Megan Droste: She fulfills important role in developing, inspiring future teachers

Megan Droste is growing the next generation of teachers.

As the education instructor and adviser for the Center for Advanced Professional Studies at Cedar Falls Community Schools, she describes finding a student who takes an interest in education and wanting to become a teacher as the “icing on the cake” in her line of work.

“CAPS is about helping students find their purpose,” said Droste, who formerly worked as a family and consumer science teacher. “It’s trying to help them figure out what they were meant to do or what they were wired to do, and how they can get paid for it. If they go into teaching, that’s a bonus for me. But sometimes they don’t, and that’s a win, too.”

Since 2017, CAPS “has taken students outside of the traditional classroom and immersed them in professional environments to help them better prepare for their purpose,” according to its website.

“It’s amazing to see how they come in at the start, and their growth with their professional skills, and just the confidence,” she said. “Everybody changes. I think that they’re just figuring out life at that age. If I’m able to help them do that, it’s really rewarding.”

Additionally, Droste helped last year roll out MIRAE, the Multicultural Individuals Revered Among Educators, in the school district. She said that is helping to grow the diversity among teachers and hopefully attracting some to work in Cedar Falls.

“That’s really important because all students should have teachers that look like and represent them,” Droste said.

After graduating in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in the family and consumer sciences education, the Rochester, Minn. native moved to the Cedar Valley to be closer to her husband’s family in 2011.

She earned a master’s degree in education from Morningside University in Sioux City in 2015, and then a multi-occupational endorsement in 2018 from the University of Northern Iowa.

A 15-year veteran of the teaching profession, Droste has demonstrated the leadership and drive to help with the growth of the CAPS program. The program started in January 2017 with 13 students in one strand and has now grown to a few hundred in six strands, including education and training.

It’s also been proof of a greater love for helping people.

She joined the Junior League of Waterloo-Cedar Falls in 2017, around the same time she became involved in the early development of the CAPS Program.

“Our community focus is about teens and making a positive impact with them in our community,” she explained.

One program put on by Junior League is Prom Closet, which helps high school students find affordable prom dresses, shoes and accessories, ensuring they have a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Additionally, members take on volunteer work, which ranges from assisting at the food bank to collecting school supplies to distribute to students.

Her husband, a history teacher, and three daughters “always comes first,” Droste said. But she tries to “fit in pockets of time where I can make the most impact for my time.”

“I don’t know how she gets it all done but she does it all with grace and a smile,” wrote Diann Droste, her mother-in-law, in nominating her for the 20 Under 40 recognition. “Her work as a teacher in the CAPS program and her volunteerism has benefited young people in our community today and will continue to inspire future teachers for years to come.”

Megan Droste stresses, though, that she uses the hours to help not just teens but “everybody,” including her daughters.

She exposes them to the work of the league, so they understand “the importance of giving back to the community.”

Her list of volunteer work includes serving on the board of the Casa Montessori Preschool, as it enters a transitional phase of looking for a new location. The former church the preschool was located in was torn down this fall.

“Education and learning is super important in those ages. And if I can help 20-30 families with their pre-schooling, the impact I feel is compounded,” Droste said.

The original article from the WCF Courier can be found here.