Thursday, April 5, 2012

Exeter Alum Return to Teach

Shelli Mueller, Jackson Krejci (middle) and Brian Murphy are all Exeter High School graduates who have come back to Exeter-Milligan to teach. (Not Pictured is Darcy White).
Four Exeter alumni have returned to the campus as faculty members at Exeter-Milligan.

Jackson Krejci, the youngest in the bunch, is in his sixth year of teaching at Exeter-Milligan.  He was a member of the Exeter High School class of 2001 and after graduating from Midland Lutheran returned to his hometown to teach and coach in 2006.  So far for him the experience has been a good one, “I think the fact that we have a staff that works together well in the elementary and the high school makes a difference.  I never thought I would be back at Exeter but it's been great teaching back home.”

In addition to his duties teaching math and physical education, Krejci has led the Exeter-Milligan girls basketball team to the state championship playoffs for several years.  Krejci also is an assistant coach for football, helps with junior high sports and serves as the head girls track coach. 

After doing his student teaching at Bennington Elementary near Omaha Krejci applied at a number of districts, “ But it worked out that a few spots were open in Exeter and I decided to interview and take the job.”

Brian Murphy, a 1993 Exeter High graduate, started out working in the family business in Exeter.  He worked part time while attending college and graduated from UNL.  He did his student teaching at Exeter-Milligan with Chris Lewandowski.  When he began looking for a job he interviewed other places, “I was flexible, ultimately my goal was not necessarily to come back to Exeter, but there was a job here and it worked well for my family.”  Murphy’s wife, Angie Murphy, is the elementary music teacher in the Exeter-Milligan district.
Murphy is also in his sixth year of teaching at Exeter-Milligan and is enjoying teaching history and geography, “Particularly with geography you can watch that light bulb of interest go on.  Kids really seem to click with geography and get interested more than other subjects.”

Murphy also enjoys the interacting with students outside the classroom in his role as a coach.  He coaches junior high football and is the head boys track coach.

Shelli Mueller returned to Exeter-Milligan this year after attending UNL and graduating from Peru State.  She did her student teaching at Exeter-Milligan in the fall of 2003 and in 2004 did some subbing in the district along with serving as the assistant coach for the Exeter-Milligan girls basketball team when they won the state championship.  She taught for seven years at St. Joseph’s in York, “I was always looking for the opportunity to come back and when the fourth grade position opened up I was very excited to interview and get the job.”
This fall  Mueller started in her position at the Milligan campus teaching fourth graders and this spring has taken on the position of assistant track coach.

Both Murphy and Mueller will face an interesting dilemma since they are living in the same town they teach.  In the next few years they will be looking at the possibility of having their own children in the classroom. Murphy’s children, son, Patrick is a sixth grader this year, and daughter, Caitlin in fourth grade, have already experienced their Mother for elementary music but Murphy doesn’t think it will be a problem for him, “In the classroom I really try to be just a teacher, I don’t think it will be much different.  It might be a little strange at first but it’s only one period not like an elementary classroom.”

Mueller, on the other hand, has two sons, Adrian and Gavin, who aren’t school aged yet.  “I’ve thought a lot about this – it will be a lot of Daddy bonding time.  When I student taught I asked Mrs. (Kathy) Erdkamp how she taught her own son and she told me she encouraged her husband to work with their son on homework and studying for tests.”

All three have found the benefits of growing up in the community translate well in their teaching career, “The community connection is great.  I feel it makes it easier for parents, they aren’t afraid to talk to you,” said Mueller. 

Murphy added, “ I was in classrooms in Lincoln schools with more kids but have found that I do like smaller schools because you get to know people better. It has its pros and cons.“

Outside of the classroom all three have been coaching track this season at Exeter-Milligan and all three have enjoyed the experience. “I think it's worked out great coaching with some fellow alums.  We know what the experience was like graduating here and also competing in sports here at Exeter,” said Krejci.

In addition to each of these teachers living in Exeter, all three of these returning grads do have a deep history with Exeter, as each of them have their parents and  extended family living in the community.

An indepth article on Physical Education and Volleyball Coach Darcy White will be featured soon.

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