Superintendent News & Views G-R Welcomes New Teachers

The 2018-2019 school year started on August 23, and the first few weeks of school have been GReat! We welcomed six new teachers to the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Rebel family for the 2018-2019 school year. I’m pleased to introduce each of our new teachers in the paragraphs below.

MRS. EMILY BIEDERMAN, TEACHER-LIBRARIAN: Mrs. Emily Biederman is the district’s new K-12 Teacher-Librarian. A native of Tama County, she grew up in Dysart and graduated from Union High School in La Porte City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UNI in English Education with a 5-12 reading endorsement and a minor in creative writing. She is also currently attending UNI working on a Master’s degree in School Library Science. This is Mrs. Biederman’s first full-time teaching position, having previously worked in the private sector. G-R is sharing her time with the Grundy Center Schools, where she is also serving as a Teacher-Librarian.

Commenting on the positive, welcoming environment at G-R, Mrs. Biederman said, “From the minute I stepped into the door on my first day of new teacher orientation, I was greeted by a member of the maintenance staff, who said she is there if I have any questions. As I am meeting each new teacher and member of staff, everyone has let me know they are there for support with any questions I may have, no matter how ‘silly’ my question is. G-R is not just a group of people dedicated to the education of students, but also a family who treat each other with respect and are constantly helping each other be the best educator they can be. I look forward to being in an environment which facilitates personal educational growth, but also enjoys each other’s company.

MR. RYAN SMILEY, JR. HIGH SPECIAL EDUCATION: Mr. Ryan Smiley joins the Rebel Nation this year as the new Jr. High Special Education teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Jr./Sr. High School. Coach Smiley has also joined the football program staff. He’s a 2015 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, with a major in PE/Health and a minor in coaching. He has experience as a teacher in the Valley Lutheran School System in Cedar Falls, where he taught K-12 Physical Education, high school health, and served as the athletic director.

Having attended the Northern University High School and taught at Valley Lutheran School, Coach Smiley appreciates and feels right at home in G-R’s small-school environment. Asked why he is excited about becoming part of the G-R Rebel family, he said, “I’m excited to be part of a small school that offers a ton of opportunities for kids. I am also excited to be coaching football again.” Mr. Smiley and his wife Alicia have two children that are attending Gladbrook-Reinbeck schools: daughter Ellie is in 9th grade and son Nathan is a 5th grader.

MRS. LACEY DEGENER, KINDERGARTEN: Mrs. Lacey Degener recently relocated to our area to join us as a new Kindergarten teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Elementary School. She is a native of Minden, Iowa and a graduate of Tri-Center High School as well as Iowa State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

At Audubon, she taught 5th grade for the last five years and 6th grade English for one year prior to that. She coached 8th grade volleyball for 4 years, 9th grade volleyball for 1 year, 7th grade basketball for 2 years, and varsity tennis for 5 years. When asked about her initial impressions of Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Mrs. Degener stated, “Everyone has been very welcoming and I’m excited to start a new adventure with G-R!”

MISS MACKENSIE SAUERBREI, SECONDARY SPANISH: Miss Mackensie Sauerbrei is the new Spanish teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Jr./Sr. High School. Miss Sauerbrei taught high school Spanish and coached middle school volleyball at Tipton for one year before joining the G-R staff. She has also coached high school volleyball at Waverly Shell-Rock. She is a graduate of Iowa Valley High School in her hometown, Marengo.

Miss Sauerbrei attended Wartburg College in Waverly, where she majored in Secondary Education and Spanish. Her educational preparation also included a period of studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain which deepened her understanding of other cultures and the importance of learning a second language. She hopes to provide one or more international learning opportunities for G-R students. Miss Saurbrei is pleased to have the opportunity to become a G-R Rebel, explaining, “I’m excited to be a part of such a welcoming school district and community.”

MRS. LAURA SABOTTA, 5-12 BAND & 4-6 MUSIC: Mrs. Laura Sabotta is the new band director for grades 5-12. She is also teaching music to students in grades 4 & 6. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Music Education, as well as an Artist Diploma in Bassoon Performance. She’s a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota and a graduate of Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School.

While this is Mrs. Sabotta’s first year as a teacher, she did previously serve as a graduate assistant in the music program at UNI and teach lessons while working on her master’s degree at UNI. She explained that she’s excited to be at G-R because, “The staff and students are kind and easy to work with. I feel appreciated and supported in what I do.”

MRS. SYDNEY KAUTEN, 5TH GRADE: Mrs. Sydney Kauten joins G-R this year as a 5th Grade Teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Elementary School. A native of Iowa City, she graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with minors in Mathematics and Literacy. Prior to teaching at G-R, she taught for six years in the Waterloo Community School District.

When asked about her initial impression of the school after her first few days at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Elementary, Mrs. Kauten replied, “It’s been phenomenal. The students are respectful and come to school excited to learn. The staff has been extremely welcoming and act as a team so that students receive the best education possible.” She went on to add, “When I interviewed for the fifth grade position last spring, I told Principal Bradi Johnson that I was looking for a home — and I think I have found that in Gladbrook-Reinbeck Elementary.”

MORE FUN & INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OUR NEW TEACHERS: Which of these new teachers didn’t like the subject they are currently teaching when they were a student in school? Which one enjoys reading comic books and playing strategy games? Which one can be found on YouTube lip syncing badly? What are our new teachers’ favorite books of all time? Why did these teachers decide to pursue a career in education? Find the answers to these questions and more on my blog, as we discover more in-depth information and learn additional fun and interesting facts about each of our new teachers in the “Get to Know” series of blog posts. Just type tinyurl.com/NewGR18 into a browser window to be taken directly to this blog post, where you can find links to a separate, more detailed article focusing on each of the new teachers.

I’ve always believed TEACHERS are a school’s greatest resource, and G-R employs some of the very best in the business! These new additions to the Gladbrook-Reinbeck teaching staff have been carefully selected for the skills, abilities, and aptitudes that they will bring to our educational community. We’re excited to have these new Rebels on board, and I encourage everyone in our educational community to help them to feel welcome and supported in the important work they do. Welcome, new Rebels!

You are welcome to visit my blog at rebelsupt.blogspot.com/ where this column and all columns I submit to the Northern Sun Print and Reinbeck Courier are posted. I also welcome you to follow me on Twitter, where my handle is @DavidRobertHill