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Mentor teachers

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Picture of Amanda AchenbachAmanda Achenbach

Mentor Teacher

 Amanda Achenbach currently teaches middle school Special education. She is from Rockford, Iowa. Her greatest accomplishment in her life has been that she is a cancer survivor. Her happiest news recently is her baby sister is having a baby and she get to be an AUNT for the first time! 

Amanda has taught in the district for 8 years. Special Education is her true passion and she is so thankful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of my students each day! SHE LOVES HER JOB! 

She did her undergrad work at the University of Northern Iowa and received her Masters from Morningside College. She started in Special Education at Washington, then taught second grade and now is teaching Special Education at the Middle School. 


Picture of Darla ArendsDarla Arends

Mentor Teacher

Darla Arends (Miss Arends) is a Learning Center Educator (Special Education) and Team Teaches in English 

She was raised in Zearing Iowa, the home of the 40 horse hitch with Dick Sparrow. She attended and graduated from NESCO community schools. She completed my under graduate education from the University of Iowa. She has 4 brothers and a sister, 11 nieces and nephews, and 13 great nieces and nephews and loves being around my family. She is a fur mom with two cats, Grace and Whiskers. They keep her very busy and entertained. She LOVES gardening. 

Darla taught 7 years in Forest City at NCHS (North Central Human Services). This is a private facility for persons with significant needs. She then moved to Charles City and has been teaching in the high school for 17 years. 

Darla is currently taking the Iowa Core Standards-Based Rubric IEP Pilot class through the AEA.  She continues to develop team teaching practices and plans on attending conferences and classes to learn more about standard based learning. She attends and assists with ICTE and is an active participant in many groups within CC Schools. 


Picture of Brenda BaileyBrenda Bailey

Mentor Teacher

Brenda Bailey facilitates learning at the middle school in 7th grade language arts. She also has the privilege of working with a talented group of high school students as the assistant speech coach. 

Brenda graduated from Charles City High School in 1980, never imagining that she would return to raise her family here. She and her husband, Brad, have three children, all graduates of Charles City. Ryan is a doctor, currently in residency at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida; Eric is a website developer in New York City; and Katherine will graduate from UNI in December and be student teaching in secondary English beginning in January.

Brenda has degrees from the University of Iowa and UNI - a BBA in Management Information Systems from Iowa, and a BA from UNI in middle level education. She has been teaching in Charles City for her entire eleven year teaching career, first in 6th grade social studies and language arts for one year, and then on to 7th grade geography and eventually language arts.

Brenda is currently working to improve the her practice of standards based grading in the classroom, and is participating in a class on Growth Mindset which she is ardently working to instill in your students.


Picture of Jake GassmanJake Gassman

Mentor Teacher

Jake Gassman teaches High School Instrumental Music.  He grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. After graduating from Hempstead High School he attended the University of Iowa and received his degree in music performance and education.  Jake has a wonderful wife and three fantastic children. 

He is in his 9th year at Charles City Schools. Prior to that he taught for 6 years in Central City, IA. He constantly collects new and meaningful data to drive his teaching and analyze trends in his instruction.


Picture of Stephanie HervolStephanie Hervol

Mentor Teacher, High School

Stephanie currently teach Biology, AP Biology, Human Anatomy and Microbiology at the high school.  She is originally from Lubbock, TX where she met her husband at Texas Tech University. They moved to Iowa 7 years ago from New Mexico where she taught for 11 years. They have three kids ranging from 8th grade to 12th grade, and they keep them quite busy with their activities.

Stephanie has taught for the last 18 years with expereince that ranges from elementary physical education, middle school science and high school science.  Her last six years have been with Charles City.  Professionaly, she is working to continually grow as an educator.  She is working on the implementation of Standards Based Grading and proficiency scales.  Her goal is to use these to improve her teaching strategies and provide more effective student feedbck to help them grow as learners. 


Picture of Cara LudemanCara Ludeman

Mentor Teacher
Cara Ludemann is starting her 16th year of teaching, all within the Charles City Community School District. She taught 2nd grade for 2 years at Jefferson, then moved to 4th grade for one year before they decided to close.  Cara then moved to Washington where she continued to teach 4th grade.  She is still in 4th grade but now at Lincoln Elementary. 

Cara lives outside of Nashua, Iowa, with her husband, Mike.  They have two daughters, Ashley, who is 23, and Mackenzie, who is 19.  They also have two very spoiled german shorthair pointers.

Cara is a graduate of UNI with a BA in Early Childhood/Elementary Education  and a special education minor.  She has a MA in curriculum instruction.  Cara has been active in many groups and organizations within the school system.  She is a past president of the teaching association, a PLC team leader, a member of the PBIS Tier 1 committee.  

Cara is trained in Nurtured Heart and has attended many conferences and workshops during her teacher career including the PLC conference in Minneapolis and a reading conference in Waterloo.  She is currently taking the Reading Workshop class with other teachers from the district.

Cara is working to improve her classroom time management.  She needs to hold herself accountable for staying on schedule and not letting one lesson go to long so that it interferes with another one that needs to be taught. 


Picture of Jim LundbergJim Lundberg

Mentor Teacher

Jim Lundberg teaches High School Agriculture.  He grew up in Black Hawk County and has his BS and MS from ISU in agricuture.  Jim has been with the Charles City Community School District for 35 years. He is working to improve his mental health practice. 







Picture of Tim MalvenTim Malven

Mentor Teacher

Tim Malven teaches Middle School Special Education. He is a graduate fro UNI and is married with four children.  He enjoys most sports, attending his children's activities and ATVing,  

He is in his 22nd year of teaching and currently not taking any classes. He always is looking to find ways to help kids become more independent.  




Picture of Trudy McKeagTrudy McKeag

Mentor Teacher

Trudy McKeag is beginning her 12th year of teaching high school English in Charles City.  She currently teaches 10th grade English and AP Language and Composition/Dual-credit Comp I and Comp II and Dual- credit Public Speaking.  

She has been a member of Iowa Council of Teacher's of English, as well as the National Council of Teacher's of English for about 10 years.  This is her 7th year as a mentor teacher with the district.  

This school year, she will not be taking any additional classes, but will return next Fall to continue working on her Ph.D.  


Picture of Mollie OttMollie Ott

Mentor Teacher

Mollie Ott has been with Charles City for 5 years.  She started co-teaching in a preschool special education room, then went to a general education preschool room and now dual teaching as a  gen ed and a special education preschool teacher.  Mollie grew up in Rockford and went to school at UNI.  Mollie lives with her husband, Drake and daughter, Addie in Nora Springs. 



Picture of Sandy PleggenkuhleSandy Pleggenkuhle

Mentor Teacher

Sandy Pleggenkuhle grew up in central Iowa and graduated from Colfax-Mingo High School. She attended UNI and graduated with a BA in elementary and early childhood education with an endorsement in reading.

Sandy is married and has two children.  Hayden is a sophomore at CCHS and Melany is a 2016 Charles City graduate.  They have lived in Charles City for 17 years. 

Sandy has taught for 18 years.  The last four of those years have been in the Charles City Community School District.  She formerly taught at Sacred Heart in Osage and AGWSR community school district. 

Sandy has taken some Google classes and is currently Literacy Instruction in a Workshop Setting, and Mentoring Matters II.  To improve her practice, Sandy works to integrate the knowledge she learns in her classes into her daily practice. 


Picture of Ann PrichardAnn Prichard

Mentor Teacher

Ann Prichard is the K-6 talented and gifted teacher.  She works at Washington, Lincoln, and the middle school, and enjoys traveling from building to building. 

She went to school in Riceville, and then to UNI for elementary education with a reading minor.  After college, she taught in Van Meter – second grade for three and half years, kindergarten for one.  She got married, and her husband, Todd, and her moved to Iowa City for a semester while he finished law school.   They came to Charles City for his job. She substitute taught one year, then worked at his law office.  She fell into talented and gifted when there was a part time position available in Riceville.  Later she was lucky enough to get a TAG position in my her town.  Todd and Ann have three kids – Katie (12), Emma (9), and Owen (6).

In April Ann took a class on helping students become self-motivated learners.  It made her realize how important it is that students know what is expected of them, both behaviorally and regarding specific tasks.  In June she took a class at the Fossil Park in Rockford and collaborated with a teaching peer to plan hands on activities involving the environment and the living creatures in it.

To improve her practice, she intends to use the information from the classes in curriculum planning.  She also wants to speak with teachers, parents, and students to see what they would like to see in talented and gifted activities during the 2017-2018 school year.


Picture of Jen SeehusenJen Seehusen

Mentor Teacher

Jennifer Seehusen decided to be a teacher as a second career choice after identifying her passion to help other reach their potential, while she was training associates at a department store and coaching local teams in volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball. 

Jennifer is married to a 4th generation grain farmer, Marc, and lives on a horse farm north of Bristow.  She has three children and three grandchildren.  Her free time is consumed by family outings, grandchildren, volunteering at church, watching and feeding brids, tending to her flowers, fishing, kayaking, bicycling, jogging, riding horses, traveling, woodworking, cheering on Charles City Comets, UNI Panthers, Iowa Hawkeyes, New York Yankees, and Dallas Cowboys. 

Jennifer started working in the Charles City Community School District in 2006 after she earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from University of Norther Iowa for Elementary/Middle Level Education and minor in Mathematics.  Over the years she has worked in preschool, 4th grade, and 5th grade.  She is currently teaching 5th grade math at the CC Middle School.

Over the years, she has gained training in PBIS, Nurtured Heart, Orange Frog, and CPI.  She has attended many conferences in literacy, mathematics, science, and standards based grading.  She is working on finishing her Masters's Dgree in Mathematics from Walden University and welcomes the opportunity to learn new things. 


Picture of Shannon VenzShannon Venz

Mentor Teacher, Washington Elementary

Shannon teaches 2nd Grade at Washington Elementary.  She was born and raised in Charles City, graduating in 2005.  She went to UNI and received her bachelor's degree in elementary education, with a K-8 reading endorsement. She is married and and has one daughter. 

She started working for Charles City Schools in the fall of 2009 as a Title One reading and math teacher for 3rd-5th grade.  The next year she transferred to a kindergarten position and taught that for three years.  When a position became available in second grade, she jumped at the chance.  This will be her fifth year teaching second grade.  

She was a lab classroom teacher in the area of math for three years and this will be her second year as a model teacher.  She have not been a mentor teacher before, but is excited for the opportunity.

Picture of Kim WeigleKim Weigle  

Mentor Teacher

Kim Weigle is in her sixth year in the district as an early childhood special education teacher. 

Previously, Kim taught in early childhood preschool classroom with Mollie Ott.  Prior to co-teaching in preschool, she taught first and second grade at Sacred heart School in Osage. 

Kim receieved her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Iowa State University and  Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Edcuation at Kansas State University. 

She lives with her husband, Perry, in Osage, IA.  They have three boys: Christopher 24, Nicholas 22, and Lucas 17. 

She currently services three and four year olds in a self-contained classroom with some integration.  Her goal for the upcoming year is to brush up on her sign language and create task boxes to foster indepenence in her students. 

Outside of the classroom, Kim loves anything Cyclone, gardening and kayaking. 


Picture of Michelle WilliamsMichelle Williams

Mentor Teacher

Michelle Williamshas taught 5th grade at Lincoln and Washington, Title 1 at Lincoln and IC.  She is from Nevada, Iowa and went to Iowa State University.  Michelle is married with three kids. 

Michelle has alos  taught at Ballard CSD, in Burlington, IA and Thornton, IA

She is curretnly working on researching new reading strategies to help ALL students learn to read to their best ability!