Donna Niemeyer is a kindergarten teacher at South Prairie elementary School in Grimes. She has been with the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District more than nine years.
Niemeyer comes with a varied teaching background. She taught briefly at the Sonbeam Christian Day Care at the Grimes United Methodist Church; she taught four-year-olds at St. Augustin Catholic School in Des Moines; she ran her own in home day care while raising her two boys; and did substitute teaching a t DC-G before becoming a full time kindergarten teacher at south Prairie in 2005. “This is my dream job,” she says.
Niemeyer grew up on a farm northwest of Grimes on what is now 100th Street. She graduated from St. Augustin Catholic High School in 1985 and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines in 1989 with a Bachelor in science in education degree. She followed up with her education by receiving her Masters in education degree from Viterbo College.
“The most fun part of any day is when her students get so excited that their eyes ‘pop’ when they learn something new,” Niemeyer says.
With more kids starting at the pre-school level, the students come to me with more prior knowledge. “The impact of this is that I’m teaching more than I did nine years ago,” Niemeyer says, “this has added to the curriculum areas, and the teachers focus more on how we teach and how the students learn.”
More students are reading, but the skill levels are varied. “Some will be at the pre-kindergarten level while others may be at a first grade level,” Niemeyer says, “We must differentiate the teaching for the different levels of learning.”
“I do enjoy what I do but the challenge with the curriculum changes make it harder to teach the social skills” she says, “but I’m still finding ways to make learning fun for the students.”
Niemeyer says that if there are any challenges to her day it is when they have schedule changes in their daily routine, such as early outs or other events. “It is sometimes challenging to get the kids back on track,” she says.
Niemeyer now lives in Johnston and enjoys taking long walks with her golden retriever, and spending time with her two sons. Alex 21, is a Junior at Grandview college in graphic design studies and Nick, 18, is a senior at DC-G and is planning to pursue a degree in engineering at DMACC and Iowa State University.
“I feel very fortunate to be teaching here a t DC-G and also for having my boys go through school here,” Niemeyer says.
What will you do when we have snow?
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“Make a snow man.”
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