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‘GREAT FIT’

District staff surprise student teacher with job offer

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Early Childhood Center Principal Carmen Banwart presents a cake to student teacher Natalie Asklund while kindergartener Ace Lombard tells Asklund she's been offered a teaching position at the ECC for the 2023-24 school year on Tuesday morning. Asklund said the offer was a total surprise.

It’s not often that a kindergarten class gets to eat cake at 8 a.m., but when it does happen, it’s a joyful celebration.

On Tuesday, Sara Blowers’ kindergarten class at the Early Childhood Center had that opportunity to eat cake and celebrate after district leadership surprised their student teacher, Natalie Asklund, with a letter of intent to hire her for the 2023-24 school year.

“Miss Asklund, we want you to start off your career at the ECC. Love, Ms. Blowers’ Scholars,” student Ace Lombard read, with the help of Principal Carmen Banwart.

The job offer was a complete surprise, Asklund said. It helped that Tuesday was Blowers’ birthday, so it didn’t seem all that suspicious when Banwart walked into the classroom carrying a sheet cake.

“This is so exciting,” Asklund said. “It’s a lot to take in, but I’m excited.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Kindergarteners in Sara Blowers' class celebrate their classroom's student teacher, Natalie Asklund, being offered a teaching position at the Early Childhood Center for the 2023-24 school year on Tuesday.

Asklund is a 2019 graduate of Webster City High School and is pursuing her teaching degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She started student teaching at the ECC in February, and quickly became part of the team.

“I love the community and the staff has made me feel so welcomed and they just welcomed me in right away and made me feel like I matter and that I’m just as important as a regular teacher,” she said.

Asklund said she was drawn to the teaching profession because of her love of working with kids.

“I just love that I can have an impact on their life and their lifelong learning, especially at this age,” she said. “You’re the foundation of their learning and I think that’s so cool.”

Asklund’s students were thrilled about her job offer — and the cake to celebrate.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Early Childhood Center kindergartners Trakyus Cox, Penelope Foster and Sander Henderson enjoy some cake with FDCSD Superintendent Denise Schares in celebration of their classroom student teacher Natalie Asklund being offered a teaching position for the 2023-24 school year on Tuesday.

Student Charlie Miller said she thinks Asklund is kind and helpful in the classroom.

“She’s always helping Ms. Blowers,” Miller said. “She teaches us reading and math.”

Banwart, the principal at the ECC, said it was a no-brainer to offer Asklund a teaching position for next year.

“It was just a great fit and a great opportunity,” Banwart said. “She built great relationships with kids and she’s a team player and we couldn’t be more proud.”

The ECC has two open kindergarten and one open preschool teaching position for next school year, Banwart said. She said Asklund would be perfect for any of the open positions, but those details will be nailed down later.

Banwart said she thinks there’s value in hiring a student teacher when they graduate because when they start their first year as a licensed teacher, they will already have experience working within that school’s specific culture.

“It’s the best case scenario,” she said.

Asklund hasn’t officially accepted the job offer, but she said she plans to after getting some of the details.

“I really love it here,” she said.

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