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For new NRHEG special education instructor, teaching is in her genes

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HOUSE OF EDUCATORS — Stacie Ebnet-Dietz, originally from Albany, Minn., comes from a family of teachers, and her husband is also involved in education. (Star Eagle photo by Rachel Rietsema)

By RACHEL RIETSEMA

Staff Writer

“It is a great school with a wonderful staff. I have enjoyed becoming part of Panther Pride at the NRHEG Secondary school.”

Those exact words came straight from the new sixth and seventh-grade special education teacher, Stacie Ebnet-Dietz. She has much more to say about the teaching position however.

“It has been reassuring to see smiling faces and helpful advice and guidance,” Dietz said. “The NRHEG staff has been welcoming and they have made me feel part of the team. I appreciate working with such talented and innovative professionals.”

As they bind together, she can see her students’ academic gaps shrink on a daily basis.

“Each one of my students is unique and they offer me a new perspective in the learning process,” she said. “It challenges me to find resources to better meet their academic needs.”

Often times, this just means giving them the space and time they need to comprehend concepts. Finding new teaching methods does a world of good too.

“They continually remind me to think outside of the box,” she said. “I try to infuse technology whenever possible to engage students in a motivating format of learning.”

While working with this age group, she also has to be sensitive to the fact that they are in the midst of a transitional time.

“It is a time for them to grow and change from the elementary setting to the expectations of a middle/high school,” she said. “They need extra support in getting organized and staying on top of the rigor of a secondary school work load with the various sections of classes they have throughout the day.”

Lucky for her students, providing that academic sustenance is what she has been wired to do. It’s in her blood.

“I come from a family of teachers and it was something I always aspired to be,” she said. “I had very inspiring teachers growing up and I remember playing school with my sister at home.”

Clearly, teaching has always been her passion. And as such, she aims to continually stretch herself to be a lifelong learner and “exude the love of learning” to her students. 

“My husband works in the field of education as well so it is definitely something we are passionate about in our house,” she said.

Come to think of it, Dietz has lived in a house full of educators her entire life.

“My parents were both educators for over 30 years,” she said. “They paved the way for my career choice and set good examples of what it meant to be an educator.”

She continued, “They both connected well with their students and they still hear from former students they had made an impression on. I respect their hard work and dedication to the important field of educating our youth.”

As she carries on the tradition, she works hard to nail down a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Once that is accomplished, it’s just a matter of time before their small strides turn into big ones.

“We celebrate each other’s strengths and work hard to strengthen what seems challenging and difficult,” she said.

But, in order to make those leaps and bounds, it’s of utmost importance to utilize the technology readily available at NRHEG.

“We use iPads, the Smartboard, and word processing devices to make their lessons and assignments interactive,” she said. “As I continue my journey in education, I really do appreciate the connections and partnerships we have with our general education staff. We work together to do what is best for the students and their unique styles of learning.”

Now, in her 16th year of teaching, she is so glad to have landed among the special education realm.

“I taught for 13 years at Helendale Elementary School, in Helendale, California as a second and third-grade teacher,” she said. “Since then, I have completed my autism teaching certificate from the University of California, Riverside, and taught for two years at United South Central Elementary School in Wells, MN as the Autism Resource Special Education Teacher.”

This Moorhead Concordia College graduate is also currently in the graduate program from the Minnesota State University, Moorhead to acquire her degree in specific learning disabilities.

“The students here always find ways to make me smile and as I reflect on each day, I am thankful to be entrusted with this special job of teaching,” she said.

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