When Catherine Lechtenberg moved to Centerville in 1995 as a new teacher, the Manning native met her future husband within a year.
Mark Lechtenberg had moved to Centerville a year before her to take a job as a certified public accountant with TD&T Financial Group. He was from Vinton, in eastern Iowa, but the couple was surprised to learn he had ties to her home in western Iowa: his grandmother had taught at the one-room schoolhouse on the land where Catherine’s parents later built a house.
The two transplants with this unusual connection struck roots in their new southern Iowa home. Catherine, the youngest of 13 children, and Mark, the oldest of two, now have five of their own: Braden, 13; Kianna, 12; Cade, 10; Annika, 8; and Ewan, 6.
“We just told people we were having a team, and we never told them a sport,” she says with a laugh.
Lechtenberg says she became a teacher because she likes helping people, something she realized when she was a freshman and was able to help a friend with her algebra homework.
“I liked helping her, and I liked the challenge of learning the material,” she says.
Lechtenberg, who originally came to Centerville as a business teacher and now teaches math, majored in business at Mount Mercy University. She says her parents cautioned her to have something to fall back on if teaching didn’t work out. That’s why she went into secondary education, even though she initially didn’t have a preference as to which age group she taught.
Teaching worked out, and so did Lechtenberg’s choice of age group. She says she really likes working with high schoolers.
“There’s a huge difference between a freshman and a senior,” she says. “It’s fun to watch them grow.”
One of the best things about teaching, she says, is that it is such a family-friendly profession. Lechtenberg, who co-advises the student council, says her family is very supportive of her teaching and her council activities, including overnight trips.
“I get to go to a job I enjoy; I get to work with people I love; I get to do things as a family [during school breaks],” she says. “I don’t think I would change anything.”