Teaching plays a strong role in Luckstead’s family

Kelly Luckstead is the fifth and sixth grade special education teacher at Monticello Middle School. She’s been with the district for 24 years, and said teaching is something many people in her family have done over the years. (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.

     Kelly Luckstead has a rich family history in education, which no doubt played a role in her pursuit of a career as a teacher. Luckstead is the current Monticello Middle School special education teacher for grades fifth and sixth. She’s been with the district for 24 years.

     “I always saw myself as a teacher,” she said. “I always wanted to work with kids.”

     Rightly so. Luckstead’s grandfather and father were teachers; she married a teacher, and both of her sisters were teachers. Her husband, Milt Luckstead, is also a teacher at Cascade High School.

     After teaching in Parkerburg, the Lucksteads returned to Jones County in the late 1980s, and soon began their teaching careers here, locally.

     “We just really like this area,” praised Luckstead.

     Her job with special education students in Monticello entails working one-on-one with the students, going into their classrooms to assist, and co-teaching with other teachers in the middle school.

     “It used to be, special education students were pulled out of the classroom,” recalled Luckstead. “Now, they stay in their classrooms.”

     She attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in elementary education in 1984. She later received her special education endorsement in 2003.

     “I was already working toward the endorsement and wanted to get my foot in the door,” Luckstead said of working her way up to a full-time position.

     When she started in this capacity with the MCSD, she was a one-on-one associate.

     There are three special education teachers at Monticello Middle School, covering the different grades, with some overlap. Luckstead said you need enough teachers with the different schedules all of the students have.

     Luckstead mainly works with those students who are behind in reading and math.

     “I support my students in the classrooms by boosting their skills,” she said. “They’re able to attend their core classes with their peers.” Luckstead said if other students need help within the classes, she lends a hand as well.

     Over the 20-plus years she’s been here, Luckstead said he’s enjoyed seeing her students grow, as well as their growth in different skill sets: reading, math, the written language, social skills, and behavior.

     Luckstead said working for the MCSD “feels like home.” She said the staff is friendly and very supportive, and everyone forms such close bonds with one another.

     With changes taking place all the time within any school district, Luckstead said she’s proud to work for a district that has stayed up to date on technology.

     “Even when my kids went through the district 20 years ago,” she said, “they had the latest technology at their disposal. Even back then.”

     Luckstead said the MCSD relies on online tools for students to receive assignments, for students to turn in assignments, for parents/guardians to receive updates on grades, for parents to keep up on their student’s account and so much more.

     “It makes it so much easier,” Luckstead said of the constant reporting required in education.

     Living in Monticello, Luckstead said it’s nice to be able to walk to school when the weather cooperates. She also walks around town with her fellow teachers.

     In her free time, they also spend time with family and friends.


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