New faces welcome students at DeSales
CUTLINE: DeSales Catholic School has several new faces in the classrooms in 2013, and it isn’t just students. New staff at the school include (l-r) Nicole Ondrashek (preschool), Michael Wenthold (eighth grade), Jake Doty (student teacher), Dacia Schnuelle (preschool), and Alice Miller (preschool). (submitted photo)
New faces welcome students at DeSales
It’s been two weeks since DeSales Catholic School kicked off the 2013 school year and likely the students and staff have become acquainted with each other. However, parents may not have had the chance to greet the new staff. Principal Mae Becker and veteran staff members welcomed four new staff members, Nicole Ondrashek (preschool), Dacia Schnuelle (preschool), Alice Miller (preschool), Michael Wenthold (eighth grade) and student teacher Jacob Doty, onboard two weeks ago.
Nicole Ondrashek grew up in Ossian, but currently resides in Calmar and has been blessed with four children, Madison, Dayten, Annisten, and Lauren.
After her first daughter was born, Nicole decided that working with young children is what she wanted to do. She attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette and obtained her bachelor’s degree in prekindergarten through third-grade education with a K-8 reading endorsement.
She is currently working to complete her final class to obtain her degree prekindergarten through third-grade special education as well.
“I expect my students to try their best and work their hardest,” said the new preschool teacher. “I enjoy watching students learn new things and be excited about learning.
Dacia Schnuelle is a recent graduate of Northeast Iowa Community College in early childhood and is also an Ossian native.
The South Winn alumna first connected with children as she worked in the Ossian DeSales Child Care Center while in high school.
“It made me realize how much I love working with kids,” said Schnuelle.
As one of the new preschool teachers, Schnuelle recalled Kathy Becker as one of the teachers that inspired he. “She always had and still continues to put a smile on the faces of children and fellow staff members!”
Outside of the classroom, she enjoys four-wheeling, tubing and just about any other activity that involves family and friends.
Alice Miller is the third preschool teacher that DeSales welcomed this year. She has a blended family with a total of five sons and one daughter and eight grandchildren.
Miller will be the teacher for the 3-Year-Old Preschool program and will serve as a paraeducator for the 4-Year-Old Preschool program.
The new teacher cited keeping up with the state requirements as one of the biggest struggles for teachers, along with sitting cross-legged on the floor for long periods of time.
“We have created a very colorful and fresh classroom and plan to bring even more hands-on experiences to the children,” said Miller of her plans for the preschool classes. “I want to focus on fine motor skills and to encourage children to use their imaginations freely.”
Michael Wenthold was raised near Ossian and has return to his roots to teach middle school social studies, language arts, and religion.
The South Winn graduate received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in history education with an all-social science endorsement.
“Teaching had always been a possibility for me, and when I was a freshman at Iowa, I took a history class that I fell in love with. I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in history, and naturally that led me to teaching,” said Wenthold of his career choice.
Beginning his career at DeSales, Wenthold already has learned through student teaching experiences that the hardest aspect of the job is when students are absent and the difficulty in keeping those students up-to-speed after their absences.
He added that he can only expect from his students what they expect from him — the best effort possible every day.
Jacob Doty, a student teacher from Luther College, also joined the DeSales staff as the school got underway. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with endorsements in science and math. The Winnebago, Ill., native would someday like to obtain his master’s degree in administration, as well.
“Teaching has always been a thought but became reality upon entering college,” said Doty. “I am a social person and really enjoy working with children, finding joy in the learning and success of others.”
Working with DeSales students in sixth- through eighth-grade science and seventh- and eighth-grade math, Doty expects his students to show up with an open mind, ready to challenge themselves, their peers, and himself.