Ellie Meenk handles likely the biggest spread in teaching duties anywhere within Lynden Schools. As the teacher leader at Lynden Academy, Meenk teaches English. To kindergartners and high schoolers.
“It is a spread,” she says with a laugh. “Yes, I love it.”
Meenk says learning to write is the same whether in kindergarten or a senior in high school. “It is the same process, just the depth you can go is different,” she says. “You have planning, getting ideas, a rough draft, editing and publishing. It is a similar process, just with depth.”
Having served at Lynden Academy for 13 years—she started one year after the school started—Meenk enjoys the opportunity to work with families, to help them learn how to work with their child as they navigate homeschooling. “I appreciate coming alongside of them and I like to give back in that way,” she says. “We offer an opportunity to do something different in the Lynden School District. I work in some of the other buildings and our district is amazing with so many good things going on, (Lynden Academy) is another layer that gives families an option, another way to look at education.”
Handling some administrative duties for Lynden Academy doesn’t stop there, as she also helps out throughout the district, such as serving as Becky Midboe’s substitute principal at Bernice Vossbeck when needed. Whether serving in the school or spending time meeting with other administrators around the district, she enjoys the connections throughout the district.
Outside of school, though, she doesn’t stray too far from the English language. “I like to read,” she says. “Surprise, I love reading.”
During the school year she reads along with her students, trying to stay current and find something exciting in every book, whether she has read it 13 times already or not. Right now she is tackling Jane Eyre, Dracula and Around the World in Eighty Days. But when the summer comes she steps it up. “I challenge myself and always say I am going to read 50 books,” she says. “I have never gotten there.” For Meenk reading is fun and even if she only manages 30 books in the summer, she wants to show her students her excitement.
“The most important thing I can do in a child’s life is get them excited to read.”
Apart from books—in school or at home—Meenk relishes an opportunity to get her hands dirty in the garden and also enjoys cooking for her family.
But books always bring her back to her first interest, though, whether for kindergartners, high schoolers or during a summer break.