After 34 years as an educator at Ballard, Cook is ready for retirement

Marlys BarkerTri-County
Times Editor
After 34 years as an educator at Ballard, Cook is ready for retirement

Her favorite subject to teach is reading, so it’s not surprising that one of Ballard’s retiring educators spent a good deal of her 34-year career at Ballard teaching Title I Reading.

Most recently, however, Kathy Cook, a native of Ankeny and still a resident of Ankeny, has been a third-grade teacher at Ballard.

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Cook started her career as a substitute teacher for Ballard for the first half of a school year right after her college graduation. “I then got hired at Ballard as playground supervisor and librarian. I was the playground supervisor and librarian for the rest of that school year and the next. From there, I taught Title I reading. The last 11 years, I have been teaching third grade.”

Her entire career, one she calls a “natural fit” because she grew up in a family of teachers, has been with the Ballard Community School District. “I really love the Ballard community, the staff, parents and the students,” she said. “Ballard has been a great place to teach. It has been awesome to be part of the Ballard family.”

As she looks forward to retiring at the end of this school year, Cook said she will miss the challenges of teaching. “I love the challenge of new and upcoming strategies and curriculum,” she said, adding that she will miss trying to push herself to learn and grow as an educator.

“I will really miss the students and staff. I will also miss the fun activities that we do as a third-grade class and as a school,” she said.

When it comes to reading, Cook said she has always loved watching students turn into readers. “I love that they can pick up books and actually sit for 20 minutes and read something that interests them.” She has also loved seeing students grow and progress as individuals while in her room and during the rest of their years. “I love it when I see them when they are older and how they have become fine, outstanding adults,” she said.

As she was busy all these years teaching her students, Cook said her biggest thing to learn over the years was computer technology. “I feel as if I just get something figured out and then it changes. It has been a real challenge to learn the new technology. I love having students work with computers and other types of technology, so I try to keep up on it as much as possible.”

In her retirement years, Cook said she plans to move to Michigan and spend time with her huband, Steven, on their farm. “I also plan on spending a lot of time with friends and family. I don’t get to do that too much now, as they are all so far away.” Her family includes a son, Zach Corsbie and his wife, Samantha; and a daughter, Alyssa Corsbie and Steve Nieves, who have a son, Daniel.

She won’t miss the cold, windy days on the playground doing recess duty, she jokes, but she will definitely miss the lifelong friendships she has forged with the people she worked with all these years. And she’ll miss the students and community. “It has been fun watching families go through the Ballard School District.”