New year, new faces at South Winneshiek Community Schools


There’s a new array of faces in the South Winn classrooms for 2014, including (l-r) Joshua Shimak, Angela Larson, Michael Wenthold, Carly Lyons, Samantha Christophersen, Glenna Munuswamy, and Manon Bushman. (Becky Walz photo)


New year, new faces at South Winneshiek Community Schools



Becky Walz
News Editor



South Winn students are ready for a brand-new year and so are the teachers, including six new ones, and a new school nurse.

Angela Larson returns to northeast Iowa from Grand Rapids, Minn., to serve as the district’s nurse.

The Lawler native earned her Bachelor and Master of Nursing degrees from Winona State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa.

While she is still in the process of moving, Larson looks forward to becoming active in the community as she embarks on this new adventure at South Winn.

Manon Bushman isn’t a new face at South Winn, but she is taking on a new role within the district as Success coordinator, focusing on the “at-risk” population in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in human services from Upper Iowa University and a master’ degree in school counseling from Capella University, Bushman always knew she wanted to be in a profession that helped others.

“It truly is a dream come true to do this work with students in our local school district,” said the mother of two girls, ages 16 and 11.

Manon and her husband, Chad, farm in rural Ossian, and she enjoys walking, jogging, horseback riding, kayaking and simply spending time with friends and family.

She said her approach to helping students will vary by student, but she hopes to play a role in helping all her students have a greater awareness of his or her own power and abilities.

Samantha Christophersen is eager to welcome students into the 3- and 4-Year-Old Early Success program this fall.

The young mother of one recently finished her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Northern Iowa with majors in elementary and early childhood education and a minor in literacy education.

A South Winn graduate herself, Christophersen had decided to become a teacher near the end of her high school years when she realized through local activities how much she enjoyed working with children.

“The most difficult part of being a teacher is meeting the individual needs of each and every student every day,” noted the Castalia teacher. “Each day changes for every student, and figuring out how to meet each child’s needs is a challenge.”

Samantha and her husband, Bryan, have a 1-year-old son, Jacob. The couple enjoy spending time with their son and other family members.

Carly Lyons attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in prekindergarten through third grade with a special education endorsement. The Castalia native also holds an endorsement as an instructional strategist Level I (K-8). She will be at the helm of the Jump Start Preschool classroom.

“While working at the Ossian DeSales Childcare Center, I came to the conclusion that teaching and working with children was my calling,” said the South Winn graduate who originally began pursuing a dairy science degree from Northeast Iowa Community College.

Lyons noted that she loves to see the look on a child’s face when he or she learn something new.

Outside the classroom, Carly can be found on her family’s dairy farm, showing animals, shopping or with friends.

Lyons will bring a new approach called Inquiry-Based Learning into the classroom.

“It gives students an opportunity to choose what they want to learn,” explained Lyons. “If students want to learn about sports, then we will learn about sports and incorporate that into reading, math and other learning activities.”

Joshua Shimak plans to bring an up-to-date knowledge in the world of technology to his Edgenuity students.

“Edgenuity is a program designed to help students climb a success ladder or help students who have had scheduling conflicts in the past.  It is an online program tailored to each student and the subject they needed.  Or for students who have failed classes in the past, they take this program,” explained the Fort Atkinson teacher.

The Turkey Valley graduate combined his love for history and a desire to make an impact when he chose to earn a Bachelor of Arts in history education at UNI.

Shimak said it is difficult to motivate some students, but he has learned that by preparing more interesting lesson plans, learning more about each student, and asking him or her questions, he can make them successful.

Michael Wenthold was raised near Ossian and has returned to his roots as the shared Extended Learning Program (ELP) teacher at the high school. He will share his time among South Winn and Turkey Valley.

The South Winn graduate received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in history education with an all-social science endorsement. Last year Wenthold taught middle school social studies, language arts, and religion at DeSales.

“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.

He added that he can only expect from his students what they expect from him — the best effort possible every day.

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