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By Marie Perry
Communications Director for the School District of Belleville 

New Educators Champion the Cause to Help All Students Succeed!


September 2, 2021

Photo courtesy of Marie Perry

Front Row (L-R): Cayla Allen, Bailey Eichelkraut, Kendra Mussehl, Sara Gaab, Sarah Hogan, Elisabeth Hupp, Emily Adams, Angie Richter, Stephanie Levenhagen, Tanya Aebly-Folk, and Christina Martin. Back Row (L-R): Tony Kramer, Meaghan Evans-Belknap, Sarah Downey, Trevor Troxel, Dale Yurs, Scott Serum, Maryann Klongland, Meghan Christenson, Olivia Haven, and Marley Campbell.

We often think of springtime as being the season of new beginnings, but in the field of education, late summer and early autumn offers us yet another calendar moment to start fresh and begin a new hopeful journey to help achieve dreams together as a community. As students and families pack the aisles of their local stores for school supplies, attend back-to-school orientations, and pick up Chromebooks to ready their students for learning; there is another group of important individuals readying their lives to make positive changes to their world - however small it may be. This is the time of year when professionals in the field of education begin to self-reflect, make goals, and start to go the distance to better the lives of their in-coming students.

Professional educator Rita Pierson recognized the importance of teachers and the need for their positive roles in the lives of students when she acknowledged, "Every child deserves a champion - an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." In this way, being a champion in the field of education looks a little different from other professions who have the ability to independently execute their own success stories. For teachers, being a champion also requires possessing the empathy necessary to listen to students' needs and provide the scaffolding needed so that these individuals can achieve their dreams. Not every student comes to school ready to learn, and so fostering the right classroom community environment to encourage success of ALL students requires educators to be champions for their students.

In this vision, Belleville schools are welcoming some exciting new faces to their buildings this fall as classrooms are being readied to receive students for their first day of school. District Administrator Nate Perry is excited for all of the new faces that he knows will bring talent and energy anew to the School District of Belleville as he states: "The School District of Belleville hired 22 new staff members over the summer. Three are long-term substitutes, three are one-year positions, and two are support staff positions." Twenty-two new staff members who bring an abundance of innovation (from recently graduating from rigorous educational programs, to others who are veteran teachers with as much as twenty-five years in the classroom), will become a part of the Wildcat team to help uphold the "Wildcat Way"-- a philosophy that embodies caring and service to one's community.

The fact that these new educators are prepared to be champions to their students is clear as they begin to express what teaching means to them this fall. For some, it means teaching in the community they call "home" in the hope they can directly impact the next generation of Belleville students from the lens of the classroom as Angie Richter, Belleville Elementary's new First Grade teacher notes, "I am excited about teaching in Belleville so I can connect with students and families in the community that I've lived in for the past two decades." Angie will bring 25 years of teaching experience with her to her First Grade classroom as students join her on September 1st.

Scott Serum, who will be teaching Middle/High School Special Education, also shared his sentiments about what it means for him to engage as a new teacher, "I am excited to be in a close knit community and love that Belleville is similar to the same size town I grew up in. I look forward to building long lasting relationships with students, staff, and community members."

Stephanie Levenhagen, the new 5th-8th Grade School Counselor, echoes similar sentiments as she sets about to make a difference in the lives of Belleville students. "I am so excited to get to know and build relationships with students and staff at Belleville! I love to see students and families get excited about the future and all of the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer! GO WILDCATS!"

They, like Belleville's other new teachers, understand that coming into the classroom is not just about what you "know," but also what you, yourself, need to learn about your students as an educational professional, that will make the ultimate difference in the lives of students.

This in-coming team of teaching professionals understand that if we can work together as a learning community and listen and learn from one another, we will have the chance to make a great impact on the next generation of learners we are here to serve in the field of education. Possessing this positive energy, empathy, and a strong desire to help everyone achieve their learning goals and dreams is what truly makes an educator a CHAMPION. As a community, we are lucky to have twenty-two new champions ready, willing, and able to connect with students to help them become the best they can possibly be and it is nothing less than exciting to witness as we begin our journey for the 2021-22 academic school year.


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