Here at ASH, we are so grateful to have such a diverse community of students, families and staff from all around the world. Each member of our community brings their own background and story to make up our diversity of cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and we are all lucky to learn from and contribute to the #ASHexperience. In our ASH Voices series we are speaking with and learning more about these incredible members of our community. We’ll be learning about their passions both in their roles here at ASH and in their life outside of school, what it means to them to be a part of this community and much, much more.
Today’s profile features Ms. Wiederhold, our grade 6-8 counselor, who grew up in the cornfields of Iowa and always dreamed of traveling to the places that she read about in books. Moving schools in grade 5 had a lasting impact on Ms. Wiederhold, particularly in her vocation as a counselor, as it has enabled her to truly empathize and connect with her students. Helping students feel safe and comfortable at school motivates her in everything she does at ASH.
She began her career in education as an art teacher, after attaining her degree in art education from the University of Iowa. It was in this first role as an art teacher that she quickly realized she wanted to understand more about how to help her students and this led her to a master's degree in school counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. From there, it was time to travel the world; working in diverse cities like Berlin and Bangkok, and for the last 9 years living here in the Netherlands with her husband and son.
We asked Ms. Wiederhold some questions about her life at ASH and how the last several months have been working and adapting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic...
How long have you been at ASH and what does the #ASHexperience mean to you?
I moved to the Netherlands in 2011 to start at ASH. My partner at the time, who is now my husband, and I met while both living in San Francisco and we wanted to live in his country for a while. The position of elementary school counselor came up and it was a great fit! I have now moved to the middle school counseling position and am excited about the change and being able to see all the students that I knew when they were in elementary! While ASH is a typical international school in that students move in and out, there are always students and their families who stay for longer amounts of time. The students who were 4th graders when I first arrived just graduated! That to me is the #ASHexperience, seeing my students grow and flourish in a system that gives them a love for learning.
What are your passions?
I am a devoted reader and end every night reading until I fall asleep. If you need a good book recommendation, Mr. Tilke in the high school library has great ideas and so does Ms. Flaim in the middle school library. She curated a whole pile for me this summer to get me into a middle school frame of mind. I also love running, kayaking and gardening. All of those activities are more fun with my son who rides his bike next to me when I run or sometimes sits in front of me when I am kayaking.
How have the last several months impacted you and what are the lessons you have learned that you will be taking forward in your work here at ASH?
I have lots of favorite mottos, but one that I have used often during the last few months is “stay tuned.” For me, it means that things can change (and change frequently) and so being a change embracer helps me to keep a smile on my face.
If you could give our students at ASH one piece of advice what would it be?
If you weren't working at ASH, what would you be doing?
Reading, kayaking, traveling, creating art, cooking, baking, running, playing volleyball, learning Dutch, sleeping in and staying up late, planting flowers, organizing closets, being a room mom, having tea with friends, going to museums… all of those things and more if I won the lottery!