Former Estherville Lincoln Central elementary principal Kris Schlievert will be honored for her many years of service to the district as this year's Champion in Education!
She was always known as Mrs. Schlievert to the staff and students, and Kris to her friends. And this next Tuesday, Kris, or Mrs. Schlievert, will be honored as the Estherville Lincoln Central's 2012 Champion in Education for her 15 years of dedicated and devoted service to the children of the district.
Probably one of the things for which Kris, or Mrs. Schlievert, was best known was relating to kids. She was never afraid to get down to their level, quite virtually, often kneeling to look into their little eyes to see what was really going on inside them. Understanding. Knowing. Relating. Sometimes more than any other adult.
ELC elementary principal Kris Schlievert will be honored 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 at the Estherville Golf Course as 2012 ELC Foundation Champion in Education.
She wasn't afraid to put on Micky Mouse ears (that were quite plentiful in her office) or don a witch's costume (always a good witch, of course) and lead the kids in a Halloween parade. She made teaching and learning fun, and for that she will be sorely missed.
Beyond that, though, her impact on ELC was profound.
She started Cognitively Guided Instruction at ELC elementary.
"I have been here 15 years and it is difficult to think I will no longer work with the wonderful teachers, support staff, students and parents at ELC," Schlievert said in her letter announcing her retirement. "However, I am going to take the opportunity of early retirement and no longer drive two hours daily to get to and from work.
"Even though it is hard to say goodbye to ELC, I leave with a sense of pride at all the things we have accomplished since I came in 1997. When I arrived we were three K-3 neighborhood elementary buildings and we are now one PK-4 elementary with two buildings. Many wonderful staff have been a part of the great accomplishments the elementary has made and I am truly grateful for the many professionals I have worked with over the years. The same goes with school board members and administrators; I have seen many different people fill those roles and I have learned from each of them."
Schlievert's accomplishments included the following:
n Initiated, facilitated and oversaw over $3.5 million in grants, including the 21st Century Learning Grant, Even Start Grants, Community Foundation grants and the K-3 Innovative At-Risk Grant.
n Started the following programs: the Box Top program in 1997, Parent Action Team in the fall of 1998, School Wide Title I in 1999, guided reading and looping in 2000 and the addition of a district wide interpreter/translator and Early Childhood Programs beginning with reverse integration in 1998 until the present State Wide Voluntary Preschool.
"I am leaving my heart in Estherville," Schlievert said. "I will always look back and smile on my wonderful years here which included many personal milestones like my marriage to Mick, my son's high-school graduation and the birth of my three grandchildren.
"Thanks to everyone who gave me advice, emotional support and guidance. It is not an easy job but very rewarding. As I look back, I hope I made a positive long-lasting difference at Estherville Lincoln Central."
Originally from Algona, Schlievert graduated from Algona High School in 1974 and received her degree in elementary and special education from the University of Northern Iowa. She received her master's in learning disabilities from Mankato State University and her administrative degree from Iowa State University.
Schlievert first taught elementary special education in Spencer from 1978-79, then a new program.
From there she went to Corwith-Wesley where she taught special education, first K-8 then K-6. Then she went to Burt where she taught K-12 Special ed.
Schlievert later worked as a special education consultant for Area Education Agency 2 based in Clear Lake. From there it was on to Buffalo Center-Lakota, now North Iowa, where she served as principal.
It was after that when she came to ELC in 1997 where she served until retiring at the end of last school year.
Schlievert said the biggest challenge at ELC was meeting the needs of three buildings - Lincoln, McKinley and Demoney - and making sure students in all three buildings were served equally. Other challenges were dealing with a high rate of poverty and making sure second language learners had equal opportunities to education.
Those challenges, though, were more than offset by the rewards.
"The people were fantastic. The kids, the teachers," said Schlievert.
It was Schlievert who brought second language teacher associates into the system, most recently culminating with a full-time interpreter, Lizbeth Ramos, district parent contact coordinator, who this past spring was presented with the Paul Mann Memorial Human Relations Award by the Iowa State Education Association.
"It helped the relations" between Latino people and the community at large, Schlievert said of reaching out to the Latino community.
Schlievert will be honored as Estherville Lincoln Central Foundation Champion in Education at the foundation's annual event 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Estherville Golf Course. Raffle tickets will be sold at the event for a housekeeper for a year and grab bags.
Tickets are $20 and are available from foundation board members, Fifth Street Salon at 6 S. Fifth St., NorthStar Bank at 2202 Central Ave., school offices or at the door. Proceeds go to student scholarships and to Key Grants to help teachers buy needed supplies, equipment and activities not covered in the regular school budget.