South Winneshiek Elementary/MIddle School, South Winneshiek Community School District
Mary Kleve has been a school counselor for 18 years, spending the last eight years at with the South Winneshiek School district working with students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Her daily responsibilities include teaching large group lessons for PK-6 and exploratory classes for 7-8, as well as being a PBIS Coach, check in/check out coordinator, and coordinating many initiatives such as pet therapy, backpack program, food drives, pennies for patients, and most recently, an adopt a classroom for hurricane Harvey affected schools.
Mary is currently implementing several programs to improve behavior and social/emotional well being within her school through a check in/check out process as well as small groups with elementary aged students. In 2015, in collaboration with a local veterinarian, Mary helped establish a pet therapy program known as “The Positive Paws Pet Therapy Club”. Veterinarian Tech students from Northeast Iowa Community College act as animal handlers to provide a supervised setting for students to interact with animals. Mary sees this program helping students develop empathy, decrease anxiety, and increase their confidence. The first year 12 students participated and this year the number of students has doubled.
A member of the South Winneshiek community described Mary as “an excellent counselor whose daily work is critical to the personal and emotional success of her students. She praises their efforts and celebrates their achievements. Staff members seek Ms. Kleve out for advice and assistance when working with all of their students and especially those students who are sometimes the most challenging in the entire school.”