Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2009 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Rapid City, SD
Bio/Overview: Waider is currently an elementary teacher of grades 2-4 for the Meade School District in Sturgis, South Dakota, where she has taught for nearly 15 years. When she began student teaching, Waider’s first words were “I don't really plan on being a teacher. I just need to do this to get my degree and graduate.” Thankfully the teacher did not write Waider off that moment as a hopeless cause. Instead Waider was encouraged to watch and listen from the back of the room. For Waider, it took exactly two hours and she was completely hooked. Waider was enamored with her cooperating teacher’s ability to motivate the students. Her enthusiasm was contagious and inspiring. Waider quickly amended her initial statement and realized that not only was she going to teach, but she was also meant to teach. Many years of teaching later, Waider still cannot believe that she ever said those words, nor can she imagine herself in any other profession.
Educational Values/Philosophy: Waider believes that with an effective teacher every child will learn. Part of being an effective teacher is focusing on what students can do rather than what they cannot. Waider ensures that she is an effective teacher by spending a good amount of her time outside of school discovering the best research-based methods through reading books or attending classes. Every student deserves to have the best teacher in front of them.
Achievements: Waider was the Meade School District Teacher of the Year in 2003. She has also been the advisor for organizations that range from student council to a Girl's Confidence Course.
Leadership Experience: Waiter has been a teacher leader in a project called South Dakota Counts. This project provides math training to teacher leaders and then the teacher leaders return to their school district and provide the same training to their colleagues. Through this project Waider has become a dynamic math teacher and taken on leadership within her district. Waider has taken leadership roles that include developing a standards-based report card and writing the South Dakota State Math Standards. During her time working as a 2009-2010 fellow she had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people within the Department of Education and within the state of South Dakota. Waider had the opportunity to attend an Indian Dropout Summit with other department members. Through this profound experience she found her passion within teacher preparation in difficult to staff areas, including reservations. Waider also had the unique opportunity to be a panel monitor for both the Teaching American History Grant, and the i3 grant.
Affiliations: South Dakota Counts, Teaching American History GrantEducation: Waider earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Black Hills State University. She recently obtained her Master's degree in curriculum and instruction with a math specialist's endorsement, also from Black Hills State University.
Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Teacher preparation
- Standards and aligned assessment
- Professional development