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Good Afternoon friend!
Gering Schools welcome new teachers
August 19, 2016 Jerry Purvis   
Editor’s note: See next week’s Citizen for the final installment of Gering’s new teacher profiles.

Gering welcomes 21 new teachers into the district for the 2016-2017 school year. Some have several years of teaching experience, and some of them are new to the teaching profession. Over the next two editions, we’ll profile the district’s new teachers and where they will be assigned.

Kristian Schank –

High School Social Studies

Included among Gering’s incoming teachers at the high school is an “old” new teacher, Kristian Schank. He was a substitute teacher for seven years before taking over the U.S. History, Western Civilization, Comparative Religions and Humanities class last year following the untimely death of long-time instructor Jason DeMaranville. This will be his second year of full-time teaching.

“Teaching aligns with my teaching spirit,” Schank said. “Nothing pleases me more than when a student begins to understand the material and begins to learn.”

Schank earned his education degree from Chadron State College. He is currently working toward a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction through the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

He spent much of the summer devising fun ways to use technology to engage students in learning.

“Gering is one of the best schools in the valley,” he said. “We hold our students and staff to the highest degree of responsibility and achievement.”

Derek Janssen –

Junior High Math

Derek Janssen, a first year teacher who student taught at Norris Middle School in Firth, Nebraska, has been assigned to teach 7th and 8th grade math at Gering Junior High. A graduate of Chadron State College, he also has an endorsement in K-12 Physical Education and Health.

Janssen said he’s had several teachers over the years that made a positive impact on him, so he wanted to do the same for other young people.

“Each child is unique in their own way and learn differently,” he said. “As a teacher, I will always be a great role model and lead by example. I will build positive relationships to help students feel comfortable in my classroom.”

Janssen said he’s enjoyed meeting the staff and people in the community who have all made him feel welcome in Gering.

“I like the team aspect at Gering Public Schools,” he said. “People are much stronger working together than working by themselves. I feel that’s one of the main reasons so many students are successful at Gering schools.”

Lisa Gass –

Geil Elementary 4th Grade

Lisa Gass, a 17-year teaching veteran who most recently taught kindergarten in Murray, Kentucky, will teach 4th grade at Geil Elementary this fall. Her Bachelor of Science degree in Education is from Eastern Illinois University. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Western Kentucky University.

Gass comes from a family of teachers, including her grandmother, great-grandmother, a few aunts and many cousins. During high school she had the opportunity to teach preschool as part of one of her classes, so her decision to go into education came early.

“I hope to challenge my students and give them the confidence and skills to rise to the challenges they face and surpass them, not only in school, but in life as well,” she said.

Gass and her husband were looking for the right school for their two sons, and Gering schools came highly recommended. “As a parent and a teacher, I appreciate the district’s commitment to developing students not only academically, but socially and personally as well.”

Jennifer Dillinger –

High School Science

Seven-year teaching veteran Jennifer Dillinger, most recently at Kimball, will be at the high school for classes in biology, environmental science/natural resource management, and natural science I.

Dillinger said she enjoys teaching because it combines a lot of her favorite things: working with young people, being creative, and science. She calls it her perfect job.
Dillinger earned her original Bachelor of Scienc
e degree in human biology from Chadron State College. Her education training is from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She also has a science endorsement for grades 7-12.

“I hope to get my students excited about science and give them confidence to be successful,” she said. “Gering has a great reputation for taking academics seriously and offering its students a wide variety of opportunities. I’m looking forward to working here.”

Alisa Reyes –

Junior High Careers

Alisa Reyes will be teaching the Careers class at the junior high this year. Originally from Torrington, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with an endorsement in Family and Consumer Sciences.

She said what she likes about the Gering schools is that everyone is welcome. She got into education because she wanted to make an impact on her students. “I hope to work with students and help them figure out what they want to do when they grow up,” she said. “That’s one of the biggest decisions they will ever make.”

All students come from different backgrounds, but Reyes said she wants to understand all of her students and help them reach their full potential. “I look forward to introducing them to all the awesome careers that are out there.”

Andrea Schlothauer –

Northfield Elementary 6th Grade

Andrea Schlothauer, a 12-year teaching veteran who grew up in Gering, will teach 6th grade this fall at Northfield Elementary. After a year at Bayard, she taught 11 years at Lincoln Heights Elementary in Scottsbluff. Her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction is from Wayne State College. She also has endorsements in English as a Second Language and Assessment.

As a Gering grad, Schlothauer said she’s excited to be part of the team that gave her the quality education to be successful in life. Now, she wants to help her students reach new levels in their educational journey and to enjoy learning along the way.

“I became a teacher to be a positive, loving influence on children and help them to be successful,” she said. “I love getting to know each student and supporting them in their educational journey.”

She said that every child can learn given the opportunity, as not everyone takes the same path to reach success. “Never give up. You only fail if you don’t try.”

Ashlynn Marino – Lincoln

Elementary K-3 Special


California native Ashlynn Marino, who taught Head Start Preschool for two years, is now a K-3 Special Education teacher assigned to Lincoln Elementary. She’s a Chadron State grad with a degree in Birth to Grade 3 Early Childhood Education.

“The community and the district has a great reputation and great students,” Marino said. “I look forward to getting to know my elementary students and to begin working in inclusive classrooms.”

She said she became a teacher because she has a real passion for making a difference in the lives of youth and building positive relationships with her students and colleagues. She plans to be a positive role model, an advocate, believer and motivator on behalf of her students.

“I like that Gering Public Schools feels like an intimate district and community and that everyone takes great pride in their work,” Marino said. “I will do whatever it takes to make school a place where a child can feel safe, enjoy learning, and be successful.”

Brandy Foos – Lincoln

Elementary Preschool

Special Education

Brandy Foos, a 10-year preschool teacher who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Chadron State College, will teach Special Education in the Gering Preschool.

Her advice is simple – Be ready to have fun learning. “I became a teacher to truly make a difference in children’s lives and to help shape and mold the future generation,” she said. “I enjoy seeing my students grow, learn, and explore every day. Every student deserves to have positive and encouraging teachers to support their growth.”

Foos said her goal is for every student to have a positive first experience with school and to fall in love with learning. “I want each student to learn to the best of their abilities and be prepared to move forward with their education.”

Drew Zwieg – Cedar Canyon Elementary K-4 Physical Education, Middle School Technical Education

Drew Zwieg, who grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, earned a BS in Technical Education and AS Technical Studies. He’ll be teaching K-4 Physical Education at Cedar Canyon Elementary and Woodworking/Technical Education at the junior high. He previously taught for two years in Kansas in the areas of construction, cabinet making, and woodworking.

“I became a teacher because I was inspired by having wonderful mentors, one of which was my grandfather,” he said. “I enjoy the ‘ah-ha’ moments, seeing students grow, mature and learn and develop into genuinely good people.”

Zwieg said he believes in creating a realistic, hand-on teaching environment that creates real-life experiences for students. He’s looking forward to expanding an already great woodworking program at the junior high.

“Children’s education is a group effort,” he said. “It starts at school with strong rapport, with the teacher and student and extends to strong parental support and effort exerted from the community.”

Jake Hasenauer –

Geil Elementary Physical Education

Jake Hasenauer, who grew up in North Platte, takes his first teaching assignment at Geil Elementary, teaching K-6 Physical Education. A graduate of York College, his Bachelor’s degree is in K-12 Physical Education with endorsements in K-12 Adaptive Physical Education and 7-12 Coaching.

“Teaching is great way to make an impact on the lives of youth,” he said. “I’m excited to be a teacher and display positive character, not only just while teaching, but all the time.”

Hasenauer’s goal is to challenge students to strive for success while being more physically active. “Participating in sports and finding unique and creative ways has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to share this passion with the Gering community.”

His two main rules for life: always do your best and always do the right thing. On that he builds his teaching skills.

“I like the focus Gering places on community outreach and being a team player,” Hasenauer said. “Everyone we’ve met has been very helpful and kind. Gering has quickly become home and a place where my new wife and I plan to continue to build our life and be part of an awesome community.”

Next week, we’ll wrap our introduction to the new teaching staff in the Gering schools.

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