MMCRU welcomes fourteen new faces to district

Thursday, September 15, 2022
The fourteen new teachers/staff joining MMCRU Schools for the 2022-2023 school year include: Front row, from left: Cammy Ly, Alexa Neumann, Alicia Hergott, and Kellie Gleason. Middle row from left: John Weller, Alli Stevik, Emily Oetken, Megan Letsche, Melissa Lansink, and Melissa Young. Back row, from left: Calah Peyton, Brenda Bird, and Dawn Bates. Inserted picture: Brandon Weisert.
(Photos contributed)

The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen-Union Community School District welcomes fourteen new teachers/staff members for the 2022-2023 school year.

Brandon Weisert

At Remsen, the new teachers are Emily Oetken, middle school reading; Alexa Neumann, middle school social studies; Kelli Gleason, kindergarten; and Calah Payton, middle school science/social studies.

At Marcus, new teachers are Cammy Ly, high school English; Brenda Bird, high school Spanish; John Weller, 7-12 art; Alli Stevick, PK-6 art; Melissa Young, high school physical education; Melissa Lansink, first grade; Megan Letsche, fourth grade; Alicia Hergott, elementary counselor; Dawn Bates, PK-4 special education; and Brandon Weisert, PK-4, 9-12 principal.

The new school year began on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

Emily Oetken

Mrs. Emily Oetken will be teaching 7th/8th grade Reading, 6th grade Careers, and 5th grade Character Education in Remsen.

She grew up in Onawa, graduating from West Monona CSD Class of 2010. For her college education, she attended Wayne State College for her Undergraduate in Elementary Education and Graduate, Master of Education in PK-12 School Counseling.

This is the beginning of her eighth year of teaching, “For the last seven years, I taught at Maple Valley – Anthon Oto CSD. For the first four years, I taught lower elementary (1st grade in Anthon and Kindergarten in Mapleton), and then for the last three years before coming to MMCRU, I was the PK-8th grade school counselor at MVAO.”

For student teaching, she student taught at MVAO in Mapleton in the Kindergarten classroom. Which she then later taught in that same classroom after taking over for her supervising teacher.

She also has some substitution experience, “I graduated from undergrad in December of 2014 and was fortunate enough to get to sub for a semester in various areas.”

Besides teaching, she also has some coaching experience, “Before and while teaching, I have coached various things. I have coached junior high volleyball, basketball, and track; high school volleyball and golf. I also really enjoy coaching little league softball every summer.”

She is married to Daniel Oetken, who works as a Farmer/Plant Manager at Midwest PMS outside of Merrill. They live West of Le Mars on their farm.

Emily’s family includes her parents and three siblings, “My parents, Scott and Peggy Low, live in Onawa. My mom works at the local hospital and my dad owns Low Implement – a farm equipment dealership. I have three older siblings – Abby (Josh), Tommy (JoAnna), and Bobby. They have blessed me with five nieces and one nephew. We are a very close-knit family. We enjoy family dinner nights, attending everyone’s family events, hanging out together, and going on adventures as a family.”

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outside, reading a good book, and doing things with her family. She also loves to golf, “I am an avid golfer and so any free time I have I try to spend on the golf course.”

When asked why she chose to be a teacher, she answered, “I chose to be a teacher because I wanted to make sure every student felt as if they had someone in “their corner” and someone who believed in them no matter what.”

She explained what she enjoys most about teaching, “The most enjoyable part of teaching for me is seeing students feel successful in and out of the classroom! I love to see them understand a topic we have been discussing or feel accomplished when working on a project or problem. I also truly enjoy seeing the students outside of the classroom working hard and enjoying something they love. Whether that be showing a calf, playing ball, or acting in the school play, there is nothing better than seeing that smile on their face and that sense of pride they have when they realize their hard work has paid off.”

Two of her favorite quotes that she tries to exemplify in her own life include, “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou, and “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Alexa Neumann

Serving as the 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher at MMCRU Middle School is Mrs. Alexa Neumann.

She grew up in Moville, graduating in 2012 from Woodbury Central. She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in history education and a minor in political science.

Previously, she taught 9-12 social studies at Sheldon High School in Sheldon, from August 2016 - May 2022.

She student taught at South Sioux City High School for one school year (2015-2016) in 9-12 American Government.

She is married to Travis Neumann, who is a Logistics Analyst. They live in Kingsley with their two children, Ivy (3) and Demi (1).

Her parents are Brock and Stacy Harris of Moville. She has one brother, Jacob Harris of Omaha, Neb.

Her hobbies include cooking, baking, going on walks, going to the movies, reading, and scrapbooking.

She explained why she chose to be a teacher, “I have always loved leading and that’s what teachers do. I feel joy when others are successful so working with children has always been a goal of mine. I love when a “lightbulb moment” happens. The joy of watching a child understand a difficult concept is why I teach.”

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she answered, “I enjoy the routine but also the spontaneity of teaching. Each day is a new adventure. I enjoy helping adolescents reach their full potential and prepare them for the real world.”

Alexa added, “I take my job as a social studies educator very seriously. I know the impact that I can have on a child’s viewpoint and perspective on difficult topics. I structure my lessons to require students to think critically and for themselves, leaving personal opinion out of the equation. I want to develop free thinkers who are civically engaged and responsible.”

Her favorite quote is from Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Kelli Gleason

The Remsen Kindergarten teacher and middle school basketball coach will be Ms. Kelli Gleason.

Growing up in Hinton, Kelli graduated from Hinton Community School in 2017. Her college education includes attending South Dakota State University receiving her BS in Early Childhood Education. She also obtained her Elementary preparation/certification through Dakota State University, graduating in 2022.

This is her first-year teaching.

For student teaching, she taught Preschool at The Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education in Brookings, South Dakota, and Kindergarten at Horizon Elementary School in Harrisburg, South Dakota. She student taught for a total of one year.

She also did some substituting during her time student teaching at Horizon Elementary School in Harrisburg, South Dakota.

She lives in Hinton. Her mother is Karen Gleason and is retired. Her father, Michael Gleason, passed away in 2019. Her five siblings include Misty Gleason (46), Kristy Hansen (45), Kim Swift (39), Matt Gleason (37), and Kaitlin Pederson (31). She has eight nieces and nephews and one great-nephew. Their ages range from 26 to one years old. Two of her nieces and nephews are actually older than her.

In her spare time, she enjoys home renovation projects, baking, spending time with friends and family, traveling, sports, and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Her teachers growing up inspired her to be a teacher, “The influential teachers that I had growing up have had a major impact on my life and inspired me to become an educator. I also grew up with many nieces and nephews and have always loved being around children. I knew I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl. I always played “school” and would pretend to be a teacher.”

What she enjoys most about teaching is building relationships with students and helping them to live up to their full potential. She added, “I also love how excited and eager students are for learning. It is so inspiring! Additionally, I love learning right alongside my students. They teach me just as much or even more than I teach them!”

Calah Payton

Ms. Calah Payton will teach 5th grade science and social studies at the Remsen School. She added, “This is my first-year teaching so I’m trying not to take on too much at once, but eventually I would love to participate in sports with the students.”

Calah explained a little of her background, “I grew up in Estherville, northwest of here. I attended my local high school and graduated in 2016, went to Iowa Lakes Community College after high school where I got my associates degree. This is where I met my soon to be husband. After graduating Iowa Lakes, I went to Iowa State University where I got my education degree with an endorsement in social studies.

She is no stranger to Remsen, “This is my first-year teaching overall. I graduated last December, and I subbed here in Remsen shortly after.”

She student taught in Spencer, “I student taught at Spencer in 5th grade. I taught alongside two amazing teachers that taught all subjects for them. The duration of time was from August at the beginning of the year, and it went to December. Mrs. Blau taught English, grammar, and reading. I worked with her for the first half of student teaching. I then switched to Mrs. Ortiz, who taught science, social studies, and math, I worked with her for the rest of the time. I did not substitute during this time.”

She is engaged to Connor Lamp, and they plan to get married here soon. He is a state trooper in Plymouth County. She stated, “We just got a house in Le Mars where we will be moving there soon. I grew up in a split home, my mother is Alyssa Boeke (she works as a substitute teacher and para), and her husband is Joe Boeke (he works as a welder). With my mom, I have two brothers, their names are Collin (17) and Cason (6). My father’s name is Travis Sheridan. He is the emergency management in my hometown along with being the chief of Estherville fire department. My stepmom’s name is Jackie Sheridan. She is a nurse director at the Spencer Clinic. I have two brothers here also, named Dawson (24) and Mason (12).”

“My favorite things to do when I am not working is play with my dog, hang out with my family, read a good book, and go golfing with my fiancé.” explained Calah.

When asked why she chose this profession, she stated, “I had a very inspirational teacher in high school, named Tony Klein (who went to Remsen). He would dress up as historical figures and let us video record as he acted like they time traveled to our time. He made learning fun, and I wish to be a teacher just like him.”

What she enjoys most about teaching is, “Building relationships with the students and staff, along with seeing the look on my students face when they understand the content being taught is the best.”

Cammy Ly

Ms. Cammy Ly will be teaching English I & II at MMCRU High School.

She grew up in Sioux City, graduating from Sioux City North High School in 2011. She received her B.A. at Wayne State College in 2022. This will be her first year of teaching.

She student taught at South Sioux City, Neb., for one semester.

Before teaching, she worked various customer service and banking positions. Her most recent position was at Premier Bank as a debt collector.

Cammy has an eight-year-old daughter named Sora and resides in Cherokee. Her parents, Harryson and Kelly, reside in Sioux City. She has one older brother, Edison, who resides in Sioux City too. Her parents are from Vietnam, and they work at Tyson Foods, Inc.

For hobbies, she stated, “I enjoy reading, knitting, and crocheting. Your basic young-granny, who also plays video games.”

Her teachers inspired her to become a teacher, “My teachers at North High School inspired me. They made an impact on my life and inspired me to join the profession. I aspire to be a great teacher like my former high school teachers.”

She stated, “The most enjoyable part of teaching is being able to connect with students. Every student is different and has a story to tell. I enjoy listening to them and being able to encourage my students to chase after their dreams.”

A quote she likes is, “Never be afraid to chase after your dreams, be afraid of never attempting to achieve your dreams.”

Brenda Bird

Serving as the 9-12 high school Spanish teacher will be Ms. Brenda Bird. She is also the NHS Sponsor and high school Drama Coach.

Brenda is no stranger to Marcus, having graduated from MMC in 1997. For college, she went to Simpson College in Indianola, and graduated in 2001 with a BA in Sociology and French. She is also currently pursuing her master’s degree in 5-12 Spanish at Morningside University in Sioux City.

This is her first year of teaching, although she worked as a full-time substitute teacher and para educator last year. She stated, “Prior to teaching, I worked as an accountant at Little Sioux Corn Processors in Marcus.”

She did her student teaching in Marcus at MMCRU high school and also in Paullina at South O’Brien high school.

Her daughter, Ellie, is a sophomore at MMCRU high school, and her son, Gunnar is in 7th grade at the MMCRU middle school. She lives in Marcus with her two children. Her parents are Larry and Donna Bird, and they also live in Marcus. Her older brother, Brad, and his family live in Phoenix, Ariz., and her younger brother, Brent, and his family live in Omaha, Neb.

In her spare time, Brenda stated, “My kids and I like to travel, visit friends and watch movies.”

She expressed why she decided to become a teacher, “I had many wonderful teachers when I was growing up in Marcus and their influence on me has helped shape the way I handle difficulties and trials in life. As I grew in my Spanish language skills, it became clear to me that I could use my skills to give back to my community.”

What she enjoys most about teaching, is the students, “I love seeing the students each day, getting to know them and their personalities and learning about the things they like as well as the things that worry them. It’s an honor to be a part of their lives and a part of the entire school community.”

Brenda added, “In my classroom I have a quote, in Spanish, of course, that says, “Climb the mountains, not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” I like that idea of perspective. It inspires me.”

John Weller

Mr. John T. Weller is the Grade 7-12 Art teacher; this includes grades 7-8 Art in Remsen and grades 9-12 Art in Marcus. Also, he will be leading the development of the yearbook.

John described a little bit of his background, “I was born in New York City but raised in the Allegheny Mountains of central Pennsylvania. My hometown is Hollidaysburg, Pa., and I attended Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and majored in Art Education. I have also studied classical Chinese painting at Yancheng Higher Normal School in China, darkroom photography at The Amsterdam Center for Photography in the Netherlands, classical Korean painting at Dong-Lim Academy of Painting in Korea, and as part of my degree at IUP, I had a summer study of painting and art history in Italy.”

He brings lots of teaching experience to MMCRU, “In the U.S., I taught art at Northland High School in Remer, Minnesota, and Lindsay Middle School in Hampton, Virginia. In Europe, I taught photography and multimedia at The American School of The Hague in the Netherlands. In the Middle East, I taught art at Narmer American College and at Alsson British and American International School, which are both in Egypt. In Asia, I taught art at Meishi International School and The British International School of Shanghai in China, Brent International School in the Philippines, and Injae Art School in Korea.”

His grades K-6 art student teaching was completed in Pennsylvania, and his grades 7-12 art student teaching was completed in England.

Besides teaching, John brings other work experience to the classroom, “I am an International Baccalaureate Diploma Visual Art examiner. I have also been a web graphics designer for Intelinet Virtual Development Company in Pennsylvania, a member of senior staff at Camp Lohikan in the Poconos, and a residential program worker for mentally challenged adults at Skill of Central PA. I also rode horseback 400 miles down the East Coast of the U.S. with the Vision Quest Rough Rider Wagon Train.”

He is married to Jinwen He, who is formerly a Level 2 Analyst with the Australia New Zealand Bank hub in China. She also uses the English name Kelly Weller. Kelly has applied for permanent residence in the U.S. and is not permitted to work here until she has been approved, but she hopes to get back to work soon. They have a son, Joseph Weller, age 5, and they live in Le Mars.

His mother is Marcia Weller and his father is Christopher Weller, both retired and both of Pennsylvania.

For hobbies, John stated, “I enjoy blacksmithing and miss the workshop I had on my wife’s father’s farm in China.”

He explained what inspired him to be a teacher, “High school graduation is a very important rite of passage. And as an educator, my self-actualization is greatest when I am contributing toward this rite of passage for young people, helping to guide them toward a future adulthood that is happy, responsible, educated, aware, and healthy.”

What he enjoys most about teaching is living in service to others.

John added, “My family and I are completely new to Iowa.”

Alli Stevick

Mrs. Stevick will split her time between Remsen and Marcus Elementary teaching Art to grades TK-4.

She grew up in Marshalltown and received her BA in K-12 Art Education at the University of Northern Iowa. This is her first year of teaching.

She student taught at Waterloo, grades K-12 Art. She subbed full-time for two years in Waterloo and has subbed in Marcus as well.

Outside of her full-time subbing experiences, she has previously taught private art and music lessons, and she was a public library director for three years.

She lives in Marcus and is married and has children.

In her spare time, she enjoys camping, spending time with family, art, and music.

When asked why she chose this profession, she answered, “I have always enjoyed helping others learn new things. Art and creative pursuits have also always been a big part of my life. When I was in middle and high school, I had some amazing art teachers that inspired me to want to follow in their footsteps. I am very excited to be teaching elementary art at MMCRU.”

Melissa Young

Coach Melissa Young is the Marcus Elementary and High School PE teacher and the assistant girls’ basketball coach.

Melissa explained a little of her background, “I grew up in Fairfax, Minnesota, and graduated from Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School. I then went on and played college basketball at Gustavus Adolphus College. I graduated with a degree in K-12 Health and Physical Education with a Coaching minor. I also was lucky to play overseas in Germany after college. I received my master’s degree from Winona State University where I coached basketball and taught Nutrition, Sports Psychology, Health, and some other college classes. “

Melissa brings a lot of coaching and teaching experience to MMCRU, “I have taught and coached at University of Minnesota, Winona State University, Hamline University and Culver-Stockton College. I taught Health, coaching practicum classes, athletic administration, sports psychology, Nutrition, as well as some communication classes. I was then asked by my three daughters to teach and coach them. I taught at St. Croix Lutheran High School in the Twin Cities, which was an academy, and I was the dorm supervisor for students from all over the world. I also taught at Anoka High School, Bloomington Kennedy, Nicollet, and Triton High School. Anoka was the largest high school in the state at the time and Nicollet was one of the smallest. I taught Physical Education, Health, US History, Speech, Intrapersonal Communications and some college classes in the high school. I coached almost every sport and just love working with children and young adults of all ages and backgrounds. My grandmother was a teacher of a K-12 school, where she was the teacher, principal, and custodian. We have many teachers in our family because of all she instilled in us.”

Besides teaching experience, she also brings other work experience to MMCRU, “I ran All Sports Camps in the Twin Cities for kids from all over the state and Midwest. I also worked basketball camps all over the country with Nike. I coached a professional basketball team in St. Louis, Missouri, that worked with the WNBA. In the summer, my parents have two resorts and we have helped with literally everything from mowing, cleaning cabins, cleaning beaches, logging, putting up fencing, planting trees, running a store, checking people in, and helping with communication.”

She has three daughters. Natasha graduated from Bethany Lutheran College and worked with a U.S. Congressman for three years. She then became the Youth Coordinator of the YMCA in St. Cloud, Minn., and is working as a para at MMCRU. Taylor graduated from Winona State University and is doing an internship with a WSU in music, Christian family counseling, and community outreach/mission work. Jadyn Young is a junior here at MMCRU and has loved it. They live in Marcus.

Melissa gave some background on her family, “My parents, Bob and Patti Young, run resorts in Minnesota that have cabins and seasonal camping. One of the resorts is up by Brainerd, Minn., on Upper South Long Lake and the other one is near Annandale, Minn., on a Lake Augusta and the Clearwater Chain. My sister, Tiffany Young, is a professor at Bethany Lutheran College and her husband is an engineer. They have four children. My brother, Joshua Young, was a police officer and Dean of a college, but now he and his wife, Melissa, help run one of the resorts in Minnesota. They have three children. My sister-in-law’s mom is the Admissions Associate at Dordt College. “

She enjoys many different hobbies, “I love anything outside from biking, hiking, traveling, horseback riding, skiing, and love adventure. I coach almost every sport and have helped with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, along with working Twins games. I love music and going to concerts. I have a friend that works in Las Vegas with iHeart Radio, so I get to help set up sometimes for their concerts. “

Her inspiration to be a teacher came from her grandmother, “My grandmother was a teacher and grew up near Mason City, Iowa. She spoke highly of teaching and many of her grandchildren are teachers because of how much she cared about helping others. I started coaching the 7th and 8th grade boys and girls’ teams in high school, along with coaching summer rec teams. I realized I loved working with young students and watching them learn and excel. I have been blessed with some impactful teachers and coaches in my career, and I wanted to give back to a field that has changed my life for the better.”

She explained what she enjoys about teaching, “I love watching students grow from youth through adults, and my favorite part of teaching is when you hear from them after graduation. I hear so many amazing stories from students who are changing the world for the better. Every single student has something to give this world and it is truly a blessing to witness them using their gifts.”

Melissa shares some words of wisdom she has learned over the years, “My mom always told us two things and she asked us after every game or school day. Her first quote was “Dream Big”, while my Dad said, “No one every drown in sweat.” When you put them together, you work hard for your dreams without whining or complaining. The second quote was, “Did you do your best?” They never asked about how many points we scored, serves we made, grades we had, or trophies we won because they said people forget points and trophies sit in a box. They focused on the controllables which was your attitude, your effort, and doing your best. It has always helped because you can’t always control the things around you, but you can control you heart and leaving the world a better place.

She added, “I am very excited to be a part of the MMCRU community and have truly been blessed by all the people we are meeting. I coached the basketball coach, Gillian Letsche, in professional basketball and also coached with her in college. I got to watch the state tournament on television and was amazed at the joy and support of your communities. So my daughters and I are truly blessed to get to be a part of it.”

Melissa Lansink

Teaching first grade in Marcus is Miss Melissa Lansink.

Growing up in Sioux Rapids, she graduated from Sioux Central High School. She attended Northwestern College with a major in Elementary Education, endorsement in Reading, and minor in Psychology. This is her first year teaching.

She student taught at MOC in first grade and Title reading.

What she enjoys most about teaching is the students, “The kids are my favorite part of teaching. I love their humor, their stories, and their personalities.”

Megan Letsche

Mrs. Megan Letsche will be teaching fourth grade at Marcus Elementary.

A Remsenite, Megan (Loutsch) grew up in Remsen and graduated from MMCRU in 2018. She attended Briar Cliff University and received her degree in Elementary Education. This is her first-year teaching.

She has student taught and substitution experience at LeMars Community and MMCRU School Districts.

In the past, she has also worked for Girls, Inc of Sioux City and Life Skills of Le Mars.

She is married to Baden Letsche, a AgriVision Technician, and they live in Marcus.

Her parents are Bob and Leslie Loutsch. Erica Walsh, Diana Oberender, and Hailey Myers are her sisters. She has followed in her sister, Erica’s footsteps in becoming a teacher.

In her spare time, she loves spending time outdoors and reading a good book.

Megan explained what inspired her to be a teacher, “I was inspired to be a part of this profession because I had a great experience with education and being motivated as I grew up. I wanted to pass that on and create that environment in the classroom for future students. I love how different every day is and the relationships that can be built, along with the successes that you get to see upfront as a teacher.”

What she enjoys most about teaching is the students, “The way that they each are their very own person, and you have to get to know them each to the core in order to teach them in a way that is best for them.”

Alicia Hergott

Serving as the PK-4 School Counselor at Marcus Elementary will be Mrs. Alicia Hergott.

Growing up in Worthington, Minn., Alicia graduated from Worthington Senior High School in 2015. For college, she attended Northwestern College in Orange City, and received a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and is currently attending Buena Vista University for a Masters of Education in Professional School Counseling.

This is her first year as a school counselor. She worked as a Behavioral Health Intervention Service Worker for 2.5 years out of college and as a paraprofessional at Sioux Center High School for three school years. She is currently completing her practicum and internship requirements alongside her position as the MMC school counselor.

She is married to Jacob Hergott, a Special Education Teacher at Sioux Center High School. They live in Sioux Center with their two dogs. Her parents, Becky and Merlyn, live near Worthington and continue to run the family farm. She has three siblings who are scattered across the Midwest.

For hobbies, she enjoys swing and line dancing, going on runs, getting coffee with friends and family, playing with her dogs, or relaxing with a book on her porch swing.

Her college professor inspired her to pursue the counseling field, “I initially started college as an education major, but my college professor inspired me to explore the psychology/counseling field. Although I loved working with families as a BHIS worker, I really missed the school setting. That’s when I decided to combine my two passions by becoming a school counselor.”

Alicia described what she enjoys about teaching, “I love getting to know the students and especially love to see students demonstrate new skills we learn in class. It’s also fun to hear all the creative thoughts they have.”

She added, “I’m excited to get to know the families in the MMCRU community.”

Dawn Bates

Mrs. Dawn L.N. Bates will be the Special Education K-4 teacher at Marcus.

Dawn grew up all over in Texas, Germany, and Pennsylvania. She graduated from Reading Senior High School in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1989. For college, she graduated from Alvernia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and has attended Penn State University, Eastern College, and Morningside for many other classes. She is currently certified to teach PK-K, K-6 Elementary Education, K-12 English as a second language, K-8 Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate, and Instructional Strategist II: ID.

This is her 20th year of teaching. She taught at Northeast Middle School (nine years) in Reading Pennsylvania, River Valley Elementary School (nine years), South O’Brien Elementary School (one year). She student taught at Lauer’s Park Elementary (4th grade base) and Northwest Elementary (2nd grade), both in Reading Pennsylvania.

Other work experience she has includes working as a Banking Supervisor, Insurance Call Center Representative, Retail Supervisor/Manager, and Camp Counselor.

She is married to Jeffrey Bates, who works at Staples in Orange City in the shipping department. They live in Alton and have a 27-year-old son, Collin Bates, who graduated from MOC-FV and a four-year-old grandson, Kaiden Laflamme, who attends preschool in Miss Amanda’s room.

Dawn is a transplant from Pennsylvania. Her parents are Charles Bates Sr., (Ida Grove) and Melody N. Bates (deceased). Her brother, Charles Bates Jr., is an over the road truck driver based out of Kentucky. Her grandmother, Norma Orth, lived with her until Norma’s passing this past April.

She explained what her hobbies include, “I love crafting. I will try any craft and enjoy painting and crocheting the most. I also like to cut vinyl with my cricut and have designed many shirts for family members. I like to research new mental health diagnoses in the evening.”

Her dream of being a teacher started in fourth grade, “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in fourth grade. I had some amazing teachers who made me feel like I was at home even when I was new. My son inspired me to become a Special Education Teacher.”

She explained what she enjoys most about teaching, “I love to watch learning in progress and will try any method to help my students learn. Students inspire me daily to reflect on my practices, strategies, and methods.”

Brandon Weisert

PK-4 and 9-12 Principal in Marcus will be Mr. Brandon Weisert.

He grew up in Northwood, having graduated from Northwood-Kensett High School. For his college education, he attended the University of Northern Iowa receiving degrees in Business Management, Business Teaching, and Principalship.

Before MMCRU, his education career started at Columbus Catholic High School (four years), West Marshall High School (three years), and Des Moines North High School (two years).

He student taught in St. Ansgar and Mason City.

He is married to Morgan, who is a nurse. They live in Marcus and have three children, Ben (8), Grace (6), and Max (2).

For hobbies, he enjoys spending time with family, golfing, fishing, and going to sporting events.

He explained how he chose the education profession, “I chose to go into teaching because I have always enjoyed coaching and teaching because it allows me to be present when a student or athlete gets it, is the best part of the job.”

He stated, “I enjoy working with kids and helping them find their way to what is going to come next in their lives after high school.”