Barb Siemens has been director of Adventure Life Preschool for the last 13 years and still wakes up excited to go to work.
“Having the chance to interact with the kids, their stories and the funny things that they say,” she says of her favorite aspects of the job.
But she counts the relationship she is able to have with the parents as well as her co-workers who she considers her “little family.”
Prior to working at the preschool, Siemens had done in-home daycare. Once her children graduated from high school, she took a year off and then applied for a job at the center. She says the school was already up and running when she started, so all she had to do was learn the ropes and keep things going.
“It was a well-oiled machine,” she says.
Though times and school expectations change for those entering kindergarten, Siemens says it hasn’t impacted the school because their program has always been focused on advancing the kids socially and academically.
“We’ve always tried to have the kids more than ready for kindergarten,” she says.
When not working to keep the center’s five-star Iowa Quality rating, Siemens loves to spend time with her grandchildren: Ty, 17; Trey, 15; Brynna, 13; Isaac, 10; Lucy, 8; twin boys Isak and Cade, 10; and Emma, 7. With this many grandchildren, she spends a lot of time going to games, musical events and other school events.
Siemens and her husband, Steve, enjoy traveling. They have been to Europe several times, with Italy being their favorite, as well as various destinations. The couple plan to travel to Cancun for their 40th anniversary as well.
Siemens also enjoys reading and often chooses her books based on what is popular with her grandkids so she can talk to them about it.
Though she has not had a typical day at work or at home, Siemens enjoys being the “jack of all trades” at work, being ready to take on whatever is needed of her.
“I feel very blessed,” she says. “I wake up still excited to go to work. Not everyone can say that.”