New executive director Jamie Burdorf introduces herself in her first column here: “…best way to make
Hello to all of you supporters of the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation!
In case you missed the announcement at the end of June, my name is Jamie Burdorf and I was named as the very first executive director of the foundation. I am honored to be the first person to hold this position and I look forward to helping continue to do great things for the Shenandoah Community School District and community.
I thought I would take this opportunity to let you get to know me. First of all, both my husband Aaron Burdorf and I grew up in the small town of Armstrong, Iowa. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of it, most people haven’t. It’s about 40 minutes east of Okoboji and is as far north in Iowa (on the stateline with Minnesota) as Shenandoah is south.
The Burdorf family, during a late-July get-away to the Chicago area.
I am the product of two educators, which I am always proud to tell people. My mom started as a high school social studies teacher and then went back and got her master’s in counseling and is currently the high school guidance counselor at Cherokee High School. My dad started as a vocal music teacher, then went back and got his master’s in administration. He went on to be a high school principal and is now retired.
I was that kid growing up that was always involved in everything. My parents raised me to know the importance of not only academics, but also being a member of a team, being in plays and music. I truly believe that one of the biggest perks of smaller school districts, like Shenandoah, is that you have the gift of trying many different things.
I went to Morningside College and graduated with a degree in business administration and that is where Aaron and I started our married life. We loved our time in Sioux City, but a teaching job for Aaron moved us to State Center, Iowa, which is in the West Marshall School District (think the Ames-Marshalltown area).
We loved our home in central Iowa for 12 years. While there, I was the editor at the local newspaper. I had zero experience in that field, but found I had a knack for it and I loved meeting people through that job.
Aaron was offered his first job as an administrator right here in Shenandoah. When he told me he applied for the job of activities director, I responded, “Do you know where Shenandoah is?!”
He assured me not to get my hopes up because he hadn’t even gotten an interview. When he got the initial interview I said again, “Do you know where Shenandoah is?!”
I said that in a way that meant we weren’t southern Iowa people. All of our family is north. I used that line on him about three more times as he kept moving on in the interview process. I guess you could say the rest is history and you know how it ended. We most definitely know where Shenandoah is now!
In the summer of 2017, we packed up our four kids and moved three hours across the state to a town we really knew nothing about. It was bittersweet, but it has been an incredibly good move for our family and we have fallen in love with the community.
If you’ve seen me out and about, it’s possible it has been at one of my child’s events. This year, our daughter Jenna will be a freshman, our son Brody a seventh grader, and Blake and Bowen, our twins, will be fourth graders.
Aaron and I feel lucky that they get to grow up like we did -- being in numerous activities. Four kids and busy jobs make for a crazy, full life, but we wouldn’t trade a thing.
I am currently teaching pre-school and pre-k part-time at Turnbull Child Development Center in Shenandoah and work very part-time from home for the newspaper back in State Center. In addition, I like to give back when I can and am co-president of the K-8 PTO, co-president of the Koral (student center for seventh and eight graders at Old Armory), help with coaching youth sports as needed, and stay active in our church.
I truly feel like the best way to make your school and community stronger is for people to step up and give back. When I considered taking the job as the executive director of the foundation, I looked at the board. It is such a great mix of people with many different talents, but their love of the Shenandoah schools is obvious when you hear them talk and see the work they have done.
Now I have one month done as executive director and I look forward to continuing to build on the great foundation that is already in place. More good things ahead. #horsepower
In her new position as executive director of the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation, you can reach Jamie Burdorf by phone at 515-520-7641 or by email at email@example.com.