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Debbie Reiber – Cedar Ridge Elementary School

Debbie Reiber is the epitome of an outstanding teacher. My name is Charise Reimschiissel and I was a kindergartner in her class 19 years ago. I have such wonderful memories of that year. Not memories of how to remember the sound for B, or how to spell DOG; Mrs. Reiber taught me things more valuable than that. She taught me to love learning. The experiences I had in that classroom paired together both education and enjoyment. I feel like she set the stage for me to love my education, and to succeed in it for all the coming years in school. She taught me to really believe the saying: “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.”

Well, she was partly right. The things I needed I learned in kindergarten, I just needed a whole lifetime of it. You see, I am not only her student, I am also her daughter. Growing up, her classroom was my favorite place to be. Every inch, corner, and cranny of her room oozed (and still does!) with love and learning. I can’t just go visit without wanting to explore a little-read a book, listen to a story, paint a picture, get a little messy—even as an adult! Just being there makes you feel excited to learn, ready to explore, and willing to take chances!

The excitement she has for learning and teaching rubs off on everyone she comes in contact with. Debbie loves becoming a better teacher, and helping others improve themselves also. She recently went back to school amidst a busy life of grandkids, a fulltime job, being a wife, and still having kids at home to get her Master’s degree in education. We thought she was crazy, but she went to work, completed the program in one year, and loved every minute of it! She told everyone all the neat things she was learning in the program, and also incorporated these things into her teaching. Many times she has been asked to lead workshops for the faculty in her school, teaching them some of her strategies. She is a leader in her school, and also on her team. As the kindergarten team leader at Cedar Ridge, she sets the example for the other teachers in the grade level—calling meetings and discussing how they can cooperate and work effectively as a team, even when problems arise between them.

Debbie teaches the way other teachers wish they could teach. I know this, because I am a teacher, also. I had an interview at a school where the other team members helped make the decision on the new teacher. I was selected, and later one of the teachers explained that one of the main reasons I was hired was because I spoke so highly of my incredible teacher-mom who helped me learn the ropes of teaching. They could tell that I taught well because of her influence. Her talent and love of teaching spreads to everyone around her. Teachers become better teachers, parents become better parents, and students become better learners, all by being around Debbie. Whenever I need an idea for my classroom, she can list 20 things off the top of her head. The activities she suggests are always tried and true from her own classroom, and are always a success in mine, as well. I am always amazed at how quickly she can think of ideas, and how incredible they turn out EVERY time! She is full of ideas, creativity, and fun. I only wish I could be as successful and influential as my teacher, my mother, my colleague, and my friend.

As Debbie always says, “all I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.”

-Charise Reimschiissel