We are Meridian
We have outstanding staff in Meridian School District, each with their own incredible story.
Please take a moment to get to know the wonderful people who work for our district and make it a great place to be!

Bobbi Frost
Natalie Eining
Ashley and Brenda at IRE
Bobbi Frost is the Lead Food Service Worker at Meridian Middle School.

“I like to say this job keeps me young. Working with the kids keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

My interaction is probably just a minute or two during breakfast and lunch as kids are coming through and picking up their meals. I’m right out there in the thick of it since I cashier. I get to interact with the kids, joking and talking with them. I get to ask about their weekend and get to know them a little, I enjoy that part of it. I try to be aware of if kids are having a bad day and make sure to check in with them and ask how they are doing.

COVID brought its own unique twist to this work because we were serving meals-to-go and you actually got an opportunity to interact with the whole family, rather than just the kids. I was so thankful to have this job, especially during COVID. It was a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning. I had a purpose. And the community, they were so thankful. It made you feel really good about what we were doing.

When I started here 24 years ago, the job was perfect for me because my children were young. I only worked when they were in school, and I could be home with them after school. It was also great because I was very aware of what their day was like and they loved it because if they forgot something, they could run out to the kitchen and have me sign it! Now they are out of school but, it’s still such a great job and good community here. The hours are really good, plus you have summers off and holidays off.

It’s a busy job, which I like. You’re always moving, it’s active. There is a lot of mental work too, everything is math. We have to figure out how many meals to make and servings, so my times tables are really good. We come in and prepare everything, then serve everything and then clean up and go home. It’s not a job where you have to take it home with you. We are always looking for people, so if you want a fast-paced job and enjoy getting in there and rolling up your sleeves. This would be a great place for you.

It’s a great job, I really enjoy it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Natalie Eining is a kindergarten teacher at Irene Reither Elementary School.

“I love this age group. They are full of joy. They are so excited to be here, to make friends, to learn and they’re just naturally curious. Their inquiry is just amazing to be a part of. The energy that they bring and the genuine joy for learning and making friends. If you ask them what their favorite parts of the day are, it is work time or recess or for some it’s reading and math, but ask them why they come to school or what makes them most excited, they’re going say to see their friends. You can’t take that joy away. It’s the best.

This is my ninth year teaching kindergarten at IRE. I often reassure parents that it’s our job to be ready for kids wherever they are and to meet them where they’re at. We spend so much time working on fostering relationships and learning how to be together in a group. In the fall we do a lot of community building and get to know one another. Our typical day includes lots of reading, songs and poems. We work on developing a love for literacy through shared reading opportunities and writing. Our first stories are shared with words and we begin to write them through pictures and eventually add words. We begin to incorporate those into stories or drawing. We know children learn best through play and inquiry, and those opportunities to learn through play are integrated throughout our day.

The whole team here loves and supports our students and wants to provide them with what they need. There are children every year who come in who have had less social opportunities or are nervous to start. But we really work on building those connections and friendships to create a classroom family in which each child feels safe and that they belong.”
Ashley Gardella is a transitional kindergarten teacher and Brenda Graham is a paraeducator at Irene Reither Elementary School.

Ashley: “Brenda and I are a team; we’re doing this together. She might have some skills or ability to problem solve or work through big feelings in a moment when a student is more responsive to her than me or vice versa, it flows organically. We often start the day with an idea in mind of how things are going to go and then it goes completely left in a magical, amazing way based on the kids’ conversations and their interactions.”

Brenda: “The kids are always engaging, and they’re interested in what we’re learning. Every morning the kids want to share a story with you, they want to tell you about their weekend or something funny. This age group is really a lot of fun. They are so happy to be here; they love school and I think that’s what makes it so easy to come to work every day. At IRE, we have a great administration, staff and teachers. This is a very accepting school.”
 
Ashley: “I think at the core of IRE, we have this idea that we’re a family within the Meridian community family. And it’s not just something we say, it’s something that we mean, and show. We are always trying to improve on connecting to our community and hearing voices from outside our school. We are constantly communicating with parents, it’s a partnership. I never want parents to feel like this isn’t their classroom. We are a class family and parents are part of that family. I try at least once a week to take pictures of what their child’s doing and share that with families through Seesaw. That way parents feel more connected to the learning. They get to see the smile on their child’s face, what they’re doing and learning and how we’re nurturing that relationship with them.”
 
Brenda: “Our school has four Trojan Traits, we are kind, safe, responsible, and respectful. That’s what we teach the kids. Kids learn through play and it’s a very safe environment. The kids often form friendships on the first day. Kids develop friendships very quickly, much more quickly than adults.”
 
Ashley: “The teachers love being here and love what they do, and it shows when you walk through our halls. The faces are warm and welcoming, even when we had the masks on, you could still see teachers’ eyes smiling and everybody excited to be here.”