A passion for working with people


Leah (Landt) Struthers is a 2006 Marshalltown High School graduate. She is working toward her master’s degree to become a therapist.

2006 MHS graduate works to become a therapist

Story written by volunteer writer and MHS graduate Samantha Edwards

Leah (Landt) Struthers loved playing sports and was a wrestling cheerleader all four years of high school; but, she said, her preferred activity — pottery — was completed in the art space.

“I think the favorite part of my school time was all the time spent in the pottery studio, in the art room,” said Struthers, who is a 2006 Marshalltown High School graduate. “Looking back, what I valued the most then, and value even more now, was learning about the creative arts, and pottery in particular.”

Struthers currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska and works in foster care.

Her undergraduate degree is in family life and counseling from Nebraska Christian College, and her master’s degree will be in counseling and psychology from Hope International University.

“My hope is to become a therapist,” she said.

College courses at MHS
When asked how MHS helped get her ready for college, she said, “Definitely all the college classes that I was able to take in high school was a huge asset for me, in not only getting me college credit, but not have as stressful of a course load when I went to college. So, just getting to take those classes and getting a taste of what college credit classes would potentially be like.“

It was in those college-level classes in high school that exposed her to psychology and sociology, which led her to a career decision.

“Those two [classes] helped me make a decision about wanting to work with people, wanting to work with kids in particular,” Struthers said. “I think for me, growing up in the church and wanting to do ministry in some way, just feeling that God had a plan for me — in terms of having a positive impact on people. So, I think that also influenced me to choose that path that I did.”

Living in Omaha now, she sees how a town that is the size of Marshalltown creates a strong environment where teachers care about the students, and they have time to invest in them.

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Kindergarten students learn water safety in local program


Shelley Lechnir, aquatics director at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, reads the book “Josh the Baby Otter” to kindergarten students at Rogers Elementary School on May 16. This water safety program is being delivered to all Marshalltown kindergarten students this month.

The Marshalltown Rotary Club and the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA are sponsoring a water safety program focused on the book “Josh the Baby Otter” for all Marshalltown kindergarten students during their physical education classes this month.

Presenters from Rotary and the Y deliver the one-time program about how to stay safe around water from the point of view of Josh the otter, who is featured in the book. Students receive a free book to take home to share with their families. Shelley Lechnir, aquatics director at the YMCA-YWCA, visited Rogers Elementary School on May 16.

“Kindergartners were very receptive to the tale of Josh the Baby Otter,” said Nicki Boliver, PE teacher at Rogers Elementary School. “The importance of water safety is something that many of the students have already been introduced to and this activity helped reinforce the efforts of our community and its mission to keep kids safe around bodies of water. As the activity concluded, kindergartners pledged to stay away from water unless they were with an adult. They made a real connection to what was being taught to them through this program.”


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Retirees honored for their dedication in their careers


Miller Middle School special education teacher Anita Ringgenberg, left, honors retiring Miller special education teacher Linda Russell during the MEA/MCSD retirement tea held on May 15.

Nearly 250 years of combined service to the district was recognized during the Marshalltown Education Association/Marshalltown Schools annual retirement tea held on May 15 at Dejardin Hall on the Marshalltown Community College campus. Many of the school employees set to retire in just a few weeks were in attendance.

“The impact they’ve had on generations of students cannot be truly measured,” said School Board Member Sean Heitmann.

MEA Scholarships


The MEA Scholarship recipients were Trenten Finders (left), who plans to attend Marshalltown Community College and Juliana Arifi (right), who plans to attend Grand View University.

Friend of Education Award


Franklin teacher Angie Pietig, right, presents volunteer Shirley Mann with the Friend of Education award.

The Friend of Education Award was presented to Shirley Mann, a retired teacher who volunteers in third grade at Franklin Elementary School.

“I cannot think of a more deserving individual for this award,” said Franklin teacher Angie Pietig.


Below are more photos of retirees who were honored at the event:


Sue Cahill, left, honors retiring Woodbury Elementary School 3rd grade teacher Rita Byers.



Hoglan Elementary School Principal Amy Williams, left, talks with retiring Hoglan 2nd grade teacher Deb Friday.


Rogers Elementary School teacher Chris Melde, right, honors retiring Franklin/Rogers music teacher Jolene Kubli.


MHS nurse Stacy Tool-Crawford, left, honors retiring Woodbury Elementary School nurse Elly Mack.

Other retirees not in attendance included Rollie Ackerman, Mike Eggleston, Darlene Gilliland, Jeff Hoogensen, Mike Loupee, Leah Mattox, Elda Reyes and Maralyn Schulze. Piano music was presented prior to the start of the event by Miller 8th grader Hannah Seltman.



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Miller students learning real world skills in job shadowing program


Miller Middle School eighth grader Yessenia Alvarez Zamora holds a cat as she learns from Dr. Grant Jacobson at the Hometown Veterinarian office during a job shadow experience recently.

Eighth grade students in the Extended Learning Program at Miller Middle School are participating in a job shadowing program which has them at several area businesses learning real world skills.

“Before my students set off for high school and really start focusing their studies on a career path I wanted to give them some exposure to what careers really look like in practice,” said Miller XLP teacher Ann Jackson. “Each student conducted some background research on a career they were interested in, and then I tried to find something similar in the Marshalltown area to give them a real-life experience.  The students then go to the work sites for a half-day to get a feel for their chosen career. “

Students have chosen a wide variety of careers from chemical engineers to librarians and Marshalltown businesses have been tremendously supportive and accommodating for our students.  A student interested in architecture got to go to the Crosby Park Townhomes construction site. A student interested in veterinary medicine got to do a pregnancy check on a cow and another student interested in physical training learned how to set up workouts.

“I feel like these job shadows are a great way for my students to learn not only the academic requirements needed for success in the workplace but also the ‘soft skills’ they will need, like collaboration, time management, and collegiality,” Jackson said.

Mrs. Jackson would like to thank the following local businesses for supporting this effort: Stover Controls, the Marshalltown Public Library, Crosby Park Townhomes, Steckelberg Vet Clinic, Hometown Veterinarian, Sports Plus, Wertzberger Architects, Emerson and Clapsaddle-Garber Associates.

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JA in a Day presented at Miller Middle School


Nate McCormick of Emerson presents to seventh graders at Miller Middle School as part of the Junior Achievement “JA in a Day” program on May 14. Students learned about the global marketplace from 18 Emerson employees who volunteered as instructors.

Emerson employees volunteer to instruct on global marketplace

Eighteen volunteers from Emerson gave an entire day to help Miller Middle School 7th graders learn more about business in the Junior Achievement program “JA in a Day” held on May 14.

Students rotated through five different lessons presented by Emerson employees as part of the JA Global Marketplace curriculum including Business and Customer, Business and Culture, Global Trade, Why Countries Specialize and Trade Barriers.

The students also were able to learn about Emerson, which is a global leader in valve manufacturing and one of the largest employers in Marshalltown.

“This is a great opportunity for Emerson to partner with Miller Middle School and really highlight to the students the impact they can have on the global marketplace,” said Jason Olberding, engineering director at Emerson.

Thank you to Emerson and Junior Achievement for partnering with us on this special day.

For more photos from the event, visit the MCSD Facebook page.


Jason Olberding of Emerson points out a valve manufactured by the company.


Keri Gaschler of Emerson helps out a Miller student.

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Woodbury students become math coaches


Woodbury Elementary School fourth grader Hector Aguilera, right, helps his classmate Fernando Cano on the ST Math program at the school. Woodbury utilizes peer coaches to assist students in the program.

Students at Woodbury Elementary School are turning into peer teachers as part of a coaching program for the ST Math curriculum.

Students who advance through the curriculum are offered opportunities to coach other students in need of help after undergoing training from Woodbury Instructional Coach Julie Thede. Coaching is going on at all levels between kindergarten and fourth grade at the school.

Click below for a video on this ST Math coaching program. Note: when bells ring in the video that means math problems are being solved correctly.

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UNI professors, student talk about Spanish opportunities


Pictured are visitors and the teacher in the Heritage Spanish class at Marshalltown High School on May 9. From left is University of Northern Iowa professor Dr. Elise DuBord, MHS teacher Kristin Stuchis, UNI student and MHS graduate Martha Ortiz Diaz and UNI professor Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo.

Two University of Northern Iowa professors and one student presented on Spanish opportunities to the Heritage Spanish classes at Marshalltown High School on May 9.

Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo and Dr. Elise DuBord, and a recent MHS graduate and UNI student, Martha Ortiz Diaz, presented at MHS. Martha just completed the UNI program called Spanish for Heritage Speakers.  Both Martha and her professors said that students form lasting bonds through their shared experiences in Spanish for Heritage Speakers.  In fact, the class inspired Martha to major in Spanish in addition to Social Work.

“Students discovered that UNI offers a variety of classes such as translation, linguistics, film, language teaching and even sports in Spain,” said MHS Heritage Spanish teacher Kristin Stuchis. “Throughout the classes, MHS students asked a variety of practical and personal questions.”

Heritage Spanish class at MHS
The Heritage Spanish class at MHS is designed for students who have grown up with Spanish spoken in the home and will expand into three levels next year. Because most Heritage Spanish students speak and understand Spanish, the emphasis is on building reading, writing, and public speaking skills.

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