Iowa-Grant Alumni News

#ThrowbackThursday

Attention Iowa-Grant Alumni:

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

1.) Name

2.) Class of _____ (please include school, if before Iowa-Grant)

3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: work, school, trades, etc.

4.) Where are you now?

5.) What do you do? Comment below or send an email to roberfoell@igs.k12.wi.us

6.) Any advice for our Panthers?

1. Melissa Miller Tairi - 1996

Hi! Melissa Miller, now Melissa Tairi, here! Class of 1996. I worked several jobs in customer service out of high school, but then found my career as a 911 dispatcher after moving to Nebraska. I spent 10 years there, working for local counties and the state patrol before moving back to Wisconsin in 2017. I currently live in Prairie du Chien, and am re-married to a wonderful man. We’ve recently opened our own barbershop here, but my true passion and full time work is as the Justice Programs Coordinator for Crawford County. I oversee the drug and alcohol treatment court, and am currently developing a diversion program, as well. Every day I get to help people in recovery learn how to live better lives, and nothing could be more satisfying.


My one piece of advice would be for seniors, and it is this - Just because you're an "adult" and graduating from high school doesn't mean that you have to have everything figured out, or jump in to the world so fast. Everything seems so big, and so important right now, but it is really just one of the many phases that you'll go through in your (hopefully) long lifetime. Take your time. Enjoy the experiences life has to offer, whether you go to college, or straight into the workforce. You don't learn who you really are until you've given yourself the opportunity to live independently, and take in the world around you on your own terms.


Hope everyone at IG is well and GO PANTHERS!

2. Rachel Allen Evanoff - 2006

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
1.) Rachel Evanoff (Allen)
2.) Class of 2006
3.) After graduation, I attended UW-Platteville where I graduated with majors in both biology and secondary education, with a minor in environmental science. I then worked at Black Hawk for 2 years and Southwestern for 3 years, teaching and coaching in both districts.
4.) I live in Hazel Green with my husband and 2 girls
5.) I teach science at the alternative school in Dubuque. We serve students who are credit deficient and at risk of not graduating on time. This is my 5th year there and I love it!

6.) Advice: Set goals for everything in life, even if that goal seems small. Work hard for that goal -- and celebrate when you hit it!

3. Kevin Rabuck - 1984

I am Kevin Rabuck. I graduated in 1984. I lived on Cobb and I worked at Gavins IGA. I went into the Marines after graduation. I live in North Carolina now. I have three wonderful kids. They are 8,10 and 13. I work for Harris Teeter.

4. Mike Mueller - 1966

Name: Michael Mueller

Class: 1966

Post I-G Education: Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science, UW-Madison 1970

Master of Divinity, Univ. of Dubuque Theological Seminary, 1977

Wisconsin Certified Law Enforcement Officer, Southwest Wisconsin

Technical College, 1995

Post I-G Work History: Dairy farmed in I-G School District, 1970-1973

Served as United Methodist Student Minister while attending seminary, 1973-76

Dairy farmed in I-G School District, 1976-1995

Beef farm in I-G School District, 1995 to present. Still actively farming.

Police Officer in three Iowa County communities(part-time) 1995-1998

Police Officer (full time) City of Verona, 1998-2013 (Farmed full time

while working full time as police officer.)

5. Craig Temby - 1971

Craig (Buzz) Temby:

1.) Graduating class of 1971

2.) UW-P - BS degree - Elementary Education

3.) Taught grades 5/6 science - Darlington Community Schools for 31 years

4.) Retired in 2008

5. Current Residence: South Range, WI Douglas County

6. Justin Williams - 2002

1.) Name - Justin Williams
2.) Class of 2002 (please include school, if before Iowa-Grant)
3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: work, school, trades, etc. I moved to Madison after Iowa-Grant and went to Madison College to pursue my associates degree in Liberal Arts and then went to UW-Milwaukee for Political Science. I moved back to Madison after two years in Milwaukee and worked on several political campaigns and then spent 10 years at a social and environmental justice nonprofit.
4.) Where are you now? I still live in Madison and now I work for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin as her Regional Representative to southcentral and southwest Wisconsin.
5.) What do you do? I attend meetings on behalf of Senator Baldwin and report back to her so that she’s appraised of what’s going on in the area. When she’s in state, I work to help schedule her events and make sure she’s staffed to events she attends in my district.

7. Troy Thomas - 2012

My name is Troy Thomas. I was a 2012 graduate of IGHS. I attended all of my grade school and highschool years at I-G. After Graduation I resided in Waterloo, IA while attending Hawkeye Community College majoring in Agricultural Business Management.


After graduating with an Associate's degree I returned home to Montfort and worked several different jobs all in the field of agriculture ranging from Parts sales at an implement dealership to working as general farm labor for several different farmers in the area.


One of my greatest accomplishments was establishing a business of my own in 2014 that has grown from a few ideas and a seed corn dealership to a small side business. Crossroads Ag Services consists of anything from custom farm machinery operations to crop consulting services. I no longer carry a dealership for any products but offer various services mainly in the agronomy field servicing clientele in both Iowa and Wisconsin. I still work for other farmers and farm some of my own land as well as pasture cattle under the Crossroads Ag title.


I currently live in Cobb with my wife and very soon to be 2 children; today is my wife's due date for baby number 2!


My advice is this. If you don't have a passion for something then you need to find something! Without being driven to do something for your own personal benefit or the betterment of someone else, life is meaningless. Once you find something you like and enjoy don't hesitate to follow it WHEREVER it goes! But never think you should be entitled to anything because someone can't give you something they don't have without first taking it from someone else.


All I'm trying to say is that relying on yourself is, much of the time, easier and far less stressful than worrying and wondering how someone might take care of you. Whether it's signing your paycheck, fixing your car, or putting food on the table. By being self reliant one only has one person to be responsible for.


Thank you for the opportunity to share all of this.

8. Todd Wagner - 1979

Name: Todd Wagner

Class of: 1979

Post I-G Experiences: 1979-83 UW-Platteville B.S. Agri-Business, 1983-1988 Ciba-Geigy, 1988-2018 BASF Corporation

Where are you now?: Sun Prairie, WI

What do you do?: Retired

Miscellaneous: I married my wife Sonja in 1990, we have one daughter (Heidi)

My advice to you: "Get an education or learn a trade, work hard, excel at your job, and stand out from your peers".

9. Jeff Johnson - 1981

1.) Name Jeff Johnson


2.) Class of 81 - Livingston


3.) Schools: UW Platteville (Bachelors - Industrial Engineering), Virginia Tech (Masters - Systems Engineering)


Work: Engineer - Missile Systems- US Navy

Engineer - Mine Countermeasures, US Navy

Weapons Reliability Lead - US Navy

Director: Energetic Systems Engineering - US Navy


4.) Where are you now? Colorado Springs, Colorado


5.) What do you do? Director - Missile Defense Systems Operations Safety, US Missile Defense Agency


Go see other places - as far away and as different as possible, and meet as many different people as possible.

10. Kristine Huffaker - 2006

1). Name: Kristine Huffaker

2.) Class of 2006

3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: I went to UW-Platteville and graduated with a major in English Education. I ended up working various different types of customer service jobs after graduating while still applying for jobs in my field before finally being hired at my current job where I've been for the past six years.

4.) Where are you now? I currently live over in Dyersville, IA.

5.) What do you do? I am an Account Services Rep for Medline Industries in Dubuque. Basically what that means is I assist four sales reps (two reps in northern California and two reps down in West and East Central Texas) while they're out in the field with customers. On a daily basis, I'm actively assisting customers with their medical orders to ensure their post-acute facilities are adequately stocked while also trying to find cost-effective methods to save them money as well in the long run. It's a definite challenge sometimes, especially now with the recent supply chain hardships, but I absolutely love it.

6.) My last piece of advice is do what you want to do, not what you think others want or expect you to do. You are your own unique individual so do what makes you happy because being happy and content with your life spreads so much into your other aspects of life and makes things easier in the long run. And get out of your comfort zone from time to time and try new things as that helps you grow as a person. Travel too. But ultimately enjoy life and find what makes you happy.

11. Marcia Straka Shafer - 1971

1.) Marcia Straka Shafer

2.) Montfort Grade School to Iowa Grant.

3.) Votech Fennimore for CNA, Norwich Tech for LPN (CT), Mohegan Community College for Associate RN, and worked at local hospital for 40yrs in each above noted status. Then local skilled nursing facility for 8yrs as Case Manager. Retired 2019.

4.) Lisbon, Connecticut on 6 acres of land maintaining the property with mowing, weeding, flowers, shrubs, traveling with our 41 Ford pickup to car shows in New England and have 2 kids, 3 grandchildren and 2 dogs.

12. Thomas Reuter - 2017

1. Thomas Reuter

2. Iowa-Grant Class of 2017

3. Bachelor's Degree from UW-Whitewater. Finance Major and Spanish Minor.

4. Madison, WI

5. Internal Auditor at TDS, Inc.

13. Courtney Whitaker Rounds - 1994

1.) Name Courtney Whitaker Rounds

2.) Class of 1994

3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: UW-Platteville for 1 year, then attended SWTC to graduate with an Associate Degree for Legal Secretary in 1997. Started working at CESA 3 in Fennimore as the receptionist, and moved up to work as assistant to the bookkeeper until 2009. I left to stay home with my kids, and then returned to CESA 3 in 2012 when they were all in school full-time, again as the assistant bookkeeper. I then returned to SWTC again in 2014 and graduated with an Accounting degree in 2015. I am still working at CESA 3 as the Bookkeeper. I am also the Clerk/Treasurer for the Town of Boscobel. I live in Boscobel with my husband, and 3 kids.

14. Rita Oleson Riley - 1971

My name is Rita (Oleson) Riley Class of 1971. High School was a great experience for me with lots of great memories. We had great leadership, excellent teachers, and wonderful office staff and custodians. It was also a family affair with eight of us first cousins attending IG. Things were very different back then. My first job that Mrs. Morris and Miss Bruecher prepared me for was working at the former State National Bank in Platteville as the secretary/receptionist. I think of them often and am thankful that I had good jobs for my entire life. From there I went to UW-Platteville working in both the Registrar’s Office and for the College of Agriculture until we started our family. I became a stay at home mom for a few years. When I went back to work part time at UW-P I was lucky to get a job working for the Chicago Bears during their summer training camps. That was an interesting and fun time too. When I went back to work full time it was at the UW Madison Agricultural Research Station in Lancaster. UW Madison has several research stations across the state. The Lancaster station does research on beef cattle and crops. It was a great run there as the office manager at a job I loved for over 30 years. I retired August 2020 knowing my grandchildren would need help with learning at home during Covid. (A plug here for the IG second grade teaching team…each one was just so amazing. The older kids worked more independently, but their teachers did a wonderful job too.)


I won a road map at my last high school class reunion since I had never found my way out of here. My husband, Pat, and I lived briefly in Platteville when we were first married and the past 44 years have been in Livingston where we raised our family (Rael, John, and Chelsie). I am enjoying retirement and happy to be able to be able to be there for our third generation Panthers (Rylee and Beckem Stecklein and Elway and Ezzy Walter). We have two other grandchildren that are proud Mount Horeb Vikings (Malin & Decker Riley). We love that we are blessed to have our family living so close to us.


My advice to Panthers would be to take time to appreciate the time they have with their family. So many families are so busy and overwhelmed that they often miss the value of the special moments of just being together. Find a balance in your life that includes both fun and quietness. Remember to spend time with older members of your family, church, and community. Their life lessons hold much value. Give your personal thanks to a veteran. You don’t have to be the best, but always try your best. Start a retirement savings plan as soon as you get your first job!


Your staff is top notch!!!

15. Jackson Vigen - 2018

1. Jackson Vigen

2. Class of 2018

3. After graduating, I took a sales job at a car dealership, which then introduced me to finance.

4. Green Bay, WI

5. I am a Sales Manager for Cabela’s Vacation Ownership club.

6. Learn from every experience life throws at you, and better yourself from it.

16. Drew Johnson - 2018

  1. Drew Johnson
  2. Class of 2018
  3. In my last year of undergrad at UW-Madison studying Kinesiology-Exercise and Movement Science with 2 certificates (minors) in Athletic Healthcare and Sports Communication. I am in the process of applying to Athletic Training Masters programs at UW-Madison and Long Beach State University.
  4. Living in downtown Madison
  5. I have been a manager for the Badger Volleyball program since the summer after graduating from IG, I currently play on the UW-Madison Men’s Club Volleyball team and serve as the Community Outreach Officer, and last summer I interned with Special Olympics Wisconsin on the Sports Management team.
  6. Get outside of your comfort zone. There is a lot the world has to offer outside of our small, rural area. But if you do venture out, never forget where you came from and the people that helped you get there.

17. Jill Allen - 1975

1.) Jill Allen

2.) Class of 1975 I-G High School
Cobb Elementary

3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: Southwest Technical School- Vocational Diploma for Account Clerk
Secretary/Bookkeeper of Burnham Lumber for 3 years
Secretary of IGEMS for 40 years

4.) Where are you now?
Retired & live in Livingston

5.) What do you do?
Taking more time to enjoy life more with kids, grandkids, dad, family, friends, vacations, gardening, kayaking, biking, golfing & other outdoor activities.


6.) Advice for our Panthers:

Remember & appreciate where you came from no matter where you go. That small school, beautiful country with open fields/spaces & neighbors/ friends that will help you out at times is something very special!

18. Jason Fisher - 1995

  1. Name: Jason Fisher
  2. Class of 1995
  3. I Graduated from UW Platteville after transferring from UW Stout with a degree in Technology Education. I taught for 2 years (one at Mt. Horeb, one at IG). Then did some various work including carpentry, loan officer, working at a Gateway computer store. I ended up settling into a career in Construction staffing. I have been in recruiting, sales, and management for staffing since about 2004 ish with 4 companies. I'm also a realtor part-time for my wife's real estate company: Fisher Realty Group
  4. I now live in Montfort and we've been here for about 11 years. We have lived in Colorado and Florida also.
  5. My title is Business Development for NCW.
  6. If you can find your passion early in life, figure out a way to make it your career.

19. Julie Allen Kirschbaum - 2009

1. Julie (Allen) Kirschbaum

2. Class of 2009

3. Post - IG, I graduated from UW-Platteville in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Communication Technologies. During college, I completed an internship with my dream job at A & M Bridal Boutique in Platteville and continued to work there my first few years after graduation.

4. After a few life changes, I started at PSSI in Kieler, WI in August of 2016 as a Payroll Administrator and UPS Coordinator. Since then I've held 5 additional roles which have led to my current position as Sales Manager.

5. I am currently leading a team of 4 who help support our larger sales and operations teams. PSSI Employs 17,000 people across the US and Canada to help protect the food industry and is headquartered in Kieler, WI.

6. The advice I would give to our Panters is that it is 100% okay to change your career path. Sometimes what you think is going to be the best career for you, isn't and that's okay! It is scary, but if you find the right company, have a good work ethic and communicate the goals you've set for yourself, you'll find you never have to settle for less than you deserve.


Have a great day and stay safe!

20. Morgan Eisele - 2017

1.) Morgan Eisele

2.) Class of 2017

3.) After I graduated from Iowa-Grant, I attended University of Wisconsin-Madison. My major was Human Development and Family Studies and I also completed two certificates: Education and Educational Services & Disability Rights and Services. I completed an internship Summer 2020 at the organization that I now work at full-time. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in 3.5 years, and graduated Winter 2020.

4.) I am living and working in Madison, WI.

5.) I am a Dane County Resource Specialist. I work at a nonprofit organization on the East Side of Madison called Operation Fresh Start. At Operation Fresh Start, we empower emerging adults on a path to self-sufficiency through education, mentoring, and employment training. My role is to help the youth enrolled in our programs connect with vital resources they need to knock down barriers and be successful.

6.) My advice for younger Panthers is to look for opportunities that are going to help you see where you want to go in your career and life; opportunities like job shadows, internships, and apprenticeships. I highly recommend doing these things before going onto your next step, especially if that next step is college and will be costing you lots of money!

21. Jessica Whitaker - 1996

Jessica Whitaker, 1996

After graduating in May of 1996, I attended Edgewood College in Madison for 5 years earning an undergrad in Art Education. I played 4 years of volleyball, 2 years of softball and 2 years of basketball while attending Edgewood!


My first teaching job was at a charter school in Milwaukee teaching K-8 art. Much to my surprise, I was also required to teach a first grade reading class. I quickly learned that I wanted to be a classroom teacher and more importantly, work with struggling readers. The following year I taught first grade and looped the following year with the same group of students and taught second grade. I then taught two years of K4 and looped with my final group of students to K5. While teaching K4 and K5 I was also pursuing my masters degree in reading from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. After my first 6 years of teaching, I got a job as a Reading Specialist at a charter school located in one of Milawaukee's oldest public housing areas. It was here that I met my mentor who encouraged me to pursue licensure for a Principal and Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. In 2017 I accepted the Executive Director role at Central City Cyberschool when my mentor retired.

I currently live in Wauwatosa/Milwaukee with my two children who are 8 and 14.


The advice I have for Panthers... Be kind and see the world through your own lens. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and people who push you to learn new things. I have spent the last 20 years working with students and families who do not have similar life experiences to me, and it has taught me more than any degree I have earned. Let your worth be defined in how you treat others and what you do with the tools you get at IG...for me it was just a start...I met all the right people and learned all the best lessons when I started looking at the world through a new lens.

22. Mary Schauff - 1996

1.) Mary Schauff

2.) Class of 1996. Rewey Elementary School

3.) I attended Illinois State University for 2 years and played college basketball. I finished my education at UW-Platteville with a Bachelor's degree in Agribusiness and Animal Science and a Master's Degree in Counselor Education. I have worked for Genex Cooperative, as a school counselor for the Royall School District, and for the past 5 years I have worked as a school counselor for the Platteville School District.

4.) My husband and I live in Rewey with our 3 boys.

5.) In addition to being a counselor at Platteville, my husband and I also operate a cow-calf beef operation alongside my parents.

6.) My advice would be to enjoy the little moments each day and spend time each night thinking about something you are thankful for that day. Also, learn to deal with disappointment. Farming has taught me this: Animals die, machinery breaks, prices fall, but you just take a deep breath and keep on working.

23. Kim Whitaker Buckle - 2000

1. Kim (Whitaker) Buckle
2. Class of 2000
3. I moved to Madison and went to MATC for graphic design. I got my first full time job designing for CUES and then moved on to Trek Bicycle where I did environmental design for Trek stores all over the country. I then moved into a project management role for Environmental and Packaging designers. A move to England allowed me to transfer to Trek UK and do Retail Project Management. I designed store layouts, managed the build outs and budgets of the shops and worked on store marketing. I lived in England for 8 years before coming back to the US. Once back I took on a role at WiscoBoxes in Mt Horeb for a year and then moved to Sprinkman Real Estate where I have been for almost 2 years.
4. I live in Cross Plains, WI with my husband and son.
5. Creative Designer for Sprinkman Real Estate in Madison. I design print items, do our social media and work with our 30 agents to market themselves and their homes.
6. Travel. Experience different places, cultures and people.

24. Abby Witzig - 2012

1.) Name: Abby Witzig

2.) Class of 2012

3.) Describe your post-IG experiences: after graduating from Iowa Grant I took a year off and became a CNA. Doing that allowed me to find my passion, caring for the elderly. I worked as a CNA while going to school at Southwest Tech to become a Medical Assistant. After graduating that program I worked in a few clinics around Madison over a 7 year span.

4.) Where are you now? Mount Horeb

5.) What do you do? I manage an Assisted Living facility in New Glarus WI.


Find your passion! I had to take a year off after high school to do it but it was exactly what I needed. Don't let society tell you how to live your life, get out there and figure it out for yourself.

25. Jayne Gibbon - 1991

Name: Jayne Gibbon

Class: 1991

Post-IG experiences: Graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1996, with MBA from UW-Oshkosh in 2006. Worked for Kohler for 2 years in Internal Audit traveling internationally. Worked for Kimberly-Clark for ~10 years in internal audit and computer security, still travelling internationally. Was able to visit over 30 countries worldwide during this time.

Where I am now: Appleton, Wisconsin

What do you do: Working remotely for SAP, a German technology company, since 2007 as an Executive Advisor within their Chief Customer Office.

26. Tianna Irons - 2018

1.) Tianna E Irons

2.) Class of 2018

3.) I went straight into the work force! I have been working in health care as a CNA/Universal care worker and I will be attending college for Apothecary (Traditional herbal medicine). I hope to carry out my own herbal business afterwards!

4.) I am currently living and working is Stoughton Wisconsin. I am living with my boyfriend and our dogs, we are also expecting our first child!!

5.) I am currently working at Skaalen Heights Independent homes. I give out medication and make sure people have a peaceful, stress free retirement.

6.) My advice for panthers and future panthers is don’t be afraid if your aspirations don’t go as planned after high school. Or at any point in your life. There were so many things I wanted to do after high school, that it was almost impossible to choose. Nearly four years after graduation, I am just now completely sure of what I want to do with the rest of my life. Don’t ever allow yourself to feel like your behind everyone you graduated with, because, you are not. EVERYONE has a different path to success, some of our paths just take a little longer than others. Don’t rush yourself, and you’ll find exactly what your looking for in life. I know I did!

27. Gina Grimm Peat - 1988

1.) Gina Grimm Peat


2.) Class of 1988


3.) When I left Iowa Grant, I went to college in Oshkosh. I loved living there and had many great experiences as I worked to get my degree in Elementary Education. However, there is no place like home. In 1993, I married my high school sweetheart (Mike Peat) and I began my dream job of being a Kindergarten teacher at IGEMS. Since then we have lived only in the Iowa Grant area. We were blessed with three wonderful children, Derek, Malery, and Brady. It was a pleasure to watch them get an education and make the most out of all IG had to offer.


4.) Mike and I live in the country near Cobb. We love where we live, have fun traveling, and enjoy spending time with our kids.


5.) I am currently in my 29th year of teaching at IGEMS. I have taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, and now 2nd grade. It has been interesting to change grade levels. I can honestly say that wherever I am, that is my favorite grade. I am lucky to work with a great staff, wonderful families, and of course the best students.


6.) My best advice is to see beauty in the things you do, the places you go, and the people you meet. Life is short and you need to make the most of each day, even the hard ones. Be Kind.


#onceapantheralwaysapanther

28. Emily Walsh Rider - 2013

  1. Emily Walsh (Rider)

  2. Class of 2013

  3. After graduation I attended UW-Stevens Point with a chosen Major of Athletic Training. I soon found out that a 4-year school was not for me. I transferred back to Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and took accounting classes for a year and then transitioned into the Medical Assistant program. I graduated from the MA program in 2015 and started working in a clinic setting. I worked for SSM Health for 5 years, 9 months of that was in Madison in Cardiology and the rest of the time in the Dodgeville Multi-Specialty clinic. I now have been working for Upland Hills Health family practice clinics for 2 years. While working fulltime as a Medical Assistant I started a ride along program with the Mineral Point Rescue Squad and eventually took the EMT Basic course. After about a year of being an EMT Basic I continued my education and took the Advanced EMT course.

  4. I live in Mineral Point with my husband and black lab Molly.

  5. I work as a Certified Medical Assistant at Upland Hills Health full time. During my free time I volunteer with the Mineral Point Rescue Squad where I am an Advanced EMT, Training Officer, and CPR instructor.

  6. My advice for current and future Panthers is to do what makes you happy, life is too short to not be happy. Work hard and never give up because the reward will be worth it in the end.

29. Derek Peat - 2013

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?


1.) Derek Peat


2.) Class of 2013


3.) After I graduated from Iowa-Grant, I attended UW - La Crosse and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance.


4.) I just recently went through my first home buying experience and live in Fitchburg, WI.


5.) I have been working at Exact Sciences for over a year now in our Commercial Operations department helping support our sales force.


6.) My advice to Panthers is to work hard and try your best at everything you do.


Go Panthers!

30. McKenzie Cockroft

After graduation I took a year off and worked and was undecided what I wanted to do. I then decided to go to southwest tech for human services! I ended up deciding to work for an amazing company Medline. It’s not using my degree but I love it and make good money :)