New staff and faculty settling in at Clayton Ridge

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

From left are Annette Willenborg, Sarah Zahradnik and Lynette Pritchard. Not pictured is new faculty member Carole Mackey. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

The start of a new school year brings new faces seated at each desk – and this year, some of those new faces are front and center. Instructors Annette Willenborg and Carole Mackey began teaching at Clayton Ridge this fall; social worker Lynette Pritchard is working closely with students, and Sarah Zahradnik returns to the district as elementary instructional leader.

Annette Willenborg, 

First Grade Instructor

Mrs. Willenborg comes to Clayton Ridge after two decades of teaching at St. Mary Immaculate Conception School in Guttenberg, where she taught various grade levels. Willenborg graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in elementary education and a minor in mathematics. She later earned a reading endorsement from Upper Iowa University.

“My favorite part of teaching is knowing that I have made an impact on a student. I love when former students come back and tell me memories they have from my class,” she said. “I hope to instill in my students the desire to do their very best in all that they do. I have always had high expectations for my students because I want each and every one of them to become successful in their lives.”

Willenborg and her husband Chad have three children, senior Courtney, sophomore Kristen, and kindergartener Kolten, and live in Guttenberg. The teacher enjoys reading, camping, boating, gardening, and attending her children’s sporting events. She says the biggest challenge educators face today is time. “There is never enough time to work with students individually, never enough time to plan, never enough time to collaborate with colleagues, etc.”   

Willenborg reports that she is very excited to be teaching at Clayton Ridge and looks forward to a great school year. 

Carole Mackey, 

High School English 

Mrs. Mackey returned to Guttenberg last year after spending almost three decades in Spokane, Wash. Mackey earned a B.A. in speech communication and English teaching from the University of Northern Iowa, holds an M.S. in organizational communications with an emphasis in Technology and Business Management from Eastern Washington University, and a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Science and Counseling from Bastyr University in Seattle, Wash.

Before she and her husband moved to Washington, Mackey taught for middle school and high school in Iowa for seven years. While on the west coast, she worked as a business analyst, technology research manager, and counselor. 

Mackey says her favorite part of teaching is listening to students share their experiences, and the biggest challenge is accommodating a range of student abilities. She hopes to impart her students the ability to figure out the steps needed to complete a complex task, solve a problem, or reach a goal.

Sara Zahradnik, Elementary Instructional Leader 

Sarah Zahradnik returns to Clayton Ridge as elementary instructional leader, a new position in which she collaborates with teachers to improve student achievement. “The first part of the year has been learning about student-centered coaching and collaborating with teachers to meet the learning needs of students,” said Sahradnik. “One of my personal goals as an instructional leader is to effectively collaborate and communicate with teachers to support student learning.”

Zahradnik earned her teaching degree from Luther College with endorsements in early childhood and reading. She taught kindergarten through second grade in the Iowa City and Dubuque Community School Districts for seven years before working with Title I reading students for three years at Clayton Ridge. Zahradnik enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 

Lynette Pritchard, 

District Social Worker 

Lynette Pritchard is a graduate of Guttenberg High School, and she’s worked in the helping field since that time. “I have worked with youth in many different capacities (institutional, home, school, and community); however, more recently, upon beginning grad school, I had the opportunity to spend my first year of field placement with Mrs. Thomas, elementary and middle school guidance and at-risk counselor at Clayton Ridge,” Pritchard told The Press. “Through that experience I was able to have the opportunity to reconnect with students in a slightly different capacity, which I came to really enjoy. I now enjoy the many different opportunities that I get each day to engage with students PK-12. There is such a priceless reward that comes from listening, learning, and engaging with all the students here at Clayton Ridge.”

Pritchard received her undergrad degree from Upper Iowa University and most recently attended Clarke University, graduating with a Master’s in social work this May. She and her family live near Millville, where she spends her time gardening, camping, and enjoying bonfires. 

The new social worker hopes to challenge students to think outside the box and to do the impossible. “We all have the potential within us to do amazing things,” she says.

* * * 

Garnavillo resident Neal Christianson is another new face on campus, serving as crossing guard at Clayton Ridge Middle School. After a 35-year career teaching science, James Pfaffly has returned for the third time to teach high school physics and chemistry at Clayton Ridge. Other staff changes include Terry Jasper serving dual roles as Director of Maintenance and Transportation, Carolyn Ihde working full time to teach science in addition to vocational agriculture, and Michelle Hansel teaching Title I full time.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet