LETTS, Iowa–Kim and Mike Van Sickle first came to the Muscatine area 10 years ago when Mike Van Sickle accepted a job as superintendent of Louisa-Muscatine Community School District. Over the past decade, they have truly made the region their home and helped students in many ways.
Originally a teacher, Kim Van Sickle earned her master’s degree in school counseling. She did her internship with Muscatine Community School District and for several years split her time between elementary schools in Muscatine and Louisa-Muscatine. As Louisa-Muscatine’s elementary school grew, they saw a need for a full-time counselor, and Kim Van Sickle has filled that role for the past three years.
Kim Van Sickle has enjoyed, “being able to meet with my students, whatever needs they may have, and providing them a safe and secure environment to share their problems.”
She also values the many chances that Louisa-Muscatine has to partner with outside organizations to provide services to students and their families and that the families willingly come to her for support. “I feel honored that families will trust me to do that, because you need someone to call when you don’t know which way to turn,” she said.
In his role as superintendent, Mike Van Sickle has embraced opportunities to help get Louisa-Muscatine students college and career ready when they graduate. Over the past several years, Mike Van Sickle has worked to put a post-secondary transition program in place, complete with a counselor they share with Columbus Junction. The program allows students to explore career paths and education options before they even leave high school, helping them feel confident about their futures.
Mike Van Sickle has also cultivated a close relationship with Muscatine Community College, giving students the opportunity to take dual enrollment classes. “They are truly a community college-they know Muscatine and the community very well,” he observed.
In their time working at Louisa-Muscatine, both of the Van Sickles have felt honored to shape the lives of so many students. As graduates go off into the world to start their adult lives, Mike Van Sickle especially loves receiving letters from them telling how Louisa-Muscatine prepared them to succeed. “They’re very heartwarming,” he shared.