Five seniors from Grace College were recently honored for excellence in student teaching. Harper Nolander was named Outstanding Prospective Teacher for elementary education, Anna Jank and Jennifer Dannemiller were named Outstanding Prospective Teachers for secondary education, and Allison Zdenek and Emmalee Overmyer were named Outstanding Prospective Teachers for mild intervention special education.
“These ladies exemplify the excellence, both in and out of the classroom, of Grace College graduates,” said Dr. Cheryl Bremer, dean of the School of Education at Grace College. “We are very proud of the effort that they put into their student teaching and education,” she said.
Each school year Grace College School of Education selects one or more students who demonstrate excellence in their role as student teachers. Recipients are awarded a plaque and recognition for their achievements in the classroom.
Harper Nolander of Pettisville, Ohio, student taught fourth grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Warsaw, Ind., under the supervision of Claire Byers. “Claire is the best teacher I have ever seen. She loves the students, cares for them, and makes learning fun and engaging. It was a privilege to learn from her,” she said.
Nolander looks forward to joining Byers at Lincoln Elementary this fall, where she will assume her first full-time teaching position. “I am thrilled to begin my teaching career in Warsaw at such a standout school. It is my goal to love each student unconditionally and provide a memorable and impactful school year,” said Nolander.
Anna Jank, originally from Albion, Indiana, taught social studies at West Noble High School, Ligonier, Ind.. West Noble High School has the highest English Language Learner concentration in the state of Indiana. Jank was afforded the opportunity to interact with students of various cultural backgrounds and learned how to better reach the needs of students who don’t share her first language.
Jank is currently in the application process for schools in China and Korea. “Ever since studying abroad in Asia for a semester, I have dreamed of expanding that experience. Learning more about our diverse world and its people will make me a much better and more authentic teacher of such subjects,” said Jank.
Jennifer Dannemiller of Nashport, Ohio, student taught English at Wawasee High School, in Syracuse, Ind. According to Dannemiller, her time spent in Grace College’s School of Education has had a profound impact on her professional and personal life. “I’ve learned that at the heart of teaching is a deep desire to see others grow and succeed — academically, emotionally and spiritually. Under the guidance of the education faculty, I feel equipped to lead and encourage students in my own classroom,” she said.
This fall, Dannemiller will teach eighth-grade English Language Arts at Edgewood Middle School in Warsaw, Ind.
Allison Zdenek of Woodridge, Ill., divided her student teaching between Claypool Elementary School and Wawasee Middle School. When Zdenek arrived on campus as a freshman, she did not know what she wanted to pursue. Four years and three student teaching placements later, Zdenek is graduating with three teaching licenses from Grace College’s School of Education: elementary education, mild intervention special education and a graduate license in intense intervention.
This fall, Zdenek will remain at Claypool Elementary School, Warsaw Community Schools, to teach first grade. In the future, Zdenek wants to pursue a law degree in special education so that she can write bills and reform laws and regulations that influence students with disabilities in public schools. “Advocating for all students is an important aspect of teaching, and I would love to do it on a larger, more political, scale in the future,” she said.
Emmalee Overmyer, who hails from Osceola, Ind., taught at Concord West Side Elementary School in Elkhart, Ind. Overmyer grew up with a mom in the teaching profession. “I always envisioned myself becoming a teacher and following in her footsteps,” said Overmyer.
Since Overmyer graduated in December, she has filled a temporary fourth-grade teaching position in the Middlebury Community School District in Indiana, and she is currently pursuing a position at Heritage Intermediate School for the next school year.
According to Overmyer, her time in Grace College’s School of Education left an indelible mark on her. “From the very first education class, we are placed in schools and classrooms in the community. That is a huge benefit to students. We weren’t just learning from a textbook in our classes, it was so much more — and it really gave me a good idea of what I was going to walk into when I graduated,” she said.