Sioux Center district welcomes new staff

New Kinsey Elementary teachers are (front) Jessica Giannantonio, music; Josine Moss, first grade; (back) Sam Callahan, third grade; and Taylor Stichka, second grade.

SIOUX CENTER—As part of the new 2019-20 school year starting Friday, Aug. 23, the Sioux Center Community School District welcomes new staff. Here’s a glance at who they are:


Jessica Giannantonio, elementary music teacher

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I’m thrilled to be teaching music because I get the chance to share my love of music with students from all grade levels. Music is a universal language and has the ability to connect people across the world. I am excited to explore ways I can make connections with the students through music.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love spending time with my family, reading a good book, and hiking.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I’m thankful to be working in this district and can’t wait to get to know the students as the school year begins.


Josine Moss, first-grade teacher

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I’m excited about this role because I have always dreamed of being a first-grade teacher. I love seeing the transformation that happens with each first-grader throughout the year. At this age they are so creative and curious, and I am always amazed by the progress they make in reading, writing, and math.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love spending time at home with my husband and two dogs, golfing, and doing do-it-yourself projects.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to share with the community?

A: I am thrilled to be working in such a great district and community. Sioux Center is a thriving community that takes pride in their schools and growing industry. I look forward to getting to know this community through the families at Kinsey Elementary.


Sam Callahan, third-grade teacher

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I am excited to fill this role because I have a passion for both seeing and helping people grow.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I enjoy long bike rides in the country, lifting weights and traveling just about anywhere!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I am a 2019 Northwestern College graduate, but I am originally from Minnesota.


Taylor Stichka, second-grade teacher

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I’m very excited to be back in the classroom after a brief hiatus working for my parents’ agricultural supply company. I have always been passionate about working with kids in a variety of contexts, especially as a first-grade teacher, technology integrationist and private music teacher. My family and I feel so blessed to be part of a community like Sioux Center, and we look forward to serving the people and community for a long time! Second grade is such a fun age to work with and the growth we get to be a part of is an amazing thing.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love spending time outside with my family. My wife, Mindy, our three boys and I have enjoyed discovering the great bike trails in the area since moving in late July. I also am an avid hunter and I love to golf, though, admittedly, I’m pretty terrible at it. I am also very passionate about music, and I enjoy writing and performing music for kids and families, as well as serving our church family through the gift of music.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: After our family gets settled in, I’m excited to explore offering private music lessons in the community in a limited capacity. We are also huge Husker fans, so please don’t hold that against us. Go Big Red!


New Sioux Center Middle School teachers

New teachers at Sioux Center Middle School are Levi Judge, counselor; Rochelle Niehus, counselor; Lexie Everman, art; and Megan Schaeffer, seventh-grade language arts.

Levi Judge, middle school counselor

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I am very excited to work with all of the students in middle school. I am looking forward to making a connection with these students by teaching a few exploratory classes to the seventh- and eighth-graders, and letting them know that they have someone in the building they can trust when they need some extra support with something on their mind or listening if they need someone to talk with.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love to hang out with my family or play or do anything sports related. I especially love to play golf and watch football.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I have a wife, Carissa, two boys — Jordy, 5, and Bryson, 3.


Rochelle Niehus, middle school counselor

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I am excited about joining the Sioux Center Community School District because whenever I talk to someone who knows the district, they assure me I am going to absolutely love it. It is exciting to be a part of an excellent district and to push myself to be a part of that. I am also excited to work with my co-counselor, Levi Judge. I am hoping that Levi’s fresh ideas and a perspective will enhance my skills as a counselor. Finally, I am excited about helping students build the skills that enhance mental health. Middle school is an exciting time; I love the energy and enthusiasm the students bring, and I enjoy helping them build the skills they need to negotiate this time successfully.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy baking, reading, messing in my flower bed, walking and riding the bike trail.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve the students and families of this community. I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming days and becoming a part of this professional and progressive district.


Lexie Everman, middle school art teacher

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: Making new connections with students, staff and the community. I love watching students learn and create unique artworks.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: Spend time with family, friends and my dog. I like to exercise and continue to learn, by creating art and reading.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I am excited to work with the community to create real life experiences for students, please feel free to contact me.


Megan Schaeffer, seventh-grade language arts

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: Getting to know each of the students and sharing my love of reading and writing.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: Hiking, biking and trying to learn bass guitar.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I’m looking forward to getting to know this community better!


New Sioux Center High School teachers

New Sioux Center High School teachers are John Fernstrum, half time American History and half time alternative school, and Andrew Thonstad, business education.

Andrew Thonstad, business education

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: Having taught the past eight years as the only business teacher at my school, I am looking forward to having another teacher to work with and bounce ideas off of. Also, from what I have heard and observed, Sioux Center is pushing the envelope in education in preparing students to be ready for their future, and I am excited to be a part of this.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: My wife and I have four very involved sons and, as a result, most of my “fun” revolves around attending their activities. I am also involved in both Scouts BSA and Cub Scouts in Hawarden.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to share with the community?

A: I am very excited to be a member of the Sioux Center staff. I am looking forward to getting to know the students and helping them prepare for their future.


John Fernstrum, half time American History and half time alternative school

Q: What makes you excited about this role?

A: I have respected Sioux Center School from afar as I have interacted with their administrators and teachers in professional opportunities. I wanted to be a part of a team that is moving in the same direction, united by a vision of education that I believe in. I look forward to the relationships with students as we learn from one another.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love sports. I coach football at Northwestern College and in the past have coached track. If I am not coaching, I am watching my children in their events or attending sporting events. I enjoy reading as well.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

A: I can’t wait to get to know the Sioux Center people.