Meet the staff at LS-C

The Herald is getting to the end of the list of Lime Springs-Chester Elementary staff who shared their lives with us. It’s been fun getting to know who is caring for our kids.

Rachelle Branum with children Mara and Caden.

Rachelle Branum with children Mara and Caden.

Rachelle Reis Branum (Art)

Rachelle and Mark have been married for 16 years. They have a son (Caden) in second grade and a daughter (Mara) in kindergarten. Mark works at Thrifty White (formally Medicap) in Decorah, where the family lives.

This is Rachelle’s first year at Howard-Winneshiek, but it’s not her first year in the school. She graduated from Crestwood with the Class of 1993 and grew up in the Lime Springs area. Her parents are Ron and Marilyn, who farm near Bonair.

“I’ve spent the last 17 years teaching art in one way or another.” She was Assistant Curator of Education at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Neb.; Docent at The Minneapolis Institute of Art; artist in residence at hospitals, schools and after school programs; taught in public schools at San Antonio, Texas, Ankeny, Iowa and Omaha; taught after school art for adults and kids at ArtHaus, Decorah; and currently runs after school and weekend clay classes at her community ceramic studio—The Clay Studio in Decorah.

She has 20 graduate hours in art and technology and a BA in Art and Education from UNI.

The biggest change from when she went to school is technology! “In fifth grade I got to use an Apple 2e occasionally in TAG, which was located in a closet at Lime Springs, with a few others, a few times a month to play Oregon Trail! My friend Missy Bigalk had an Apple 2e at her house, and she was the only one I knew with a computer!”

She added that in college, she only had one friend with a cell phone. “It was a huge bag phone she left in her car for emergencies on the drive home to Chicago.”

For 2013-14 she would like to teach every student how to think outside of the box, “like Norman Borlaug did when he helped elevate some of the world’s hunger.”

Her favorite part of the job is helping kids learn, watching them have ‘aha!’ moments and being creative in lesson planning.

Her favorite memories include “drawing and writing stories to go along with them in second grade with Mrs. George. She was an arts integration queen!” She also had fun jumping across the lines of round bales in the fall on our family farm.

Hobbies obviously include art of all types, along with being outside, traveling and exploring new places and ideas.

--janet devriesJanet DeVries (Playground supervisor)

Janet and her husband Doug have been married 24 years and have two daughters, Jessica and Jennifer. They live in Lime Springs where they own Family Fun & Fitness, and Janet is the public library director. She started as playground supervisor in 1999.

She graduated from Crestwood and has an associate degree in Child Development and is a certified librarian.

The biggest change she has observed since she went to school is technology.

“My goals for this year are to always make sure the children know the safety rules on the playground and have a safe environment for them. I like to promote to parents how important it is for their children to keep up on their reading skills.”

Her favorite part of her job is the children. “I enjoy working with the children at school and the library. I love reading to the children and watching the expressions on their faces as the book means something to them.”

My favorite memory is when a child has succeeded and she can express how proud she is of him or her.

When she isn’t working, Janet is still working! “I am the community youth leader and superintendent for the United Methodist Church and one of the directors of the Children’s Theatre Troupe. I love working with children, promoting the library and am happy to be able to serve the community.”



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