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Posted on Sep 8, 2015

Van Dyke carries on a teaching tradition

When she was only a small child, Ciara Van Dyke sat in her mother’s classroom and pretended to grade papers. Her father recalls that Van Dyke always seemed to be play the role of teacher when playing with other children.
This school year, Van Dyke will realize her childhood dream.
The new teacher and 2012 Quincy High School graduate joins her parents, fellow teachers Alan and Jacque Rasmussen, at the Quincy School District this year. Alan Rasmussen teaches physical education at Monument Elementary School and Jacque Rasmussen is a librarian at the high school. The couple was hired together 25 years ago by the QSD.
Her parents were instrumental in steering her toward a career in teaching, Van Dyke said.
“My mom was amazing with her students,” Van Dyke said. “She still remembers each of her students to this day. She was a huge mentor for me. She helped me get my classroom set up. My dad showed me how to make my classroom fun. I want to make my classroom a fun and safe learning environment.”
On Wednesday at Monument Elementary School, Van Dyke began her teaching career. She will teach fourth-grade math and science in room 17, just across from her father.
Alan Rasmussen said he checked in on his daughter Monday after the school’s open house. And she had a big smile on her face, he added.
“She’s ready to dive in,” he said.
Alan Rasmussen said he and his wife are excited their daughter has chosen to be an educator.
“I think she’s is going to do fantastic,” he said. “We just think Quincy is a great place to teach. She’s going to make a real difference in kids’ lives.”
Van Dyke comes to the Quincy School District after earning a bachelor’s degree in teaching, including a major in elementary education and a minor in mid-level math, from Central Washington University, where she graduated earlier this year.
She always enjoyed math as a subject, Van Dyke said, but one particular Quincy teacher was a special motivator in her life.
“Wade Petersen was an awesome teacher,” Van Dyke said. “He had a way of building relationships with students. He made me like math again. I want to do that for my students.”
Van Dyke is a product of Quincy. She is one of the few teachers in the district who can say she’s a native Jackrabbit; she was one of the last babies to be born at Quincy Valley Medical Center before it stopped providing labor and delivery services. This summer, she recently married Blake Van Dyke, another hometowner.
“Blake and my parents have been a huge support system.” she said. “They pushed me to be the best that I can be.”
Van Dyke is excited to meet her new students. She anticipates they will have much fun and do much growing together. She looks forward to bringing her insight and knowledge of the area to her classroom.
“I think growing up in the community is going to help me out as a teacher in the understanding of the community,” she said. “I have a greater understanding of the community going through K-12 schools here. I think that will help me to become a better teacher.”


By Tammara Green and Jill FitzSimmons