March is Women History month and Southeast Polk has a tradition of strong, determined women. These women are an integral part of our Southeast Polk history and have amazing stories to tell. Here’s just a summary of how they’ve impacted our students, school district, and community.
Verna Bowie has been a lifelong resident of Southeastern Polk County whose great grandparents homesteaded in the Ivy area before the Civil War and whose parents worked many hours to get a “yes” vote to consolidate Southeast Polk. Verna started working at the Southeast Polk Central Office in 1975 and has been with the district in one way or another ever since, even as of today working in SEP Archives! During her time here, she volunteered in every job classification except bus driver. She served as the Personnel Director for Classified Staff during her last ten years before “retiring” in 2003. She has been involved in many Southeast Polk and Community Activities and is never afraid to volunteer for anything. Perhaps her best work has been done in helping build the Southeast Polk Dollars for Scholars Chapter. Verna is a lifetime SEP supporter and we are grateful for all she has done for our SEP community!
Donna Frerichs had always known that she wanted to be a teacher and started working for the Southeast Polk School District in 1969, teaching second grade at Centennial Elementary. She remained in that position for over 40 years. Throughout these 40 years, she was a stable force in the education of children. A dedicated teacher who worked at encouraging each individual student to achieve their fullest potential academically, as well as helping them to be a person of character with good morals. Expectations to achieve were always part of her classroom. Donna served on many committees while teaching including one called the B.A.T (Building Assistant Team). On this committee, she always stepped up to help students that other teachers had suggested to the committee. Donna always volunteered to help with any activity at the school whether it was the yearly carnival, Enrichment Day, assemblies, special programs involving fine arts, and the year-end relays and teacher activities.
Following retirement, Donna continued to volunteer at Centennial. She worked with students weekly on reading and math, always stressing the skills that would later be needed in further education. She volunteered at Christmas time wrapping presents for students less fortunate and supported the RAMS by attending events such as RhythAMettes and Show Choir performances.
Donna Frerichs has been and always will be a teacher, one who always put the need of the student first. Students who passed through her classroom were indeed fortunate to have a dedicated teacher who always saw to their academic needs.
Joyce Adams Tremble, or Mrs. T., to legions of SEP Alumni for 30 years, taught high school English, retiring as our English Department Supervisor. Joyce started teaching at Southeast Polk first substituting and then joining the SEP English Department in 1965, mostly teaching sophomores. In 1975, Mrs. T. completed her MSE degree in curriculum design and became the department supervisor. She led the English department while also teaching Advanced Placement English courses until her retirement in 1995. One of Joyce’s best qualities is uplifting others, often by writing personal notes of encouragement; she was also a wonderful mentor to many young teachers. Thank you Joyce for your contributions to our rich Southeast Polk history!
Patty McGeorge was a Southeast Polk elementary teacher for 30 years at Runnells and Delaware Elementary (1985-2015). She was a passionate and driven educator with a gifted ability to bring technology to all aspects of the learning environment. Patty made sure every student had their own individual computer before anyone was talking about 1-1 classrooms. She worked diligently with companies to donate computers for her students. Once they were donated, she taught not only how to use computers but how to fix them and made them an everyday element of their learning. Her students were empowered through her efforts to have them go to other classrooms to help teachers with technology or fix computers. In addition to her teaching, Patty also served on our District Technology Committee during most of the years she taught at Southeast Polk. Patty was characterized as the teacher who was all about building relationships with kids. She was always a great role model in terms of developing relationships with all of her students. Patty embodied the belief with students. “If you have their hearts, you’ll have their minds”. You were ahead of your time! Thank you Patty!
Sue Green was a long-time librarian and cheer coach at Southeast Polk High School. As a librarian, Sue enjoyed and was very passionate about sharing her love of books and the power of reading and learning. It was through Sue’s commitment to the school’s library growth that she was able to start the first Southeast Polk computer library. She also set up the Jr. High and Willowbrook Elementary libraries, then prepared all of the school libraries with automated card catalogs and the materials needed to stay current.
Another passion in education for Sue was the cheer program. Sue worked with Rick Wulkow & Bernie Saggua from the Boys’ & Girls’ Union to start the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches Association. The ICCA was formed in 1987. Sue was a longtime leader in the ICCA and hosted cheer clinics and state competitions at SEP for numerous years as well as judged sportsmanship at the Boy’s Basketball Tournament for many years. Anyone who serves on the Iowa Cheer Coaches Association Board will tell you the impact that Sue has had on them and cheer in the state of Iowa. Her accolades include:
At SEP, Sue was the only cheer coach at all levels for many years and was a fixture at all home games (running the scoreboard, running the concession stand) and away games for all programs. It was through her dedication to the program that SEP Cheer had a state championship under Sue’s guidance. Cheer and the library weren’t the only things Sue did to provide for Southeast Polk. Sue started the teacher appreciation breakfast at the high school and initiated the teacher lounge fund. She retired from SEP in June of 2003. Thank you Sue for everything you did for SEP!