New Teachers Join the Flock
Photo Courtesy of CCNHarvard Public School welcomes 14 new faculty and staff members to the Cardinals' nest. Back (L-R): Chad Ferguson, Carrie Layman, Benjamin Larson, Blake Barwick, Freddy Gabriel, Andy Streck, Gale Bly, and Ashley Swanson. Front (L-R): Gina Smith, Lauryn Otto, Allisa Buck, Kate Schendt, Audrey Smalley, and Sarah Sutton (not pictured).
When Harvard Public School Superintendent Michael Derr goes to hire a new teacher, he looks for many different qualities within them. He looks for teachers with energy and new ideas as well as strong organization. He also likes to see how they interact with students and other staff members.
“I want people to know that change is a good thing,” Derr commented.
Changes to the Cardinal nest came this year in the form of six new teachers: Mr. Blake Barwick (Industrial Technology), Ms. Allisa Buck (Music), Mrs. Lauryn Otto (Elementary Special Education), Mrs. Kate Schendt (EL/Spanish), Mrs. Audrey Smalley (Math), and Mr. Andy Streck (4th Grade).
Along with all of the new faces, Harvard had a familiar one return this year. Mrs. Shelly Stone came back to teach Kindergarten once again. This will be her 32nd year teaching at Harvard. She missed teaching and the students. It didn’t take much for Mr. Derr to convince her to come back. Although she didn’t miss the schedule, she did miss the classroom.
“I noticed it [missing the classroom] quite a bit when I was subbing for the school,” Stone said.
Mr. Barwick is starting his fifth year teaching after teaching at Hastings High. He was drawn to Harvard by their supportiveness and the quality education opportunities. Automotives has been his favorite class to teach so far this year and he is looking forward to building relationships with other staff members. Barwick will also be taking over the Power Drive team this spring.
“Let me put it this way,” Barwick stated, “I enjoy what I teach because it is my passion and gives students skills that are needed in today’s high skill and high demand workforce.”
Mrs. Otto likes to teach reading as it was her favorite class when she was younger. She came to Harvard because it was close to where she grew up and she loved the administration and the community right away. Otto is also a sponsor of the National Honor Society. Her favorite thing about Harvard so far is the staff. She enjoys how welcoming and helpful fellow teachers and staff are.
“I’ve never been around a nicer group of teachers and I love working with them,” Otto added.
Mrs. Smalley’s favorite thing about Harvard is the students. She came to Harvard so that she could see the same students from freshman year through senior year, something she wasn’t able to do in her previous school. Smalley will be helping with the math club this year. She is looking forward to watching her students grow in their math skills.
“I would like to have a bigger impact on students' ability to do mathematics,” said Smalley.
Ms. Buck is starting her teaching career here at Harvard after graduating from Hastings College last spring. She is returning after student teaching in the music department last semester. Buck is also a sponsor and coach for numerous other activities throughout the school year.
Mrs. Schendt is taking on the unique task of teaching two different subjects this year, Spanish and English Language. She says it's not hard juggling the two classes.
“I have some amazing paras and an awesome teacher aide to help me,” Schendt added.
Schendt is the assistant volleyball coach this year. In her free time, Schendt likes to ride her horse, Asher, and competes in shows in and around the Grand Island area. She likes to walk her two dogs as well.
Mr. Streck is also starting his teaching career here at Harvard. He wanted to teach upper elementary and there was a position open. Streck believes that the most important aspect of education is the students. He likes Harvard because they have a similar belief about education.
“The couple times that I had visited Harvard, it seemed to me that Harvard’s number one priority was their students. That is why I came to Harvard,” Streck stated.
Streck’s favorite class to teach is social studies and he loves teaching Nebraska history to his fourth graders who are working to be their best and are eager to learn. Streck is also one of the sponsors for the 4th and 5th grade elementary quiz bowl team.
It is safe to say, all of the teachers are excited to be Cardinals this year.