Emma (Randle) Huizenga remembers conversations around her dinner table about Hamilton Community Schools, the Hawkeye community, athletics, and everything else in-between. The 2016 Hamilton High School graduate watched her mother serve as a teacher in the district while her father was the Board of Education president for a number of years and a varsity boys basketball coach.

"As a kid, I got to see both of my parents make lifelong friendships with their coworkers in the district and always had great things to say about the families in Hamilton," Huizenga added.

After marrying her high school sweetheart and settling down near Blue Star Elementary, she went right to work for HCS as well. Originally serving as a long-term sub in 2020, she became a full-time 2nd grade teacher at Blue Star Elementary one year later.

"We are excited to send our son to the district when he's ready for kindergarten, it's a place that meant a lot to us. It's a tight-knit community and families really are great here, it's a great place to be," she said.

As for her goal for her students, Huizenga says it all starts with making a connection and building trust.

"I think for me, as a teacher, one of my biggest goals is to always make a really strong relationship with my students. I feel like the education piece is obviously crucial, but if you don't have that relationship, your students won't feel comfortable in the building and won't be able to learn. They need to know this is a safe place for them where they're welcome."