Five new teachers begin year in Cambridge

Sandy Hull
Angela Anderson

    Cambridge Community Unit School District has five new teachers this year, four at the high school level and one at the grade school.

    Kim Jansen of Geneseo is teaching high school Spanish and will coach the girls track and field team in the spring.

    “I was born in Madison, WI, and graduated from Monona Grove High School in Monona, Wisconsin, right outside of Madison,” Jansen stated. “I graduated from Knox College, Galesburg, with a double major in Spanish and educational studies.”

    After student teaching in a small town, Jansen said she knew that’s what she wanted to do.

    “I found out about the Cambridge opening online,” she stated. “I love the community of a small town school.”

    Although this is Jansen’s first full time teaching experience, she said she always liked school.

    “It’s neat to learn and to help other people learn,” Jansen stated. “I like the variety each day brings as a teacher.”

    Her teaching philosophy is to learn best by doing and making mistakes.

    “In Spanish class, we use the language we do not just talk about it,” she stated. “I hope to inspire students to continue to learn a second language.”

    Jansen said she loves how welcoming the staff, teachers and students have been.

    Ashley Phillips of Cambridge is the new agricultural teacher at Cambridge High School and FFA advisor.

    “I found the job opening on the ag education Web site,” Phillips stated. “I was attracted to the job because of the small town, friendly atmosphere and helpful community.”

    Phillips was born in DeKalb and received her bachelor’s degree in ag education from Illinois State University, Normal.

    Being a new teacher, Phillips said she was inspired to teach by her mom, who teaches fifth grade in Elgin.

    “I watched her have an impact on her students and knew that was what I wanted to do,” Phillips stated.

    She has a hands-on philosophy for teaching.

    “Students learn best when they do something themselves,” she stated.

    Phillips said she is looking forward to raising the numbers in classes and FFA.

    “I want to introduce the world of ag to students who may not have otherwise had any experiences in it,” she stated. “I absolutely love the school district so far.”

    Her husband, Bobby Phillips, works for Gold Star FS.   

    Khloe Westfall of Rock Island is the new physical education teacher for grades seven through twelve.

    “I found out about this job on the Illinois State Board of Education Web site,” she stated. “I wanted to work in Cambridge because of the small school setting and friendly community.”

    Westfall was born in Morrison and lived the first six years of her life in Walnut. She graduated from Roseville High School and Monmouth College  with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

    “This is my first job teaching physical education,” Westfall stated. “From January through July, I taught four year olds at a preschool in Davenport, Iowa.”

    She decided to become a teacher because she enjoyed helping others and in school she was greatly influenced by her former teacher and volleyball coach.

    “I believe students can learn more with a healthy mind and body,” she stated. “I want to learn more about the Cambridge School District, get to know all the students and staff and work toward class goals.”

    Westfall said she is very excited to be here in Cambridge.

    “All of the faculty and staff have been very helpful and supportive with making my first year successful,” she stated.

    Her family lives at Little Swan Lake near Avon. She has a brother, two sisters, two brothers-in-laws, a sister-in-law, three nephews and one niece.

    “We are a very close family,” she concluded.

    Angela Anderson of Cambridge is the new StarNet facilitator and yearbook advisor.

    She said she heard about the job opening from her sister, Dawn Lewis.

    Anderson was born and raised in Kewanee, graduating from Kewanee High School. She received associates degree in applied science and art from Black Hawk College. She also has her teacher’s aide certificate.

    “I taught Head Start preschool for six years,” Anderson said. “I enjoy working with different kids.”

    During her first year of teaching, Anderson would like to help students walk out of the classroom feeling confident about what they learned.

    “I would also like to have an all-color yearbook,” she stated.

    Anderson said she enjoys the small school district.

    “It’s a very friendly place to work,” she concluded.

    Anderson and her husband, Terry, have four children, Dawson, Brian, Lauren and Owen.

    Anna Swanson of Moline is a fifth grade teacher at the Cambridge Elementary School.

    She learned about the job from friends and fellow teachers.

    “I applied for the teaching position here because I like small towns and the family atmosphere which goes along with a small town school,” she stated.

    Swanson was born in Silvis  and graduated from United Township High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, Macomb, in 2002 and her master’s degree from Saint Xavier University in 2008.

    In the past, Swanson taught kindergarten at St. Mary’s for three years in East Moline. She also taught first grade at Our Lady of Grace in East Moline for one year and taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade science at the same school for two years.

    “I decided to become a teacher at an early age,” Swanson stated. “I love school. . . . everyday is an opportunity to explore and learn something new!”

    Her teaching philosophy is very similar to the Cambridge motto, “Dream, learn, achieve.”

    “You have to believe in yourself,” she stated. “When you do you are able to learn and achieve great things.”

    Swanson plans to continue her education.

    When asked what she thinks about the Cambridge School District so far, Swanson said this is a very welcoming, caring community.

Kim Jansen