Click on the name or year below to view Alumni picture and profile.
Alex Feilmeier was a 2008 graduate of Glidden-Ralston Community School. Immediately after high school, Alex attended Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny and later transferred to Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, IA. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, he attained his Masters of Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University. He now lives and works full time in West Des Moines, IA in the field of healthcare program management and information technology. On the side, Alex enjoys telling stories through film, and he felt compelled to give back to the community that raised him by creating something which embodied the nostalgic sentiment felt by so many; not just in the town of Glidden, but which can be felt in many small towns across this great state. Both Alex and his wife, Ashley (a 2007 graduate of Glidden-Ralston), enjoy staying active, traveling, and sharing stories that bring people together.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Stephen Crozier. After graduating in 1987 from Glidden-Ralston he went to Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa and graduated with honors in the Police Science program. On Aug 31st, 1990, He was hired by the Waterloo Police Department where he has just completed his 28th year. While at the Police Department he became a Field Training Officer and eventually helped re-write and certify the departments training manual. He participated in a Stalking Research Project hosted by the FBI Behavioral Sciences Division.
In early 1996 He started to teach at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy teaching Domestic Violence, Traffic Law, Traffic Direction, Accident Investigation, Vehicle Stops, Mandatory Reporting, Crisis Intervention, Report Writing and Courtroom Testimony. Later he became the Country's 8th domestic abuse response team investigator. He was the 1st one in the State of Iowa and while in that position he wrote a book for law enforcement on how to investigate D/A incidents for best prosecution. He read grants so that other departments could receive federal funding for their own domestic violence programs and then consulted with those departments on operations. To this day anyone getting funding for domestic violence must adhere to the procedures set forth in his book. Also during this time he became a court qualified expert in domestic violence and continued this until about 2002.
He was a member of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence from 1996 to 2001 as well as the Black Hawk / Grundy County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 1997 to 1999 he volunteered as President of the Board of Directors of Seeds of Hope, the Northeast Iowa Domestic Violence and D/V shelters.
In 1997 he found time to be a member of the Directors for Crisis Services in Waterloo and in 1999 was the President of the City of Reinbeck, Iowa Telecommunication Committee (the 2nd in the state aimed at bringing fiber networking to city-run municipalities.) In 2003 he became an Adjunct Professor at Hawkeye Community College in the Police Science Program teaching Traffic Investigation, OWI Enforcement and Basic Police Operations and two years later became an Advanced Accident Investigator.
In 2006 he became one of the 1st 500 Internationally Certified Computer Examiners. (The girl with the pigtails in NCIS. He helped pioneer that for law enforcement.) Because our department didn't fund a division for this, He started his own company called Iowa Computer Forensics. In 2008 he wrote a white paper on Processing digital evidence in a live environment and virtual environment at the same time. This paper was the foundation of major software developers in the field to this day.
Realizing a trend toward cell phones he sold the business in 2010 and in 2013, after becoming a level 3 master cell phone technician, opened another business called Smart Tech (cell phone repairs, computer repairs, computer forensics, and custom networking for new high-end homes.)
He is very proud of his three daughters. His oldest is a Black Hawk County Police and Fire Dispatcher studying to become a Physicians Assistant. His middle daughter is in college to become a music teacher and his youngest is a freshman in high school.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Kelli Slothouber (Burns), class of 1988. Kelli grew up in Glidden, Iowa, and attended Glidden-Ralston from 2nd grade through graduation. After graduation, Kelli attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in May 1992. She got her first job at a printing company, Pagetek Printing, as a Graphics Designer, and within a couple of years became the Design Services Manager. In 1999, she took a leap of faith and quit her job to move to Denver, Colorado. She got a job at US West as their in-house Design Services Manager. After US West, she went back to work for a printing company, then to a fulfillment company and onto to a promotional products company. In 2009, she decided to go to work for herself and started her own promotional products company where she has been working ever since. She loves working for herself and being her own boss. She has been lucky to have small, medium and large clients such as Qwest, Oppenheimer Funds, and Ford Motor Company.
If you know Kelli, you know she loves sports. Owning her own business has allowed her to pursue her dream of coaching. She has been able to coach her two daughters’ teams in all of the sports they have played. She has also turned her passion for coaching kids into private lessons this past year.
Kelli’s most impactful memories are from her sports days and how her coaches taught her that drive, dedication and hard work will help her achieve her goals in life. Through sports she learned how to handle failures and set backs, both individually and as a team, and these lessons have been instrumental to her business success. She remembers how great it was to be a part of a team where coaches and players put aside their difference and worked together.
In her “down time” she still enjoys playing volleyball and softball as well as spending time with her husband, two kids and their dog.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Emily Bowman (Bruggeman). She graduated in 2008. After high school, Emily attended the University of Northern Iowa, where she received her bachelor's degree in graphic design, minors in marketing and art history, and graduated summa cum laude. She was was hired at a small design firm in Ankeny, IA, shortly after graduation and enjoyed working on a small team—complete with two labs, Marley and Charlie.
After nearly four years, Emily made the switch to higher education and now works as the graphic designer and social media coordinator for Iowa State University's Ivy College of Business, where she enjoys being part of a busy campus.
In her free time, she stays active by traveling with her husband, Zach (a 2007 graduate of Glidden-Ralston), exercising, and competing in show jumping.
Photo shows Emily welcoming high school students (via Snapchat) to the 2018 Young Women in Business Leadership Camp
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Nicole Kasperbauer, class of 2011. Nicole grew up in Glidden attending Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten to graduation. She cherishes the memories working in Mrs. Baack’s art room creating paintings and exploring the artistic (right) side of the brain. She continued that exploration while studying magazine journalism and graphic design with a concentration in leadership at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Nicole worked hard to maintain a variety of internships over the four years while attending Drake. She was an apprentice with Lowe’s Creative Ideas assisting with photoshoots and designing layouts to help promote seasonal inspiration. She interned with Meredith Brand Licensing working with brands such as Better Homes and Gardens, Eating Well and Successful Farming. In the spring of 2013, Nicole traveled abroad to Florence, Italy, to attend a semester at the Studio Art Center International studying graphic design and making frequent weekend travels to explore the remarkable beauty of Europe. Nicole then moved to New York to get the opportunity of a lifetime to work as an art intern with Seventeen Magazine, creating concepts for the fall/holiday monthly issues, generating inspiration for mood boards, among the long list of exciting tasks. Over the years, she designed for student-led magazines and by her senior year was recruited to be the Art Director for the annual publication of The Annual, leading a team of designers, writers and photographers. She represented the print magazine and developed the whole style guide for the team to follow.
Since graduation, Nicole first moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to work for AllOver Media as a graphic production artist and eventually walked in the doors of JT Mega (an integrated food advertising agency) to work as an interactive designer and move her way up to an art director. She worked on clients such as Hormel, General Mills, Schwan's, Land O’Lakes, Plochman’s Mustard, Regular Girl and more. Her career was continuing to grow and prosper, therefore she made a leap of faith and took a road trip cross country to move to the glorious Laguna Beach, California. She’s currently freelance designing for a variety of clients in healthcare, education and tech.
Nicole’s story all began back in Mrs. Baack’s art room. Those mornings where she indulged in Casey’s delicious breakfast pizza and drew, carved and painted--set great presidence for where the future would take her. She lives every day following her three favorite motto’s “Everything happens for a reason”, “You can’t talk about the world unless you see it” and “Work hard, Play hard.” Glidden-Ralston showed her that if you have the drive and determination, you can do anything you set your mind to. Those days of being student body president, class vice president, volleyball captain, a member of the dance team, science and Spanish clubs, among the rest, all speak to the impact that small town Iowa has had on Nicole. No matter where she’s been or where she’s headed she’ll always have that motivated, hard working mentality because of her roots.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Katie Nelson (Freml). Katie graduated from Glidden-Ralston in 2008 and attended Grand View University in Des Moines where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Her career in nursing started as a CNA back in high school and continued to work throughout college. She worked as an ER and Medical Surgical Nurse for her first job. Presently she is now a Radiation Oncology Nurse at St. Anthony Cancer Center in Carroll. She recently added a few more letters to her title by obtaining a specific certification for oncology nursing, Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN). She will be starting a Masters in January for a degree in Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Leadership and Administration.
“My two favorite things about my job are being able to help my patients make it through the toughest battle of their lives and forming lasting relationships with them. Everyday I am able to witness people continue to push through their journey of fighting back against cancer. The relationships that I am able to form with my patients are something I will forever cherish. Many people don’t know that people receiving radiation have treatment five days a week for on average 5-7 weeks. When you see your patients that often it’s a special bond you create with them. That relationship is one of the reasons I chose to work in oncology. Helping people overcome the biggest obstacle they have ever faced is truly one of the best jobs in the world.”
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Hannah Streeter. Hannah grew up in Lanesboro, Iowa and attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten until graduation in 2015. She recalls her favorite memory from high school as the time she and the jazz band performed a tribute to Johnny Cash at her senior year fine arts show.
Upon graduation, she began studies in journalism at Iowa State University. But after being exposed to the many options the communications field had to offer, she changed her major to public relations, and added a minor in business.
Hannah has maintained a part-time job with Casey’s since she graduated, which provided a direct pathway to her internship at their headquarters in Ankeny, Iowa. She currently works as an intern with the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa managing social media and assisting with communications.
“I love what I do every day because I get to make a difference, interact with people from all over the world and I get to be involved in agriculture, which speaks to my roots here in Glidden,” she said of her internship.
Hannah is set to finish her Iowa State adventure in May 2019. A dream of hers is to someday own a business, but would enjoy a job in non-profit for now. She will continue residing in the area as she appreciates being close to home.
If you asked Hannah about the most valuable thing she’s learned since graduating, she’d tell you to “hold your values close and your family closer.” When she has time, she enjoys cooking, exercising, thrift shopping, making music and traveling with her boyfriend and dogs.
In the first picture she is pictured with U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and President of the World Food Prize Kenneth Quinn, at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa during a ceremony recognizing the Foundation’s fall interns.
Hannah (below) is pictured with a colleague at the 2018 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, which is a week of events, lectures, seminars and presentations centered on solving our world’s food security crisis. This pair maintained various social media platforms throughout the week.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Betsy Barent (Rezabek). Betsy grew up in Glidden, Iowa, and attended Glidden-Ralston from 1st grade until graduation in 1989. She recalls her favorite memory from high school as having the opportunity to be involved in a variety of activities. “The support of my family, teachers and the community, meant so much to me, and still do,” Betsy said.
Upon graduation, she began studies in Biology with at Simpson College in Indianola, IA. While at Simpson, Betsy was a member of the women’s basketball team, the National Biological Honor Society Beta Beta Beta, and the National Leadership Honor Society Omicron Delta Kappa.
After receiving her B.A. from Simpson in 1993, Betsy went on to earn her M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. It was during her time as a T.A. at UNL that she realized her passion for teaching. She completed her certification in secondary science teaching while living in St. Louis with her husband Rick.
Betsy has been teaching since. “I love what I do every day because I get to make a difference for kids. Science is a way for kids to learn about the world around them. It just takes a little curiosity,” she said of her work.
Betsy also has a passion for helping other teachers grow professionally. She is a co-author of the iTunes University course, How Science Works and serves as a teacher advisor to the Understanding Science and Understanding Evolution websites from the University of California, Berkeley. Betsy is the current president of the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science, a role which has afforded her the opportunity to share her passion for engaging kids in science with other teachers across the state.
(Editors Note: Betsy was a State finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching!)
If you asked Betsy about the most valuable thing she’s learned since graduating, she’d tell you to not be afraid to make mistakes. “The best part about doing science is that failure equals success! This is true in life as well. Each time we make a mistake, or fail, we learn. And then we have the opportunity to get better. Go hard at whatever is your passion. Embrace your mistakes. You are just getting better!” When she has time, Betsy enjoys hiking, time at the lake, cheering on the Huskers, and traveling with her family (Rick, Anna-19, Ryan-16).
This week’s alumni spotlight features Josh and Anna (Ewoldt) Johnson. Josh, class of 2012 attended G-R from kindergarten to graduation. After High School, Josh attended Simpson College where he received his bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in marketing. He started at Corey Chancellor State Farm in Pleasant Hill shortly after graduation and has been with them ever since. He enjoys dealing with insurance and making sure people are aware of how important it is.
Anna, class of 2013, attended G-R from the second grade to graduation. After High School, Anna attended ICCU in Fort Dodge and received her General Studies Associated Degree. After College, Anna decided to move to Ankeny to see if the big city is what she wanted. Shortly after the move, she started to become a night time receptionist for Karl Chevrolet and has worked herself up to the day shift. Anna has always worked customer service jobs and truly enjoys it. She believes the key to great customer service starts with a smile.
Josh and Anna have many memories at G-R but the one that they will cherish forever is meeting each other and becoming High School sweethearts!
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Katie Schumann (Carroll). Katie was a 2011 graduate of Glidden-Ralston and began taking a few classes at DMACC in Carroll. From there she went to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge for an associates degree. She played on the softball team there for two years. After Iowa Central, she then went to Iowa State University to pursue a degree in Child, Adult and Family Services and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in May of 2016. During her time at Iowa State she worked for a non-profit organization in Johnston called Candeo https://www.candeoiowa.org/about_us/
She provided direct care services with adults with intellectual disabilities. From there she moved to Northeast Iowa where she met her soon to be husband who farms. She started working at Rise Ltd. as a Daily habilitation staff member and for 4 months and taught classes to clients with intellectual disabilities to help them become more independent in their daily lives/homes. Lately, she was promoted to an Administration position/ Day Habilitation Team Leader and has also started working towards a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Jeremy Fisher. Jeremy graduated from Glidden-Ralston in 1994 and was a member of the 1993 State basketball team. After high school, Jeremy attended the University of Iowa, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Relations in 1998. He also graduated from Creighton University with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. After college, Jeremy began his career in human resources and recruiting where he worked at Noll Human Resource Services as a Staffing Supervisor in Omaha, Nebraska, for nearly six years.
For the past 15 years, Jeremy has worked at Creighton University in Omaha where he currently serves as the Director of the Career Center. He oversees undergraduate and graduate career services for the College of Arts & Sciences, Heider College of Business, and College of Nursing helping Creighton students and alumni with career advising, internships, full-time jobs, and preparing for grad school. His favorite part of his job is traveling around the country to meet with cool companies like NIKE, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Facebook, GE, Target, Smithsonian Institute, and others that hire college students.
In his free time, Jeremy coaches basketball teams for his son, Jayden (7th grade), and daughter, Sadie (5th grade). He also enjoys playing golf, watching movies and sports, vacationing at the Lake of the Ozarks, and spending time with family and friends.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Kim (Ploeger) Buelt, 1985 grad & Clark Buelt, 1987 grad. Both Kim & Clark attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten through their senior year. Both enjoyed growing up in a smaller community & school where they could be involved in a wide variety of things.Kim loved school and especially her high school years. She participated in band, jazz band, drama, swing choir, & cheerleading. Kim was a member of the National Honor Society, Science Club, and was salutatorian of her class. Kim went to college at the University of Northern Iowa where she majored in Earth Science Education with minors in Chemistry and Physics. While in college she became an astronomy lab assistant & was a member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, an educational honor society. Clark spent his high school years involved in all sports – football, basketball, track & baseball. He was also in FFA, band, and swing choir. His senior year, he was voted Homecoming King & was student council president. Clark then attended Iowa State University with a major in Ag Business. While in college, Clark worked during the summer months at the West-Central Coop. in Ralston. As Clark was finishing up his last year of college, Kim began her career as a Chemistry teacher at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa. After his graduation from ISU, Clark began his career path in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kim & Clark, who had started dating in high school, were married in July of 1991.
Kim taught science for 18 years & was a cheerleading coach for 16 years. In 1993 she received her Master’s Degree in Science Education from UNI & in 2007, also completed another Master’s Degree in Administration at Drake University. She has now been an Associate Principal at Linn-Mar High School for 12 years.
Upon graduation from ISU, Clark became a financial manager and served various organizations in financial planning and management. Presently Clark works for TIAA, located in Coralville. Clark also furthered his education over the years by attaining many designations in Financial Management.
Their son, Cody, was born in July of 1993. Cody graduated from ISU in Civil Engineering in 2016 and works for Fehr-Graham Engineering in Cedar Rapids. Kim and Clark enjoy camping, boating, fishing & traveling. They currently live in Robins, Iowa.
This week’s Alumni Spotlight features Brandy (BJ Fisher) Feldman. Brandy grew up in Glidden and graduated from Glidden-Ralston in 1996. The small town allowed her to participate in a variety of activities but her passion was volleyball and softball and working. Upon graduation, she moved to Ottumwa, IA where she received her A.A. degree from Indian Hills Community College and proceeded to the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a major in public relations. After taking an Interpersonal Communications class, she switched her major to Interpersonal Communications with a Psychology minor and graduated with a B.A. degree. Cedar Rapids/Marion is where she ultimately calls home. In 2005, she was hired at Rockwell Collins, Inc., now Collins Aerospace, a UTC Company starting her career in the Accounts Receivable department as a Credit & Collections Specialist. In 2007 she went on to achieve her M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix and has been promoted to several positions within the company; both on the Commercial and Government sides. One of her favorite positions was in Contracts supporting Commercial and Aftermarket airlines in Asia Pac, China and Middle East. In her various roles, she’s been able to travel both domestically and internationally including Germany, Italy, France, and Sweden and is grateful for where the company has taken her. The most recent trip was to Puerto Rico where she got true hands on experience on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter testing out the communication equipment. She was recently promoted again to a Sr. Proposal Manager where she’s responsible for writing proposals for airlines customizing cabin systems/inflight entertainment; often for owners of major sports teams. She credits her strong work ethic to her small town roots. The close knit community is still very prevalent today and she enjoys returning home a couple times a year to visit family and friends.
Brandy and her husband, Stacy are going on 16 years of marriage and spend their time with son Clayton who is in 7th grade and daughter, Ali who’s in Kindergarten. Brandy enjoys time in the gym strength training and achieved her goal of bench pressing body weight as well as winning top female lifter in the 40’s age group. She plays sand volleyball league in the summer when able but is most often found in the bleachers at basketball & baseball games cheering on Clayton, gymnastics & soccer for Ali. Filling in the “down time” in between is spent with friends and family. Although she’s been a resident of Cedar Rapids/Marion for nearly 19 years she still calls Glidden her home.
This week’s alumni spotlight features a family, where the blue and gold runs deep in the family lines. Duane Bundt (1959) graduated from Iowa State, he didn’t anticipate that his children would attend his alma mater. Duane joined a Christian ministry organization and worked on several college campuses in the United States, as well as in Nairobi, Kenya, before returning to Carroll County to farm in 1975. He and his wife Joan raised their three children, Julie, Joel and Josh on a farm north of Glidden.
The Bundt siblings made their way through high school, taking full advantage of one of the benefits of a small school district, namely, that you can participate in many different extra-curricular activities. They traveled some of the same paths, participating in choir, show choir, band, speech, and musicals.
Julie (’85) also participated in Model UN, Spanish Club, and even went out for golf her senior year when a fourth person was needed to make a girls’ team. Joel (’88) filled his plate with football, basketball, track & field, baseball, swim team, student council, and science club. Josh (’96) also played football, basketball and ran track in the spring, and rounded things out with jazz band, drama, student council and FFA.
Julie went to Northwestern College to study English and Political Science. She worked for Senator Charles Grassley for two years, and then pursued graduate school. After completing her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Kansas, she taught at University of Northern Iowa for four years. In 2000, she moved to Philadelphia to work for the Pew Charitable Trusts as a program officer, making grants to nonprofit organizations. She is now working part-time remotely for Pew from Ames, where she and her husband, Mike, live with their two daughters.
Joel also traveled north to attend college at Northwestern College, where he also played football and sang in the choir. He received his BA in mathematics, with a secondary education endorsement in 1993, and a MA in education administration from Buena Vista College in 2000. Joel found his first job in Orange City, Iowa and has stayed there since. Much like high school, Joel does a little of everything. He teaches math and computer science: statistics, calculus I, calculus II, computer science principles, java, and database foundations. He also is a head track & field coach and a middle school football coach. Serving on the district’s leadership team, Joel leads the development of its computer science education district-wide and oversees its math curriculum. He is also working with code.org as a facilitator to train teachers, as well as with other computer science education organizations in providing professional development to teachers. Joel and his wife Melissa have six children, ages 15 to 4.
Josh left Iowa upon graduation for the West Point, the U.S. Military Academy, where he studied computer engineering and played football. His army career has taken him to: Ft. Gordon, Georgia, Hanau, Germany, Israel, Quantico, Virginia, Ft. Hood, Texas, Iraq in 2006 and 2008, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, Monterey, California (where he received a MS in computer science), Ft. Lewis, Washington, Afghanistan 2014, West Point, and he is currently in Boston, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science in computer science. Josh and his wife Amanda have three children, ages 9 to 3.
When asked about how Glidden-Ralston had prepared them for their current work, they answered:
Julie: “Every job I have had has involved writing, from the days in Senator Grassley’s office to today, where I am penning memos or strategy documents. Mrs. Thelin’s senior writing class gave me an excellent foundation for the kind of writing I was expected to do in college, and then graduate school. When I taught at UNI, I was shocked at the poor level of preparation many students had where writing and grammar are concerned. We had an amazingly strong education by comparison.”
Joel: “Leaving for college, I had little confidence in my preparation for college. This was largely due to assuming the stigma of a “small school.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had been well-prepared to excel at the next level. My greatest uncertainty rested in my language arts strength since I was naturally drawn to math and science. When I completed my literature courses, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had a strong background from our work in high school. I also discovered that we (GR grads) had benefited from high expectations. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities we had to engage in many activities. We were welcome to try new things and develop skills in many areas. It may have been a bit nuts to do as many things as most of us did - but we had a lot of fun doing those things together!”
Josh: “My participation in extracurricular activities at GR provided some of my first opportunities to develop as a leader. I had many opportunities to help the organizations/teams I was involved in (team) move toward a shared goal, normally in a competitive environment. Participation also provided opportunities to observe other leader examples in fellow students, teachers and coaches. Being involved in diverse extracurriculars broadened me as a person and helped me better appreciate the interests of others.”
Finally, the Bundt siblings reflect on favorite memories from their years at Glidden-Ralston:
Josh: “Starting the day off with a little bit of helium during homeroom time certainly provided comic relief, but also earned me some extra time folding laundry after school.”
Joel: “SO MANY! Swing choir my freshman year was a blast! Joining seven obnoxious sophomore boys in oscillating between annoying more mature females and singing well was grand. Lil’ Abner during our freshman year was also a favorite. Learning how to play linebacker from Joel Danner was a privilege. Blocking for Tony Ball, Clark Buelt, and Brian Bock as a fullback was a privilege. Almost weekly attempts to make Luke Gregory laugh while he drank his milk. Attempting some new feat in eating copious amounts of food at lunch. Mr. McCrea and Mr. Thelin taunting one another through messages sent through us students. Mrs. Turner allowing us to play tackle football at recess. Jumping up on the stage during basketball practice to hear some of Coach Jepson’s thoughts and wisdom.
Glidden-Ralston provided me the opportunity to develop my love for football and for singing. One of the reasons I chose NWC is because I was allowed to continue in both. Josh and I had the privilege of participating in a singing group (The Continentals) following his graduation. We spent 10 days touring the SW coast and then another 10 days in Israel, performing a musical of David’s life in the Citadel of David.”
Julie: “What makes me smile when I think back to those years are the many activities that were opportunities to hang with friends, such as “playing” trombone with Kate Conner, or hanging out backstage during musical practices, or being serenaded by extremely hyper sophomores on a bus while traveling to swing choir contest in sub-zero January temps. I especially appreciated the skill and wisdom of Mrs. Seastrom and Mrs. Rezabek in training our swing choir. We were quite good, and that made it fun. Like Joel and Josh, I gained confidence by the many things I participated in. Mr. Thelin recruited several of us to try Model United Nations and attend Governor’s Day. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it—and that sparked an interest that led me to study government, work for Senator Grassley, and, ultimately, to my present job.”
This week’s alumni spotlight features High school sweethearts Dave Schon and Dana (Janning) Schon. Dave graduated from Glidden-Ralston in 1985 and Dana is 1987. Dave attended Briar Cliff College on a basketball scholarship where he majored in Secondary Education and Social Studies with a Physical Education minor. Dana attended Buena Vista University and majored in Secondary Education, English, and Spanish. She also played basketball and was first team All-Iowa Conference and a CoSIDA Academic All-American her senior year (1991). Her name is still in the record books for rebounds, steals, and blocks.
After graduating from Briar Cliff in 1989, Dave substitute taught in the Glidden area and worked at Schon Lumber for one year before accepting a teaching and coaching job at Aurelia Community School District. Dana graduated from BV in May of 1991 and headed to law school at the University of Iowa. In the spring of 1992, she accepted a one-year teaching position at Clinton High School where she taught Spanish. Her plan was to save money and return to law school the following year. However, she found her passion was in education, so she pursued a teaching position closer to Dave since they were engaged by this time.
After 9 years of dating, Dave and Dana were married on July 9, 1993 (the day after Glidden received 10 inches of rain!!). That fall, Dana started teaching middle school English at Galva-Holstein, and Dave continued to teach social studies and physical education at Aurelia. In 1994, they moved to Denison where they both taught and coached for 14 years. During that time, they welcomed three children: Jay (now 22 and a pre-med major at Grand View University), Greg (21 and working at UPS), and Rachel (18 and a senior in high school--committed to play basketball at William Jewell this fall).
Dana has been a perpetual student. She earned her first masters degree in school counseling from Wayne State in 1997, and her second in school leadership from Drake in 2007. During the years in between, she took graduate classes in English just in case she decided to teach at the college level. In 2011, she completed her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Drake. When she isn’t in class or cheering her kids on from the bleachers with Dave, she gets in a run here and there and has completed a marathon and several half marathons. Meanwhile, Dave has been a perpetual 16” men’s softball player. He has a record number of state titles with 14, and his team is one of the favorites at the Bud Open each year.
Dave and Dana moved to Ankeny, Iowa in 2008. Dave taught one year at Saydel before moving into his current role teaching 6th and 7th grade health and physical education and coaching 8th grade girls’ basketball and softball. Dana served as executive director of elementary education at Ankeny for four years before moving into her current role as professional learning director for School Administrators of Iowa. Dave loves connecting with middle school students, and Dana enjoys working with the amazing school leaders across the state. They both greatly valued their experiences at Glidden-Ralston and appreciate the foundation that their teachers and coaches and the Glidden-Ralston School system provided them. They enjoy returning to Glidden to visit family and friends.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Sheena (Danzer) Nuetzman, class of 2003.
Sheena grew up on a farm southeast of Glidden and attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten to graduation. Her favorite memories were playing volleyball and running track as well as trips to Chicago and Mexico for Science and Spanish Clubs.
Upon graduation, she attended Iowa State University to major in Ag Business but completely changed path after one semester. She took an intro course on the history of urban cities and then completed coursework to earn her Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning in the College of Design at Iowa State in 2007.
After Iowa State, Sheena took a position at a private planning firm in Charlotte, North Carolina where she was able to travel across the Carolinas to assist towns in long-range planning efforts. After two years, it was clear no state could match up to what Iowa offered so she moved back in 2010 and has been in local government ever since. Sheena has held positions in Community Development for Story County, the City of Windsor Heights and is now a Planner for the City of Urbandale, providing support to the Planning and Zoning Commission and working with developers and reviewing plans for commercial and residential site plans. In 2016, she graduated from the Certified Public Manager’s Program at Drake University, a professional certification for public sector managers and directors. Ever since stumbling upon this career path, Sheena finds it rewarding to be able to work with communities through growth and change.
In her free time, Sheena enjoys chasing a toddler, running without a toddler, biking and attending Iowa State football and basketball games with her husband and son, Jack. She has always cherished the sense of community that Glidden offered while growing up and more so now in her profession and being a newer mom.
Nick was a 2008 graduate of Glidden-Ralston, and after graduation, attended the University of Iowa. While in school, he worked in the University of Iowa sports marketing department, where he worked with coaches and administrators in the creation and execution of marketing plans for the school’s basketball, baseball, wrestling, and field hockey teams. He graduated in 2012 with a degree in marketing.
After a brief one year stint in Minneapolis working in the industry of supply chain logistics software, Nick moved to Chicago in September of 2013 to work for Solstice, a digital innovation consulting firm.
In his time at Solstice, Nick has had the opportunity to lead projects for a number of Fortune 500 companies. The technologies and industries have ranged from mobile apps connected to a smart smoke detector and farm machinery, to re-platforming a customer focused website for one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, to an Amazon Alexa skill for a major investment company.
In addition to the learnings on the projects, the opportunities at Solstice have allowed Nick to continue his interest in writing through a blog series, speak at an Internet of Things at a conference, spend a two week period working out of his company’s Buenos Aires office, and making some of his closest friends from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
When not working, Nick can usually be found traveling with his wife, Kelly, golfing, or in the bleachers at Wrigley Field.
Katie Braden, class of 1998.
Katie grew up in Glidden with her parents Dan (Class of 1967) and Nancy (former G-R teacher), and brother Tom (Class of 2000), and attended G-R from kindergarten to graduation. She participated in nearly every extra curricular activity, and favorite memories include: playing on the 1996 Conference Champion volleyball team, cheerleading, receiving an All-State speech award, auditioning for the All-State Choir four times, and great moments on the senior music trip to Minneapolis.
Upon graduation, Katie attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where for a while she thought she might be a biochemist or a high-school math teacher. She realized she was kidding herself when she spent all of her time with the theatre department anyway, so she changed her major and performed in productions every semester. In addition to the theatre, Katie was involved in intramural sports, the Delta Delta Delta Sorority, and was a Student Ambassador. She graduated in 2002 with a major in Theatre Arts and a minor in Mathematics.
After college, Katie received a scholarship to attend the Gregory Abels Training Ensemble (GATE) acting conservatory in New York City, so she moved to Manhattan, where she still lives. She has performed with many NYC theatre companies and does commercial and print modeling work as well. Katie co-founded Ivy Theatre Company in 2013 where she co-produced and acted in multiple productions, and this past fall she performed “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Scarlet Letter” on a tour for local high-schools with The Shakespeare Forum.
In addition to her theatre career, Katie has another career (a.k.a “a day job”) working as a Finance Manager for Aon Corporation. She started out working as a barista when she moved to NYC, and eventually worked her way up to the Business Manager of that company. She worked in finance and operations for a textbook publishing company and a digital media company before moving to a cyber security business (which was then acquired by Aon last year.) Her work as a finance manager has proven to be a very interesting path, and she has been pursuing her Masters Degree in Management from Harvard Extension School with an anticipated graduation date in May 2020.
In her free time, Katie loves to attend Broadway shows and travel (some of her most recent trips were to Spain and Greece and she is going to Singapore in May.) Each summer, she works at a weekend “summer camp for adults” where she leads hikes on the Appalachian trail and bike trips in rural Connecticut. She loves coming home to Glidden for the Annual Fun Days in the summer and having coffee with the ladies at the Downtown Lounge!
Another alumni spotlight featuring Nick Henkle. Nick grew up in Glidden and attended Glidden-Ralston from 5thgrade until graduation (2008). Nick’s fondest memories of attending Glidden-Ralston are playing football and participating in band and choir.
After graduation Nick attended Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville Iowa. Also while attending college, Nick served as a reserve officer for the Estherville Police Department. Nick graduated from Iowa Lakes in 2010 and received his Associates Degree for Criminal Justice. In November of 2010 Nick was hired by the Iowa State Patrol and completed the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s 35th Basic Academy. Upon completion of the Academy, Nick was assigned to District 16 at the State Capitol Complex. In May of 2014 Nick transferred to the State Patrol’s District 4 Office in Denison, where he is assigned to live in Audubon County. Shortly after transferring to District 4, Nick was chosen to be on the Iowa State Patrol’s crash investigation team. Nick is still currently part of the crash investigation team and serves as a Technical Collison Investigator and a Crash Reconstructionist. In addition to being a crash investigator, Nick is also a CPR Instructor, a Law Enforcement Driving Instructor, and a Field Training Officer.
Nick married his high school sweetheart, Tiffany, and they have 3 children Alex (10), Karleigh (9), and Wyatt (5). In Nick’s free time he enjoys spending time with his friends and family.
Nick says he will always cherish the sincerity of community and comradery he felt while growing up in Glidden. He is always proud to tell people he is a Wildcat!
Here comes another alumni spotlight! This week features Ryan Schon, Class of 1990.
Ryan grew up in Glidden and attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten to graduation. His favorite memories were playing basketball and building lifelong friendships watching the team from the bench. He also enjoyed being a leader in many student organizations like science fair, student council and the Class of 90.
After graduation, he studied agronomy at Iowa State which included an internship at Walt Disney World in Florida. He was a leader in residence hall student government, and that’s where he met his future bride Meg. He graduated in 1995 with Fred Hoiberg.
After that his family and career grew, having 4 kids and spending 14 years at Monsanto with multiple moves between Central Iowa, St. Louis, and Singapore. He started in agronomy but quickly moved to marketing and spent most of his career there. He completed his MBA at Lindenwood University during one of the stints in St Louis. While in Singapore, Ryan led Monsanto’s marketing for southeast Asia and Australia. Living overseas was an amazing adventure for the whole family.
In 2011, Ryan and family moved back to Iowa to join Pioneer and be closer to family and Iowa State. He led Pioneer’s agronomy effort across Europe, Africa, China and Southeast Asia before moving into its software business where he developed and launched new digital ag services.
At the beginning of February, Ryan left Pioneer to become the General Manager of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. They are a 3rd generation family-owned Iowa seed company and were one of his customers when he worked at Monsanto.
Outside of work, the Schons are very active with their church, the Carroll County Relay for Life, Iowa SIDS, and with the ISU Alumni Association. If the Cyclones are at Hilton Coliseum or Jack Trice Stadium you can usually find the Schons there too and they are probably tailgating victoriously. His two oldest kids are now at Iowa State studying to be teachers and the two youngest are juniors at Ankeny High School.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Chris, Sarah, Melissa, and Anthony Schultes. Four G-R graduations spanning over a decade. The Schultes siblings each carved their own paths through high school. They each took advantage of all the activities only a small school district offers. They participated in a lot of different things, along with a few of the same.
Chris, class of ’97 attended that Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy in Spirit Lake after graduation. In 1999 he moved back to Carroll county starting work at Pella and his own taxidermy business. After years of work, he decided to take a job for the Glidden Co-op as a Commercial Applicator, which he holds to this day. In 2014, he and his wife purchased Salon on Sixth in Carroll, once again running a business. He currently resides in Carroll with Tyra his wife, and kids Mallory and William.
Sarah, class of ’00, attended Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines after graduation. In 2002, she graduated with her degree in nursing and became a Registered Nurse. She started working in OB/pregnancy at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. After taking advantage of different opportunities over the years working in a neonatal intensive care unit and running cardiac and urology clinical research studies, she earned her B.S. in Nursing in 2010. And in 2012, she returned to Iowa Methodist. Currently, she resided outside of Des Moines with her husband, a fellow G-R graduate Scott Cue class of ‘99, and two children, Molly and Samuel.
Melissa, class of ’06, also attended Mercy College in Des Moines. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in diagnostic medical sonography. After a short time working in Illinois, she returned to Iowa to work for the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City. During her time in the Heart and Vascular Center, she enjoyed teaching and helping students of the university. After a couple years, she made the decision to relocate to Des Moines with her husband Mike and son Benjamin. Currently, she works at Iowa Methodist in the cardiology department.
Anthony, class of ’13, attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls after graduation. In 2017, he earned his B.A. in Interactive Digital Studies and stayed in town to work as a Search Engine Optimization Specialist in the digital department at Mudd Advertising. Recently, he has moved to Denver, CO to work for a digital start-up company. He resides downtown with his dog, Nymeria.
When asked about how Glidden-Ralston had prepared them for their current work, they answered:
Chris:“All of our teachers were also our friends. They taught us to be nice to people, no matter who you are. It was really more than just the subject matter, they truly cared at it showed. Ms. Lee who taught math at the time is just one teacher who really exemplified that.”
Sarah:“Looking back I think we were really taught to be well-rounded individuals with the ability to adapt. Mr. Rezabek influenced me a lot through science classes. He always preached about seeking opportunities to reach out to others, from other places. It was something really stuck with me. He and others helped me to establish the use of critical thinking, which I believe is critical no matter your profession.”
Melissa:“Mrs. Thelin writing classes really stand out to me looking back. Although at the time they may have been tough, she prepared me for college in so many ways. I also think the ability to take some college credit course through DMACC was a tremendous help. Earning credit and getting a feel for what higher education would be like offered great insight. As far as the right brain goes, different projects in art classes with Ms. Baack helped spark my interest, curiosity, and creativity. She was always kind and understanding, which truly rubbed off onto others, and taught more than just art.”
Anthony:“I enjoyed and learned the most from courses that would go on to relate closest to my current career, technology with Mr. Thelin and creative writing with Mrs. Thelin. Overall, I think I was really shown how people should be treated, how your input determines your output, and the importance of life-long learning. Sí Brinkman, Mr. Littlefield, and Mr. Lensch all helped tremendously in that regard.”
What are some of your Favorite memories from their years at Glidden-Ralston?
Chris:“In Mr. Sohm’s ag class Senior year, we raised fish in the greenhouse. I have a lot of memories taking care of them every day with my friends.”Junior High basketball game, in Carroll at the Adam’s Elementary. During halftime Mr. Thelin squatted down to give us some very important instruction I’m sure, and right when he did, his pants split! “Only a 10 minute drive home quick for a change”, I bet he thought. “I could make it back by the 4th.” But instead, he just sat crossed legged on the bench for the rest of the game.”
Sarah:“Besides meeting my husband, of course, working on science fair projects with Mr. Rezabek and my friends really created a lot of memories. I will always look bad fondly upon state science fair trips as well. Also, Mrs. Rohrbeck’s Anatomy class my senior year with a whole 3 students really made for a lot of fun times.”
Melissa:“Spending time in the art room with Ms. Baack really stands out. Every opportunity I got, every single study hall, I would get down to the art room with friends. I could have fun there and get serious at the same. She may have not opened me up to a career, but defiantly a lifelong hobby.”
Anthony:“Nothing beats Friday nights in the Fall, and the whole week leading up to them. There may be ten quotes that flashback to me from Mr. Lensch’s pregame speeches all of the time. My family came from all over just watch me have fun with my friends. And the hard work we put in is something that will stay with me forever.”
Here comes another alumni spotlight! This week features AJ (Walkup) Holding, Class of 2002!
Clubs and Activates:
Volleyball, Band, Spanish Club, and Yearbook
Buena Vista University, 2002-2007
Majors: Fine Art and Arts Management
Minors: Art History and German
Awards: Sr. of the Year in Arts Management
In 2007, I moved to beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I’d call home for the next 12 years. Started in as a Gallery Associate at Mountain Trails Gallery the specialized in western art market and quickly moved up to be gallery registrar. From there I helped start up brand new gallery called Altamira Fine Art, as their Registrar and Gallery Manager. During my eight years there, we had 3 artists as the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Featured Artist, expanded to open a sister gallery with the same name in Scottsdale Arizona.
New opportunity presented itself, that persuaded me to look outside of my lifelong passion of art, when a private golf resort in Jackson offered me a job as the Director of Concierge Services. I accepted and went to work at the pristine and picturesque Club at 3 Creek, and after a year I had been promoted to Assistant to the General Manager.
Outside of my profession 12 years in Jackson, I also met my husband, Jeff, a Jackson native. We got married in 2014 at a restaurant on the top of a butte overlooking the Teton Mountain Range. I became a wife and an insta-mom to then 9-year-old daughter, Raelee. In May of 2017, we expanded our family, welcoming our son Noah Edward.
In between work and family, I’ve always had a passion for Volunteering. I spent six years with the Jackson Chapter of Soroptimist International, sitting on the board for two years, and chairing their annual fundraiser Bras for a Cause three years in a row which helped uninsured or underinsured women of the Jackson Hole Valley struggling with breast cancer receive assistance for treatment, travel, living expenses.
I also sat on the committee for St Jude Research Hospital annual Jackson gala, Moonlight on the mountains for three years and was invited to the first annual Volunteer Leadership Conference where accepted an award on behalf of the committee for the Largest Revenue Growth Year Over Year.
In 2018, my family and I moved away from the mountains and headed south where we currently reside in Mesa, Arizona. We traded in 9 months of winter for 9 months summer and I left volunteering behind to dedicating full time to nonprofit by going to work at Make-A-Wish Foundation of America in Phoenix as the Executive Assistant for both Brand & Marketing and Corporate Alliances Departments.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Traer Schon, class of 2013. After graduation, he followed his family destiny and attended Iowa State University, receiving a bachelor’s in journalism and minor in Spanish in 2017. At Iowa State, he converted his lifelong Cyclone support into a four-year gig as Cy, the Iowa State mascot. Carrying over the small-school mindset from Glidden-Ralston, he also tagged on other activities, criss-crossing campus as a magazine editor, member of the Honors Program, improv performer and more. Outside of school, Traer kept busy with internships for Hy-Vee and Screenscape Studios in Des Moines, and a short study-abroad stint in Costa Rica.
After graduation, Traer briefly contributed freelance pieces to Billboard Magazine and coasted a bit in the murky waters of career uncertainty before landing a job as a copywriter with Bluespace Creative, a brand communications agency in Denison. There, he wrote marketing content for local and national companies. In October of 2018, he took a job with Walker Sands, a B2B communications agency in downtown Chicago. In this role, he writes web pages, articles, blog posts and more on behalf of business-to-business clients.
In his free time, Traer enjoys exploring the city of Chicago, visiting his family (including ongoing efforts at attaining "fun uncle" status), finding new food spots, and performing stand-up comedy. He remembers his days at Glidden-Ralston fondly, especially Spanish classes with Mrs. Brinkman and participating in acting and improvisation at Speech competitions with Mrs. Rohrbeck. He credits G-R with providing a foundation for academic and career success — and gifting him the lifelong “fun fact” of graduating in a 30-person class.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Kim, Tiffany, and Brittany Dentlinger.
Kim Johnson: Class of 1997
Kim grew up in Glidden and attended G-R from kindergarten until graduation in 1997. She participated in a variety of extra curricular activities - her most-liked were basketball, cross country, and jazz band. Her favorite high school memories include basketball games and summer camps with her teammates, cross country meets, winning state jazz band in 1995, and of course time spent with her boyfriend and now husband Eric Johnson, Class of 1995.
Upon graduation, Kim attended Buena Vista University majoring in Finance. After graduation in 2001, Kim took a position with the State Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald, working in the beautiful Iowa Capital building. She thoroughly enjoyed her 6 ½ years spent in the office and treasures the opportunities she was given, especially being able to take her sisters for a long weekend to New York City. Still to this day they laugh and recall some special moments. In 2007, Kim accepted a position in the corporate world and started working at Principal Global Investors where she is currently employed.
Kim and Eric reside in Clive (less than 10 minutes away from Tiffany and John) where they are busy raising their sons, Blake (9) and Bryce (2). When they are not watching and coaching Blake play the sports that they grew up playing, the Johnson family enjoys being outside and just spending quality time together.
Kim treasures the memories of growing up in a small town and being a Glidden-Ralston Wildcat. The ability to participate and be involved in as little or as much as you want to is something that she has come to appreciate. Kim also values the friendships that were formed in kindergarten and still are strong today.
Tiffany Klehn: Class of 1998
Tiffany grew up in Glidden and attended G-R from kindergarten until graduation in 1998. She participated in a variety of extra curricular activities - her most-liked were softball, basketball, cross country, band, football cheerleading, student council and FHA. Her favorite high school memories include cross country meets, softball seasons, senior year homecoming week, senior year music trip and a trip to Chicago for science club.
Upon graduation, she attended Buena Vista University majoring in Leadership Communications/Psychology. In college, Tiffany was involved in tennis, Student Orientation Staff and Habitat for Humanity.
After graduation in 2002 from Buena Vista University, Tiffany accepted a position at Allied Insurance/Nationwide Insurance where she worked for 14 years in variety of jobs and departments including direct sales, Human Resources, sales support, project management and underwriting. In 2003, Tiffany pursued a degree from Drake University where she graduated with Masters of Public Administration in 2005.
In 2016, Tiffany accepted a job at Chubb Agribusiness where she is currently employed as a farm underwriter.
Tiffany and her husband John currently reside in Waukee with their 10 year old twins, Gradyn and Zaylee. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys traveling, watching her daughter dance and her son play baseball and basketball, running and spending time with their dog, Ace.
Tiffany thoroughly enjoyed growing up in a small town where she had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different types of activities and established a network of such a supportive community.
Brittany Kohrt: Class of 2002
Brittany attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten through graduation (2002). She participated in nearly every extra-curricular activity, but her fondest memories come from her days spent on the volleyball court, golf course & softball field, jamming out on the drums in jazz band, performing in speech contests & high-school plays and the many social events like prom, homecoming and the hundreds of pizza parties/friend gatherings at her house (thanks to her mom & dad).
After graduation, she attended Iowa State University graduating with a double major in Management and Marketing. Much of her time at ISU, was spent in between Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium cheering on the Cyclones. However, one of her most memorable college experiences was the time she spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
After her ISU years, she moved to Madison, WI where she met her husband Andrew. They married in June of 2013 and welcomed their first born, a daughter in 2015 and most recently a son in 2018. Brittany is currently employed with a healthcare IT software company called National Decision Support. Her role as an implementation manager is to deliver clinical content through EHR integrations across healthcare organizations.
In her free time, you will find Brittany in full-on mom mode. With an active 3.5 year old and a mobile 8 month old her daily life is overfilled with chaos and love. The Kohrt Family enjoys spending time together outdoors in and around the Madison area. Brittany still has a passion for golf and traveling to IA to spend time with her family is always something she looks forward too.
Brittany has a deep appreciation for being raised in a small-town like Glidden where you are surrounded by the support of others. She admires having a home town that continues to have a community that shares in each other’s happiness but also rallies together in times of need. Once a wildcat, always a wildcat.
Another alumni spotlight! Brent (BJ) Nair, class of 1983.
Brent graduated from Glidden-Ralston in 1983. While in HS he was active in sports, FFA, and speech and drama. He attended the University of Northern Iowa and while in college he was also a member of Iowa Army National Guard. He graduated in 1987 with dual degrees in History and Anthropology and credits his love for those subjects to Mrs. Turner in grade school and Mr. Woods in high school. After graduating college he went to work for Kappa Sigma Fraternity as a consultant, where he coached local college chapters on their operations. While in this role he visited over 150 college and university campuses across the United States and Canada. In 1989, we moved to Memphis, TN where he currently lives, to attend graduate school at Memphis State University, now known as the University of Memphis. While in graduate school, Brent meet his wife, Katy, while playing softball, and this year they are celebrating their 25th anniversary.
Brent graduated with a Masters in Counseling and Personnel service, and for the next few years he worked in the alcohol and drug field with teens, and re-enrolled in the University of Memphis where he competed his secondary school teaching certification. Between 1994 and 1998, Brent worked at the University of Memphis as an academic counselor and it at the University of Memphis where he started to work in the IT Field.
In 1998 he made the transition full-time into the IT field and over the last 21 years he has worked for various organizations in ever challenging roles, and between 2009 and 2017 he served as the CIO for the City of Memphis. Currently, he is the Chief Operating Officer for Cook Systems, a Memphis based IT recruiting, consulting, education, and solutions company.
Brent and Katy have two wonderful daughters, Gaby 23 and Emma 18. Gaby graduated from the University of North Carolina in May of 2018 and is now living and working in Baltimore, MD. Emma is a graduating senior and will be attending the University of Tennessee in the fall of 2019.
When Brent and Katy aren’t walking their three miniature schnauzers they are hanging out with friends, and enjoying Memphis.
When asked what he valued most about Glidden and GRHS he responded:
“I could not wait to get out of Glidden and explore the world. However after exploring the world and living in Memphis, I realized it was because of the foundations I received while growing up in Glidden and the great education while at GRHS, that I was and am who I am. There are so many people including, but not limited to, my parents, Denny Heuton, Harry and Judy Reever, Dale and Sharon Johnson, Jerry and Linda Bender, numerous faculty members, including Mr. Woods, Mr. Thelin, Mr. Rezabeck, and Mrs. Bean. I would not change any of the experiences or the life lessons I learned in Glidden and at GRHS.”
Scott Sanders is a GR graduate of the class of 2000 and was one of two students that took the only advanced level computer class offered at the time.
After graduation Sanders attended Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge studying Computer Network Technology. While at ICCC Scott started a work study position helping the women’s volleyball team in all aspects of the program. By the end of the first season he was running drills as a student assistant coach. In Fort Dodge Scott started working for ALDI Inc. and later transferred with them to Iowa City.
After arriving in Iowa City Scott started coaching volleyball for a local club that is well known nationally. Scott started coaching high school volleyball at Iowa City West in 2009. This was the first season that IC West reached the State Championship match. West lost that match that season but in the following season 2010 IC West won it’s first state title. 2 days before the 2011 season we lost our setter to a tragic moped accident on her way home from visiting her mother at the hospital being treated for pancreatic cancer. There was a movie and two books written about this season. West volleyball ended with a 37-7 record in class 5A.
He also still thinks about coaches that he had during his high school career. Mr. Littlefield, Ms. Lee, Mr. Jepson, and of course Mr. Mathine. Scott was at West since 2009 as an assistant coach, in 2017 Scott took over as head coach replacing 2 previous head coaches.
Scott attributes his work ethic and values to his time at GR and participating in all of the activities that he could. He tries to teach volleyball and life skills he learned living in Glidden to the athletes he coaches.
In his downtime Scott runs a volleyball club and coaching JV girls tennis. He also enjoys spending as much time as he can with his wife Sheena from Holstein, IA and their two kids Everett who is 5 years old and Adler who is 19 months old.
Another alumni spotlight! Mallory Soyer (Schon) from the class of 2007.
Mallory is a 2007 Glidden Ralston graduate. After graduation, Mallory attended Iowa State University and majored in elementary education. Mallory wanted to pursue a career in teaching, not only because she loved kids, but because she’d had such great teachers while at G-R! Some of her favorites included Mr.Littlefield and Mr.Thelin.
While in school, Mallory worked at the area daycares and enjoyed spending time with friends and watching Iowa State. Mallory graduated in the spring of 2011 with a degree in elementary education and quickly started the job hunt. It didn’t take long! A few short weeks after graduation, Mallory happened to see that Kuemper Catholic was looking for a 2nd grade teacher. She had one interview and the rest is history! She currently has been teaching at Kuemper for 8 years and loves every second!
Mallory married Jason Soyer, a lifelong neighbor and friend in the summer of 2013 and they now live 4 miles south of Glidden, along with their two daughters Allison, 3, and Rylie, 9 months.
In her free time, you can find Mallory outside helping her husband or dad working on the farm, and enjoying chasing around her little girls. She has always cherished her memories of GR and loves to return to watch games and cheer on the Wildcats.
This week’s alumni spotlight features Missy and Brett Irlmeier.
Missy grew up in Glidden and attended Glidden-Ralston from Kindergarten until graduation (1994). She participated in volleyball, softball, basketball, track, choir and band. After graduation she attended the University of Northern Iowa where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Creighton University.
During her nursing career, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where she met her husband Tony, who is a police officer. She worked in the field of Organ Donation where she traveled to all islands to coordinate the organ donation process. They had their son Tyler in 2007 and moved back to the Midwest to Omaha, Nebraska to be closer to Missy’s family (Jim and Peggy Irlmeier in Glidden and Buck, Deb and Kali Irlmeier in Audubon). After moving to Omaha, she went back to school to receive her Master’s in Public Health from Des Moines University and in 2013 had their second son Zachary. Her nursing career then switched to organ transplant where she was a Cardiothoracic and Abdominal Transplant Nurse in which she coordinated heart, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine and kidney transplants throughout the United States. In 2017, she accepted a position as a Clinical Nurse Manager for the travel nurse company Medical Solutions.
Her entire family (except for their 5-month-old Mini Goldendoodle Mitchy and the 5-year-old….who will start lessons this summer) are avid hockey players. One year ago she started taking lessons after her 11-year-old son convinced her to learn how to play. She started an all-female ‘mom hockey group’ that is called ‘Operation Hockey Mom Who Plays Hockey’ where women of all ages can learn how to skate and play hockey. She now plays Goalie for an Intermediate Male League as well as an all-women’s League in Omaha. Their family also is a ‘billet family’ for the United States Hockey League Omaha Lancers team where they provide housing for high level junior hockey players. They have housed 2 hockey players thus far (Rylee and Travis) who will both be moving on to D1 colleges on hockey scholarships (Rylee will be attending University of Alaska Anchorage and Travis will be attending Cornell University.)
Brett (Buck) Irlmeier graduated from Glidden Ralston in 1990. He was involved in FFA, Student Council, Football, Baseball and attended Boys State. His classmates recognized him during his senior year, honoring him as Homecoming King. After graduation, he attended Iowa Western in Council Bluffs for two years earning an Associate Degree in Ag Business. He moved to Audubon in 1993 and was hired as a loan officer at Audubon State Bank. Shortly after joining the staff at Audubon State Bank, Buck decided that he needed to continue his education, so he headed back to school, attending night school while he continued working at the bank. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University.
Buck continued to advance at Audubon State, becoming Senior Loan Officer and in 2002 was appointed President and CEO at the age of 31. He continues to lead the staff at the bank, where he has guided the continual growth of the community bank. He is now part owner of the bank.
Buck has been extremely active in his community serving on the Board of Trustees of Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics, a member of the Audubon Lions Club, a member of the local chapter of Pheasants Forever: a member of the School Improvement Advisory Committee, a member of the Audubon County Community Foundation Board, and a member of the Region XII Loan Review committee. He also finds time to volunteer with the Youth Little League program. In 2015 Buck received the Audubon Citizen of the Year Award.
At a young age Buck developed a love for trucks from his Grandfather and his Uncle. Growing up - everything was trucks, a love he has continues to this day. In honor of his Grandpa, Buck bought an old Peterbilt Cabover truck and restored it with his Uncle. Whenever possible he is driving his truck and attending truck shows. Buck is an outdoor guy who loves to farm, fish, hunt and camp.
He and his wife, Deb live with their daughter Kali, who like dad, is active in as many things as is humanly possible.
When asked about Glidden and GRHS Buck responded:
"I could not have asked for a better place to grow up than Glidden and no better school to attend than GRHS. The Glidden Community and School provided me with a foundation to be successful in life. Glidden will always be home."
Erin grew up in Glidden and attended GR from kindergarten through graduation (2004). She participated in softball, dance team, cheerleading, speech, band and choir, and was a member of National Honor Society and Quill and Scroll. After graduation, she attended AIB College of Business and earned an Associate’s Degree in Realtime Reporting.
Following college graduation, Erin worked as a court reporter at the Polk County Courthouse in the district, associate, and juvenile courts. In June of 2009, she began freelance work with Huney-Vaughn in their Des Moines office. The following summer, Erin and her husband, Nate, moved to the Iowa City area where Erin began working in Huney-Vaughn’s Davenport office, which covered eastern Iowa and western Illinois. In 2013, after the birth of their first daughter, they moved back to the Des Moines area to be closer to family. Erin returned to work at the Polk County Courthouse, where she continues to work today.
One highlight of Erin’s professional career is participating in the Veteran’s History Project. The Iowa Court Reporter’s Association collaborates with the Library of Congress to collect and preserve first-hand personal accounts of American war veterans. She was paired with a veteran and produced a transcript containing his story. That transcript, along with a video of his interview, is stored at the Library of Congress, and they are also available online to watch and read. Another highlight of her professional career was when she reported a two-week murder trial. The case had local media coverage and was featured by Dateline in 2016.
She and her husband live in the Des Moines area with their three kids, Brynn (7), Caitlin (5), and Isaac (2), and Roscoe, their Australian Shepherd. She spends her free time helping with the children’s program at her church, participating in her community’s development organization, and cheering on the Hawkeyes, Chiefs, and Cubs. She is grateful for the teachers she had at Glidden-Ralston for supporting her in high school and preparing her for the challenges she would face in college and beyond!
Both graduated from the class of 2006. During their time at G-R, both enjoyed being involved in speech, Spanish Club, FFA, band, and choir. Jodi was the newspaper editor and Stephanie was the yearbook editor. Some favorite pastimes at G-R include playing whiffle ball, playing games in Spanish class, and getting extra lunch on Mexican haystack day.
After graduation, Jodi moved to Ankeny and attended DMACC for her first year of college. She took a year of general education courses before deciding on a major and transferring to AIB College of Business. There, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
During her final year of college, Jodi began working part time at Banleaco (formerly Bankers Leasing Company). This is a small company located in Urbandale, which specializes in financing medical, pharmacy, and office equipment. Starting out as an office assistant, Jodi learned the ropes, soaked in knowledge, and began to work her way up. She gained experience in customer service, accounting, general finance, marketing, and more. 11 years later, she is working with the same company as a Credit Analyst. In her role, she gathers information on potential clients and analyzes her findings. She works with customers nationwide in order to provide financing for their businesses.
Post high school, Stephanie moved to Des Moines and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from AIB College of Business. During college, she scored a work study position with the American Red Cross in the Health & Safety department. After graduating, she was offered a full-time position and eventually moved into the fundraising department.
After about four years, Stephanie took the next step in her career to become the Donor Engagement Operations Manager at United Way of Central Iowa. In her role, she oversees database functions, develops strategies, and creates tools for operational efficiency. Stephanie loves working for an organization that creates lasting change in the community. She enjoys the yearly conferences she attends, her favorites being in Louisville, KY, and Orlando, FL. She even got to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Sitting at a beach-side restaurant makes work even more enjoyable!
Jodi and Stephanie share a love of travel and do so as much as they can. One of their favorite destinations so far is Florida, especially because their BFF since kindergarten now lives there! Some favorite vacations have been zip lining in Las Vegas, skiing in Colorado, and hitting up Broadway in Nashville.
Now living in West Des Moines and Waukee, Jodi and Stephane take advantage of the wide array of events & activities Des Moines has to offer – food festivals, concerts, farmers markets, 5k fun runs, and of course their favorite - happy hour! During football season, you can find them at Kinnick Stadium or Arrowhead cheering on their favorite teams. Jodi and Steph enjoy spending time with friends and family, including their adorable nieces and nephew.
This weeks Alumni Spotlight features Daniel Van Horn, a 2012 graduate of Glidden-Ralston.
While at Glidden-Ralston, Daniel was involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including swim team, track and field, speech, and was President of the local FFA chapter. He also took numerous college classes while at GR and graduated as Salutatorian in his class.
After graduation, Daniel went to the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN, where he participated in NROTC and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation, he commissioned as an Officer in the United States Navy.
Upon commissioning, Daniel served as the Ordnance Officer onboard USS KIDD (DDG 100). While stationed on KIDD, Daniel completed a homeport shift from San Diego, CA to Everett, WA and a routine, operational deployment to Southeast Asia and the Middle East and qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer.
After completing his tour onboard Kidd, Daniel was assigned to Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training Command In Charleston, SC, where he completed the Navy's nuclear power school, a 6 month course in the basics of operational nuclear power. After completion of power school, Daniel was assigned to Naval Prototype Training Unit, Ballston Spa, NY, where he completed the Navy's "hands on" nuclear training, qualifying as an Engineering Officer of the Watch at the Modifications and Additions to a Reactor Facility (MARF) prototype.
Currently, Daniel is stationed on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), a nuclear powered aircraft carrier stationed in Norfolk, VA. He is assigned as a nuclear trained Officer in the ship's Reactor department.
Daniel enjoys bicycling, hiking, skiing, and running, as well as trying new foods. He also appreciates growing up in a small town and the work ethics that Glidden-Ralston taught him, in addition to the understanding of how and where food is produced.
LTJG Daniel S. Van Horn, USN
My name is Rick Brant and I attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten through the 12th grade and am a 1988 graduate . I was fortunate to grow up on a farm northeast of Glidden with my wonderful parents, Ron and Caarol, where they still reside and have for 50+ years. I am the oldest of three boys, Rod (‘89) and Kevin (‘95). We grew up in a God-centered home where family, hard work, and education were all important.
In high school I participated in the fine arts and sports. I was also active in the Richland Hotshots 4H group and my youth group at Scranton Friends Church. Also, during my high school years I worked for the school doing after-school custodial work, summer maintenance (I know how to clean the boiler and the Oliver tractor could shoot softballs left in the lawn a long ways), and ran the copy machine during my senior year.
Early on I can remember wanting to be a teacher. It is the positive experience I had from outstanding teachers at Glidden-Ralston that set the foundation for the teacher I now am 25+ years later.
Following high school, I attended Northwestern College for a semester where I was happy to meet my future wife, Lorena Hall, a Riceville, Iowa graduate (‘88). I ended up getting my AA through Des Moines Area Community College and my BA in Elementary Education through Buena Vista College. I have a Masters in Educational Leadership through Southwest State in Marshall, Minnesota, and shortly thereafter received my Special Education endorsement through Morningside College.
My first and most unique teaching position was in a one-room school, Pleasant Hill #55, in the Sandhills of Nebraska. I taught 7 students in 4 different grades. I was roughly 20 miles from the nearest paved road and 40 miles to the nearest town. The only TV channels I could get was Nebraska Public Television and whatever the neighbors were watching on their satellite dish. It was a great experience to start my teaching career.
From there, I moved back to Iowa and taught 4th grade for the Essex Community School in Essex, Iowa. Between my second and third years there, I married my beautiful wife. She was teaching elementary special education in her home school district at the time. Our first year of marriage, she taught special education for the Red Oak Community School District.
After a year of marriage, we searched for teaching jobs in a location that would put us between our families. My wife accepted a position at the Emmetsburg Community School District as a special education teacher which put us in northwest Iowa and the part of Iowa where we have stayed ever since.
While in Emmetsburg, I worked at Iowa Lakes Community College for the TRIO and SAVE programs. I also started teaching college classes for Briar Cliff University through the ILCC branch in Algona, Iowa, for several years teaching classes to future elementary teachers.
The last 18 years I have taught mostly special education but also as a reading teacher for the Estherville Lincoln Central Community School in Estherville, Iowa, where my family and I reside. Of those years, my wife has taught here 16 of those years. I have the joy of working in the same school building as my wife, both of us teaching elementary special education students and in some cases sharing students. A fun fact that I often share is my PE teacher at Glidden-Ralston was Peggy Kassel/McDonald. For several years before she retired, the PE teacher in the elementary I work in was Peggy’s sister, Sue. Thanks to these nice ladies, I have a GR mug in my classroom.
I like what I do. With the students I work with, I enjoy the daily challenge of figuring out what they need to learn and accommodating their needs. I also still have great excitement when you see that “I got it” moment in their eyes along with the smile that says they can do it now. I have now officially worked with students from Kindergarten to adults in college.
I’m a person that likes to stay busy so I’ve also driven school bus for the past 10 years. In the summer I also work for Rides regional transit where I provide bus taxi service and drive people to appointments, drive activities for Iowa Lakes Community College, and I’m the groundskeeper for my church, Grandview Baptist.
My wife, Lorena, and I have been married for 23 years. We have two daughters. Our oldest, Cora, is a senior in high school and will attend SDSU in Brookings, SD, in a year where she plans to major in History and Political Science and minor in Museum Studies. Our youngest, Claire, is a junior in high school and plans to attend Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.
During my free time, I like to go camping, do landscaping projects and work in the yard, and volunteer. We also like to travel and are trying to get to all 50 states. Our children have been to 43 and my wife and I have been to 44. And anybody that knows me well knows that I love ice cream. I’ve had a lot over the years and in several locations, but I’m still partial to my favorite...our hometown Dairy Mart.
It’s an honor to be chosen for the alumni spotlight. God has blessed me in many ways including a great education and foundation all my years at Glidden-Ralston.
Another Alumni Update: August always brings the excitement of a new school year and the beginning of fall sports in Iowa. This year Susan (Mathine) Whinery will have her 47th first day of school.
Susan grew up a Wildcat, following her dad, long time G-R teacher and coach, Jerry Mathine, around school, football and track practices since she was in elementary school. She maintained a busy schedule in high school participating in band, drama, Science Club, National Honor Society, and held the office of Student Council President. But sports is where she found her true happy place. Through junior high and high school she competed in volleyball, basketball and softball, receiving numerous MVP and All-Conference Honors, including being honored with an All-State Basketball selection her senior year. Some of her favorite memories include Homecoming festivities every fall, the friendships that she had with girls that she competed against from other schools, the Science Club trip to Chicago, Friday night football games and going for pizza with friends in Carroll after games. She spent her weekends, like many Glidden high schoolers, working at Mr. D’s Steakhouse in Glidden.
Susan graduated as Valedictorian of her class and went to the University of Northern Iowa on a full academic scholarship. Having once thought she would go to Iowa State and become a meteorologist, Northern Iowa presented Susan with the opportunity to become a teacher and coach, like her dad, and she has never looked back.
While at UNI, Susan studied All Science Education and earned a minor in coaching. After graduating from UNI Susan taught middle and high school physical science, chemistry and physics at Tripoli High School in Tripoli, Iowa. She continued to feed her love of sports by coaching high school girl’s basketball, softball, and junior high volleyball. She also began playing golf, and has continued to enjoy Ladies golf leagues in the various cities she has lived in.
After meeting her husband, Mark, she moved to Rochester, Minnesota, where he worked as a software engineer for IBM. Susan taught chemistry and AP chemistry at John Marshall High School and earned her Master’s degree in Education while in Rochester. Her passion for sports turned from coaching to participating, again, as she and Mark were part of co-ed soccer and volleyball leagues in the Rochester area and she played on women’s volleyball and golf leagues.
After the arrival of their sons Quinn in 2005 and Reece in 2007, Mark and Susan decided that they would like to move back to Iowa to be closer to family. Mark is a software engineer at John Deere Intelligent Systems Group in Urbandale and Susan teaches physics at Southeast Polk High School outside Pleasant Hill. Sports and school still play a large part in Susan’s life, but this time from the sideline. Their son, Quinn, is a year round competitive swimmer with the Des Moines Swim Federation, in which Susan serves as the club Vice President. Reece loves baseball, football and basketball, and Susan keeps the book for his baseball team.
Although she has been away from Glidden for many years, Susan still cherishes her small town roots, and enjoys crossing paths and keeping in touch with many friends and classmates from her time at Glidden-Ralston High School.
Amy (Sturm) Weerheim attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten to graduation (2004), and she currently resides in Bondurant, Iowa with her husband Brady and their fur-baby Duke. ??Throughout her childhood and into high school Amy participated in many extracurricular activities. She dabbled in everything from cross-country to student council, recalling fondly science fair and speech state competitions with Mr. Rezabek, Mrs. Anderson and fellow competitors. Although a do-everything kind of person, Amy humorously recalls sparing her classmates from her tone-deficiency by electing not to participate in band or choir . Athletic coaches and her internal drive pushed her to earn a “most improved” award in volleyball before being voted “MVP” her senior year in softball. Nowadays, she continues to play both intramural softball and volleyball or a pickup game in the Des Moines area.
After graduation, Amy studied Sales & Marketing at the American Institute of Business (AIB) in Des Moines, Iowa. She went on to obtain an Associate of Science degree, then achieved her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. While attending AIB, Amy began working for Iowa State Patrol and that’s when she fell in love with public service (not to mention her daily view of the Iowa State Capitol)! In true Amy fashion, she continued her public service adventure working full-time while studying tirelessly for her Bachelor’s degree, completing the process in just three and half years.
Upon graduating from college, Amy launched her career in public service taking on the role of Secretary to the Safety Education Unit (think D.A.R.E. officers). Her attention to detail and work ethic quickly carried her to a promotion as the Secretary to the Colonel of the Iowa State Patrol. Upon realizing her passion for people and desire to continue her professional growth, Amy went on to accept a position with the Department of Inspections and Appeals, putting her on a path toward human resources. She briefly worked for the State Public Defender before being recruited to work as the Peace Officer Applicant Coordinator, citing her return to the Department of Public Safety. ??
It’s easy to see that Amy doesn’t just have a passion for people or public safety, she also has a desire to learn, and she never stops; coining herself a life-long learner. This intrinsic characteristic assisted her with learning Photoshop and serving as co-editor and designer of the Iowa State Patrol’s 75th Anniversary yearbook. She’s also the proud designer of the Oran Pape Building bronze plaque that was unveiled during the building dedication. (Background: In 2016, the Iowa Department of Public Safety Building in which the Iowa State Patrol Headquarters is housed, was re-named in memoriam of the first State Patrolmen killed in the line-of-duty, Oran “Nanny” Pape.)
Amy later chased down her human resource certification from the Society for Human Resource Management, and is recognized nationally as a Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Eager to apply her new knowledge, Amy accepted a position as Workforce Coordinator at the Department of Transportation, before being promoted to her current role as Affirmative Action Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) Compliance Officer. ??Amy credits her continued growth to setting goals and being surrounded by leaders who mentored her along the way. She is grateful for her journey and beyond humbled to recall it with you. Teachers, coaches, co-workers, supervisors, family and friends have supported her pursuits and positively shaped her path. She has been humbled by this continued support, all beginning with her roots at Glidden-Ralston.
Amy (Sturm) Weerheim
Krysten graduated in 2009. She then went to DMACC in Ankeny for photography. In December of 2009, just 3 weeks before the end of her first semester of college, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She did treatment from December until May. On June 1st, 2010, she found out that she was in remission!! Through all her treatments and hospitalizations, though, she continued her college education online. She graduated in May 2012. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, family, and trying to find a cure for cancer. She participates in Relay for Life, hosts concerts, bake sales, and fall festivals, and has donated countless hours and money towards the cause. She recently got married, on October 14th, 2017 to Michael Bernholtz of Carroll. Although they don’t have any dogs or cats, they love their pet lizards, and enjoy watching them change and grow from day to day. Krysten has worked at Bomgaars for many years, and has now worked her way up to a Key Holder.
Jake is a 2012 Glidden-Ralston graduate. After graduation, he began his career at Pepsi in Carroll, IA. He started as a warehouse employee and has worked his way up to training drivers. He enjoys his job and the people he works with. Jake appreciated his time at G-R with some of his favorite memories being football and tormenting teachers. He still resides in Glidden and plans on raising a family in such a nice school district and community. This past summer, he married Payton Ball (G-R graduate and 1st grade teacher). In his free time, he likes to spend time with family, friends, and his dog.
In high school, Jenny participated in many activities, but her favorites were track and volleyball.
After graduation, she moved to Ankeny and attended DMACC. While attending, she worked at the DMACC Bookstore as an associate. In August of 2015, she met Zach. He is a 2013 graduate from Ankeny. He works for a company called Outdoor Advantage doing landscaping, snow removal, and mowing. In 2015, Jenny also graduated from DMACC with her associates degree. From here, she transferred to BVU and participated in the 2+2 program through the DMACC Carroll campus.
In May 2016, she moved back to Carroll and was the RA at the dorms on New Hope Village’s campus. She also worked full time at New Hope. After her time as an RA, she decided to move back to the Des Moines area, so her and Zach found a house and are currently renting in Cambridge. During this time, she completed her double major at BVU and worked full time.
In April of 2018, Zach proposed! Their wedding is set for September 2020. In May 2018, Jenny graduated as a double major in Human Services and Psychology. After graduation, she hopped jobs a while as an FSRP Consultant and direct care professional, when she finally accepted an offer at Wells Fargo as a Loan Doc Specialist. She has been there a little over a year.
In their free time, Jenny and Zach spend countless hours traveling from Glidden to Ankeny visiting family and friends. They also enjoy spending time with their dog and working on wedding prep!
This week’s Glidden-Ralston alumni spotlight features Sam Schneider (née Stork), class of 2000. Sam attended Glidden-Ralston from kindergarten through graduation and dabbled in everything from student government, athletics, band, and art club. After graduation, she attended Iowa State University and graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Sam lived in Minneapolis, Chicago, then settled down in Austin, TX. She’s worked in finance and client service functions for Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and TransUnion. Sam is currently the Vice President of Client Success for a technology company called Bloomfire. Bloomfire is a knowledge sharing platform designed to help companies modernize the way they capture and grow information. She loves her job and enjoys helping companies improve their processes. Sam was recently nominated as a Central Texas woman of influence in the Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power. “I was truly honored to be recognized alongside an impressive group of women in management. Helping women surmount obstacles in their career is important to me. I’m passionate about growing the number of women in management, particularly in science technology engineering and math (STEM) industries.”
Sam is a lifelong (and intense!) Cyclones fan. She started out young by attending football games with her Gregory grandparents. She met her husband during her senior year at Iowa State. They just celebrated their 16th anniversary this month. Sam enjoys being part of a large Cyclone-Hawkeye rivalry on both sides of the Gregory and Stork families. It makes for interesting holidays!
Outside of work, Sam spends most of her time outdoors. She is an avid endurance athlete, having run 3 marathons and more than a dozen half marathons. She also skis, sweep rows at Austin Rowing Club, and rides road bikes with her husband on the weekends. Aside from sports, she attends concerts, visits art museums, and travels.
When asked about what she valued most about Glidden-Ralston, she responded: “I valued the teachers and community. Going to a small school allows you to try everything and find what you like in life. I was very interested in art, history, and technology in high school which translated to what I do for my career today. Mrs. Baack, Mr. Thelin, and Mr. Mathine were excellent mentors. My only regret is not learning Spanish, in spite of Senora B’s best effort.
The Glidden-Ralston community is still supportive today. My family has experienced incredible loss the last few years. There was so much kindness and love when I came back. We’re grateful for the extended family.”
Tyler Headlee was a 2010 graduate of Glidden - Ralston High School. Tyler currently lives in Ankeny, Iowa. Tyler enjoys hanging out with his girlfriend Holly, family and friends whenever he has free time with his busy schedule. If anyone knows Tyler he is a big sports fan and spends time rooting for his Chicago Cubs, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Nebraska.
Tyler was a lifetime Wildcat attending GR from Kindergarten to High School. Some of Tyler’s memories of GR include playing football on a Friday night in front of the Town of Glidden whether it was a home or away game. Talking sports or life during the day with some of the GR Staff that include Mr.Jepson, Mr. Lensch, Mr. Thelin and Mr. Littlefield. Also, he always enjoyed talking and hanging out with his classmates.
Tyler was an 8-time letter winner at GR. He played football, baseball, basketball, and golf during his time at GR. He was the number 1 golfer on his time as a Freshman and continued to hold that honor until his Senior year. He held all-conference honors in golf his Junior and Senior year. He also qualified for sectionals as an individual his Junior year. Tyler played TE and DB on the GR football year for four years. He was on that team his Freshman season when the team was one win away from playing at the UNI Dome, they lost at AR-WE-Va that year.
After Tyler graduated from GR he went on to DMACC community College to study elementary education and play golf for the Bears. Then Tyler learned that college is different and he had some growing up to do, during this time he lost his spot on the golf team and began to help the DMACC basketball team as a student coach. Tyler grew a passion for coaching basketball and teaching the game.
Then after taking a year or two off of school he returned to finish up school and DMACC in Ankeny and then went on to finish his degree at Grand View University with a study in Sports Management.
Tyler now lives in Ankeny Iowa where he is the K-3rd Grade program director for Kingdom Hoops an AAU Basketball organization in the Metro. Tyler has been coaching at Kingdom Hoops for 8 years now and loves every minute of it and really enjoys seeing all of the kids improve on and off of the court.
He says the most gratifying thing of coaching is seeing a kid come into the gym and struggle at something and then after time they become really good at the thing they struggled with and knowing you had a small part in that success. That is why he coaches to make an impact on young lives just like the coaches at GR did when he was an athlete!
Tyler still keeps track of how all the GR teams are doing every year and makes it back to a few football and basketball games a year! He loved his time at GR and will always call it home!
Anya (Jepson) Sibunka graduated in 1999. Anya participated in as many activities as possible and is very grateful for that opportunity. Some of her favorite memories were volunteering in Vicki Jorgenson’s kindergarten class, singing in the All-State chorus, performing at All-State speech and countless memories of time spent wearing a G-R uniform for volleyball, basketball, golf and softball.
After high school, Anya attended the University of Iowa where she received her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2003. Immediately following college, Anya worked at the Mayo Clinic caring for Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant patients. It was here that she knew she had found her love in caring for patients and families with cancer. Anya also worked briefly at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL and a few years at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, both also in oncology. In 2009, Anya accepted a job with McFarland Clinic in Ames where she worked as a chemotherapy RN and eventually served as the manager of her department. After 6 years in that role, Anya and her family relocated to the Twin Cities. Anya currently works for Minnesota Oncology in St. Paul and administers chemotherapy and is the site lead.
On a more personal level, Anya married her college sweetheart in 2004. Seth works as a physical therapist in St.Paul. The Sibunka’s live in Lakeville, MN and have two boys, Henry (10) and Isaac (6). Their world pretty much revolves around the boys and their activities, lots of soccer and basketball! But when time allows, Anya enjoys visiting lighthouses, cooking, cheering for the Hawkeyes and spending time with extended family.
Anya has so much gratitude for G-R, the teachers, community and the friendships formed. Glidden will always be “home”!
Angie Stork is a 1999 graduate of Glidden-Ralston. She joined GR in the 5th grade after moving from Lake View. At GR she participated in multiple activities, including band (flute), student government, Spanish club, volleyball, track, and the dance team. After graduation she attended the University of Iowa. Go Hawks! She graduated in 2004 with a BA in Anthropology and Certificates in Pre-Medicine and Global Health Studies. While at Iowa, she was able to participate in multiple global health trips, including to the Gambia in West Africa, Trinidad and St Lucia.
After graduation from Iowa, she relocated to New York City. There she attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she obtained a Masters degree in Forensic Psychology. As part of her degree she completed an internship performing competency evaluations for the Brooklyn and Queens Criminal Courts. While enjoying the Big Apple, she also worked as an administrative assistant at a luxury real estate company and as a bartender, mostly at the Blue Fin in Times Square. She also enjoyed taking classes at Broadway Dance Center and performed in an original piece at their annual symposium.
In 2007, she left NYC to return to Iowa for medical school at the University of Iowa. There she was able to continue her interest in international health. She traveled to the Himalayas to provide medical care in remote villages along the Indo-Tibetan border. While there she was also able to stay in several Buddhist monasteries, explore New Delhi, and visit the Taj Mahal. In addition, she worked at a rural hospital in the mountains of Tanzania, where she assisted in surgeries, cared for hospitalized patients, worked in the HIV clinic, and traveled to neighboring villages to provide vaccinations.
Upon graduating medical school in 2011, she moved on to complete her residency in general surgery, first in Phoenix, Arizona, then returning to the University of Iowa Department of Surgery where she finished out her surgical training in 2017. She now works as a board-certified general surgeon at Genesis Health System in the Quad Cities. She practices a broad range of general and trauma surgery, but her main interest is in the surgical management of breast cancer. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Nich and her 2 dogs, AJ and Khalee, and cheering on the Hawkeyes.
Brittany (Schon) Becker graduated from G-R in 2006, the first of her 3 siblings — the last of whom graduates this year! While at G-R, Brittany participated in volleyball, basketball, track, softball, choir, band, Spanish club and FFA. People likely remember Brittany for her passion for Iowa State University, so it was no surprise she ended up there for not only her bachelor’s, but also her Master’s degree, when she couldn’t get enough!
Brittany immediately felt at home in the Ag & Biosystems Engineering department at ISU, which eased the transition when she switched majors from engineering to Ag Systems Technology. Her professors and fellow students became a family away from home. She also took a few short study abroad trips, which greatly complimented her Spanish minor, enhanced her cultural awareness, and created lasting friendships. She spent free time in college attending every home football, men’s and women’s basketball game dressed in her “gameday outfit,” which earned her a place on two different Cyclone Athletics murals.
A challenging job-search process turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as a professor in her department had an immediate opening for a graduate student — something Brittany hadn’t previously considered. She decided to take on grad school in Industrial & Ag Technology, co-majoring in Biorenewable Resources & Technology. In her new “family” of graduate research students, she worked many hours preparing for the DuPont Cellulosic Facility. Eventually, her Master’s degree led her to her “MRS degree,” as she met David Becker, a Field Test Engineer from AGCO in Hesston, KS, who’d come to work with her research group.
In 2014, Brittany moved to Newton, KS and married David. While she misses her Iowa family and friends, she’s established a new family of her own! Brittany and David live on an acreage with their two toddlers (Bryce & Addison), a dog (Massey), chickens, fish and kittens! Brittany now works at AGCO with her husband, David, as a Field Quality Engineer, analyzing quality data from the various ag equipment that AGCO’s Hesston factory produces. She spends her free time playing with and caring for her kids, which includes cultivating a strong Cyclone spirit in them!
Brittany still follows Glidden closely, as her youngest sister is graduating this year! She says Glidden made her the person she is today, as she’s sought out a similar close-knit community in every step of life. She’s thankful to Glidden and G-R for establishing her sense of home!
This week’s Glidden-Ralston alumni spotlight features sisters MeLinda LeFleur Struska and MeLissa LeFleur Houdmann, classes 1993 and 1995. They both attended GR from kindergarten through graduation.
While at GR, the sisters participated in numerous activities—band, volleyball, basketball, track, and more. MeLinda and MeLissa grew up at Raccoon River Bible Camp outside of Ralston, where their parents were the camp managers. Their summers were busy, but instilled a meaningful mission that they carry with them today.
Following graduation, the sisters both attended Calvary University in Kansas City. They both enjoyed playing volleyball and basketball in college. MeLinda graduated from Calvary with a degree in Missions and MeLissa with a degree in Christian Ministries/Journalism.
While at Calvary, MeLinda met her husband Philip. They lived in Newell, Iowa for a time and then in Kansas City. Now they live in Colorado Springs, CO where Phil has been a realtor for 15 years. They served as foster parents for many years and enjoyed pouring life into children going through difficult situations. Now they sponsor numerous cadets from the US Air Force Academy. The cadets are always welcome in their home for a home-cooked meal and a stress-free environment. MeLinda enjoys being a sponsor mom to the cadets, baking and decorating cakes, and being a fitness coach. Each year, MeLinda organizes a backpack drive for kids in Mexico. Hundreds of backpacks are filled with hats, toys, and personal items.
MeLissa also met her husband at Calvary University. She married Shea in 1999 and they lived in Kansas City for six years. While in Kansas City, they launched GotQuestions.org, a website ministry that answers people’s spiritual questions. The ministry grew quickly and in 2004, the Houdmanns moved to Colorado Springs. Today, Shea and MeLissa both work full-time for the ministry, along with 9 staff members, numerous contractors, and 250 volunteers. The site is considered by many to be the third largest Christian website, based on traffic statistics. MeLissa also works as a contract writer for several organizations and businesses. She also enjoys writing short stories, exploring the Colorado mountains, serving in their church, and hosting exchange students.
Parents Dennis and Kathy LeFleur moved to Colorado in 2009 to be near their daughters. The family enjoys living closer to one other.
When asked what they value most about Glidden-Ralston, the sisters were in agreement, “We are so thankful for our upbringing and Glidden-Ralston played a huge part in our development. We feel blessed to have grown up in tightknit community and in a school where teachers cared for us as people. At GR, we learned skills and values that we use every day. A huge thank you to our teachers, coaches, and staff at GR.”
“Every so often, we’ll ask each other, ‘You know what would be really awesome right now?’ and together we’ll say, ‘A lemon ice cream cone from the Dairy Mart!’”
Jen (Ealy) Gerken is a 1990 graduate of G-R. She was active in band, speech & drama, FHA and the occasional sport, track being her favorite. Her Dad, John, is a 1964 graduate of GR as well as her sister, Sara (93) and Jeff (96). Her mother, Mary, substituted for GR many years ago and is now active with the Speak Up program at GR. Jen spent most of high school working at Mister D’s, babysitting, or you may remember her taking over from Rick Brant making copies and doing some custodial work after school and during the summer. She attended Iowa State University and graduated in 1994 with a B.S. in Public Service and Administration in Agriculture (say that 10 times fast).
She started her career as a Development Associate/Grant Writer for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in Des Moines then as a technical writer for American Republic Insurance. She kept in touch with her ISU roots where she met and married Jeff Gerken, a Breda, Iowa native and civil engineer. They moved to Omaha where Jen worked for CSG Systems as a technical writer and Jeff worked in the traffic engineering field. He was also a Navy Reservist and was deployed to Iraq when their first child, Jack, was born. Their second child, Samuel, arrived two years later and Jen made sure Jeff was in the country for that event.
Jen stayed home to raise the boys while Jeff started his business, Albeck Gerken, Inc., and continued with his Naval Reservist career. After retirement from the Navy, the Gerken’s moved to Tampa, Florida where Jeff’s business flourished. Jen became what she calls “a professional volunteer”, participating in activities through her son’s elementary and middle schools, and in her lineage societies, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861 - 1865, and United States Daughters of 1812.
Jen says her Midwest small-town upbringing and education has instilled hard-working values and a friendliness you don’t see anywhere else. The Ealy gift for gab helps too. She says, “I was able to participate in a lot of activities growing up which allowed me as an adult to determine my interest and goals. I don’t think I would have been able to get that anywhere else.”