Willowbrook Elementary is welcoming first-year teacher Kelcie Freeman to its staff. Freeman, a recent graduate from University of Northern Iowa, has known she wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl growing up in St. Charles, just outside of Winterset.
“In guidance we had to fill out every year what we wanted to do when we were older; I always put teacher,” Freeman says.
The school year is still young, but Freeman feels she is getting a handle on things and says the Willowbrook staff has been a huge help in preparing for her students.
“Everyone just makes you feel very welcome. It’s like a small-town feel even though it’s a pretty big district,” Freeman says of Southeast Polk School District.
Freeman is teaching first grade this year, though she student taught with fifth graders. She says she chose a degree in teaching kindergarten through sixth grades because she feels she can easily relate to kids that age.
“I have always wanted to do primary education. I like their stories,” she laughs. “And they’re excited to learn, which is good.”
When not in the classroom, Freeman likes to be outdoors enjoying physical activities and interacting with nature. Over the summer, she spent several months in Colorado hiking, skiing, fishing and hunting. She’s also big into biking.
“RAGBRAI is my summer pride and joy,” Freeman says.
She also likes to spend time with her yellow Labrador, Duke. One thing she’s looking forward to now that she’s got a full-time job and has graduated college is picking up and actually finishing a book. She says she has a bad habit of getting distracted and never finishing a book she’s started, but hopes that will change as she settles into teaching.
Freeman is excited about this school year at Willowbrook Elementary, and all the years that are sure to follow.
“It’s something I think I do well, and it’s a job I wake up and look forward to,” she says. “I’m so glad this is my first class; I will remember them forever.”