Kara Buerger may have started out as a music teacher, but she found her passion in as a guidance counselor. She is now in her 10th year at Centennial Elementary and loves it as much now as she did on her first day.
She formerly taught music at Aplington-Parkersburg and Des Moines Public Schools before returning to Drake for her counseling degree.
The switch from music was not as drastic as it may seem. As a music teacher, Buerger spent a lot of time with her students, rehearsing for programs she had scheduled, many for the governor. She says she really got to know the kids and their day-to-day struggles.
“I really loved the rewarding feeling of being a teacher and being a good role model in kid’s lives,” she says. “But I just wanted to more for them than I was doing.”
While not in school, Kara is a busy wife and mom of four: Kylie, 14; Bailey and Bella, 9; and Kennedy, 6. She and husband Travis spend a lot of time going to dance events for the girls.
“We are just a busy family running all over the place, but we enjoy it,” she says.
One thing students may not know about Buerger is that she used to perform on stage at Adventureland. She also spent a summer on stage at Rye Playland in New York. This is the same amusement park where scenes from the Tom Hanks movie “Big” were filmed.
“That was one of the highlights of my music career,” she says.
These days, Buerger’s kids are the musicians in the family, playing piano and singing.
As for her position at Centennial, Buerger feels being the guidance counselor is a crucial part of the inner workings of having a healthy environment for kids.
“Having a strong guidance program, schools are able to get those kids who are struggling to the point that they are working and just as able as any other student who isn’t struggling,” she says.
She loves working at Centennial and hopes to be there for a long time.
“It’s nice to be in a place that you love coming to work each day,” she says.