How did you come to be at Graceland?
As a senior in high school, I looked at Graceland because of the track team and the education program. I loved my time as a student and then started teaching third and fifth grades in Griswold, Iowa. My passion has always been reading instruction. I received my master’s from the University of Missouri in curriculum instruction, focused on reading, and then became a Title I reading and reading recovery teacher. I also provided leadership for all the teachers in our district on reading instruction, and that really drove home the fact that I wanted to work with developing teachers. I received my doctorate from Creighton University, and when the literacy and early childhood position opened at Graceland – where I had strong ties and wonderful experiences – I was eager to be back.
You know when you walk across campus and you see everybody that you know and they smile and wave … that was something that I was really ready for. The Graceland community is really wonderful!
I’ve always had this passion to work with pre-service teachers. I know I was touching a lot of student lives in my classroom, but what I really wanted was to work with the teachers so that they could go out and make that difference in the world.
What is the best part of your career?
I teach the majority of the reading courses on campus and also the early childhood block, which is a really exciting adventure. Because of a grant with DEKKO, Graceland and the preschool in Lamoni, I am able to provide a lot of leadership. I take Graceland students into the classrooms where they get to see the transformation that occurs. I get to see the relationships form and the growth in both the Graceland students as well as the preschoolers. Those field experiences and networks with the local schools allow Graceland students to work with students earlier in their coursework. They’re having experiences that we can then process and talk about in the classroom. It’s what really gets me excited about my job.
“Being part of the Education Program and endorsing in Early Childhood Education, it is hard to not be impacted by Jane Chaillie. Having numerous classes taught by her, she has helped me gain so much more love for teaching than I thought was possible. She has always gone the extra mile and uses her past experiences as a teacher to help make her students better teachers in the future. My ‘Graceland Experience’ would not be as great as it is if it wasn’t for Jane. Any student would be lucky to have her as a professor!”
~Krysten Topliff ’18