A long-term subbing job turns into full-time teacher

Sixth-grade teacher Jenna Peters is in her first year teaching, her first year with the MCSD. Peters, who comes from a small town, enjoys the community feel of Monticello. During one of her social studies classes, Peters assists students River Smith and Valerie Cupples as they work on an assignment about ancient Egypt and the pharaohs. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     Monticello’s sixth-grade science and social studies teacher Jenna Peters is such a natural in the classroom. You wouldn’t even know she’s in her first year teaching at Monticello; her first year teaching in general.

     Teaching was something Peters set her sights on early on. He was a nanny while in high school, and worked at a before and after-school program while in college.

     “I planned to go into education all through high school,” she recalled.

     Peters, originally from Western Iowa, attended the University of Northern Iowa. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She also has her coaching endorsement.

     After college, Peters student taught at Strawberry Hill Elementary in Anamosa. There, she worked with second and fourth graders.

     “That experience really helped me a lot in making connections,” she said.

     From there, Peters became a long-term substitute for Nicolette Wennekamp, Monticello’s fifth-grade math teacher. That got her foot in the door, and Peters applied for a full-time position with the MCSD.

     “This was the second job I applied for,” she said of pursuing a teaching career. “Subbing for Nicolette was helpful because I already knew the system here and the district ran. I was already prepared for Standards Referenced Reporting (the MCSD’s grading system).”

     Peters teaches both science and social studies classes, average about 65 students throughout the day. She also has one small-group reading class.

     The science units dive into chemistry, the interaction of elements, the human brain, and the weather. Her social studies are history based.

     With her coaching endorsement, Peters coaches junior varsity volleyball and Girls USA Volleyball for sixth graders.

     Peters also sits on the Teacher Dialogue Committee.

     Despite being here for a short time, Peters said she thoroughly enjoys working for the MCSD. “The staff is great. I love everybody I work with; I consider them my friends.”

     Growing up in a small town, Peters sees those same small-town sentiments here in Monticello.

     “There is a feeling of community here,” she said. “People care about the community and want to become part of the community.”

     Peters said the MCSD is always on the cutting edge of introducing or bringing in the best in education for the students.

     “Monticello is very up and coming,” she said. “We have great resources here.”

     As a newer teacher, Peters said she’s still learning every day, and like the ability to share resources with her cohorts, not only in the middle school, but district wide.

     “There’s always somebody to help you out,” she said.

     Peters lives in Worthington with her boyfriend. The couple is busy with their Iowa-based business “Farmers Best Popcorn.”

     In her free time, Peters enjoys volunteering for different causes such as the Worthington Fire Department, Ronald McDonald House, and Make a Wish. She also likes to garden and spend time outdoors hunting, biking, boating or snowmobiling.



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