Five educators join Summerland School
September 9, 2021
Summerland School District will feature five new staff members in the 2021-2022 school year, including one elementary and
four high school educators. Staff members met for inservice training, in Orchard, Aug. 16 and 17. On Aug. 23 and 24, staff
and students moved materials from the three former sites into the new facility, in preparation for the Aug. 30 start date.
His first impression of the Summerland School system and new facility can be summed up in one word: incredible.
Okay, maybe two words.
"Absolutely incredible," he said. "When I first walked in on Monday morning when we were moving in, I was shocked. I love the whole setup of the facility, I especially love my classroom."
Although this is his fourth year in education, this is the first time he has had a classroom to call his own.
"I think the Summerland system is very supportive and I am excited to see what we can all accomplish together," he said.
Never having a day or week that is exactly the same drew Goldfuss to a career in education.
"I like helping students reach their full potential and helping them decide what career path they should go into."
He ackowledges several challenges facing those in education.
COVID is one obvious hurdle educators deal with.
Another can be a lack of support at home.
"It is hard trying to keep students engaged and excited about their education if there aren't people at home helping the students. They need someone at home to help with homework, study for a test, etcetera."
Goldfuss has set high expectations for this year.
"A goal I have is to have at least two students earn their state FFA degree," he said.
After a one-year absence from the classroom, krista holliday returns as a science educator. Holliday spent 24 years in the Ewing School system and also taught in Orchard and Madison.
She will instruct seventh-grade integrated science, ninth-grade physical science, anatomy and physiology, general science and medical terminology, a dual-credit course through Northeast Community College.
Holliday said the facility is "a work in progress.
A native of Burke, South Dakota, Holliday attended Augustana College, South Dakota State University in Brookings, working toward a degree in biology and secondary education. and, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, completed a master's degree in natural science.
Holliday said the combining supplies and equipment from three schools into one has been a challenge.
"It is overwhelming how much three schools have stored away in the science department. We found some antiques, and also, some pretty cool equipment that I have never had the opportunity to use."
She will adjust to larger class sizes - she has 39 freshmen and 34 seventh-grade students - and will "establish positive relatioships with my students and get them excited about science."
"I really like to see students be successful," Holliday said.
On the first day of school, Holliday took note of a few "freeloaders" in her classroom.
"I have plenty of toad specimens available, bothing living and nonliving."
Holliday and her husband, Dean, are Orchard residents, along with their three dogs, Lydia, Ebony and Trixie.
Alexa Knievel grew up in Albion and attended high school at Boone Central.
"I went to Wayne State College, where I received my degree in elementary education."
She teaches fourth grade at Summerland.
Knievel taught preschool for two years at Saint Boniface Elementary in Elgin before accepting a position at Boone Central, where she taught sixth-, sevent hand eighth-grade math and language arts.
She is married to Kolton Knievel and they have a one-year-old son, Kanen.
Knievel said she is enjoying getting to know her students.
"I am ecstatic to be working in this new beautiful facility. I feel very lucky to be given such an awesome opportunity to be a Bobcat," she said.
Planning and making sure she is covering all of the material needed as the school year always flies by can be challenging.
"But I love watching how much the students grow and learn throughout the school year," she said. "My goal for this year is to make more interactive lessons and activities to help the students stay engaged.
Knievel said only getting a few days in the classroom before school started was definitely a challenging start.
"I feel like we are establishing a routine and it's going to be a wonderful school year."!
Kucera joins the Summerland School district, where she will teach eighth-grade science, biology, advanced biology, earth science and chemistry.
She received an undergraduate degree from Midland University, where she majored in secondary education and biology.
Kucera earned master's degrees in curriculum and instruction and instructional technology from Peru State and the University of San Diego.
Kucera previously spent eight years teaching in the Cedar Bluffs school district and since 2005, at Fremont Public School, most recently at the Fremont Learning Center Alternative Campus, where she taught grades nine through 12 science.
"I feel very lucky to be given the opportunity to work in a brand new, top-notch facility with some of the most caring colleagues I've met. We also have several live biology specimens (toads) that visit our classroom daily. We never know when or where they will hop out," Kucera said.
Adjusting to an eight-period schedule and multiple preps, compared to a larger school district will be a challenge that Kucera welcomes.
"I love getting to know the students and helping them develop in their educational journeys. I am looking forward to watching the students grow, from seventh graders to seniors.
This year, Kucera hopes to meet students where they are and move them forward and instill a love for science
"I hope that my students will feel cared about and safe in my classroom" she said. "I am excited to be a part of building history at Summerland. The students have so many opportunities at their fingertips and I can't wait to see how they use them."
Extracurricular assignments include serving as assistant varsity girls' basketball coach.
Kucera has two children,Trentin, a welder at Great Dane in Wayne and Jadin, a freshman at Wayne State College.
Veteran educator Abbey Schwindt returns to the area to teach seventh and eighth-grade English, Journalism and yearbook.
Schwindt, a Creighton native, previously taught in Clearwater and at Grand Island Northwest after earning an elementary education degree from Wayne State.
Schwindt said the facility is "amazing."
"Truly worth the wait. I know a majority of the staff and it is great to see everyone get to collaborate and be under the same roof."
Her classroom goals for the year are straightforward: "To make the most of the new building we are so privileged to be the first ones to learn in."
Schwindt will also serve as assistant girls' track coach and junior high girls assistant girls' basketball coach.
In addition to starting the year in a new facility, Schwindt also has another new part of life to share.
"I recently got engaged," she said.