By Melissa Petersen
With a new school year well underway, our Christ Lutheran Early Weekday School (CLEWS) teachers are back to work with a bright and wonderful group of students. As always, the program aims to combine play and learning with activities that are age-appropriate, experimental, sensory and manipulative in a Christian preschool setting.
CLEWS is thankful to have so many of its amazing teachers returning for the 2017-2018 school year. Patti Bareither, lovingly known as Mrs. B, has returned for her 30th year. Mrs. B has over 50 years of education experience. Her greatest gift to CLEWS is her love of all children and her passion for teaching. She is always creating and establishing an innovative, exciting, interactive, age-appropriate curriculum for students. All of the teachers, parents, alumni, and students would agree the Patti is the glue that holds the CLEWS program and its loving spirit together.
With over 18 years at CLEWS, 3-year-old classroom aide, Karen Ketelaar has always referred to CLEWS as her “happy place.” Being separated from parents for the first time is difficult for many new students, and Karen has the wonderful gift of being able to put nervous children at ease with her happy demeanor and infectious laugh.
Four’s teacher Lisa Grant quickly realized after putting her own children through CLEWS that she wasn’t ready to leave the program. Lisa has been with CLEWS for over 9 years. Her patience knows no bounds and she has a great love and respect for the program and the teachers. Lisa has had a significant impact on the success of the four’s program at CLEWS.
Former CLEWS parent, Ronda Gilchrist is beginning her 7th year with the school. Whether she is teaching in the three’s classroom or aiding in the fours class, Ronda is energetic and excited to educate young minds. She knows how to start the day for each child with her an outgoing and special welcome.
Whitney Corbin has been with CLEWS for 4 years as both an aide and as the school’s administrative assistant. (Although she has been volunteering in the production of the teddy bear picnics since 1996.) Her degree in psychology and her certificate in organizational psychology brings a good balance of business and fun to the school. As a CLEWS alumnus, Whitney has had a soft spot in her heart for CLEWS since she was 3-years-old. Her sons have also attended the school just like mom.
CLEWS is also fortunate to have four’s aide Patty Nolan as part of the program. Having been with CLEWS for three years, her background in speech therapy makes her an invaluable resource in assessing each child’s needs and then quickly adapting lessons to their needs. Her understanding of child development has been a wonderful gift to the school.
Lisa Niedziela is completing her second year at CLEWs as an aide in the three’s class and has quickly become an invaluable staff member. She is always ready to pitch in and help in both her class and in other classrooms. Her love of working with children shows through every day in her positive attitude and personality. CLEWS loves having Lisa as their go-to-gal for extra help and assistance.
This year CLEWS welcomed Melissa Petersen as an aide in the 3’s and Just 3’s program. Her youngest daughter just completed CLEWS last year and there was no getting rid of mom. Her background in graphic design and marketing has been helpful in finding new ways to get CLEWS news out in the community. Her fresh perspective has been helpful in adding new and fun elements to the program.
It has been said that CLEWS parents are attracted to the program because it affords daily opportunities to share in many special moments and experiences with their child. However, much of the school’s success and stellar reputation is because of this talented and caring teaching staff. Christ Lutheran Church is blessed to have so many special and unique individuals associated with CLEWS.