Meet the Pack Spotlight: Alex Van Wie

Alex Van Wie is a fourth grade ELA teacher at Veeder Elementary. She started her career at South Colonie six years ago at Roessleville as a long-term substitute and has been with the district ever since. 

Her nomination comes from an appreciative coworker, “Mrs. Van Wie goes above and beyond to make engaging lessons for her students. She is constantly volunteering her time and always goes the extra mile.”

Van Wie said the nomination was a complete surprise making her feel very honored. “I always pride myself on working hard, so to see that it was noticed was nice. It’s such a great feeling.”

Van Wie loves teaching fourth grade because she gets to see her students grow academically, socially and emotionally. “They go to middle school after me so it’s my job to prepare them for the switch. Building their confidence and independence is an important part of my time with them.” 

The importance of teaching ELA is not lost on Van Wie. “With COVID happening I have noticed that the old fashion ‘pick up a book and read’ has been a little more difficult for them. I try to reinstill the joys of reading into my students. I want them to leave my class loving to read and not thinking of it as homework.” 

Teacher with her students
Van Wie’s students in group discussion

Van Wie makes her lessons as engaging as possible. “All throughout COVID they spent their school hours sitting and typing. I try to teach them how to express themselves through writing with partner work and movement. I am big on changing up their physical space whether it be meeting in groups or moving to the carpet to learn.”

She also changes her mini units by finding books that are of interest to her students. “When they like the topic it makes reading more enjoyable and they are much more engaged.” 

Her favorite part of the job? “My students for sure. Just the little things like them giving me a thumbs up or smiling when I call their name to answer a question,” she said. “ I love seeing their smiling faces and genuinely miss them in the summertime.”

Teacher with her students
Students in a creative writing workshop

Van Wie’s dedication to the district goes beyond the classroom. She is one of the literacy coordinators for Veeder, has volunteered for homework club for the past four years and helps with lunch duty. Having played basketball in high school and at SUNY New Paltz, she has also volunteered to coach the girl’s youth basketball team. 

She is a member of the holiday committee who help families during the holiday season. Made up of staff members, the holiday committee works with families and community members to provide support for students and their families. The committee collects donations, gifts and food to make sure no South Colonie family misses out on the holiday joy. 

“The sense of community at South Colonie is very strong. I have always felt like I belong. As soon as I started subbing they welcomed me with open arms. I love the people that work in this district.” 

When she is not teaching or volunteering she loves to spend time at her camp on the Saint Lawrence River. She is also a huge New York Giants fan. “I’m hoping we play in the Superbowl this year!” (The interview was conducted on 1/20/23, sorry Alex.)