Be a substitute teacher!

Be a substitute teacher!
This is the image for the news article titled Be a substitute teacher!What do the Mayor of New Castle and a successful entrepreneur and volleyball coach have in common? They are two of the amazing substitute teachers in the Garfield Re-2 School District.

Fly Eagles Fly

Art Riddile had a long and successful career as aArt Riddile salesperson, and after retiring from a job after 25-years, he found himself longing for a little bit more. Suiting up as a chicken, an eagle, or the best-dressed Mayor in New Castle may not have been on the list, but it is part of the routine as a substitute teacher.

“After I retired, being Mayor of New Castle kept me occupied, but I had a lot of downtime. The times that I was not hammered with meetings, I found myself in front of the TV, and I thought to myself, ‘This is really stupid.’”

The illustrious Mayor thought that his time and his talents could be better used supporting the children of Garfield Re-2.

“It was a pretty easy process. I applied, had my fingerprints taken, received my substitute license, and the rest is history,” he explained. “I’ve worked all around the District, wherever they needed me, and then I landed at Elk Creek Elementary for the last two years.”

Art says that it is the relationships that keep him coming back.

“When you're working side by side with the staff, you see what they're going through and how they're doing it. It’s the same with the students. It's great seeing what these kids accomplish daily,” he explained. “I would go to bat for any staff member at any time.”

He added that, just like any new job opportunity, it can be a little intimidating the first day walking into a school, but that feeling melts away quickly.

“You get to know those people - the students and staff. And then, you’ll see kids you worked with three years ago, and they give you a hug or a high-five. That’s the best.”

From Substitute to Staff-Of-The-Year

Geneva FarrGeneva Farr has been around children most of her adult life. Beyond being a successful entrepreneur, mother, and wife, she has coached volleyball at a variety of levels. She didn’t consider being a substitute teacher, because she didn’t realize it was an option.

“If someone had encouraged me that I could substitute teach while I was coaching, I would have done that a long time ago,” said Geneva.

As a substitute teacher, she got to experience working in all of the schools within Garfield Re-2 to determine what schools would be a good fit for her. When COVID hit, all substitutes became assigned to a specific building.

Geneva quickly became the go-to substitute teacher at Highland Elementary. Her dedication to the students, staff, and school earned her the Highland staff person of the year for 2021-2022. This year she is teaching fourth grade English Language Arts.

The transition, she said, has been seamless.

“It’s really about the kids. The Highland Elementary leadership and my team made it easy,” she explained. “Every day, I have the opportunity to mold a mind not just in education but in life skills too. It’s a huge responsibility. I viewed parenting and motherhood as huge responsibilities. I loved everything about being a mom, and substitute teaching is another opportunity to support kids.”

Because she is not a formally trained teacher, Geneva said one of the challenges to a long-term position is learning all of the educational standards and the language that comes with education. She added that the formal strategies are very important but not the primary mission in teaching.

“Your number one goal is to build relationships with students,” said Geneva. “I would encourage anyone that wants to connect with their kids to substitute teach or to volunteer in the schools.

It’s gratifying. You learn so much - I can’t believe how much I am learning.”

Garfield Re-2 needs more substitute teachers. If you have questions about becoming a substitute teacher or would like to substitute teach in Garfield Re-2 School District, please contact Michele Snyder at 970-665-7612 or [email protected]

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