The new administrator and faculty at Oelwein Community Schools are introducing themselves to the community.
Connie Adams will be the Oelwein Online (O2) and Odyssey administrator.
She taught for 24 years in Waterloo at the elementary- and middle school-level. She has held various leadership responsibilities, but says this is her first administrator role.
She was born and raised in Illinois outside of Chicago.
Adams is married to Theron Adams with a son, Nicholas Adams, 18, a
“I love scrapbooking, nature, bow hunting, watching reality tv shows and spending time with family,” Adams writes.
Rhonda Broussard will teach sixth-grade English language arts at Oelwein. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
A Des Moines native, she has lived most of her life in Louisiana.
She has been married over 15 years to “my wonderful husband Bradley Broussard,” she writes. “I married a Cajun man and somehow talked him into moving up here to my ‘home’ state. They have two daughters and a “bonus daughter,” her niece. They are Madalyn 15, Trischelle 14 and Gabriella, 12.
Broussard loves to read, cook, bake and try new recipes. She listed a few choice foods.
“I like eating AE small curd cottage cheese with brown gravy, if I have it. My favorite ice cream is chocolate with peanut butter, and I’m a Coca Cola addict, unfortunately, but first step to recovery is admission!”
Amy Buss will teach sixth-grade social studies at Oelwein. She attended Northern Illinois University and taught 16 years at Williamsfield Middle School in math and four years at Stark County Junior High.
She is married to Jeff Buss with children Jayson, Alyssa, Ethan and Abby.
She enjoys “coaching my daughter’s soccer team” and reading.
Katie Duncan will teach middle school art at Oelwein.
She is married to Rory with children Cye, 14, and Tempe, 9.
She holds an associate’s degree in graphic communications from Southeastern Community College and two bachelor’s degrees from Wartburg College, in studio art and K-12 art education.
She worked as a paraprofessional for two years prior to returning to school.
She is an enthusiast of camping and motorcycles.
“We have seven motorcycles on our property, although they aren’t all ours,” Duncan writes.
Jacob Garnette will be the school counselor for grades K-5, and holds a master’s degree in school counseling.
He worked for four years at Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School in Waterloo.
He’s married to Ayslyn Garnette.
In his spare time he enjoys theology, lifting, track and basketball, chess, Skyrim and golf.
“I belong to the Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian Tribe located in Pine Ridge South Dakota,” Garnette writes.
Fun fact: “Michael Scott is my favorite character from ‘The Office’ and the one I identify closest with.” That’s Steve Carell’s character.
Kierstin Henricks will teach third grade at Oelwein.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary and middle-level education from the University of Northern Iowa in 2021 with emphases in 5-8 English language arts, math, science and social studies and has substitute-taught for six months for the Solon School District.
She enjoys reading, crafting (all types) and hand lettering/calligraphy.
Fun fact: Her favorite animals are squirrels.
“In college, my friends and I once had an Instagram account to post pictures of the squirrels on campus,” Henricks writes.
“I’m excited to begin my teaching career at Oelwein!” she writes.
Maddison Jackson will teach third grade at Oelwein.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Iowa this spring and has been subbing in Oelwein for the past two years at various buildings.
She enjoys camping, volleyball and walking her dog.
For an interesting fact she writes, “I have been stung by a jellyfish.”
Katherine Keeling will teach seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at Oelwein.
She’s engaged to Jake Potter. They “parent” a 3-year-old Corgi dog named Hopper.
Keeling graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and has taught grades 6-8 social studies for two years at Lone Tree Community School.
She grew up in Colorado and writes, “I love the outdoors, reading, and cooking.”
“Very excited to join the Oelwein team!” she writes.
Cole Mather will teach elementary physical education at Oelwein.
He has taught PE, strength and conditioning at Janesville schools.
He loves lifting, coaching, and racing, and is approaching 50 wins in a stock car at local dirt tracks.
Hallie Matthias will teach high school science at Oelwein.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in teaching secondary science, both from Iowa State University. This will be her first year teaching.
She’s married to Curren Matthias. They “parent” a 6-month-old Aussie puppy, Rory, and a cat, Georgia.
“My husband and I love to travel,” Matthias writes. “We drive across the country and sleep in the back of our Subaru visiting national parks. I love hiking and being outdoors as much as possible!
“Mostly I really enjoy projects and staying busy. In my free time, I really enjoy drawing, painting, crafting, or gardening. If you catch me watching Netflix or tv I’m probably watching ‘The Gilmore Girls.’
“I’m a big family person and love being a big sister. I have five younger siblings and they’ll all tell you I’m their favorite. My husband has seven younger siblings and they’re definitely a fun group to be around! We all love to hang out at our family farm and spend time together.
“I have moved 24 times in my life,” Matthias writes. “I’m originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, but I absolutely love Iowa! The only thing Iowa is missing is mountains.”
“I’m so excited to be a Husky!” she writes.
Ashley Mattke will teach ag and FFA at Oelwein.
Mattke holds an associate’s degree from Northeast Iowa Community College in agriculture and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in agriculture and life sciences education.
“Prior to Oelwein High School, I have worked the past six years at New Hampton. The last four years as the industrial tech teacher and the first two years I was shared between Turkey Valley and New Hampton as an agriculture teacher. I started the FFA chapter at Turkey Valley and I am eager and excited to get back into the agriculture classroom!”
“I have a passion for agriculture...obviously! :)” she writes.
Mattke also enjoys spending time with family and friends, her friend’s four kids “who have become a huge part of my life,” and going fishing on occasion.
She enjoys collecting unicorn memorabilia.
Mary Nelson will teach middle school language arts at Oelwein.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in English and secondary education. She student-taught at Indianola Middle School and Pleasantville High School this past spring and has been a camp counselor for three summers at Camp Foster in Okoboji.
This will be her first year teaching.
She is engaged to Tristan Murphy.
In her free time, she loves reading, running, painting, and spending time with friends and family. And ice cream!
“I am so excited to start teaching at Oelwein Middle School! My lifelong dream was to become a teacher and I look forward to getting to know all of the students, families, and the community at Oelwein!” she writes.
Jori Rechkemmer will teach kindergarten at Oelwein.
Rechkemmer graduated from Oelwein High School in 2007, Wartburg College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement, and later earned a master’s degree in curriculum and leadership from Clarke University in 2018.
She was an instructional associate at Wapsie Valley for three years and taught at two private schools, Sacred Heart Elementary for five years starting in 2014 — teaching second- then fifth-grade — and St. Athanasius in Jesup for three years.
She has been married for four years this month to her husband, Chad. They have a 10-week-old son, Finnan.
Rechkemmer loves to travel, spend time with her family, watch movies, play cards, go for walks, put together Legos, go shopping and work on craft projects.
Fun fact: “I was in the background of an episode of ‘Law & Order’ in 2011 while we were in New York City for a college trip,” she writes.
Melissa Shea will teach preschool and kindergarten special education at Oelwein.
She holds an associate’s degree from Northeast Iowa Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in birth- through third-grade inclusive settings from Upper Iowa University, and a K-8 English language arts endorsement.
She has worked at North Fayette Valley, in Elgin and Central Community Schools, in Elkader for the last year-and-a-half subbing at all different grade levels, including the special education rooms.
She’s married to Tommy Shea with children Morgan, Chase and Makinzie.
She enjoys camping, gardening and spending time with family.
Brock Sorensen will teach industrial technology at Oelwein.
He attended Upper Iowa University and taught middle school industrial tech and the high school Spark program at North Fayette Valley.
He’s married to Lindsey Sorensen — a school counselor at MFL MarMac — with one daughter, Sienna.
Sorensen enjoys watching Iowa wrestling and football, being outside and camping. Fun fact: He has had many exotic pets in his life.
Cortney VanDenHul will coordinate at-risk programming at Oelwein Middle School.
Cortney graduated from Oelwein High School in 2011, and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and family services and a master’s degree in educational psychology, specializing in school psychology, all from University of Northern Iowa.
For the past six years, she has worked as a school psychologist/team representative for Central Rivers AEA, serving the Independence school district for the last five of those years.
“I’m excited to be back working where I went to school!” she writes.
She’s married to Mike VanDenHul with two boys, Oliver, 3, and baby Hudson.
“I love spending time with my family — my boys are my world,” she writes. “You can always find us outside when the weather is nice, and at the river on the weekends in the summer!
“With any other free time, my husband and I have a woodworking business on the side and we sell signs and a variety of different products through Etsy, social media, and at Market 25 downtown Oelwein.”
She and her husband recently became landlords.
“Something we would love to check off our bucket list in the future is flipping a house,” VanDenHul says.
Catherine Wedemeier will be the Husky Adventures director at Oelwein.
She holds a business management degree from the University of Northern Iowa and has been the FoodCorps service member at Oelwein Elementary for the past two years.
She’s married to Scott Wedemeier. The children, Mae 14, Evan 12, Will, 9, and Jed, 6, attend Wapsie Valley.
She enjoys gardening, being outdoors and listening to podcasts.
As an interesting fact:
“I dream of living off the grid in a tiny house,” Wedemeier writes.