New faces in the hallways
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CUTLINE (Bottom photo): New teachers at Valley for the 2013-14 school year include (l-r) Amber Linderbaum, Demi Huston, and Sarah McCarty. Huston is joining the staff as a North Fayette Valley middle school language arts/reading teacher. Linderbaum and McCarty both will be in the Valley elementary school system. (Becky Walz photo)
CUTLINE (top photo): Among the new North Fayette Valley High School and North Fayette Elementary staff members are (l-r) Meredith Murray, first grade; Ashley Dyke, fourth grade; Dawn Halverson, pre-kindergarten, Sean Leonard, high school physical education/health; Stephanie Dunwoody, Spanish/TAG; Alicia Martin, high school resource/ELL. (Mike Van Sickle photo)
New faces in the hallways
It’s a new school year with many changes inside and out of the Valley school, a FEMA safe room, new paint, and a few new faces.
Stepping into the role as a North Fayette Valley middle school teacher is Demi Huston, and Valley Elementary welcomes teachers Amber Linderbaum and Sarah McCarty.
New staff at the newly formed North Fayette Valley High School are Sean Leonard, Megan Boyer, Alicia Martin, and Stephanie Dunwoody.
Demi Huston will be stepping in front of the classroom today as the only new North Fayette Valley middle school teacher.
The Wyoming, Iowa, native will be teaching seventh-grade English/language arts, eighth-grade reading, and will work with some kindergarten students.
The new teacher obtained her elementary education degree from Mount Mercy University and has endorsements in kindergarten through eighth-grade English/language arts, reading, and mathematics.
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, baking, and reading.
As a child, Amber (Kahler) Linderbaum enjoyed school immensely, especially reading and science, but it wasn’t until after she graduated from high school and helped teach at a day-care facility that she realized teaching was her calling.
Linderbaum, who will be at the helm of some elementary classes at Valley, joked, “Teaching runs in my bloodline,” referring to the 10 family members who are also teachers.
The Elgin native completed her education at Upper Iowa University, majoring in elementary education with endorsements in reading, language arts and early childhood.
Amber points out that the wide range of students’ abilities is one of the biggest challenges facing teachers in education today.
“Trying to plan lessons to help the struggling students, the higher-achieving students, and all the ones in between is hard; we need to differentiate the instruction to meet everyone’s needs,” stated Linderbaum, who will be teaching third- and fourth-grade math and literacy.
Sarah McCarty will enter the 2013-14 school year as a teacher in elementary special education since obtaining her degree from UNI.
Her love of working with kids propelled her into the role of a teacher. She cannot wait to become part of the community, as well as get to know her students and their families.
When she isn’t teaching, McCarty loves playing the piano, spending time with friends and family, being creative, and volunteering her time.
Megan Boyer enters the 2013-14 school year with the expectations that her students will have respect for themselves, other individuals, authority, and an understanding of the importance of an education.
She new North Fayette Valley (NFV) freshman general science teacher earned her biology degree from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wis., and her education degree from Upper Iowa University.
“During high school I had many influential teachers, and they encouraged me to pursue education. I also enjoy learning and guiding others,” said Boyer of her career decision.
The new NFV teacher, who noted that the hardest thing as a teacher is the time it takes to grade papers, hopes to motivate individuals to be the best they can be and demonstrate the importance of contributing as a team member.
Outside the classroom, Boyer finds time to enjoy kayaking, photography, and traveling.
Stephanie Dunwoody comes to NFV as the Spanish III teacher and TAG advisor for students in kindergarten through grade five and grades nine through 12.
Beginning her college education in 2008 at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Dunwoody earned her Associate of Arts, then moved on to the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish education. She recently earned her initial TAG endorsement from the University of Iowa.
“I decided I wanted to be a teacher in high school because I have always liked to share my knowledge with others,” said Dunwoody. “My Spanish teacher at NICC inspired me the most and convinced me to continue to studies of the Spanish language.”
She noted that the hardest thing about being a teacher is that there is only so much time to spend with students before they move on to their next class or grade.
When Dunwoody isn’t teaching she loves to sing, read, bike, watch movies, swim, spend time with family and friends, and volunteer with the Dubuque Jaycees.
Sean Leonard expects his high school physical education and health students to work hard and show a lot of energy in the classroom as he begins his tenure at NFV.
The thought of being able to have an impact on others is why Leonard chose the education career path, receiving his degree in PE and health from UNI.
Aside from P.E. and health, Leonard is also stepping in as the head girls’ basketball coach in 2013. He is also the head baseball coach at Dike-New Hartford and spends nearly 10 months a year coaching.
“Trying to get the students to realize their full potential is perhaps the hardest thing to do as a teacher,” said Leonard, who plans to stay positive and give lots of encouragement.
He plans to have a complete hands-on approach to learning, giving his students no choice but to be engaged.
Alicia Martin realized that her passion for working with children and athletes led her down a path in education after first planning to pursue a career in the medical field.
Graduating from Upper Iowa University, Martin received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and will be teaching high school special education, ESL (English as a Second Language), and reading. She will also be coaching eighth- and ninth-grade softball and freshman girls’ basketball.
“My job is to prepare my students for life after school and help them find their passions,” said Martin. “I expect my students to want to learn skills and lessons they can apply in the real world.”
A Calmar resident, Martin said that the most inspirational people in her life would be described as hardworking individuals who serve others.
When she isn’t teaching, one may find her coaching, attending extracurricular activities, taking additional professional development courses or reading.
Welcome to the new school year, Ms. Huston, Mrs. Linderbaum, Ms. McCarty, Ms. Murray, Miss Dyke, Mr. Leonard, Ms. Boyer, Ms. Martin, Ms. Dunwoody, and Mrs. Halverson!