LAUREN PENNOCK | Reporter
Although Ashley Holdmeier now considers teaching her passion, she remembers a time when she didn’t have that outlook.
“My senior year of high school I was so determined that I was not going to become a teacher, because that’s what everyone in my family became after going off to college,” she said. “I said to myself ‘No, I’m going to become something different,’ but toward the end of my senior year, after becoming a part of the A+ Program, I was assigned to work in an elementary school, tutoring first and second graders; my love for that turned into something I just couldn’t ignore.”
She now reflects on her academic journey as she begins to prepare for herself for her last semester at Lindenwood University.
Through the association, she completed many hours of volunteer service. She worked with the Boy Scouts, volunteered within the Union School District, organized reading nights for kids in the community and held sensory activity events for daycare-aged children.
Holdmeier, 23, credits East Central College for giving her the opportunity to complete a higher amount of practicum hours than the average freshman and sophomore. Every course she took required field experience, therefore she was exposed to the inner-workings of the education field right away.
Through working with both the Union School District, as well as Washington School District, Holdmeier gained observational and tutoring experience.
After completing her time at East Central, Holdmeier made the decision to complete her journey at Lindenwood University.
“I liked that Lindenwood was close to home at first, but after looking into the program and realizing that it was a great school for education majors, I was drawn in, and that’s what made my decision,” Holdmeier said.
Other than completing academic coursework and working as an administrative assistant for Lindenwood’s School of Education, Holdmeier also holds a LindenTeach internship.
Another administrative assistant of the School of Education, Sayre Adkins, talked about the work Holdmeier had done thus far.
“Ashley is patient, upbeat and self-motivated which has helped her throughout her Lindenwood career and as a participant in the LindenTeach program,” Adkins said. “She always goes out of her way to help those around her and is a reliable team player.”
“The LindenTeach Internship was created to help local school districts, make up for the fact that they didn’t have enough good quality subs.,” Holdmeier said. “Lindenwood, of course wanted good opportunities for their education students, through providing this internship.”
Lindenwood has worked with Orchard Farm School District, and plans to take on St. Charles School District next year as well.
LindenTeach is considered the ideal experience to have, according the Holdmeier, before an education major begins his or her student teaching, that way one can have a full year in the classroom.
“Through LindenTeach, you are assigned a mentor; mine is a second grade teacher, and anytime I’m in the building and not assigned a sub-job, I’m usually with her, helping her co-teaching, or assisting her students with small group work,” Holdmeier said. “Ideally my mentor for LindenTeach will also be my cooperating teacher for student teaching, so I’ll get to spend a whole year with that teacher.
Holdmeier gives credit to the School of Education for allowing her to make connections with students, faculty, advisers and the school districts she now works with.
Holdmeier’s supervisor, Dr. Jill Hutcheson, describes the past two years of working with her.
“No matter what assignment I have given her, from the tiresome work of compiling research data, to the more creative design of a display board promoting SOE programs, Ashley has been enthusiastic and more than willing to accomplish the task,” Hutcheson said. “It was such a benefit to have a student worker with such a strong work ethic who could complete tasks without constant oversight.”
“Submersing yourself into your major and getting involved as much as you possibly can, really helps during your time here and even after,” Holdmeier said.
The Washington, Missouri, native will graduate with a bachelor of the arts in elementary education (certified to teach grades first- sixth) this spring semester.
Dr. Brittany Neunuebel, an adviser for Lindenwood’s School of Education, said she sees Holdmeier being successful in her career.
“I believe any school district would be lucky to have her, however, I really want to encourage her to come back for a graduate degree so she is able to specialize in certain areas,” she said. “I want her to continue on, and so one day I can call her Dr. Holdmeier.”
Holdmeier said she wants to be a teacher that her students can count on and remember throughout their academic careers. She is excited for her future in teaching and is grateful to Lindenwood for allowing her to further her passion in education.