Patty Morris is the new principal at South Prairie Elementary School in Grimes. While she has taught grades first through eighth, she really enjoyed the early years.
“I went into education to become a kindergarten teacher; however, I have never taught kindergarten,” Morris says. “I really enjoyed first grade, teaching kids how to read and watching them getting excited to learn.”
Morris grew up in Gravity and graduated from Bedford High School in 1984. She attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, where she earned her elementary and early childhood education degree. She followed that with a degree in educational administration from Iowa State University.
Morris married her high school sweetheart in 1984 and taught in several small towns in southern Iowa. Her husband joined the Marines in 1989, and when their first child was 3 weeks old, they moved to Prince William County in Virginia. She alternated between teaching and administration while on the East Coast.
Her family moved back to Iowa in 1994, and she served as both teacher and administrator in Corning.
“It was hard to leave Corning because I had grown to know so many of the families there,” she says. “And in a rural setting I wore many hats, having to do many different tasks, so I was ready to get into a more urban setting, where there are other people to do those tasks.”
After settling in Grimes, Morris is beginning her first year with Dallas Center Grimes School District.
“At this time of my life I wanted to get back to working with kindergartners to second graders,” Morris says. “The enthusiasm of these little kids for learning is so great to watch.”
Morris says while teaching is the priority, kids need to have fun, too. They need to want to come to school.
“I like to dress up in costumes and the whole building will be doing some themes for costumes throughout the school year,” she says. “I love being with kids of all ages. I’ve never grown up. I’m just a big kid.”
Of the grades she has taught in the past, she did enjoy fifth grade.
“I taught history to fifth graders. History has always been one of my favorite subjects,” Morris says. “I do a lot of teaching through song, such as the presidents and the state capitals. I believe it helps students to remember better.”
Another of her memories was teaching seventh grade.
“I taught seventh grade for seven years in Corning and during that time my classes took five trips to Washington, D.C.,” Morris says. “Having lived in that area of the country for several years, it was easy for me to navigate around the area and to show the students all the important (and less important) places to see. One year we had 100 students on the trip. I didn’t sleep a lot.”
Morris looks forward to getting to know both students and parents.
“I want the kids to know that when they come to my office it may not be their best day, but they need to know that someone cares about them, and that we’ll figure things out together.”