Teaching sixth grade is a joy for Ries

Monticello Middle School teacher Jill Ries works with students Brady Hayen, Lauren Verhagen and Cole Welter on their math and reading lessons. Ries said from a young age she knew she wanted to become a teacher. She’s worked for the MCSD for 16 years now. (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.

     Jill Ries always enjoyed working with children, even from a young age. So it only seems natural that she would become a teacher in life.

     Ries has been teaching sixth grade for the Monticello Community School District since 2003. She’s in her 16th year.

     For the first 15 years, Ries taught ELA (English Language Arts). This school year is the first time she has taught math to the sixth-grade students.

     “It’s a good change,” she said. “It’s exciting.”

     Ries said she enjoys a challenge, especially so this year with the MCSD rolling out the Standards Referenced Reporting grade scale. Ries admitted the program includes a lot of additional time for the teachers, but helps in the long run in assessing the students.

     “We need to make sure those standards are met,” explained Ries of knowing where the students stand in various subjects.

     Teaching sixth grade this year is extra special for Ries because her oldest child, Preston, just happens to be one of her students.

     “We get along just fine,” she said of teaching her son, seeing him on a regular basis at home and school. “We’re together a lot, but that’s just fine.”

     The Ries family stays busy with their children’s sporting activities after school and on the weekends.

     “All three of our kids are getting involved in some sport,” shared Ries.

     Before starting a family of her own, Ries coached middle school athletics, but stepped down after her kids came along.

     Ries said teaching allows her to have the same schedule as her own kids, which means plenty of family time.

     “It’s nice because we can spend time together,” she said.

     Growing up and attending the MCSD herself (Ries was a Henderson.), Ries said when she first starting teaching, her former teachers were now her co-workers.

     “Everyone was so easy to work with early on,” she said.

     Those same sentiments have not changed as new staff has come into the district.

     “I enjoy my co-workers and team members,” she said. Those additional sixth grade team members include Amy Goerdt and Brittany Ahrendsen, both new to the MCSD. “We have a great team!”

     Aside from her three math classes, Ries also leads the sixth grade Walk to Read program and works with those students who may require additional one-on-one time to fine tune their reading skills.

     Ries attended Kirkwood Community College where she earned an associates degree in elementary education. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

     Ries and her husband Carl have been married for 17 years. They have three children: Preston, sixth grade; Peyton, third grade; and Julia, kindergarten.

     The Ries family enjoys spending time with their larger family. In her spare time, Ries herself likes to go shopping and spend time outdoors running. Mother and daughter also spend time together quilting.



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