Spring Grove Public Schools welcomes Evah Engel, Madeline (Maddie) Rainey, and Kaley Cross.
Evah Engel, Band
First-year teacher Engel grew up in Oswego, Ill. Her nuclear family includes her mom and dad, an older brother, two younger sisters, and the family cat Luna and dog Ruby.
She attended Oswego High School and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She completed her student teaching assignment at Wayzata High School, teaching 9-12 Band, and at Four Seasons Arts Plus Elementary School teaching K-5 General Music.
Engel is the new grades 5-12 band teacher and will teach instrumental general music to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders, including pennywhistle, recorder, and ukulele.
When asked her reasons for accepting a teaching position at Spring Grove Public School, Engel replied, “I was excited about teaching a wide range of students, as well as taking a step outside my comfort zone by living in a smaller community.”
Engel said her teaching philosophy “focuses on building community in my classroom and relationships with all my students. I always felt welcomed and at home in my band programs in high school and college, and I want to recreate this feeling for my students.”
Engel noted that “Band took a big hit last year due to COVID – there was no marching or pep band and some students elected to stay at home to learn and therefore did not play their instruments in the band. Because of this, I’m taking this year to focus on building up our music fundamentals again and working on feeling comfortable playing as a group.”
Madeline (Maddie) Rainey
7th-10th social studies
Madeline (Maddie) Rainey is the new 7th-10th grade Social Studies teacher. Rainey hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rainey boasted with pride, “I have an incredible family! In addition to her mom and dad, Rainey has one older brother and one older sister; both are married. In addition, she has two nieces and a large extended family that she is very close to.
Rainey explained, “My dad works in education as a school psychologist. He is a big reason why I decided to pursue a career in education myself.”
Rainey attended Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, and earned her undergraduate at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and her masters from Loyola University, Chicago.
For the 2017-2018 school year, Rainey taught 10th grade World History at Sartell High School, followed by one year in Bangkok, Thailand, teaching 3rd grade English as a Second Language (ESL). Her third year of teaching took her to Portland, Maine, where she taught Adult English Language classes. This past year, Rainey has been teaching English online to students in China, ranging from 3-15 years old.
Rainey said she accepted the teaching position at Spring Grove Public School “because the school’s mission aligns well with my values in teaching and learning. The focus on student growth through critical problem-solving, dialogue, and active participation are key aspects of Spring Grove’s pedagogical practices that I am excited to be a part of. Additionally, the teachers, staff, and students that I was able to interact with during my interview were collaborative and very welcoming!”
Rainey’s teaching philosophy is to “be a guide for students. My work is to expose students to the vast knowledge in the world and help them determine what they will do with this new information. I work to show students that education is much more than grades, and I hope to inspire curiosity in my students and teach them to be lifelong learners.”
Rainey reflected on the impact of COVID-19 saying, “The impact on classrooms everywhere has been a time of reassessment. Educators and students have been able to see what has been working and what is in need of change. There are incredible online resources, and it has been great to see this new technology incorporated into classrooms. Implementing these new insights and supporting student development will be essential to a successful year!”
Kaley Cross, 7th-12th Art
The new 7-12th grade Art teacher is a Spring Grove graduate. Kaley Cross’s parents moved to Spring Grove in 2003. Cross shared, “My family is normally spread across the country, but we’re living in a rare and special moment with most of us in the same state.”
Cross is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is Cross’s first year teaching.
Discussing her reasons for accepting a position at Spring Grove Public School, Cross stated, “My values align with the school’s mission, and it was important for me to reconnect with the community.”
Referring to her teaching philosopy, Cross observed, “While I think that the greatest gift I could offer to students would be a love for learning, I’m also passionate about meaningful mark-making. The marks we make daily could include our trodden paths, our gratitude toward the barista, and our preservation of our grandmother’s quilt. Our marks matter and a line on a page is the perfect way to begin a conversation that will last our entire lives (and maybe into the next few).”
Asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the classroom, Cross noted, “It affects our relationships, most importantly. Exposures and quarantines make us think carefully about our individual actions in a community and their consequences. The students in the building are impacted by the absence of those in quarantine, and their huddle around the computer each class shows how important this connection is. Although there are ways to learn from a distance, it will always be better together.”
Have a great school year!