Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New Faces, New Places at North Tama

Superintendent News & Views
New Faces, New Places at North Tama
By David Hill,
North Tama Superintendent

The 2017-2018 school year started on August 23, and the first couple of months of the school year have been GREAT!  We are pleased to welcome several staff members that have joined the North Tama Redhawk family for the 2017—2018 school year.  We also have a couple of staff members who have moved to other positions within the school.  Please join me in welcoming them!
Colin Lobdell started as a new High School Special Education Teacher at North Tama in August.  He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a teaching endorsement in Social Sciences, and is taking classes from Morningside College in special education.
Mr. Lobdell previously taught 8th Grade special education at Clear Lake Middle School, where he also coached 8th grade girls volleyball and 8th grade girls track for one year. He stated that he is excited to be working at North Tama because, “…the culture of the school is one that is welcoming and always puts students first.”
Andrea Woehlk recently joined the North Tama staff as the new 7th & 8th grade Special Education teacher. Ms.Woelk has adegree in art education from the University of Northern Iowa and an endorsement in special education from Buena Vista. In addition, she holds masters degree in school counseling from UNI. 
Ms. Woelk’s previous experience includes three years as an art teacher at Belle Plaine, three years of elementary school counseling at South Tama, and three years of secondary school counseling at Belle Plaine. Most recently, she has served as a special education teacher for the last 15 years at East Marshall High School in LeGrand. She has been a Peer Helper Facilitator, and an Individual Speech Coach. She also teaches adult art classes through the Central Iowa Art Association.
When asked for her first impressions of the students and staff at North Tama, Ms. Woelk said, “They have been helpful as I get used to the new system in this school district. Everyone has a smile, and has been very friendly. The teachers are professional and knowledgeable, and dedicated to the education of students. I enjoy working at a smaller school because it's so easy to get to know everyone, and develop positive relationships.”
DuLaine Miller has been a member of the North Tama staff for a while, but she recently moved to a new position as the associate in the newly-established preschool program.   Mrs. Miller attended both Marshalltown Community College and Tarrant County Community College in Ft. Worth, Texas. 
Previously, Mrs. Miller was an associate at North Tama Jr. High for 4 years. Of her new position, she said, “It's exciting to be a part of the new preschool at North Tama! I have enjoyed working with Jill Miller and meeting the kids along with their families!” 
Also in the new preschool program, we welcome Jill Miller as the new preschool teacher.  Mrs. Miller previously taught kindergarten and preschool at South Tama County Elementary for the past 13 years. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and she holds a Reading Endorsement.
Because the preschool program at North Tama is a new one, Mrs. Miller has spent a great deal of time preparing of the summer months.  She stated, “I am excited to be part of this family of teachers that really seem to enjoy each other, coming to work, and are here for the students.”  As part of the tuition-free Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, Mrs. Miller was recently able to visit the homes of all of her new preschool students. 
Mrs. Miller recently stated, “I’m  confident that my decision to be a part of the North Tama community was the right one.  I look forward to getting to know more families and staff members and continuing to do what I love at North Tama which is to create lifelong learners in my students. I believe that Preschool is such an important part of a child's education, and I am really enjoying helping start this program. “
Jennifer Ambrose is a new associate in the first-grade classroom.  One of the things that attracted Mrs. Ambrose to the position is the opportunity to work with special needs students. “I have real-life experience raising a special needs child, my daughter Natalie,” said Ambrose. 
Mrs. Ambrose loves the North Tama community, stating, “There is a close camaraderie between the staff of North Tama, and I feel very privileged to be a part of it. I love my students!!” 
Derek Hopson is the new High School Health Teacher. He is a recent graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health. His teaching endorsements include K-8 Physical Education, 5-12 Physical Education, 5-12 Health, and K-12 Athletic Coach
Mr. Hopson completed his student teaching in the North Scott and Central DeWitt Community School Districts. He also coached a 7th grade boys basketball team at North Scott.
When asked about his first impression of North Tama, Mr. Hopson explained, “My initial impression of North Tama is how the staff, students, and community seem to be one big family. I am excited to be part of the North Tama District because of the unlimited opportunities the school has to offer.
Suzanne Earley, who has served as the secondary secretary for the past 6 years, is the new superintendent secretary at North Tama. Ms. Earley holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Iowa State University. 
When asked about the transition from the secondary office to the superintendent’s office, Suzane said, “Much of what I'm doing now is familiar to me,  but there are plenty of new things that I have to figure out how to do! I am enjoying the new challenge and am glad that I can continue to put my skills to work to help North Tama continue to be the great small school that it is.” 
Trish Kennedy is North Tama’s new Secondary Secretary. Mrs. Kennedy holds a Master of Arts degree in in Liberal Studies: Communications and History from the University of Southern Indiana. Her previous work experience includes many years in higher education as a college administrator, as well as her work as the co-owner of KT Kennedy Consulting.
Mrs. Kennedy is no stranger to North Tama Schools.  She is a former member (and president) of the North Tama Board of Education, and has served as a substitute teacher at all levels for the past two years.  She is pleased with her first several weeks on the North Tama staff, stating, “North Tama is a wonderful school within a great community! We're all a family.” 
In addition to the above-mentioned staff members, we also welcome Karla Kula and Kathy Lohf to the staff. Karla is a new cook in the kitchen, and Kathy is working two days each week as a school nurse. 
I’ve always believed that it is the PEOPLE that truly make a school great, and this new group of North Tama staff has been carefully selected for the skills, abilities, and aptitudes that they will bring to our educational community. We’re excited to have these new team members on board, and I encourage everyone in our educational community to help them to feel welcome and supported in the important work that they do. Welcome, new Redhawks! 
I encourage your feedback on this column, along with any questions you may have. These SUPERINTENDENT NEWS & VIEWS columns are part of my plan for open communication with the community. You are welcome to visit my blog at where all of my columns are posted. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter (@DavidRobertHill) where I will occasionally post updates or other information not found on the blog.

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