Following a gut instinct

Friday, June 17, 2022

LE MARS — There are many reasons for knowing when to make the decision to retire.

Julie Theisen said it was her gut instinct telling her it was time for a change.

Since 1990, Theisen has been the teacher at the Le Mars Alternative High School for the Le Mars Community School District.

“In 1990, Le Mars Community (in partnership with WITCC) started the Le Mars Alternative High School — then known as the Individual Learning Center (ILC). In 2002 LCS took it over completely. I have been the only teacher since 1990,” Theisen said.

Her work has been challenging as well as rewarding.

“I have always believed that every student has a story so to make that connection with a student and learn their story has been a rewarding experience,” she said. “Yes, my goal was to teach the academics but also the bigger picture called life. And they in turn taught me that many are fighting a battle that you can’t see.”

Theisen said she would still like to work for the school in some capacity, “maybe at the elementary level. I will still be working at the athletic events also.”

Retirement, however, will give Theisen some free time.

She is looking forward to having a flexible schedule to spend some extra time with her two grandsons, as well as spend extra time outdoors in the fall.

Theisen and her husband Mark, have been married 32 years. He works as a senior marketing specialist at Great West Casualty Company.

Their family includes son Jeff, 30, who lives in Bancroft, and is vice president at Fidelity Bank and Trust; daughter Jenni Mack, 28, lives in Sioux City and is the human resources administrator at NIPCO in Le Mars; and daughter Allie Theisen, 25, who lives in Le Mars and works at Life Skills Training Center.

Theisen said there are several people she’d like to thank for her years in the district.

“I’d like to thank then Superintendent Red Messerole and Principal Jim Patera for taking a chance on me and believing in what this program had to offer. And to all the other administrators and school board members for their support to the students who needed an alternative to the traditional school setting,” she said.

“A special thanks to Harlan Ferguson, Gina Statema, Marleen Schipper, and Michele Berkenpas — four assistants over my 32 years with who I shared lots of memories, stories, laughs, and tears,” she said.

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