English department grows

Eris Rindt, Newtonian Social Media Manager

Flipping the page into the new year, 2022 brings a new teacher to the English department, who was once a student at NHS herself. Alumni Lydia Deckert, NHS class of 2016, graduated ready to pursue a career in English, eventually leading her back to teach in her own stomping grounds. 

Not only is Deckert an alumni of NHS, but her two siblings once attended Newton High as well. Through her last years of high school, Deckert had her brother to join her in the high school experience, while her sister started high school after Deckert had graduated. 

“I had a younger brother and a younger sister. My brother graduated in 2018 and my sister graduated in 2021,” Deckert said 

Deckert graduated from a small university in Harrisonburg, Virginia called Eastern Mennonite University. She graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in English. Currently, Deckert is working on her master’s degree at Fort Hays University. Her love for books is also an inspiration for her English pathway in particular. 

“I had a really awesome group of English teachers when I was a student [at NHS] and I really had a great group of English professors in college that inspired me to become an English teacher,” Deckert said. “Also just my love of books. I love talking about books, I love encouraging people to read.”

As she continues to move into her classroom, she hopes to make her room a welcoming environment for all of her students. In her classroom, there is currently a Pride flag and fairy lights to help make her classroom feel more inviting to those who enter. 

“I hope that my classroom feels like a safe place for kids to learn and express themselves,” Deckert said.

On Jan. 10, the Newton Public Schools Facebook page shared a bit of information on Deckert’s arrival with a complimentary ‘welcome to the district’ post. The post gave some information about Deckert’s prior schooling and other activities she enjoys in order to familiarize the community with her. 

“I love anything outside,” Deckert said. “You can often find me running or walking on the trails in town. I like to bike or swim, just be active and of course I like to sit down and read and block out the world.”

One of Deckert’s goals for her classroom and the new year is to have learning activities that allow students to become more engaged in their reading. Deckert has planned activities such as ‘Lit circles’ which involves breaking students into a group and having the groups work together to understand a book they are reading within that small group. 

“I am really excited for the ‘Lit circle’ unit that I’m going to do with my seniors,” Deckert said. “They get to choose their own book and read about it and work on group projects.”