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MacKenzie Bloem Named New Head Volleyball Coach At Gilbert

Pending board approval, Bloem moves from an assistant role to the leader

When MacKenzie Bloem ventured off to the University of Northern Iowa in the fall of 2011, she knew she wanted two things out of her professional life: to become a teacher and to become a head coach.

She accomplished the first goal in 2016. The second goal became a reality on Friday.

Pending board approval, Bloem will become the new head volleyball coach at Gilbert in the fall. Activities Director Ian Smith offered Bloem the position Friday morning and she quickly accepted.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach,” Bloem said. “I don’t think it’s quite set in yet, but I’m so excited and I’m already starting to think about what’s coming up and how we can get started. I’m just so pumped!”

A 2011 graduate of South Hamilton High School where she was a four-sport athlete, Bloem graduated from UNI with an elementary education degree in 2016. She came to Gilbert as a third-grade teacher in the fall of 2016 and has spent the last seven seasons serving as a coach for the volleyball program. She was the junior varsity coach for five seasons before transitioning into the role of varsity assistant coach in 2021.

Bloem has a passion for the Gilbert volleyball program, and she feels like she’s ready to take that next step in her coaching career.

“It’s that next challenge for me,” she said. “I see so much potential in our volleyball program with the athletes that are coming through. I want to harvest that potential and help it grow into something more special than it already is.”

Bloem follows in the footsteps of her coaching mentor Stacy Johnson, who retired in February after a 14-year run with the program, including the previous 12 seasons as the head coach, a span that produced 266 victories. Bloem was a part of the coaching staff that helped guide Gilbert to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2020.

“I learned so much from Stacy,” Bloem said. “Getting to watch her coach and getting to ask her questions over the years has been huge for my development as a coach.

“I just want to say thank you to Stacy for everything she’s done for me and for the program.”

Smith was thrilled to welcome Bloem aboard as the new volleyball head coach. He has the utmost confidence in her to lead the program moving forward.

“We are so excited to have MacKenzie Bloem lead our volleyball program,” Smith said. “She will do a great job of building on the foundation left by Coach Stacy Johnson. MacKenzie’s positive attitude and coaching expertise will be great assets to our student-athletes.”

GEF Annual Event Brings Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Back As Raffle Prize

2004 Sportster with less than 150 miles donated back nearly 20 years after first won

Alicia Van Bergen, a retired educator in the Gilbert Community School District, is chuckling into her phone as she thinks back to that fateful night nearly 20 years ago. There’s exasperation in her voice as she recounts the tale of the night she became the grand-prize winner, even though she would have been happier to see the shiny object go to someone else.

The scene: The Gilbert Education Foundation Annual Event.

The year: 2004.

The coveted prize: A 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster.

The motorcycle — shiny and brand new — placed in the raffle that year came courtesy of Steve Risdal, one of the foundation’s founding members and a Gilbert community member. For months the previous fall, various people rode the bike around town to drum up interest in the raffle and the response at the Annual Event was vast.

And — wouldn’t you know it? — the raffle winner was someone who had no interest in getting on it. Ever.

Yep, it was Alicia Van Bergen.

“I don’t win a bingo game. Nothing!” Alicia says with a laugh. “So wouldn’t you know they pulled my name out. I just about died because I’m scared to death of motorcycles!”

If it was up to Alicia, the bike would have been donated back to the GEF immediately. The problem was her husband, Jim, got a twinkle in his eye and his excitement grew at the prospect of owning the bike. And so he took classes on how to ride and bought himself all of the accessories — a leather jacket, helmet, gloves … the works.

“He was all ready to ride the Harley,” Alicia says. “He went up and down the street a couple of times and thought he was ready to do this.”

One extended trip from the Van Bergen residence to Jim’s work quickly changed his mind though.

“He came back home and said I’m never doing that again,” Alicia says, again with a chuckle. “He did not feel comfortable. He rides 4-wheelers, but that motorcycle just wasn’t his thing.”

Again, that was nearly 20 years ago. Since then, the pristine bike has lived a sheltered live inside the Van Bergen garage. It’s been tuned up multiple times, and Alicia says there were opportunities to sell it over the years, but Jim insisted they hold onto it.

Until this year.

At Alicia’s urging, Jim relented and agreed to gift the motorcycle — it has a whopping 110 miles on it — back to the GEF so that it could be raffled off once again at the upcoming Annual Event.

“It still looks brand new and this younger generation will really like it,” Alicia says.

Thanks to the generous donation of the Van Bergen family, the 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster is the raffle prize at this year’s Annual Event, as we all celebrate the 30th year of the GEF. The Annual Event is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, at the CPMI Event Center in Ames.

Austin Woodin, president of the GEF, is elated the generous gift has come back to the organization and community, and he thanks the Van Bergen family for thinking of the GEF, school district, and community.

“What I really like about it is the impact it can have a second time around,” he says. “It had a huge impact before my time on creating excitement and awareness for the Annual Event, and it raised a lot of money. And it’s kind of a priceless bike. That (the Van Bergen family) is willing to give it back to the foundation so that it can have that impact all over again is pretty special.”

Raffle tickets and banquet tickets to the Annual Event can be purchased online (HERE). Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase at the Annual Event, either singularly or in packs of five.

“The foundation is amazing,” Alicia says. “Gilbert was one of the very first schools to have a foundation.”

The Annual Event will kick off a 4:30 p.m. with registration on April 1. Below is the schedule of events:

•4:30 p.m. — Doors open/registration
•5:00 p.m. — Gala games and live music
•6:00 p.m. — Dinner and dessert auction
•7:00 p.m. — Live auction and gala games
•8:30 p.m. — Brian Congdon: Music by request

“I’m so excited for the upcoming Annual Event and this year is special because we’re celebrating 30 years of the GEF,” Gilbert Superintendent Dr. Christine Trujillo says. “We are so lucky to have such tradition in our community and a group so dedicated to our school. GEF provides opportunities that we otherwise would not be able to do for our students through things like field trips, mini grants, and special projects, and the Annual Event highlights the great things GEF does for our school.”

Lindsey Good Selected to Become Gilbert Curriculum Coordinator For Grades 6-12

Pending board approval, Good will start new role in early August

The Gilbert Community School District is pleased to announce that, pending board approval, Lindsey Good will fill the role of Curriculum Coordinator for grades 6-12.

A valued member of the Gilbert Middle School staff for 12 years, including the last nine as an instructional coach, Good is excited about the transition into this new role at a school district she considers home.

“This is home. This is where I plan to retire from and this is where my kids will graduate from, so I couldn’t be more excited to continue my journey here,” Good said. “I’m excited to continue working with the middle school staff and work more closely with the high school staff.”

Good’s primary focus will be working with staff members on developing, implementing, and evaluating the curriculum and instructional services for grades 6-12. She will also serve as the Extended Learning Program (ELP), English Language Learners (ELL), and 504 District Coordinator.

Good feels her current role as an instructional coach has prepared her for this position.

“I feel like it’s an extension of what I’m currently doing, just on a larger scope,” she said. “It’s important to bring out the genius in others in a role like this and that’s what coaching is too. You have to be a good listener and ask good questions.

“I’m most excited about the influence on curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and ensuring that we are looking at that through a systematic lens.”

A native of Ankeny, Good has served in education for 15 years. After three years of work in the Des Moines Public school system, she came to Gilbert as a sixth-grade math teacher in 2011.

Good and her husband, Adam, have three children: William, 7, Thompson, 5, and Griffin, 2.

Dr. Christine Trujillo, superintendent of schools, is thrilled to have Good join the district’s leadership team.

“Lindsey will be an incredible addition to our curriculum team,” Dr. Trujillo said. “Her passion for young adult learners is evident. She understands the importance of collaborating with teachers to help develop strong instructional plans, and her experience as an instructional coach and a middle school math teacher will only add to the depth of knowledge in the work we do.

“Lindsey is ready for this leadership role!”

Why Math Matters

GHS Students Welcome Panelists For Engaging Talk

Approximately 250 Gilbert High School students took part in the Math Speaker Panel yesterday afternoon in the auditorium. The gist of the talk — why math matters.

The group of speakers brought in to speak to the students included:

•Matt Thatcher, a Manufacturing Engineering Specialist at 3M.

•Dr. Beth Hartmann, a teaching professor at ISU with a background in engineering.

•Jerry Roche, a Transportation Safety Engineer at Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety.

•Mike Francom, the Chief Fiscal Officer at ISU.

Each of the panelists gave background information and how math pertains to their everyday activities. Students then got the chance to ask questions of the panelists and they included:

•If you could go back and start over, is there anything you’d do differently?

•How has your high school education affected your everyday life?

•Are there any situations in your job that school didn’t prepare you for?

•What are a few of the most important skills in your profession?

•Why is math required for students in high school and college if they’re not intending to go into a math field?

The panelists talked about how math helps students to be problem solvers, regardless of the field they eventually pursue. And math plays a role in a number of fields, including art, finance, science, engineering, and so many more.

Some of the best quotes from the panelists:

•”Be open to the talents you have that you might not have known about before.”

•”Even though you might not use every bit of (math), it will open doors for you.”

•”Follow your curiosity and see where it takes you.”

•”Try things and it’s OK to be OK.”

•”What you’re going to learn in math and science is problem solving.”

•Learning how to learn is really important in your high school and college career.”

This was a fantastic talk about math and also about life in general. The panel members gave our students great advice and, perhaps, made them think about things in a way they never had before.

Thank you to the panelists for spending an hour with our students, and thank you to our students for staying engaged throughout the program!

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Gilbert Community School District

Gilbert Community School District

103 Mathews Drive, Gilbert, Iowa 50105  |  (515) 232-3740