MMCRU welcomes eleven new faces to district

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen-Union Community School District welcomes eleven new teachers for the 2020-2021 school year. The new school year begins on Monday, August 24, 2020.

Megan Kramer

Megan Kramer

Teaching Preschool at MMCRU - Remsen Elementary this year will be Mrs. Megan Kramer.

A Remsenite, Megan grew up in Remsen and graduated from Remsen-Union in 2002. She then went onto Northwestern College in Orange City and received her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with Early Childhood and Reading Endorsements.

Megan brings her vast education experience to the Remsen classroom, “I was the Preschool Teacher at Rock Valley Head Start in their three and four-year-old program for five years. Then I became the Preschool Teacher at Orange City Daycare & Preschool for seven years. I was also the Head Teacher for the After Care Program and Summer Care Program for school-aged children grades TK-fifth grade. I student taught at Remsen-Union in Kindergarten, Preschool/TK and Title I Reading. I had Fridays available to substitute teach at Orange City and Hospers Elementary.”

She went straight into teaching after college.

She is married to David Kramer, who is a MDI Tech at Pella. They have an eight-year-old child, Harper, and live in Orange City.

Megan spends her free time outdoors, “My family and I enjoy the outdoors so we camp, fish, hike and go biking. I also love crafting, painting, reading and repurposing furniture.”

She knew she wanted to be in this profession since she was young, “I always said I wanted to be a teacher since I was in Kindergarten. I played school with my friends and siblings. As I got older, I enjoyed working with children of all ages in different programs, and I babysat. When I started student teaching and I was a part of a classroom conducting lessons and building relationships, I knew I had found my calling! Then I entered the world of Preschool, and I knew there was no better place to be than at the ground floor with these amazing little humans!”

There are many things she enjoys most about teaching, “I enjoy building relationships with the children where their face lights up when they see you, and they cannot wait to share stories about anything or everything. My other favorite moments are when a child has their “aha” moment and understands a new skill or concept. The pride they feel and knowing you were a part of their learning is amazing.”

Benjamin Pirrie

Benjamin Pirrie

Mr. Benjamin Pirrie is joining MMCRU Middle School staff in teaching fifth and sixth grade Science.

Having grown up in Lawton, Benjamin graduated high school from Siouxland Christian School in 2013. He received his BA in Elementary Education at Northwestern College in 2020. This will be his first-year teaching.

He student taught sixth grade Science and Social Studies at Sheldon Middle School.

Benjamin has also served in the U.S. Army, “Before teaching and going to Northwestern College, I spent three-and-a-half years in the Active Duty Army. I was an Infantryman in the U.S. Army and spent most of my time in Fort Irwin, Calif.”

He is married to Emily Pirrie, who works as a Kindergarten teacher at Boyden-Hull. They reside in Orange City.

Most of his family is involved in the education business. His father, Paul Pirrie, is a sixth grade Social Studies teacher at East Middle School in Sioux City. His mother, Kim Pirrie, is a third grade teacher at Siouxland Christian School in Sioux City. He has three younger siblings (one brother, two sisters), and all are either teachers currently or studying to become teachers. He stated, “Our family jokes that teaching is the “family business”.”

His hobbies include going to the gym, working on his truck, and going on walks with his wife and dog.

Benjamin realized his desire to teach while in the Army, “I realized I wanted to be a teacher while I was in the Army. I volunteered in a Youth Group on post and loved working with students and having an impact in their lives. This brought me right to the “family business” and made me realize I wanted to work with middle schoolers more. My parents were an inspiration for doing this profession. I grew up in classrooms and around teachers. I got a good look into the life of a teacher and what it takes to be a teacher.”

He shared, “It is really hard to beat that feeling when you see a student get a lightbulb moment and suddenly grasp something they were struggling with. I also enjoy the little fun and sometimes goofy interactions you get with students.”

“I am extremely excited to be teaching here at MMCRU and am looking forward to the year.” exclaimed Benjamin.

Mikayla Westhoff

Mikayla Westhoff

Teaching fifth/sixth grade English at MMCRU Middle School in Remsen will be Mrs. Mikayla Westhoff.

Growing up in Le Mars, she graduated from Le Mars Community High School in 2015. She earned her bachelor degree in Teaching from Wayne State College and has a Reading Endorsement as well.

This will be her first-year teaching.

For student teaching, she taught in Le Mars at Franklin Elementary with Katie Majeres and was in the fourth grade classroom for the Spring semester of 2019. She has also substitute taught in both the Le Mars and Remsen School Districts.

“Throughout my high school and college years, I worked as a cashier at Fareway in Le Mars. I have worked there for eight years and up until I have received a teaching position.” Mikayla stated.

Mikayla has been married to Brady Westhoff since 2018. He works at the Meat Market at Fareway in Le Mars. They have two children: a three-year-old son, Landon, and one-year-old daughter, Lyanna. Her family lives in Le Mars as well, “We live in the country outside of Le Mars on a farm. My mother is Krista Karama, and her husband is Ousmane Karama. I have three siblings, Haley (Matthew), Jaiden, and Dasen who live in Le Mars. My husband has two siblings whose names are Brittany (Cameron) and Brooke. I have two nieces whose names are Aliyah (daughter of Haley) and Lily (daughter of Brittany).

She spends time with family during her free time, “In my spare time, I enjoy playing outside with my kids and nieces. Our activities include catching butterflies, drawing with chalk, and racing down the sidewalk.”

She choose this profession because, “The way teachers can impact a student’s life has motivated myself to want to be one of those people that a child can look up to. I want to be able to help guide students in their journey to become the person they want to be when they grow up.”

What does she enjoy most about teaching? “I enjoy the interactions with the students and the deep conversations that can occur when they are not always planned but it can build so many connections with one another.” replied Mikayla.

Emma Davis

Emma Davis

Joining MMCRU for her first-year of teaching is Ms. Emma Davis, as she will be teaching fifth through twelfth grade band.

Emma grew up in Newell and graduated from Newell-Fonda Community School District. She recently graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Music Degree.

For student teaching, she taught this past spring at Gilbert High School, where she worked with the high school concert bands, high school jazz bands, fifth grade band, and sixth grade band. While in college, she taught the Bondurant-Farrar High School Drum Line last fall, and has helped teach other percussion groups in Central Iowa.

She currently resides in Le Mars. Her mom, Dana, works at U.S.D.A., while her dad, Craig, is the seventh through twelfth grade Special Education teacher at Newell-Fonda High School and coaches the high school girls Track and Field. Her younger brother currently attends Iowa State University and majors in Kinesiology. Her family also has a small dog named Teddy.

In her spare time, Emma stated, “I enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with my family.”

Teaching has been a big part of her life ever since she was young, “My dad has been one of my biggest inspirations. Although I haven’t watched him teach in the classroom, I was able to watch him coach a variety of sports as I grew up. Seeing his passion for helping kids grow as athletes and as people has always stuck with me. My middle school science teacher was also an inspiration to join the teaching profession. Her enthusiasm for science (amidst some of our unenthusiastic responses) made learning fun. She made it a point to try new ways of teaching and encouraged us to think outside the box.”

What does Emma enjoy most about teaching? She replied, “I enjoy the “a-ha” moments when a student finally gets a concept or accomplishes something they thought they couldn’t do. I also enjoy seeing the friendships that grow while being a part of the music programs.”

Emma is excited to start her teaching career at MMCRU, “I’m looking forward to starting this year with all of you! Go Royals!”

Amber Van Regenmorter

Amber Van Regenmorter

Miss Amber Van Regenmorter will be teaching Elementary General Music in Remsen and Marcus.

Growing up on a farm outside of Sioux Center, she graduated from Sioux Center High in 2015. She received her Music Education Degree from Morningside College in December 2019.

This will be her first-full-year teaching.

She student taught at Loess Hills Elementary School in Sioux City, as well as at Gehlen Catholic in Le Mars.

She also has some substitute teaching experience, “Before COVID, I was a long-term substitute for 7-12 choirs at Gehlen Catholic and subbed a few days of general teaching for Sioux City Community Schools.”

Besides teaching, she has other work experience, “I’ve been a CNA for the past seven years. The last five, I have been working for Tri-State Nursing as an Agency Travel Nurse Aid.”

Currently, she is living in Paullina. Her parents, Verlyn and LeaAnn Van Regenmorter, live near Sioux Center.

During her spare time, she “enjoys sand volleyball and spending time with family and friends camping”.

When asked about why she chose this profession, she replied, “I’ve always enjoyed the enthusiasm that children have. Being a music teacher, I get a half hour to make them excited about music and use that excitement to create something beautiful... even though some may argue recorders are the furthest thing.”

What Amber enjoys most about teaching is “getting to interact with tiny humans”.

Ashley Brady

Ashley Brady

Serving as the K-12 Student Success Coordinator for MMCRU in Marcus and Remsen is Mrs. Ashley Brady.

Native of Marcus, Ashley graduated high school from Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn and went on to the University of South Dakota for her undergrad and earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education in 2014. She later earned a master’s degree in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health from Creighton University in 2019.

This will be her seventh year in education, having taught English at West High School in Sioux City before coming to MMCRU.

She did her year-long student teaching at West High and East High in Sioux City.

Ashley is married to Tyler Brady. Tyler is an agronomist at First Cooperative Association in Marcus. They have two boys, Aiden is four-years-old, and Mason is ten-months-old. The family resides in Marcus. Ashley’s parents are John and Carla Weber. She has two brothers, Brian and Alex.

Her dad and two brothers farm, and her mom works in the school.

Ashley stated, “During my free time, I am chasing after two boys.”

When asked why she chose the education profession, she replied, “I chose education for the desire to be a part of the future. The youth are our future. I enjoy teaching because everyday is a new adventure.”

Darin Rinehart

Darin Rinehart

Starting his first year of teaching as the Physical Education teacher for grades TK, first, second, fourth, fifth, and sixth at MMCRU in Remsen is Mr. Darin Rinehart. He will also be the assistant track coach.

Darin grew up in Ames, graduating from Gilbert High School in 2014, which is in Central Iowa. He graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City with a major in Physical Education.

For student teaching, he taught for 35 days at MOC-Floyd Valley Middle School in Physical Education and at the Le Mars High School for about two weeks, before COVID-19 cut that assignment short.

He is married to Kylie Rinehart, who graduated from Northwestern College with a degree in Athletic Training, but is currently a stay-at-home mom. The couple have two children, Lydia, one-year and seven-months-old, and Julia, six-months-old. This family lives in Orange City.

Right now, during his free time, Darin is training for competitions in powerlifting for this coming summer.

When asked why he chose this profession, he answered, “I had great teachers pour into me when I was in school, so I want to continue what those teachers did to me, to other students.”

Building relationships with students is what Darin enjoys most about teaching.

Curt Gengler

Curt Gengler

Mr. Curt Gengler will serve as the K-8 Physical Education teacher in Remsen.

Curt grew up in Merrill and attended school at Gehlen Catholic, graduating in 1999. He then went on to get his degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 2004, majoring in Physical Education and receiving a Middle School Endorsement.

For teaching experience, Curt taught at Bishop Heelan for the last ten years at Sacred Heart School. He taught K-8 P.E. and was the school’s Athletic Director. He also subbed for five years in Le Mars, Remsen, Sioux City, South Sioux, and Sgt. Bluff from 2004-2009. He student taught at Longfellow and Sunnyside Elementary for his K-5 and his secondary was at West Middle School. He also has coached baseball in the summer for 15 years. He coached at Gehlen from 2000-2006, Le Mars 2007-2009, and then at Heelan after he got a teaching position from 2010-2014.

Living just outside of Merrill, Curt and wife, Kari Gengler, who is a Kindergarten teacher at Kluckhohn Elementary in Le Mars, have two children: Keegan (age 13), who will be in eighth grade, and Kenley (age 8), who will be in third grade. His parents are Larry and Sue Gengler of Merrill. His brother, Jeff Gengler, works for Plymouth County. His younger sister, Alisha Schreiner, is married to Nick Schreiner, and she works at Floyd Valley Hospital.

During his free time, Curt enjoys the outdoors and sports, “I love being outdoors. I love coaching my son’s baseball team and watching baseball. I like playing baseball and basketball, and watching football. I love going to Okoboji in the summer and boating, skiing and fishing. I am an avid Iowa Hawkeyes, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Las Vegas Raiders fan.”

His passion for teaching developed thanks to two of his teachers, “I chose to become a PE teacher because I love working with kids and love sports. I had two great influences on me when I was in school in the late Mr. Steve Shea and Mr. Marty Kurth.”

What does he enjoy most about teaching? He explained, “I love building relationships with the students. I also love watching them not be able to get a skill and then that moment hits and they get it and the look on their faces is priceless. I also love watching my former students on the activity field while in high school or in college if they choose to do so!”

He has some favorite quotes. One is, “To the world, you may be someone; but to someone you may be the world.” Another is, “Every expert was once a beginner.”

“I am excited to start my new adventure at MMCRU and join the Royals Family.” expressed Curt.

Beth McDermott-Ebert

Beth McDermott-Ebert

Having been familiar with the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School District, Mrs. Beth McDermott-Ebert returns to teach High School Spanish, classes being Spanish 1, 2, 3, and 4, at MMCRU High School in Marcus. She will also be an advisor for the High School Student Council and would like to start a Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society. She goes by Mrs. Ebert.

She grew up in the small town of Cylinder, Iowa, graduating from Emmetsburg High School in the Class of 1983. She attended Briar Cliff College from 1983-1987, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Spanish and minoring in Math, PE, and Secondary Education. She went on to earn a Master of Arts Degree at Morningside College from 1999-2006, with majors in Professional Educator and a Talented and Gifted Endorsement (TAG). She received a Specialist Degree in PreK-12 Administration from the University of South Dakota from 2007-2011.

Beth brings with her a vast amount of experience in education over the years. She was a substitute teacher in the winter and spring of 1988, and taught Spanish and Student Council at Pender and Walthill in Nebraska for a year from 1988-89. For seventeen years (from 1989-2007), she taught Spanish, Spanish Club, girls’ golf, and was a prom sponsor at Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn. Then for twelve years (from 2007-2019), she taught in the Cherokee Community School District, being involved in the following subjects, Spanish, some math in her last year there, Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, Student Council, First Tech Challenge Sponsor (Robotics), Curriculum Director (seven years), and TLC Positions - Lead Teacher, Model Teacher, and School Improvement Coordinator. Finally, before coming back to MMCRU, she taught Math (Algebra A, Algebra B, Applied Math, Construction Math, Geometry) and Computer Science (Computer Literacy, Cyber Literacy) for one year (2019-2020) at River Valley Community School District.

She did her student teaching at North High School in Sioux City for a ten-week term. She also has substitute taught for Sioux City Schools.

During her college years, she also did some work at a daycare, “During my summers off from college, I worked at Mary Elizabeth Daycare in Sioux City. I worked with school-aged children and was responsible for the summer activities program.”

Beth is married to Rodney Ebert, who is a Maintenance Repairer at MHI (Mental Health Institute) in Cherokee. She has three children, Rachel Weeks (age 29), Alissa Utesch (age 25), and Sarah McDermott (age 23), and two step-children, Jackie Prunty and Eric Ebert. Between her and her husband, they have six grandchildren. They live in Marcus.

Her parents were Robert Weisbrod and Frances Weisbrod-George (both deceased). Her father was a farmer and did custom combining and chemical application. Her mom was a teacher for several years and in several capacities. She has a brother, Mark Weisbrod, who lives in Emmetsburg and still operates the family farm. He also has an electrical business, Weisbrod Electric.

During her free time, she stated, “I love to golf and spend time with my family at the lake. I also spend time perennial gardening. I have a She Shed and recently have been learning how to propagate and care for succulent plants. I enjoy traveling to Spanish speaking countries and learning about different cultures.”

Beth was exposed to the teaching profession early on and was inspired to teach by an Elementary teacher, “Teaching is in our family. My mom and one of my aunts were teachers. My true inspiration came from my third grade teacher. She was compassionate during a time when my father was seriously ill and hospitalized at Mayo Clinic.”

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Beth answered, “I love trying to inspire my students. I am filled with joy when I can see the results of my work. The greatest accomplishment is when you have made a difference for a student, and they tell you. I have a few graduates who have continued learning Spanish and have a career using it.”

“I am excited to return to the MMCRU School District. I have taken on a new challenge in my career and will be focusing on Language Acquisition strategies. Students will have multiple opportunities every day with Comprehensible Input. It is going to be a great year!” exclaimed Beth.

Ashton Connelly

Ashton Connelly

A familiar face will be serving as the first grade Elementary teacher at MMCRU - Marcus Elementary in Miss Ashton Connelly. She will also be coaching eighth grade volleyball.

Having grown up in Emmetsburg, Ashton graduated from Emmetsburg High School in 2015. She received her college education at the University of Northern Iowa and majored in Elementary Education with minors in math, reading, and language arts.

This will be her first-year teaching. She completed her student teaching at both Marcus Elementary for fourth grade and Cherokee Elementary for kindergarten. She taught eight weeks at both for a total of 16 weeks. She also substituted at both Marcus and Remsen Elementary.

She is engaged to Brody Karr and currently lives in Le Mars. Ashton's parents are Jen and Shawn Connelly. She has one brother named Dalton, and he is going to be a senior in college this year. She also has two dogs, Riley and Herky.

For hobbies, Ashton stated, “I love to be active and play competitive sports such as volleyball, basketball, golf, and softball. I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I am a huge Iowa Hawkeye fan and enjoy going to Kinnick.”

She choose this profession because, “of my passion for working with kids and wanting to help make a positive impact for their futures”.

What Ashton enjoys most about teaching is “the relationships that I get to build with my students and how I get to watch both their academic and social skills grow.”

Nick Long

Nick Long

Mr. Nick Long will be the High School 9-12 Industrial Technology teacher.

Nick has grown up in several places across the United States, “I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. When I was five-years-old, my dad transferred offices to Owatonna, Minn., where he worked for five years before taking a different job in South Sioux City, Neb. I lived there until I graduated high school in 2010. After that I started college at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. I graduated from college in December of 2014 with a degree in Industrial Technology Education.”

His first teaching job was at George-Little Rock CSD where he spent five years there (August 2015 – May 2020) before moving to MMCRU. He student taught at Ridge View School in Industrial Technology from August 2014 – December 2014.

Nick has some other work experience as well from high school and college, “In high school, I worked for my neighbor at his semi-truck and trailer repair shop where I learned a lot of mechanical abilities. In college, I worked at Bomgaars, and Sand Creek Post and Beam as a millwork specialist, and worked construction in my free time with friends.”

He currently lives in Marcus. His parents work for a commercial insurance company and live in South Sioux City, Neb., but often spend time at their little family cabin in the upper peninsula of Michigan where they grew up.

His hobbies include many outdoors activities, “I enjoy hunting, fishing, auto racing events, as well as working on various carpentry and welding projects. In my free time, I like to golf with my friends and family and work on my 67’ mustang.”

When asked why he chose this profession, Nick replied, “I grew up doing hands on activities with my dad, and I went through a really good high school industrial technology program that I enjoyed, I simply knew that passing these skills on to others was something I would want to do the rest of my life.”

What does he enjoy most about teaching? He answered, “The success stories from former students; its always a great feeling when kids come back and tell you where they’re working or how they’re using the skills and experiences from high school shop class.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone in the community as well as continuing to grow the exceptional culture that is in place here in the MMCRU Industrial Technology program.” declared Nick.