WDC Public Schools

It's A Great Day To be A Wolverine!

218.632.2155 * Fax: 218.632.2399 * 600 Colfax Ave SW Wadena MN 56482

Introducing WDC's Superhero Teachers

If you look up the definition of Superhero, the word is defined as a “fictional character with superhuman powers." Superheroes accomplish the extraordinary feat of turning terrible, sometimes hopeless situations into great acts of heroism through their service, passion, dedication and, of course, their super-human abilities! Teachers may not wear a cape, but they certainly have Superhero abilities!

Teachers are able to take hopeless situations and turn them into amazing opportunities! Where there are students failing, they invest their time to help them succeed. Teachers see the potential where others see dashed hopes and dreams. Sometimes the results of their work come fast, as they see the light bulb in a child’s mind turn on. Other times, it may take years to see the fruits of their labor when a high school senior, who used to be in their first-grade class, walks across the gym to receive their diploma at graduation. 

Teachers sacrifice many things for the benefit of their students. Many of them work long hours, use their own resources for classroom supplies, and even risk looking crazy by coming up with songs, dances and rhymes to help their students remember facts. They are constantly preparing new lessons, decorating their classrooms, and grading homework from many students. Think your teacher is resting during their summer vacation? Think again! The best teachers are students themselves, taking classes or teaching other teachers about classroom best practices.

To be a great teacher, you have to have many superpowers! The best teachers are more than just educators. The best teachers are counselors, advocates, cheerleaders, sergeants and the list goes on and on. They can stop time by talking about the most exciting things or telling stories of when they were a kid and the lessons they've learned.  Teachers can teach you how to fly, because of that feeling you get after you've learned something that you never thought you could do! They often need to be many things to many people at the same time, but they can magically make every student feel special and important.

For those many reasons, teachers are truly Superheroes! There’s just one difference though -- they’re real and they exist in the lives of children right here at Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools!

Let's introduce those Superheroes to you, as we kick off "WDC Teachers are Superheroes" series today! We'll alternate our Superhero Teachers between the two schools each week. We hope you enjoy getting to know our amazing teachers!

Jan Bernu ... Preschool Teacher

How many years have you been teaching at WDC? 
“This is my second year teaching 3-year-old preschool classes. I have been a paraprofessional at WDC for 18 years – most of those years have been one-on-one with special-needs children.”

Why did you choose to be working at a school?
“I love working with children! I have an aunt who did child care in her home while I was growing up and that was what first got me started thinking about working with children. Salli Mahlen, my phy ed teacher, art teacher and gymnastics coach in Verndale, was also an inspiration to me.”

What do you enjoy most about teaching and why?
I enjoy watching the growth and development of the children as they learn new skills. The children make me laugh every day.”

Why do you think WDC Schools is a great place to teach?
“We have great students and staff.”

Tell us a little about yourself.
“My husband and I have five children. My oldest four are now grown and on their own. We have an 11-year-old still at home. We also have one grandchild. We have one dog and an assortment of cats – all outside!”

Any pastimes or hobbies?
“I love to read. But my newest favorite hobby is being Grandma to granddaughter Brooklyn and at my two daughters’ day cares. I have also done PCA (personal care assistant) work with a very special boy for the past nine years. While some may consider that another job, to me it is a favorite hobby.”

Holly Becker ... Math Teacher

How many years have you been teaching at WDC? 
“This is my 11th year teaching high school mathematics in the WDC School District. I started my teaching career in Maddock, North Dakota, where I taught for two years.  I currently teach Algebra 1 Basic, Algebra 2 Basic, Algebra 2 and Algebra 3 at WDC.”

Why did you choose to be a teacher?
“I actually went to college for Real Estate and changed my major three times before ending up with a degree in Math Education.  None of the other fields felt like ‘me.’  When I graduated with a four-year degree in Mathematics and not sure what to do with my degree, a small school in North Dakota offered me a job teaching 7-12 grade math. I accepted the position and finished the education requirements during my first year of teaching.  At the end of my first year of being a math teacher, I knew this was the career for me and I graduated again with a degree in Mathematics Education.”

What do you enjoy most about teaching and why?
“I love teaching!  I honestly cannot imagine myself doing anything else.  I take pride in providing students with a fun and safe learning environment.  I strive to make each student not only learn in my classroom but to have fun and feel free to be themselves.  I can honestly tell you that I have fun teaching Algebra every single day and I hope the students do to.”

Why do you think WDC Schools is a great place to teach?
“WDC offers so much to our students.  We have many extracurricular activities for students to be involved in (the list takes up multiple pages in our handbook).  We provide students with a wide range of elective courses, everything from music, art, cooking, quilting, phy ed options and, of course, elective opportunities in all of our core subject areas.  WDC provides students with the opportunity to take college courses while attending high school; these courses are free to our students and if they take full advantage of this opportunity, they can enter college already as a sophomore.  Every WDC student has technology at his/her fingertips, as each student has an iPad to use for the school year.  The staff at WDC truly cares about our students, we want to see them succeed!”  

 Tell us a little about yourself.
“I have been married to my amazing husband, Trent, for eight years.  We have a beautiful daughter, Braelyn, age 5, who is in Kindergarten here at WDC.  We have also had the privilege of hosting two foreign exchange students.  We also have a pug puppy named Peanut Butter.”

Any pastimes or hobbies?
“When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, working out, shopping and drinking coffee.”

Next WDC Superhero Teacher Profiles: Patty Berg, 4th Grade Teacher, and James Brewer, Math Teacher