. Teachers have expectations for you, so you should have expectations for yourself. Knowledge is POWER! Set goals and then go and achieve those goals! “Don’t dim your light so others have to squint!” ~Unknown

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: Being a Gold Star Teacher means I’ve been nominated by incredible students and parents who see all of the hard work and time I put into my preparation to teach my students every day. My passion is to teach, so to be recognized for my passion is extremely heartwarming. This is truly an honor and name I will proudly represent. As far as I am concerned, this prestigious title has set my standard of teaching higher than it already was for myself!

Watch Stacey’s video here!

Lynne Ternus, DG Elementary

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 3rd Grade Teacher

Years Teaching: 22 years

Hobbies/Interests: Being outside, going on walks, and spending time with my family and friends.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love building a community in my classroom where I get to know each and every student. It’s so fun finding each student’s strengths and working on their weaknesses. Kids are funny and are so entertaining to be around!

What do you find most challenging about teaching? The most challenging thing about teaching is finding time each day to reach out to every student to make sure they know I care about them.

Best tip for new teachers: The best tip I have for new teachers is to build a community with your classroom and get to know your students and their families. Also, make learning fun! The school year goes by quickly so make a lot of memories.

Best tip for career teachers: My best advice for new teachers would be to collaborate with your collegues and push yourself to learn new things! Enjoy every moment and never stop smiling!

Favorite piece of advice for students: The best advice I have for students is to set your goals high and believe in yourself.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I am truly honored and grateful for this award. Thank you to my family, friends, and all of my colleagues who have helped shape my teaching journey. It is a reminder that I am doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do…making an impact on children’s lives.

Watch Lynne’s video here!

Johannah Nanke, West High School

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 9th & 11th Grade English Teacher

Years Teaching: 9 years

Hobbies/Interests: Traveling, volunteering, hiking with my dog, cooking, reading, and gardening

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Being an advocate for and with my students to help them realize the future they want to see, building a community, and watching them grow and learn and figure out who they are.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? The hardest part is the emotional toll that teaching takes on you- knowing the trauma your students are going through, and carrying that with you to inform your instruction. Every student has had different experiences that shapes who they are, and meeting each of those needs is hard, but leads to my favorite part: watching them bloom and become who they want to be.

Best tip for new teachers: Your students are not monoliths- take the time to get to know them and learn to work with them, not against them. Understand that behavior is functional- it almost never has to do with you. If you need support, as for it! You never have to do it alone.

Best tip for career teachers: Don’t be afraid to change up your style! It can be re-invigorating to your practice. Be true to what works for you and your students. Along the way, you might find yourself among some pretty cool humans.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t go to for advice.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: Being a Gold Star Teacher is incredibly humbling and also wonderful- thank you to everyone who has been a part of my support system. You have truly helped me get here. It means I am able to get more resources to help my learners, who are the best part of my day. I promise to continue to grow and learn from you to be the best teacher and leader I can be- you are my inspiration.

Watch Johannah’s video here!

Amy McGovern, Lou-Henry & Lowell

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: Talented & Gifted Teacher

Years Teaching: 25 years

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing games, being outdoors and attending sporting events with my family and friends. I love watching movies, YouTube videos and Yellowstone.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? The best thing about teaching is always getting to be a student. I love the career I chose because I get to be a learner every day while I (hopefully) inspire young people to become life long learners too.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? I think the biggest challenge I have faced as a teacher is teaching through a pandemic. It has been a monumental task to inspire colleagues, families and students to stay positive, informed and flexible during this period of uncertainty.

Best tip for new teachers: My best advise for new teachers to to stay humble. Be open to listen to what your students and coworkers are saying even when they say it without words.

Best tip for career teachers: Considering I am a career teacher, I feel like it’s critical that we continue to push ourselves to incorporate new ideas and techniques into our practice.

Favorite piece of advice for students: I’d like each student to learn to love themselves and not be afraid to stand out. I hope they value their strengths and appreciate the lessons that can be gleaned from the adversity they encounter.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I am grateful for the honor of bring chosen as a Gold Star Teacher. I am proud to be a teacher in Waterloo and to be recognized for having a positive impact on the youth of our community. I value the time I’ve spent collaborating with local experts to provide quality instruction and experience to students in the Cedar Valley.

Watch Amy’s video here!

Jason Knittel, East High School

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 9th & 10th Grade History Teacher

Years Teaching: 22 years

Hobbies/Interests: gardening/landscaping, traveling with family, spending time with family, researching curriculum and instruction, telling “DAD” jokes, and being a “Star Wars” enthusiasts

What do you enjoy most about teaching? The most I like about teaching is the students. I enjoy what I teach and want to spread my knowledge of what I have learned with them. Every student is unique and has a lot to offer in which, I enjoy the challenge of helping all to be successful.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Students don’t have the prior knowledge required therefore they can’t apply basic knowledge to more complex situations.

Best tip for new teachers: Establish a positive teacher-student relationship that encourages respect, honesty, and caring

Best tip for career teachers: Step outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to listen to younger teachers, and to what the students have to say.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Respect yourself. Respect others. Remember, to be successful you need to take of yourself and allow others to help guide you along the journey.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: Being a Gold Star Teacher is a great honor. I’m proud to be acknowledged for my accomplishments from my colleagues and students.

Watch Jason’s video here!

Sheila Hollingsworth, Irving Elementary

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 1st Grade Teacher

Years Teaching: 14 years

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Traveling, Bowling, Spending time with family & friends

What do you enjoy most about teaching? I truly enjoy most the interaction with my students and seeing the growth of the learning from my. teaching. Not one day is ever the same. Teaching is a passion that comes from the heart and I enjoy loving my kids and making every single day the best day with my students

What do you find most challenging about teaching? One of the most challenging things about teaching is that teaching the content yearly can change often. So you have to be very flexible and willing to change how and what you teach. Secondly, a challenge is being a to be great at every aspects of teaching . There are so many things you have to be good at all at the same time.

Best tip for new teachers: For new teachers, don’t be afraid to ask others for help and clarifying how to teach a content area or what works best. Understanding what your teaching helps your day go so much smoother. And don’t be afraid to make your classroom your own. Every one has their own unique way of teaching!

Best tip for career teachers: I am a career teachers and so many things has changed since I began teaching and as I reflect back the best advice that was given to me by a former teacher is ALWAYS make time for yourself. She said you are the most important person and if you are not healthy that effects how you teach. Stress level and other factors can hinder your health unless you make time for yourself

Favorite piece of advice for students: To students: not everything works for everyone. You have to figure out what your good at and build off of that. Every single student has a gift and something that they are good at.. Be proud of who you are and know that you can always shine for someone else

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I have applied several times so being a Gold Star Teacher has great meaning to me. It has always been on my bucket list to achieve. Being recognized by others show that I am doing the right work and it does not go unnoticed. It’s not just about teaching day in and day out, but to be a gold star teacher reaches beyond learning and touches the heart. Not everyone can do that. The love over the years that I have shown to each and everyone of my students makes the difference in their lives and that is what it’s all about! Relationship building with families and students is what I am. I am a Gold Star teacher!!

Watch Sheila’s video here!

Renae Drey, St. Patrick Catholic School

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher

Years Teaching: 3 years

Hobbies/Interests: Coaching and playing volleyball, traveling to see family and friends, craft projects, visiting my family farm and helping with harvest

What do you enjoy most about teaching? I enjoy celebrating holidays with my students! It’s so exciting to see the joy come to life for each and every little thing. I also enjoy connecting with the students. It is so fun to get to know them and build a relationship with them! Last but not least, I love seeing the growth of the students! Of course I love seeing academic growth, but I also love seeing their own personal and social growth. It’s amazing to see the people they become over the course of the year because of their peers and those around them!

What do you find most challenging about teaching? The hardest part about teaching is finding the time to teach everything that needs to be taught, but also finding time to do all the fun activities you want to do!

Best tip for new teachers: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or any “Pinterest teacher” you may see! Be confident in yourself, your education, and your ability to teach! Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and remember that your classroom is a “home away from home!” You get to make your classroom whatever you want 🙂

Best tip for career teachers: You are AMAZING! You inspire so many students each and every day! There are many rewarding days, tough days, and some days that you may feel lost. Keep on keeping on! Your hard work does not go unnoticed and you are truly making a difference!

Favorite piece of advice for students: Never forget that we care about you and you matter! No matter where life takes you, remember that we are all here to support you and you can always come back whenever you need. You make us proud each day! And never forget to keep spreading kindness, no matter where you go!

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: Being a Gold Star Teacher means all of the hard work, education, and long hours have paid off! But more than that, it means that somewhere along the lines, someone saw that there was more than curriculum to be taught in our classroom. They saw that deep down, I care about their success as a person and as a student. Students have the biggest hearts and being a Gold Star Teacher means that one (or a few of those students) wanted to share their big heart with me! There have been so many people who have helped me along the way. I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing staff of educators and parents at St. Patrick School who push me each day to be my best! I am humbled by the nomination I received. There are so many amazing educators in the Cedar Valley and I feel blessed and honored to have been chosen.

Watch Renae’s video here!

Jane Cline, North Cedar Elementary

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 2nd Grade Teacher

Years Teaching: 18 years

Hobbies/Interests: Watching my boys participate in their activities, Reading, traveling with my family, running and yoga

What do you enjoy most about teaching? I know my time is brief with my students in the big picture of their school life, but I love that I have a chance to inspire them to work hard and be leaders. I also value being a life long learner – so I enjoy learning new information/strategies/best practices from peers and furthering my knowledge by taking classes that then can in turn make me better for my students.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Each year is a different dynamic with students, new curriculum or maybe even a pandemic!!! So you have to always be willing and open to change and trying new things. You can either embrace it and go with the flow or get stuck…

Best tip for new teachers: Smile and take time to connect with your students. If they know you see, value, and hear them it will make a world of difference when you get into the learning!

Best tip for career teachers: Keep your “why” front and center. When you know your why everything else falls in to place.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Be Kind and Work Hard.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: It is such an honor to be chosen. I am proud to be a teacher and I am humbled that my students and their families took time to nominate me.

Watch Jane’s video here!

Korina Carlson, Union High School

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: 10th-12th Grade Spanish Teacher

Years Teaching: 28 years

Hobbies/Interests: When I have free time, I enjoy reading, baking, listening to music, and attending my daughter’s activities.

 

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

The best part about teaching is the students. I am fortunate and have students for multiple years, and I see them learn new things and become amazing young adults, doing things they may not have thought possible.

What do you find most challenging about teaching?

The most challenging thing is keeping up with how students learn and how they use technology.

Best tip for new teachers:

Take the time to know your students, figure out what is important to them.

Best tip for career teachers:

Don’t be afraid to try new things and fail.

Favorite piece of advice for students:

Find something you love doing and don’t stop doing it. It could be how you earn a living or it could be what keeps you going while earning a living.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you:

It is an honor to be recognized as a Gold Start teacher. I am humbled that I was nominated by a student(high school students really are amazing), and that what I do and how I do it is valued by others.

Watch Korina’s video here!

Pamela Bellows, Aldrich Elementary

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Position: Virtual 4th Grade Teacher & Instructional coach

Years Teaching: 14 years

Hobbies / Interests: Biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, reading, cooking, traveling to the mountains, and being with friends and family

 

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

The thing I enjoy most about teaching is the students. I love getting to know them and learning with them. I love building a community of learners who are kind and work together. It brings me joy when I see the kids make connections to what they are learning to real life situations.

What do you find most challenging about teaching?

Establishing a work-life balance is the most challenging thing for me. It is hard for me to disconnect from the students and the work that is never-ending.

Best tip for new teachers:

The best tip I can give to new teachers is to build relationships with your students and love them.

Best tip for career teachers:

The best tip I can give career teachers is to remember your “Why.” Why did you want to become an educator? Remembering your why can reignite your passion for teaching.

Favorite piece of advice for students:

Always be kind and set goals for yourself.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you:

Each year (and especially this year), I have three goals for my teaching. First every child knows they are loved. Second, keep the love of learning alive, and lastly, build a strong sense of community. Receiving the Gold Star Award is positive reinforcement that we truly are a team of learners. I can’t thank my family, friends, colleagues, students, and families enough for learning with me and always supporting me. Thank you!

Watch Pamela’s video here!