The 2019-2020 school year has begun. There are four new teachers in the Durant Community School District and four new teachers in the Wilton Community School District. Below you can read a little bit about each new teacher, their background and what they are looking forward to in their first year as Wildcats and Beavers.
Durant's new teachers
Hailey (Thompson) Houk
High School Science
Durant High School
Hailey is 28 years old and is from Durant. She is married to Dave Houk, and together they have a 15-month old, Leland. She graduated from Durant High School in 2009 and from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a degree in Elementary and Middle School Education.
Houk previously worked at Smart Intermediate, in Davenport, where she taught seventh grade social studies from 2014-2019. She enjoys hanging out with family and hiking at Wild Cat Den. Her one-year old keeps her busy!
Houk is excited to teach in the Durant Community School District because it is her hometown. “We recently moved to Durant in April. My husband and I want our kids to go to a good school. I have always wanted to come back and teach with the teachers who inspired me to become a teacher – so this is a dream come true,” Houk said.
When looking toward the 2019-2020 school year, Houk is excited to create great relationships with her students and preparing them for the future!
7-12 Vocal Music
Durant High School
Cinnamon is 34 years old and from Marion. She graduated from Linn Mar High School. She went on to attend the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She went back to the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in 2019 with a Master’s Degree in Music Education.
Kleeman previously worked at Mckinley Middle School, in Cedar Rapids, where she taught 6-8 grade choir and general music from 2008-2009. She then worked at Summit schools, in Cedar Rapids, teaching Pre-K-5 grade music and foreign languages from 2012-2014. Kleeman also taught at Duncombe Elementary School, in Fort Dodge, teaching K-4 general music from 2014-2017. She also taught at Webster City High School, in Webster City, teaching 9-12 grade choir from 2014-2017
Kleeman’s hobbies include composing music, reading poetry and learning the French language. She is excited to teach in the Durant Community School District.
“I wanted to work somewhere with a supportive administration and caring community,” Kleeman said. “I am excited to get to know my kids and start working with them toward big projects – like our performances and productions."
High School Science
Durant High School
Garien is 39 years old and from Maquoketa. He graduated from Maquoketa High School in 1998 and went on to attend the University of Dubuque. Garien graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Science and Math Education.
Garien previously taught at Williams Intermediate, in Davenport, teaching sixth grade math and being a science aid for eighth graders from 2016-2019. Garien enjoys gardening, hydroponics, brewing wine and ciders and Dungeons and Dragons.
He enjoys smaller class sizes and a small-town environment. “I grew up in a similar environment, so I will be able to relate better to my students,” Garien said. He is looking forward to teaching science, starting a Dungeons and Dragons club and possibly getting a hydroponics club started.
Durant Elementary School
Julie is 27 years old and is from Dows. She is married to Jake Keppy, a former Durant grad.
Keppy graduated from Clarion-Garfield High School. She attended Iowa State University and graduated with an Agriculture Business Degree. She then went on to attend Upper Iowa University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement.
Keppy worked in Scott County as the Classroom Coordinator covering Durant, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, North Scott and Davenport districts in 2018-2019. She enjoys running, spending time with family and friends and working with her husband at Keppy Genetics.
“I have been a substitute teacher in Durant for a few years and loved my experience here. I enjoy Durant very much and knew I wanted to be a part of the school family. My husband is a wrestling coach at Durant, and that really made me fall in love with the school and community. I like being involved in it and the people are so kind,” Keppy said.
She is looking forward to working with students each day and watching them grow. Keppy is excited to watch their progress throughout the year.
Wilton's new teachers
Junior High Special Education
Wilton Jr./Sr. High
Glass is 27 years old and from Blue Grass. She is married to Austin Glass and together they have an 8-year old son, Liam.
Glass graduated from Davenport West High School and went on to attend Western Illinois University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a 5-8 endorsement in Language Arts and Social Studies – along with a 5-12 Mild/Moderate Strat I: Special Education Endorsement.
Glass previously taught at Davenport West High School for the past two years, teaching 9-12 special education and co-teaching in biology. She loves to travel, read and enjoys sports.
“Wilton has a great community and opportunities that ultimately made my decision to come here. My goal is to continue to grow in my career as an educator and build relationships with students and fellow employees at Wilton,” Glass said.
Junior High Language Arts/Social Studies
Wilton Jr./Sr. High
Holthaus is 22 years old and from Plainfield. She graduated from Nashua-Plainfield High School in 2015 and continued her education at Upper Iowa University. Holthaus recently graduated from Upper Iowa University, last May, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She also received endorsements in Reading, Middle School Language Arts and Middle School Social Studies.
This will be Holthaus’ first year teaching, and she is very excited it will be at Wilton. She completed all of her teacher education practicums and student teaching placements in northeast Iowa.
Holthaus enjoys being around family and friends, watching movies and playing sports. She enjoys coaching and hopes to become involved with Wilton athletics in the future.
“Wilton was the very first school I applied to last winter and felt welcomed the first time I talked with Mr. (Marc) Snavely on the phone. The size and location of the district was something that interested me from the beginning. When I met the staff and learned about the culture of Wilton, I knew this would be a great school to be a part of,” Holthaus said.
She is looking forward to getting to know the students, staff and members of the community. Holthaus is excited to attend the school sporting events and other extracurricular activities at the school throughout the year.
Junior High Counselor
Wilton Jr. Sr. High
Downes is 31 years old and from Justice, Illinois. She is married to Luke Downes and together they have a 5-month old daughter, Whitney.
Downes graduated from Argo Community High School, in Summit, Illinois, in 2006. She went on to attend the University of Iowa and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Certificate of Entrepreneurial Management. She later attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a Master of Arts in School Counseling in 2014.
Downes previously worked at the University of Iowa Department of Health and Human Physiology, as a graduate teaching assistant, from 2012-2014. She also worked at Interstate 35 Community School District as a K-6 school counselor from 2014-2016. Downes worked at McCombs Middle School in Des Moines, as a school counselor from 2016-2018. The last job before coming to Wilton was in Cedar Rapids as a counselor at Wilson Middle School from 2018-2019.
She enjoys family, dancing, choreographing, reading, cooking, traveling and psychology. “My husband and I moved back to Iowa City in 2018 to be closer to family. I was looking for a long-term counseling position when Wilton posted this job. I was very excited to apply, because Wilton is a gem,” Downes said. “I am looking forward to building relationships with students and developing my junior high school counseling program."
Wilton High School
Shultice is 31 and from West Branch. She is married to Blake Shultice and together they have two children, Henry and Theo.
She graduated from North Cedar High School and went on to attend Simpson College. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History with a minor in Mathematics, in 2009. Shultice then attended Marquette University in 2014 and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Global History and then The University of Iowa in 2019, graduating with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.
Shultice previously taught Latin American history at Marquette University from 2012-2014. She was a K-12 substitute teacher in West Branch, West Liberty and North Cedar from 2015-2016. Shultice completed school counseling internships at West Branch Middle School in 2017, Van Allen Elementary in North Liberty, in 2018 and West Liberty High School in 2018.
She enjoys traveling, chasing her boys around, hiking/spending time in the mountains, practicing yoga, re-reading Harry Potter books, cooking/baking and re-watching "Parks & Rec," "Downton Abbey" or "The Office."
“I am the new college and career counselor — shared between Wilton High School, West Liberty High School and Muscatine Community College. I am teaching a dual credit MCC course called ‘Strategies for Academic Success,’ and I’ll also be meeting 1:1 to help seniors do post-secondary planning,” Shultice said.
Shultice is excited to get to know the students. “Planning what is next after high school is an exciting and stressful business, and I’m looking forward to empowering students to set goals and navigate their own path during this big life transition en route to post-secondary success,” Shultice said.