Students aren't the only ones starting a new school year. The Gering Courier surveyed incoming adminstration and staff new to the district.
Where were you born/raised? I was born in North Platte, Nebraska, and lived there until I was 13. I graduated high school at Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado. After high school I attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
Post-secondary educational institution(s)/degree(s): I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in exercise science and a minor in history. I earned my masters degree from the University of Phoenix with a degree in Supervision and administration in education.
Endorsement(s): My endorsements included 6 -12 Social Studies, K-12 Physical Education, and K-12 Principal.
Who/what experiences inspired you to pursue teaching? The reason I am in education and what gets me going every morning is the opportunity to impact lives in a positive way.
Teaching experience (location, years & area): I have been in education for 19 years. I have taught US History, Government, Economics, Texas History, and Physical Education. Prior to coming to Gearing I was the principal at Brush High School in Brush, Colorado, for four years.
Other relevant experiences: I have coached track, football, wrestling and basketball.I was a head football coach for four years at Prairie View High School in Henderson, Colorado.
What aspect of teaching do you enjoy most? What I enjoy most about teaching is the opportunity to equip students with the skills and knowledge to improve their lives.
Please share a little about your teaching philosophy:
I believe that education is the key to self empowerment and that every student can learn.
In your teaching career, what drew you to Gering? My wife and I were drawn to Gering for multiple reasons that include, being a part of the Gering Public Schools, loving Nebraska, wanting to settle in the area, and being closer to family.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in the coming school year? I have a number of goals I want to establish this first year that include: 1) Establishing positive relationships with students, parents, and staff 2) providing stability and consistency with the transition of leadership and the 9th grade transition to the high school 3) Strengthen the culture of continued improvement.
What would you like your student’s parents to know about you? I am approachable, willing to listen, and I assume best intent.
What leisurely activities do you enjoy in your free time? In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my family, watching Husker Football, hunting, fishing, and hiking.
Where were you born/raised? I was born in Scottsbluff, NE. I attended Bayard schools until 2nd grade and then my family moved to farm south of Mitchell. I graduated high school from Mitchell.
Post-secondary educational institution(s)/degree(s): I attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney and earned my undergraduate degree in special education.
I also received my masters degree in school counseling from UNK as well as my Administration Degree.
Endorsement(s): Early Childhood Disabilities, Mild Moderate Disabilities, School Counseling, Secondary Administration.
Who/what experiences inspired you to pursue teaching? From a young age I knew that I wanted to attend college and pursue a career in the field of education. I had an amazing teacher when I moved to Mitchell Valley Schools in 2nd grade that transformed my view and love of learning. She inspired me to want to become a teacher so I could have that same impact on someone else. I have always loved working with children and also have this internal desire to continue learning every single day, this is something I am really passionate about and that is why I love my career!
Teaching experience (location, years & area): I started my teaching career in Grand Island Public Schools. I spent 4 years teaching special education there before moving back to the Panhandle to be closer to my family. When I relocated back to the area I was hired as a special education teacher at Cedar Canyon School. I spent 3 years there teaching students in grades K-8. Once the small country schools closed, I transferred to Gering Junior High School. I spent my first 2 years there teaching special education students in grades 7-9 and then was afforded the opportunity to move into the school counselor role. The last 11 years I have been the school counselor at Gering Junior High School.
Other relevant experiences: I have spent the last 12 years serving on the TeamMates of ScottsBluff County Board of Directors. This is a great school based mentoring program that works with local schools, community volunteers, and youth.
What aspect of teaching do you enjoy most? I love building relationships with students and watching them learn, grow, and mature into productive adults. I especially love working with middle school students. This is such an important time in their lives. Visiting with students and helping them see their value and strengths is my biggest goal, once that light goes on there is nothing more rewarding!
Please share a little about your teaching philosophy: Every student is important, every student matters, and every student has the ability to learn and grow and make a difference in this world! My job as an educator is to help those students find their strengths and passions by providing the structural framework in order for them to reach their full potential.
In your teaching career, what drew you to Gering? Being raised in the area and from the Panhandle, I am passionate about our community. Gering has a strong sense of pride in their school district and I love how the community rallies around each other to support their students and the school. Education is important in Gering. I love being part of that!
What goals do you hope to accomplish in the coming school year? I am very excited to be moving into the Dean of Students role at the Gering Junior High School. My goal this year is to help build positive relationships in our school by providing support to students, parents and staff. My focus will concentrate on promoting good attendance rates, identifying behavioral problems and addressing those issues with students and parents to create a positive learning experience for all of our students.
What advice would you give to students in your classroom? Be kind, help others, and always be YOURSELF!
What would you like your student’s parents to know about you? That I love each and every student. I want parents to know that I am here to support them and that I value their input and believe that they by far know their students best. My main goal is to make sure that their student has a positive learning experience and is able to find their value in middle school as well as passion and strengths. I want parents to know that I support them 100% and that when we work together and support each other in a positive way...that is when their student will have the best learning outcome.
What leisurely activities do you enjoy in your free time? I love spending time with my family, traveling, working in my yard on my farm, and interior design.
Where were you born/raised? Born in Denver. Raised in Rochester, NY
Post-secondary educational institution(s)/degree(s): Bachelors in Recreation from the University of Minnesota — Duluth; Master in Community Counseling at the University of Northern Colorado
Endorsement(s): Licensed Independent Mental Health Professional (LIMHP)
Who/what experiences inspired you to pursue teaching? Initially my mom and seeing all that she does for people through her work as a nurse and volunteering in the community when I was growing up. I had a job where I worked with kids in the judicial system and felt ineffective and under-equipped, so I pursued further education and became better at helping people in difficult situations.
Teaching experience (location, years & area): Counseling at Alegent Health in the partial program in Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa for 6 years and at Educational Service Unit 13 for eight years
What aspect of teaching do you enjoy most? Building relationships with the students and other staff members.
Please share a little about your teaching philosophy: Every kid has the ability and want to do well.
In your teaching career, what drew you to Gering? The atmosphere of the environment in the different school buildings.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in the coming school year? To learn what systems are in place to help students be the best they can be.
What advice would you give to students in your classroom? Honest self-evaluation can help in learning and growing from mistakes and difficult moments.
What would you like your student’s parents to know about you? I have always appreciated the trust that those I serve have given me.
What leisurely activities do you enjoy in your free time? Spending time with my family - traveling, playing sports, coaching for my kids soccer teams and spending time outside.
Ashley De Los Santos
Where were you born/raised? Sidney
Post-secondary educational institution(s)/degree(s): I graduated from Chadron State College in 2006 with my Bachelors of Arts with a double major in psychology and substance abuse. I am currently on my final year in the alternative school counseling program through Chadron State College with an expected graduation date of May 2020.
Endorsement(s): I currently have a provisional endorsement to work as a school counselor.
Who/what experiences inspired you to pursue teaching? Having children of my own has inspired me to want to help other children. I want to see kids succeed in life, just as much as I would want my own children to succeed. I want to make a difference in children’s lives. I am passionate about helping people and love working with kids and their families!
Teaching experience (location, years & area): This will be my first year as a school counselor. Prior to this upcoming school year I worked in the recovery classroom at Lincoln Elementary and also had the opportunity to complete my school counseling practicum and internship.
Other relevant experiences: I worked in the human service field for 12 years. Following my college graduation, I started my first job working for a foster care agency for 3 years working with children that were subjected to abuse or neglect and also youth that were on probation. There I also provided intensive family preservation and became the in-home safety supervisor, supervising staff that provided in home services for families. I then went to be a Child Protection Worker/Adult Protection Worker/Probation officer in the state of WY. I was able to gain a lot of experience working with different cultures, age groups, and community stakeholders as I worked to help preserve family units and reunify families back together. I did that job for four years before taking a job back in NE working for the probation system as a resource supervisor for the juvenile probation unit. I did this job for 5 years before changing my career path to begin working in the school system and gain more education experience. This past year I worked at Lincoln Elementary in the recovery classroom. I completed my school counseling practicum and internship as well during this time.
What aspect of teaching do you enjoy most: I love working with kids and seeing them grow. It’s a privilege to have this opportunity and be able to connect to students, help them to see their potential, and assist them to utilize their strengths to be successful.
Please share a little about your teaching philosophy: I believe that every student matters. In addition, every student has potential and it’s up to us as educators to help them see that potential and utilize their strengths to be successful. It is important to have compassion and understanding, while still being able to hold students accountable and help them learn from their decisions. It is my passion to work with youth and help them, alongside their families, to gain the skills needed and access the resources they may need to be successful.
In your teaching career, what drew you to Gering? I live in Gering and enjoy this community. My children attend school in Gering and my husband and I have watched them thrive and grow immensely in their learning environment. I desire to be a part of a great school system that works hard to meet the needs of each student and I believe Gering Public Schools does just that.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in the coming school year? To build a positive relationship with the students, parents, and staff, to make a difference, and to personally grow and learn within Gering Public Schools.
What advice would you give to students in your classroom? Be kind, treat everyone with respect, and use every mistake as a learning experience.
What would you like your student’s parents to know about you? My husband and I have been blessed with three children of our own which has helped guide me better when working with other children. I like to look at situations from a my child approach. From a parent standpoint, how would I like this to be handled if that was my child? I believe it’s important to have compassion and understanding when working with kids. Kids will make mistakes, just as adults do, and sometimes they just need guidance to help them learn and grow from those mistakes.
What leisurely activities do you enjoy in your free time? Spending time with my family is what I enjoy during my free time. They are my world! We enjoy being outdoors fishing, hiking, and camping.