How long have you worked in education?
I have been a Para (a paraprofessional educator) for 13 years.
How long have you worked for Ballard Schools?
All 13 years have been at Ballard. I started at East, then went to West when we went to Grade Alike.
What are all the positions you’ve held at Ballard?
I was in the Special Education room with Mrs. Waelti for nine years, I have been a one-on-one for three years, and I did reading support for one year.
What was your upbringing like?
I was raised on a farm on the Polk/Story county line. I attended grade school in Slater and graduated from Ballard. What I love most about Ballard was that the teachers are mostly all part of the community. In fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Long, invited our Camp Fire group to her home for a party. I love that when I was in junior high school and high school, I knew every student and teacher. Growing up in a small school district and farm community offered a feeling of security, safety and belonging that is probably missing in today’s faster world.
Why did you decide to work in education?
I took the Para job because it was close to home and has great hours. I had no idea I would love the work like I do.
What there any other career you might have chosen?
If I had it to do over again, I would be a consumer science teacher. I love working with the kids, and I love to sew, decorate and do “homey” things.
What have you enjoyed most about working at Ballard Schools?
The teaching staff at Ballard is awesome. The hours I work are great. If you are having a good day or a crummy day, someone is going to give you a hug (and most days several someones).
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
The biggest challenge for me often is to “keep my mouth shut!”
What advice would you give to others about going into education?
I have been trying without any success to convince my grandson to be a teacher and coach. However, I am afraid that the political climate in Iowa is not very encouraging for the teaching profession.
What family members will you get to spend more time with now and what will you be doing?
My husband Tom and I like to fish, and play cards with friends. My Aunt Ruth and I have lots of crafting projects planned, and I have three grandsons with lots and lots of ball games coming up. I also plan to become politically active. I am looking forward to doing anything I want — or nothing at all.