Heidi Hooker hated the thought of a school not having a music program, so she applied to teach K-12 Music and Drama in the Valier Schools.
Heidi, who commutes to Valier from nearby Shelby, is originally from Utah. “I grew up mostly in Clinton, Utah and graduated from Northridge High School in Layton, Utah,” she shared. Heidi earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Family Studies and Child Development.
She and her husband, Jim, have four children: Kobe, Lily, Jaxon and Brielle.
While she has no formal teaching experience, Heidi is an experienced music teacher in a non-classroom setting, having taught private piano lessons and directed children and adult choirs.
It hasn’t taken Heidi long to see the advantage of teaching in a rural school. “There is a real sense of community and everyone is looking out for each other,” she said.
As for the challenges, Heidi smiled and said, “The only challenge I’ve come across is trying to teach drama to a class of three students. It’s hard to find theatre games and even plays for such a small group.”
In her spare time, Heidi enjoys reading, baking, singing, playing the piano and cello and watching Netflix.
Valier Schools is pleased to introduce Jessica Spinner, who is the new Kingsbury Colony teacher for the local school district. Jessica is no rookie, having taught for 10 years as an elementary school teacher in a rural/remote school in northern Wisconsin before moving to Valier with her family. She teaches students in grades K-8 at the Colony.
What brought the family to Valier? “My husband took a job in Valier last spring and I immediately started to search for a job in the area,” she replied. Spinner is happy with their move, pointing out, “Everyone in the community has been very welcoming.”
Jessica and her husband, Jim, have three children: Sage, 13; Brooke, 11; and Brynn, 9.
Jessica is from Wisconsin. Her hometown is Radisson but she attended and graduated from high school in Winter. She then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from University of Wisconsin–Superior and her Master’s Degree in Education from St. Mary’s of Minnesota.
Teaching multiple grades in a rural school setting comes with many advantages, as well as challenges. According to Jessica, the advantage “foremost in my mind is small class sizes.”
She continued, “With a small class I have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with my students and zero in on their individual needs. I work to ensure my students feel that they are a valued member of our classroom community, feel safe asking questions and making mistakes, and enjoy their learning experiences.”
As for challenges, Jessica said, “The biggest challenge I have faced so far in my new teaching position is teaching solo. In my previous position collaboration was at the center of my teaching practice. I relied heavily on my colleagues to help support my students, differentiate my teaching, and bounce ideas off of.”
In her spare time Jessica keeps busy with “every crazy thing my kids think up–horseback riding, playing air soft, camping, hiking, water skiing–anything outside,” she shared.