Astoria Schools wore yellow on November 15th in support of
Garret Collins and his family.
"This is my 33rd year teaching and my 30th year at Astoria. Astoria is the best place to teach. I wouldn't want to be any place else. I went to WIU for my Early Childhood degree and later earned my Elementary degree. I became a teacher because I enjoy working with children and wanted to make a difference in children's lives."
Classroom Paraprofessionals: Stephanie Briggs & Victoria Follman
"I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a B.S. in Psychology and received my teaching certification from the University of Illinois Springfield. I taught first grade for one year and have enjoyed teaching kindergarten for the past 13 years. I love watching my students get excited about learning, and helping them experience success and reach their potential."
Classroom Paraprofessional: Kim Westlake
"I graduated in 2020 from Western Illinois University with my Early Childhood Education Degree, with an endorsement in Early Childhood Special Education. This is my second year of teaching, and my first year of teaching 1st grade. I love working with children, watching them grow, and helping build their confidence."
Classroom Paraprofessional: Natasha Stambaugh
"Western Illinois University is where my teaching adventure began with a degree in Elementary Education. I taught kindergarten for nine years before I started teaching at Astoria. Now, I am in my 11th year of teaching first grade and have loved every minute of it! Each year is a little different which makes it both fun and challenging when figuring out the needs of each group. I feel very fortunate to have such a great group of people to work with, both kids and adults alike."
Classroom Paraprofessional: Misty Trone
Also After School S.T.E.A.M. Lab Teacher
"Originally from Iowa, I have lived in Ipava for the last 29 years. I am a graduate of Western Illinois University and have taught here in Astoria for the last 10 years. I have also taught in the S.T.E.A.M. Lab for 5 years as an after school program. I have an Associates Degree in Automotive Service and Management from when I thought I would like to be an industrial arts teacher. Life in Illinois had other plans for me, but I was able to come back to my first love: teaching. The 2nd grade has been my home since joining the Astoria School District, and I have never looked back!"
Classroom Paraprofessional: LeAnn Vincent
"I graduated from Western Governors University in 2021 with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education (1st-6th). I started my Associates degree at Spoon River College fresh out of High School. I worked as a Paraprofessional at Astoria Grade School for nearly 11 years. After graduating from Spoon River College, I took some time for my family before going back and getting my Teaching Certificate. I have 3 children at home, and 12 children in my classroom. Family is family, home or at school. I have worked through many grade levels as a paraprofessional in the Elementary. My first year teaching was in First grade, student teaching with Lisa Heaton. I am now teaching Second Grade, with some of my First graders from last year. This experience has been great! I get to see how far they have come since the beginning of the last year, using the skills that they were taught to be successful in Second Grade. I love teaching! I love watching my students light up with they learn new things! It's like a light bulb shining above their heads! I am thankful to work in my hometown and where the staff and administration are FANTASTIC!"
Classroom Paraprofessional: Hannah Bucher
"I graduated from Western Illinois University in spring 2016 with a degree in Elementary Education. I started my teaching journey here in Astoria in fall of 2016. I taught 1st grade for one year. This is my 7th year in 3rd grade! I love this age and their eagerness to learn. My hope is always that students leave my class with many new skills and ideas, but also know that I will be cheering them on for many years to come!"
Classroom Paraprofessional: Kelly Davis
"My name is Dylan Cantu, I live with my wife Whittney in Elmwood, Illinois. I have taught for over six years now: 2 years in Peoria (6th Grade English & 4th Grade), 2 years in Farmington (5th Grade & 4th Grade), 1 year in Canton (8th Grade English), and this is my 2nd year at Astoria (4th Grade). I graduated from Elmwood High School in 2012. I got my B.S. degree in Elementary Education from Bradley University in 2016. I am qualified to teach grades K-8. The reason why I became a teacher was for the fact I love helping people grow in academics and helping them achieve success that they didn't think was possible. This school and environment has been amazing for myself and my family!"
"After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in elementary education, I spent my first three years of teaching at a small, private school where I taught K-3rd grades all in one classroom. I started teaching in Astoria in 2005 when I moved here to marry my husband, Josh. In Astoria, I taught kindergarten for four years, 3rd grade for two years, took a five year "semi-retirement" to stay home with my three boys, and now I'm in my seventh year of 5th grade -- which I've discovered is my teaching true love! I love helping my students develop the skills, tools, and knowledge that will help them as they carve their path in this world."
Classroom Paraprofessional: Melinda DeWees
"My name is Christy Quigley, I attended Spoon River College and Western Illinois University for my degree in Art Education. I also loved science so much that I got an endorsement in it! I am currently in my 5th year of teaching where I have tried to become a teacher who is a safe place for kids to explore creativity and enjoy being themselves! As your kids get to know me they will learn that my favorite color is Blue (obviously, lol), I love all things Halloween, being called weird or goofy is a compliment in my class, I am in Fast house, and I despise glitter! I look forward to teaching you all and seeing each of your kids' unique creativity!"
K-4 General Music, 5th Grade General Music/Band
Mrs. Cooley received her bachelors degree in music education from Illinois State University in 2008. She attended graduate school at Wichita State University receiving her masters degree in oboe performance in 2011. This is Mrs. Cooley's 8th year teaching at Astoria and she has been teaching music for 13 years. Mrs. Cooley was inspired by her grade school band director to become a music teacher. She loves playing all sorts of band instruments and enjoys singing. When she is not at school she enjoys being at home with her family.
Classes Teaching: 9-12 PE and Drivers Ed
"This is my 6th year teaching in Astoria. I graduated from Astoria High School and earned my Bachelors Degree from Western Illinois University. I am married and have two children. I am happy to be a part of the school and community I grew up in."
"Greetings! My name is Mandy Friedrich and I am currently in my twenty-second year of teaching. I have a Bachelor's from MacMurray College in Physical Education, and a Masters' from Walden University. I am married, have one son, and reside in Havana. I spent 15 years teaching middle school health in Jacksonville, IL at Turner Junior High, which later became Jacksonville Middle School. I love the atmosphere of Astoria and really enjoy the small school experience."
Mrs. Schenk is a home town girl. She is an alumni of the University of Illinois at Springfield (Go Prairie Stars!) and was a member of the first class of Capital Scholars Honors Students. She graduated with a degree in Visual Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design and was also certified as an elementary education teacher. She began her career in first grade and spent five years there. Her heart sings among little people. If you know her, she's all reading - all the time - so her move to Title I was a perfect fit. She has made "The Reading Room" her home ever since! She's also been blessed with the most phenomenal team; your students either know and love them or will soon! Mr. Hopping, Ms. Schaeffer, and the retired Mrs. Poppenhager are or have been a huge part of the magic! During her years in education, Mrs. Schenk has become certified as a Reading Teacher, Reading Specialist, and a certified Orton Gillingham Dyslexia Tutor. She is a lover of learning, the science of reading, leveling the playing field for her students, all things sparkly, singing and music, the Ron Clark Academy, orange/McNeil house, her rambunctious blue heeler Apollo, and her husband- Troy. She loves what she does, who she does it with, and is honored to be an educator.
Classroom Paraprofessionals - Max Hopping & Brandy Schaeffer
"I received my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Western Illinois in December 2007. I went back to school in 2009 and worked toward my Masters degree. I received this degree in May 2011. This is my first year teaching although I considered myself a teacher during the eleven years that I was a Special Education paraprofessional here at Astoria Schools. I went back to school and worked toward my Special Education endorsement receiving that endorsement this summer. I enjoy helping the students understand concepts that they have had trouble with in the past. The light bulb moment is the best for me to see with students."
Covering Grades Pre-K - 5th
"My name is Janee Seitz, and this is my 5th year of teaching. I graduated from West Central High School in 2012, and attended my local community college (Southeastern in Burlington, Iowa) where I graduated in 2014. I transferred to Western Illinois University (WIU), and I received my Learning Behavior Specialist I certification. I am now working toward being a "Kendore Certified Teacher," which I hope to accomplish this 2022/2023 school year (Kendore is Orton Gillingham based, and is a multi sensory approach to learning). I student taught in Astoria in the spring of 2018, and I loved it so much that I thought I would stick around! I officially started working here as an educator in the fall of 2018. This is my 5th year teaching grades Pre-K though 5th. I am in the Fast House (Fast or Last!), and I enjoy spending my free time tutoring and working at the best apple orchard in the state (Orchard Hill)! My absolute favorite things about working at Astoria are the wonderful students I teach, and the fabulous people I work with!"
Classes Covering: 5th Grade Reading, Writing, & Math - 6th Grade Math & Language Arts
"Hi! Mrs. Wesley here! This is my 16th year of teaching, and my 4th year at Astoria. I, myself, graduated from AHS in 1990.
I went on to graduate from SRC with my AA, and then onto SIU-C to graduate with a bachelor's in psychology in 1994. I went on to get a master's in educational psychology in 1998. I proceeded to begin working as a substitute teacher, and decided to go back to Illinois State University to get my teaching certificate and a master's in Special Education in 2002.
I have taught in Chicago, the south suburbs, and in Beardstown. I also spent 5 years working as a behavior specialist with adults with developmental disabilities. All of these adventures have conspired to bring me full circle, back to the place I started from, except now I get to go into the teachers' lounge!
In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, read books, and drink coffee. I have a 6 year old daughter who goes to school here and is in first grade. My parents live just outside Summum, and it's great to have family so close by! I look forward to many years with my Astoria teaching family!"
"I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with my degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology a long time ago and have been working with students from ages 3-21 years ever since. I hold a teacher certification, state licensure, and national certification which tells you I like to talk!"
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