Credits hands-on experiences for career preparation

By Addie Nabholz ’25

Kaylee Kueker ’24 said the hands-on experiences she had as a student in the Department of Education prepared her not only for student teaching but for her career after graduation.

“Wartburg has a really awesome special ed professor, Dr. Jennifer Dickey. She taught me so much about differentiating instruction in many ways. Those are skills any teacher needs,” said Kueker, who was named the 2024 Outstanding Senior in elementary education.

After graduation, Kueker, who has endorsements in reading, early childhood education, and special education, will teach either special education or first grade at West Central Community Schools in Maynard, Iowa.

“It’s a growing school and the class sizes for next year will determine if they’ll place me as an additional first-grade teacher or a special education teacher,” said Kueker.

Even before her student-teaching experience, Kueker had the opportunity to spend full days in a classroom during May Term.

“That was super helpful because I could see what a real full day in the classroom looked like before I had to student teach,” said Kueker.

Kaylee Kueker

One of Kueker’s favorite memories from Wartburg was not in the classroom but rather in the residence halls.

“My favorite Wartburg memory would be game nights with my roommates on a random Tuesday in the Clinton classroom. We would get together and play multiple board games; it really created a sense of community,” said Kueker.

This sense of community is what Kueker will miss the most about Wartburg.

“I know who I can go to, and I feel safe and comfortable asking for help. Dr. Jennifer Dickey, Dr. Richard Snyder, and Stephanie Moeller were a community for me,” said Kueker. “At Wartburg, you really do get the chance to make those connections.”

Before departing Wartburg, Kueker had one last piece of advice for other Wartburg students.

“Put in the work. It’s a lot, but it’s really beneficial. The more you put into your time at Wartburg, the more you’re going to get out of it,” Kueker said.