John Schulz
John Schulz

Destination: Kindergarten!

Kingsland's new kindergarten teacher, John Schulz, in his first year of teaching, is pleased to be working the play dough squad each and every day of the school year.

He said he is excited to guide his students with a lot of hands-on learning opportunities.

"It's great to turn things like play dough and toy animals into tools for learning," said Schulz. "I really enjoy working with children of all ages, but with kindergarten, I'm really excited to give my students a great first experience at school - to show them that we can have fun, play, work, and learn simultaneously. It's such an honor to be a child's first school teacher."

He graduated from Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School in 2001 and from Winona State University-Rochester this year, choosing to join the Kingsland staff because of its closeness and also because he grew up in a small town, and went to a small school.

"I've lived in bigger cities like Minneapolis, Mankato, and Rochester, and I've had the opportunity to travel around the world a bit as well," he added. "For me, a small Minnesota town feels the most like home. Considering that, Kingsland was an easy choice...without a doubt, it's being able to work in a community-based team of professional teachers!"

While there are challenges to teaching at least 20 small people the basics, he's ready to take them on.

"It's always a tough task to teach a group of individuals with unique learning styles, and to make sure I'm doing my best to reach every student, whatever their needs may be," he explained. "Kindergarten is such a big step in the life of a child, and I feel really privileged to be a part of that for these awesome kids coming in. I'm really excited to have some fun and see how much we're all going to grow this year."

He especially anticipates building relationships with his class and seeing all those "aha moments." He said he is looking forward to seeing progress throughout the year - to see the "leaps and bounds we're all going to make.

"I think it's a huge part of my job to instill in these amazing young people that they have what it takes to be successful. Wherever life takes them, if a child is confident in their abilities and knows how to work hard, they'll be alright...I hope to make my students aware of their potential, to give them confidence in what they do, and to make them active participants in their education."

Schulz lives in Rochester with his wife, Emily, a nurse at Mayo Clinic, and their daughter, Charlotte, who turned 2 in April. He spends his spare time doing "anything outdoors." He loves hiking, fishing, hunting, camping with his family, running, blowing snow, mowing the lawn, playing with his daughter, having campfires, grilling out, baling hay with his uncle, playing music, watching movies, playing with his dog, working on house projects, and playing softball in the summer, basketball in the winter and fantasy football.

"I'm a huge Minnesota sports fan," he said "I don't have a ton of spare time, but I try to make the most of it!"