After 19 years of teaching in the North Polk School District and 26 total years of teaching, Kim Andresen is retiring at the end of this school year.

“I have loved working with students one-on-one and in small groups, and watching them grow as readers and thinkers. It’s fun to follow their progress through their school years,” she said.

Andresen has been a Reading Recovery and Title 1 reading teacher for all her years with North Polk. She has worked at Central Elementary in Alleman with kids in grades kindergarten through fifth.

When she first graduated from University of Northern Iowa, she taught fourth grade for a year and then fifth grade for four years in Gladbrook. “We then moved to Ottumwa, and I taught second grade for one year there,” she said. The next 12 years, Andresen stayed home to raise three daughters, and during that time, her family relocated to Ankeny. “I subbed in Ankeny and the surrounding area for one year before getting the position at North Polk.”

After 13 years of not working full-time, she was ready for a position. She wanted to teach reading, preferably in a small district close to Ankeny. North Polk’s position fit the bill.

When asked about the most challenging thing she’s faced in her teaching career, she said it would be the amount of time required during the school day and outside the school day to prepare for each group’s lessons daily in order to make the most efficient, productive use of their time together, “as well as all the other requirements asked of teachers nowadays,” she added.

She’ll be able to enjoy retirement with her husband, Marc, who retired in October 2016 after 36 years with John Deere. With their first grandchild being born this spring, they plan to spend time grandparenting. The Andresens’ oldest daughter lives in Ankeny and is a nurse at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines. Their middle daughter lives and works in England and is getting married this August. Their youngest daughter and her husband live in Waukee. They are the new parents.

When asked what her advice would be for a future teacher in her position, she gives a little pep talk. “You WILL be overwhelmed! Ask for help from your colleagues. Prioritize and let other things go. Keep students and their needs at the forefront of everything you do,” she offered.

When she’s not grandparents and traveling, which she hopes to do both inside and outside of the United States, Andresen may be seen at Central once in a while in the future. “I also plan to substitute and volunteer at Central,” she said.