There are four new teachers ready to help expand the minds Seneca School District students this year.
One is special ed teacher Kelsey Kleven, who graduated from Prairie du Chien High School in 2006. After living in La Crosse and working at Chileda, a school that focuses on student with cognitive and behavioral challenges, she found her true calling.
“I was attending UW-La Crosse and worked at Chileda and discovered I really loved working with kids with special needs,” Kleven said. “I decided to go back to school for it.”
Kleven graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Educational Studies and a Post Bachelors Degree in Special Education. From there, Kleven taught in the Milwaukee Public School District for a few years.
“This is my fourth year teaching, my husband is from Eastman and my dad is from Seneca, so we started looking, where we are familiar to the community,” said Kleven.
She noted that although it is a big change in environment, it is a welcomed one.
“I applied and interviewed for several different places, but I am happy Seneca is the one,” Kleven said. “I really enjoy Seneca’s commitment to its students.”
Experience and excitement are two things that Kleven hopes to bring to the table while teaching at Seneca.
“I hope to bring a lot of knowledge and teaching experience, I have a lot of exciting ideas for my students and I want to teach them the best that I can,” Kleven explained. “I also have a passion for life skills, like cooking, it is so important for students to know these things, but its also really fun, who doesn’t want to bake cookies in the middle of the afternoon.”
The language program at the Seneca School District will also have a new face on the staff. Jennifer Fisher will be teaching Spanish to Pre-K through 12 students. A 2002 graduate of Appleton East, Fisher went on to complete a double major in secondary education and English, as well as a minor in Spanish at UW-Oshkosh. She makes the trek to Seneca following a decade-long stint in Huntsville, Alabama.
Like Kleven, Fisher also has a husband who grew up in the Seneca area, which drew her family back to Wisconsin.
“We have three kids, so it is hard to be so far away from family,” Fisher noted. “It feels so good to be back in a community.
“Huntsville isn’t exactly a community setting, just after 10 years we finally felt like we were a part of it, but after two weeks here we feel so included in the community. I talk to people and they know who I am, they know who my husband is, they love to tell stories about him and each other, everyone is related to someone,” Fisher chuckled. “It really gets me excited to know the parents and have them get to know me.”
Although Spanish teaching wasn’t what she thought she would be teaching right away, she is still excited to be doing it.
“Being a English Major and Spanish Minor I didn’t expect to be teaching Spanish,” Fisher said. “But there are so many facets to teaching a second language and learning it. The ability to speak a second language opens up a whole different way of learning. It trains the brain to think in a different way that can help children in many other subjects.”
Fisher has many different teaching strategies for not only the students of the Seneca School District, but also Wauzeka-Steuben, where she will be working for part of the day, before coming to Seneca.
“In the elementary, it’s all about exposing them to the language, teaching them the colors, singing songs and reading books,” Fischer explained. “As we get to the middle school, its more preparation for them to see if they would want to take Spanish One and Two in high school.”
Jessica Olson, a Gays Mills native, will also be teaching in the elementary school this year.
Olson is a 2011 graduate of North Crawford High School, who went on to earn a dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from UW-Madison.
Attending nearby North Crawford Schools helped to draw Olson to teaching at Seneca.
“Seneca is a school that offers a strong sense of community, pride and support,” Olson noted. “Growing up attending a small school, I understand the unique opportunities that a small school has to offer.”
Teaching fourth grade is an exciting new venture for Olson that she is eager to begin.
“There are many reasons to be excited about teaching at Seneca,” Olson said. “I am looking forward to teaching the next-generation of Seneca’s students. I am eager to draw on the knowledge of the fantastic teachers that are already teaching at the school and continue the tradition of excellence in education at Seneca.”
Keeping students up and in tune with learning is also a point Olson wants to emphasize.
“I want to bring energy to the classroom because I believe that many students emulate their teacher’s attitude toward learning,” Olson explained. “I want the students in my classroom to be excited and engaged in learning every day.”
Another new smiling face at the Seneca Elementary School is Hannah Baumeister.
Baumeister is a Boscobel native, who graduated in 2011 and continued her education at UW-Platteville to complete a degree in Elementary Education-Early Childhood.
The Boscobel resident is excited to cut down on her commute.
“I love that it is close to home and has such welcoming staff,” Baumeister said. “I also love that it’s such a small school.”
Teaching at Seneca isn’t just a job for Baumeister, but a lifelong dream coming full circle.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Baumeister. “Seeing the light bulbs go on when they learn something new is so great.”
Welcome to the community and school from everyone at the Crawford County Independent and the Kickapoo Scout.