Graceland Grad Becomes a District Leader

Graceland alum Leslie Niebauer `15 in a school library with two other teachers preparing for students

Leslie Niebauer '15 (center) prepares the new Ridgeway school library's reading oasis.

Graceland University’s School of Education prepares graduates to take initiative and to be leaders. Leslie Niebauer ’15 began teaching the fall after she graduated from Graceland’s elementary education program and has already made her mark, improving the school for her students.

Ridgeway School District in Missouri was awarded a grant through United Way and Scholastic that will provide the school with books, bookshelves, and will fill a tremendous gap in the elementary book section. Niebauer was personally responsible and instrumental in securing this grant, which was awarded to only 10 schools in the country. A ribbon cutting was held on March 16 at the school, honoring Niebauer and the improved library.

“I really wanted to do something for our library. It was outdated and didn’t have enough books for beginning and struggling readers. We just really didn’t have the funds to buy any, so I did some research and found out about the "Adopt a School" program through United Way. I found their website and contacted them to start the grant process. I was totally surprised when we got notice of the award! This will make a huge improvement for our little school.” – Leslie Niebauer ‘15.

Ridgeway R-5 is a small school that serves preschool through high Sschool. It is a Title 1 School that has just 95 students. Niebauer teaches multiple classes: a combined fifth- and sixth-grade class as well as a third- and fourth-grade split. Her initiative and vision to improve her school has made a significant impact on Ridgeway and its students.