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Holly Warnke’s love of instilling learning helps her earn Pella staff member of the Month Award

Pella Employee of the Month.JPG

Fairview Elementary preschool teacher Holly Warnke was honored as Pella’s Employee of the Month on Friday, March 10. From left to right, Pella Plant Manager Dustin Katje, Holly Warnke, Ron Macke (grandpa), Brad Warnke (husband), Ryder Warnke (nephew), Norma Enos (grandma), Sandy Gansch (mom), Ron Uhlenkamp (dad), Kaitlin Petersen (sister), Dawn Uhlenkamp (stepmom), Jeff Warnke (father-in-law), Coke Warnke (mother-in-law) and Pella Human Resource Manager Jeff Heuton. In front of Holly and Brade Warnke are their daughters, Kylie (left) and Addy (right) Warnke.

When she was a student at Fairview Elementary, Holly Warnke said she remembers looking up to her 3rd grade teacher Carol Winterboer.

From being in her classroom, Warnke said she knew from there that she wanted to work with young kids.

“She instilled that love of learning and making learning fun,” Warnke said. “I always thought that she did a fabulous job of helping everyone and making sure everyone was having fun.”

Down the road, Warnke’s love of learning led her to work at the same school she used to attend. In her first year of teaching, Warnke said she recalls working alongside Winterboer, where she wished her luck for her new job.

Recently, Warnke’s has been recognized by Pella as their Staff Member of the Month on Friday, March 10, where she was awarded a check of $500.

As a preschool teacher, Warnke said she wanted to help instill a love of learning for children at a young age. By helping them love school and have them want to be there, Warnke said it helps students further develop the skills they need.

“It shows them, the kids, that there’s somebody here that cares about them and wants them to succeed,” Warnke said.

Working for the elementary school for 13 years, Warnke said her favorite part about coming to work is simply seeing her students in the morning.

“When you walk in and they come into the classroom, everyone is so excited to see you have something they want to say,” Warnke said. “They help motivate you. . .it’s a fresh day every single day.”

Warnke said her work life isn’t only fulfilling with her students at Fairview Elementary, but also with her fellow preschool teachers.

“Everyone steps up to the plate,” Warnke said. “When we’re here, it’s not just my kids in my class, it’s everyone in preschool. We all help each other, we work together as a team, it really is a community here.”

While the students and teachers were waiting in the gymnasium, Warnke said she remembers seeing the check come in and thinking any one of her colleagues could receive the title. Warnke was nominated by her co-worker Stacy Niehaus.

“I teach with phenomenal teachers, but when she said my name, it was just honor, shock, everything,” Warnke said. “Just a huge wave of emotion.”

With the money, Warnke said she’d love to purchase new cooperative games for the students, which will help them work on their team-building and social skills. She said she would also like to purchase new activities for literacy, which will help students’ skills with phonics.

Warnke lives in Carroll with her husband Brand and their two daughters, Addy and Kylie. Her parents are Sandy Gansch and Ron Uhlenkamp.

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