How many years have you taught at Colo-Nesco Schools?
I have taught at Colo-Nesco for 32 years. My first teaching experience was at Walnut Community School, where I taught fourth grade for three years. I moved to Colo and taught fourth grade for another three years, and then kindergarten for three years. I have spent the last 26 years teaching first grade.
Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
I spent my childhood in Waverly and graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School. After high school I attended and graduated from Iowa State University.
What do you think led you to become a teacher?
Teaching was something I always wanted to do. I decided I was going to become a teacher when I was in second grade. Excellent teachers as I was growing up helped reinforce my decision, as well as having a mother and grandmother that were both teachers. When I was a senior in high school, I was able to return to the elementary school I had attended and help my first-grade teacher in her classroom. That was the year I decided I wanted to become a first-grade teacher. She was an excellent role model for me and taught me you should always have high expectations for your students.
What have you loved most about teaching young children?
Young children love coming to school and are so excited about learning. Their enthusiasm is contagious and can always put a smile on your face. There is nothing more exciting than watching a young child’s face light up when they finally understand a new concept or feel pride in their accomplishments. The second semester in first grade is my favorite time of year, when all of the "light bulbs" are flashing around the room as the children become successful readers and the world of books is opened up to them.
Is there anything you’ve learned from your students over the years?
I always say that I learn something new from my students every day. No two days are ever alike and no two groups of children are alike. I think that is one of the things that make teaching so interesting and challenging. My students have taught me to love learning and to appreciate all of the blessings I have in my own life.
Do you have any advice for those just entering the teaching profession?
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of having student teachers and other young adults in my classroom who want to be teachers. My own daughter is attending UNI to become a teacher. My advice to them is to truly be passionate about teaching. Teaching is a tough job with many challenges, but the rewards you receive are immeasurable.
Has Colo-Nesco been a good district to teach in?
I have always cherished my years at Colo-Nesco. All of my years of teaching were at the elementary building in Colo, where you felt like you were part of a family. The Colo-Nesco family has changed over the years, but that feeling has always remained. My colleagues and the families of my students have made it a truly special place to teach. My own daughters attended school at Colo-Nesco, where we felt they received an excellent education from compassionate and caring teachers.
What will you miss most about teaching?
I will miss the energy, enthusiasm and openness of the children.
Who are the members of your family?
My husband, Tony Kash, and I live on a farm north of Colo with our two daughters. Tony farms, Kristine attends ISU and Emily attends UNI. We also have a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, Muffin.
What are your plans for retirement?
I plan on being a substitute teacher. Being a substitute teacher will allow me to still be involved with educating children, but provide me with the opportunity to pursue other interests.