Meet KM Perform’s Newest Staff Members!

From+left+to+right%3A+Mr.+Elmer%2C+Mr.+Keefe%2C+and+Mr.+Voigt%0APhotos+courtesy+of+Mr.+Elmer%2C+Mr.+Keefe%2C+and+the+KMHS+website%0A

From left to right: Mr. Elmer, Mr. Keefe, and Mr. Voigt Photos courtesy of Mr. Elmer, Mr. Keefe, and the KMHS website

This year, three new teachers joined the staff of Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform): Mr. Keefe, Mr. Voigt, and Mr. Elmer. Mr. Keefe is a new art focus mentor, alongside Mr. Langenecker; the music department is happy to welcome Mr. Elmer as the new orchestra teacher; Mr. Voigt is joining the staff of KM Perform as a science teacher.

I had the opportunity to interview these three teachers on their opinions of KM Perform thus far, as well as some of the challenges they’ve overcome. Keep reading to learn more about KM Perform’s newest staff members!

What drew you to KM Perform?

KEEFE: [One], being able to work with the teachers at KM Perform was a big draw. Two, Perform provides the opportunity to constantly think outside the box, which a more traditional classroom might not facilitate.  [Using] the ideas of student ownership, leadership, and choice is just a better way to teach . . . The ability to co-teach and teach in a multi-disciplinary environment [was also] appealing.

VOIGT: I was originally brought to KM to teach biology in Legacy. When Mrs. Rach (the previous science teacher in KM Perform) left, I was shifted into [KM Perform] because of my skill set and knowledge of science. . . I am finding that the people, students and staff are awesome, and it seems like a great place to work.

ELMER: In January, I knew that I would probably be relocating to the Milwaukee area and that I would be looking for a new position. In May, that started to become a reality, [which is] when the [job at KM Perform] was made public. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about KM Perform.  I knew about KMHS because I [was a student teacher] there several years ago, but KM Perform and the other [charter schools] were still a bit of a mystery. After I learned about it, [I found that] the structure of the school offers a lot of flexibility and variety for students. I’ve been challenged a little bit in my approach to teaching, which is something that hasn’t happened for a long time.  It’s been a positive experience so far.

What do you think of KM Perform so far? What are you most looking forward to and what has been a challenge?

KEEFE: [I teach in both KM Perform and Legacy, and] both have been very supportive, both from a staff perspective and an administration perspective. Both schools trust the teachers they hire, let us do our work, let us try new things, [and] let us make mistakes. [All of you students] are very lucky, as am I, to be here at Kettle Moraine. The biggest challenge?  I’ve had to learn three different grading systems, and become familiar with about a billion different competencies spread across three departments, [which has] been a bit of an uphill slog. I think the [biggest] challenge is coming up with interesting ideas for the students, both topic-wise and how something can be taught, and . . . we’re all lucky to be in a district that supports that.

VOIGT: KM Perform is definitely different from Legacy, [which] has a much more defined curriculum that is structured so that all of the students work through . . . the same things at the same time. KM Perform puts more of the learning on the students, which is great. . . I feel that anytime a student can have control over their own learning, they will retain that information for a longer period of time. I am most looking forward to seeing the products that students come up with to show their learning.  I am also looking forward to learning from the awesome staff and seeing how they do things in [KM Perform]. The challenge of getting students to do work on their least enjoyable subjects and keeping them on track will be hard. . . Expanding my viewpoint to see other ways of teaching will also be a stretch for me.

ELMER: KM Perform offers a lot of variety and flexibility for students, [which is] one thing I like. Things are always changing and growing, there hasn’t been a boring day at school so far! It’s been a challenge being in a new environment with different people, but I’m finding my way through, doing my best to make connections, and be a better teacher for the students.

So far, these three teachers are fitting in nicely at KM Perform! It’s great to have them here and we can’t wait to see what new ideas they’ll bring to the table!