Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Gretchen Wittenmyer
When I am reading about my child's teacher, there are a few things I want to know. How long has she been teaching? What sort of experiences has she had? Is she able to help my child learn and grow as a person? Since I try to do for others as I would want them to do for me, I will try to answer all your un-asked questions here!
In 2004, I earned my B.S. in Elementary Education, after which I taught fifth grade at Hill Country Christian School of Austin for three years. Then in 2008, my husband's work took us to Sydney, Australia, where our three children were born. While we were there, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, volunteering in my church and in a local preschool playgroup on a weekly basis. One of my children was diagnosed with autism in 2014, and I began learning everything I could to ensure success for my little one.
In December of 2015, my kids and I returned to Texas to be close to family, and I decided to formalize what I had been learning by obtaining my certification in Special Education. That led me to a wonderful position as an aide in a special education program in Dallas, where I was able to learn from our two master teachers, three other aides, and fifteen students. In April 2017, I was asked to come to NJES to lead the Functional Academics class here, and I leaped at that chance!
The 2017-18 school year was my first full year at NJES, and my team and I were fortunate enough to learn directly from staff at Region 13, both through a mentorship from Dr. Amanda Boutot, and through an intensive 8-month Autism Circuit cohort. This year promises to be even better than last year, as we start from a position of strength. Our aides, Valerie Rahyns and Beth Bradshaw, have over 15 years of Special Education experience between them, and we work and communicate exceedingly well as a team. We love the kids who come through our doors, and we work hard to make sure they know that they are loved and that they can do anything they put their mind to!
I make it my goal to know each of my students as well as I can and to partner with their families to help them take their next steps. I strive to promote academic, moral, social, and physical growth for each of my students, treating them with kindness and diligence. I keep my lines of communication open, so if you ever have any questions, concerns, or comments, please get in touch with me.
When I don't have my nose to the grindstone, I may be engaged in some of my favorite activities, such as: reading (Amazon.com is my friend!), eating chocolate (Lindt… yum!), enjoying my two cats (Max might be able to come visit our classroom occasionally), and not cooking (Chick-fil-A might possibly be a favorite location for my kids and me….). Or I might be supervising my kids' school work, monitoring their screen time, or providing them with a taxi service to extra-curricular activities! It never ends, and I wouldn't have it any other way. :-)
I am looking forward to the adventures this year holds for us all!