School: Maquoketa Valley
What is your educational background? I graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2009 with a BS in K-12 Physical Education and K-12 Athletic Coach with a minor in psychology.
In 2015, I received my Master’s in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University.
I grew up the son of an educator. My father is entering his 39th year in education. I also have a brother who is entering his 14th year in education as a social sciences teacher.
What subject(s) will you be teaching? I will be teaching high school physical education classes as well as eighth-grade physical education. I am also leading the before-school strength training program that all of our student-athletes utilize, along with implementing a foundational program into our middle school physical education classes with the help of elementary/middle school PE teacher, Eric Conner.
How long have you taught? This will be my 10th year as a full-time teacher. I spent one year in Bedford as a student teacher in fall 2009 and then followed that with a spring semester of substitute teaching at Bedford, as well as a small school district on the Missouri side of the border called Northeast Nodaway. For nine years I taught at Central Elkader (2010-17) and then spent the last two years in Oelwein (2017-19).
What made you apply at your new school? The name Maquoketa Valley is one that a lot of people speak positively about not just in northeast Iowa but all over the state. I was able to see that for myself the past nine years being located within an hour at both Central and Oelwein. Academics and athletics are a high priority and expectations are high as well. I not only wanted to be in that environment as a teacher, administrator and coach but also be able to provide that for my wife and kids as well. We are lucky that my wife Rachel will also be working in the school district at Johnston Elementary in Hopkinton. Our three kids, Sadey (8), Camden (4) and Mace (2) are all Wildcats now and we look forward to having them grow up in such a great school system and community.
What are the biggest challenges that education is facing today? Education faces a multitude of challenges now just like it always has. Those vary with each year that passes, but at the end of the day those challenges become much more manageable when we build positive relationships with our students, staff, parents and community. That is something I felt right away being in the community and throughout the summer spending time with staff, students, parents and community members. A very high level of caring is present and in those situations, it is easy to learn, improve and continue working towards bigger and better things.
How would you describe your particular teaching style? My particular teaching style I would like to say is like that of a chameleon. Physical education teachers, more so than any other, need to be flexible. The reasons vary but I feel when you put students into a setting where the outcomes and situations they can get into are endless, you need to be able to adapt on the fly. There is no other subject in education where mental, physical, emotional and social aspects come into play every single day. That can be a lot to handle, so being able to manage it in different ways is a key to success and reaching a wide variety of students with an even wider range of skill sets. We aren’t always successful but we keep striving to get better each day.
For myself and my family, we are very much looking forward to the future and being part of the Maquoketa Valley school district and community. Go ‘Cats.