Where I'm From: Alex Kreifels, Beattie Elementary
This is the third in a series of stories, “Where I’m From,” about LPS elementary school teachers who returned to teach at their old schools.
Alex Kreifels can still remember most of the bus route he took from his west Lincoln home to attend Beattie Elementary School, just north of Highway 2 and 20th Street.
Nearly 20 years later, he now drives himself to Beattie to teach fourth grade. The daily journey has changed but he feels the same about the destination, which is why he chose to return to Beattie seven years ago.
“When I first applied to LPS out of college I had five interviews set up. Beattie was my very last interview but it made a lasting impression. The caring culture I experienced as a student here was still very prevalent and I really wanted to be a part of that school culture and learn from my colleagues,” he said. “This is not to say that I did not have great interviews at the other schools I interviewed at - if anything it was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make. Ultimately I chose Beattie because I had so many great memories here as a student and I wanted to return the favor to the next generation of Bobcats.”
He often mentions his younger days at Beattie to his students. Sometimes it’s a specific story or how the school has changed since his time as a student. The art room moved, the classroom that was used for strings and band is now the computer room, and the music room is on the opposite side of the school now.
Other times, his Beattie memories emerge naturally as he teaches. Recently he was talking to his students about 9/11. He said he remembered where he was when it happened.
“I was in that room - room 106,” he told his class as he pointed out his door and across the hall. He even remembered where he was sitting - in a chair apart from the rest of the class because he got in trouble for talking too much.
He also remembers sitting in the main office at Beattie and waiting for his job interview. Into the office walks his fifth-grade teacher. Her eyes grew wide with surprise and she asked what he was doing there.
“When I told her I was interviewing for a job she just laughed and was very excited for me,” Kreifels said.
He immediately felt comfortable, especially when then-Principal Sean Bailey took him on a tour of the building. So much had changed, so much had stayed the same - including his gratitude.
“This was the first school that recognized some of my struggles with learning and put plans into place to help me be successful as a student, not just at Beattie but in life. I have always been very thankful for the hours of work my teachers had to put in for me so I feel it is only fair that I pay that effort forward.”
Published: September 22, 2020, Updated: September 22, 2020