There were a lot of smiling faces on the first day of school at Prairie Creek. Students were excited to see their friends and teachers.



New Creek Staff

Rachel Anderson - Literacy/Social Studies 6th Grade Teacher

Rachel received her Bachelor's degree in K-6 elementary education with a K-8 reading endorsement from Coe College in May 2014. As part of her student teaching experience, she had the pleasure of being placed in a 5th grade classroom at Creek and couldn't wait to come back.

"From the moment I walked through the door at Creek, I felt welcomed, respected, and appreciated, and I want students to feel the same way. My experience here has been so positive because it's clear Prairie truly values students, teachers, and staff."

After nearly 16 years as a network engineer for a major telecommunications company and a frequent volunteer with many community service groups, Rachel returned to Coe in the fall of 2010 to pursue a degree that would help her to work in the community with children and families. She took an Exceptional Learners course during her second semester and found her passion for teaching. She thrives on helping students see their own strengths and set goals for success.

When she's not in the classroom, Rachel loves spending time with her family and doing projects on her nearly 100-year-old house, which always seems to be a work-in-progress. She and her husband, Matt, have been married for 18 years and are raising their two energetic boys and two hilarious hound dogs.

Tifani Daly - Neighborhood 53 Literacy/Social Studies

Tifani received her BA in education and reading endorsement from the University of Northern Iowa. She then received her master's degree in Developmental Reading from the University of Iowa. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Iowa. She comes to Creek with seven years of teaching experience. Currently she is teaching reading and writing methods to undergraduate students. Prior to that she taught 6th grade language arts and social studies at Skokie School, District 36 in Winnetka, Illinois.

"My passion for literacy and teaching is evident. I am not only passionate about helping my students become confident readers and writers, I am also passionate about continuing my own understanding of the literacy process."

Tifani's diverse background will help Creek go even deeper with our literacy instruction

Lauren Hanzelka - Neighborhood 62 Literacy/Social Studies

Lauren received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa specializing in elementary and middle level education. She also has a minor in Literacy Education. Prior to coming to Creek, Lauren student taught at Orchard Hill Elementary in Cedar Falls and also taught 6th, 7th, 8th grade mathematics and social studies at Janesville Consolidated Schools in Janesville, Iowa.

"I have enjoyed substitute teaching within the College Community District and the surrounding area this past spring. I am thrilled to join the Prairie Creek Community for my first year of teaching!"

Lauren loves to teach literacy and will do whatever it takes to help students learn.

Kara Henik - Neighborhood 61 Science/Math

Kara graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in December 2013 with a BA Degree in Elementary Education and a Teaching Mathematics Minor. While at UNI, she was an active member of several campus organizations including Dance Marathon. She also worked for the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center as an outreach educator to the surrounding area, teaching lessons that connected expressive arts to multiple content areas. She grew up on the family farm near Mount Vernon. Growing up, she was actively involved in athletics and music. In her free time she enjoys running, biking, reading, sewing, and spending time with family. She is very excited about becoming part of the Prairie Creek Community!

Kara understands the unique needs of students and will adjust her instruction to meet their needs.

John Netty - Principal

Hello Prairie Creek Intermediate parents, students, and staff! My name is John Netty and I am happy to introduce myself as your new principal.

I was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. I attended UNI where I earned a BA in English Secondary Education in 1990. I taught English and Reading for 16 years while coaching football, basketball, and baseball on both the high school and middle school levels. I was the head baseball coach at Waterloo East from 1998-2007.

While teaching and coaching at East High School I returned to UNI and earned my Master's in Educational Administration. I have been a middle school principal for the past eight years. Most recently I served as the head principal at Central Middle School in Waterloo.

I am married and have two daughters. My wife is Math instructor at Kirkwood Community College.

My hobbies include watching my two favorite teams, the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Chicago Cubs. I also love to fish and travel to northern Minnesota each summer for vacation.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to take on this new challenge. It was an honor to be chosen as principal of Prairie Creek Intermediate. I look forward to working with all of you.

Jamie Newton - TAG/Differentiation Specialist

Jamie Newton will be the new Talented and Gifted Learning Specialist at Prairie Creek this school year. Prior to being at College Community School District he taught gifted and talented students for fourteen years at an independent school called The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, Colorado. While at Logan he taught in both the Intermediate (grades 4-6) and Advanced (grades 6-8) schools. Jamie served two years on the Board of Trustees at Logan School as well. Prior to being at Logan he was the Education Coordinator at the Colorado History Museum. Jamie is an Iowa native and University of Northern Iowa graduate. At UNI he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Secondary Education. He also pursued a Masters program in Public History at UNI. Recently he attended courses at the Belin Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa.

Jamie lives in Iowa City with his wife, Susan, and two daughters, Estella and Adelaide. He enjoys travel, reading, skiing, hiking, and being with family and friends - who now are much closer than they were when he lived in Colorado. He is looking forward to joining the College Community Schools and can't wait for the new school year to begin!

Jennie Rickels - Neighborhood 51 Math/Science

Jennie Rickels is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Elementary and Middle Level Education with endorsements in Science and Language Arts. She student taught as a 5th grade general education teacher and as a 7th grade Earth Science teacher. This past year, she has been teaching 7th grade Earth Science and 8th grade Life Science at West Branch Middle School.

Jennie is very student centered and will use student's interests to "hook" them into learning.

Amy Sams - Band

Amy Sams is in her sixth year of teaching in the College Community School District and her first at Prairie Creek Intermediate. Prior to teaching at Creek, Amy taught middle school band at Prairie Point and in the Linn-Mar Community School District. Ms. Sams earned a bachelor's degree in flute performance and music education from the University of Iowa and has completed coursework for her master's degree in music education from the University of Northern Iowa. Outside of her time at school, she is a part-time stay at home mom for her sons Everett (5) and Fletcher (2), maintains a private flute studio, works with the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band as a performer, city commissioner, and librarian, and loves to run and garden.

Amy will be a great asset in connecting intermediate and middle school band and is looking forward to giving students individual attention.

Jessica Thede - Office Clerk

Jessica previously worked at McKinley Middle School as the attendance secretary. She had various office duties while at McKinley. Before working at McKinley, she was the inpatient secretary for Tanager Place. Outside of work Jessica is a huge sports fan and loves hockey (go Chicago Blackhawks)! She enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling to the Ozarks. She also enjoys golfing and going to baseball games. She also spends time with her (spoiled) puppy Tebow.

Jessica loves to be busy and will bring positivity to everything she does.

Megan Sova-Tower - Teacher, Special Education

Megan Sova-Tower is new to Prairie Creek this year and will be teaching Special Education. Megan received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master's of Arts Education from UNI as well. Megan finished a second master's degree from Morningside College this past May in Special Education. She is endorsed to teach any core subject area K-8th grade, TAG, Strategist I and II MD/BD/LD, Social Studies, and also has an endorsement in special education consultation. Megan taught for 13 years in the Cedar Rapids School District (general education and special education). Megan is set to begin work on her doctorate at UNI in the summer of 2015.

She is very excited for the new opportunity to teach at Creek!

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