Stephanie Heinze didn’t plan on spending her life in a classroom. Unlike many teachers who say they always wanted to be a teacher, she had other plans.
“I actually started out in business,” Heinze recalls. “My first year of college I thought I would go into business and marketing, and then I changed right away — I knew that I didn’t want to work in an office.”
Now her “office” is a brightly-decorated classroom at Butler Elementary School that is filled with busy second graders who stop her in mid-thought with a very important question: “Can you help me tie my shoe?”
It’s not a national advertising account or a community marketing gig, but it does have its rewards, and Heinze wouldn’t have it any other way.
A native of Gowrie, Heinze earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Iowa State University. She later added a master’s degree, also in elementary education, with a reading endorsement from Morningside College. She most recently completed her Master’s Plus 15, taking courses at Drake University and Buena Vista, with an emphasis in math.
For Heinze, continuing education is an important part of her own professional development, and she’s enjoyed taking classes from a number of higher institutions.
“Education is always changing, and I like to see all the new ideas that are coming out,” she says.
She began her own career as an associate in Manson and taught second and third grades at Riverside before moving to Butler. Heinze taught kindergarten for a while but is happy to be back with second graders.
In many ways, she says children today have it a bit tougher than previous generations.
“I think the kids nowadays are expected to do so much more,” she says. “I think the dynamics of the home life have changed so much, and the expectations are so much more.”
For kids, she still enjoys the small victories and helping them discover that they can do things, even when they are uncertain about learning a task that seems daunting at first.
“I love seeing the accomplishments and excitement on their faces when they master a skill,” she concludes.