Pictured, left to right: Haylee Mork, Ezekiel Wills, Mariah William, Sydney Hepperle and Megan Tiede.

Pictured, left to right: Haylee Mork, Ezekiel Wills, Mariah William, Sydney Hepperle and Megan Tiede.

ABERDEEN, S.D. – With a new school year underway, several new teachers have joined Aberdeen Public Schools—but five of them are no strangers to the school district. 

Sydney Hepperle, Haylee Mork, Megan Tiede, Mariah William and Ezekiel Wills are all graduates of Aberdeen Central High School who are now starting their first year of teaching in the district. 

The new teachers said they have felt very supported as they start out in the teaching profession. 

“I've had a lot of support and everyone's been super helpful and nice,” said Tiede, who is teaching in the CARE Resource Room at Simmons Elementary School. “I feel like it's just made it easier the first year because everyone's very willing to help.” 

Now, they find themselves working alongside educators who once taught them. It’s a surreal experience, said William, the Project Lead the Way teacher at Simmons Middle School. 

“Being able to step from student to colleague is really cool to me,” she said, “especially when they're people that I looked up to so much as a student, and now I get to teach with them.” 

Those former teachers are a big part of the reason they decided to go into education. 

“After growing up in this district, I knew I always wanted to come back, especially since the impact that the teachers had on me,” said Mork, who teaches sixth-grade science at Holgate Middle School. “Now I want to do that for my future students.” 

Hepperle, a special education preschool teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, agreed. 

“I really like Aberdeen and the community, and I had a lot of great teachers growing up,” Hepperle said. “So to be in the same district as them is really fun.” 

Teachers Made an Impact 

While many teachers influenced them over the years, some individuals have stood out. 

For Wills, a counselor at Simmons Elementary School, that includes CHS teacher Terra McQuillen. 

“You can just feel that she loves her students,” he said. 

Former CHS teacher Christian Pirlet also made an impact, with enjoyable, interactive classes. 

“It was just a pleasure to be there every day,” Wills said. 

William, who was active in the debate program, said CHS teacher Kerry Konda was influential for her, and even brought her back as a debate coach after graduation. 

“I never walked away from the district, and I was always connected,” she said, “and I think it's really cool that the district has so many opportunities after you graduate high school to come back.” 

William said she’s not sure if students realize that: “Once you’re a Golden Eagle, you’re always a Golden Eagle.” 

Advice for Current Students 

Now as the school year begins, the new teachers offer knowledge and advice for students. 

“Join anything and everything,” said Hepperle. 

Wills added, “Everyone in the schools working here wants you to have an enjoyable experience and they're rooting for you.” 

William agreed.

 “Your teachers care about you a million times more than you could ever think that they do,” she said. “I've literally looked at the kids in my class and I already love them. And I don’t think kids realize that.” 

About the Aberdeen Public School District 

The Aberdeen Public School District provides a comprehensive educational program to approximately 4,200 students in grades K-12, with a mission of empowering all students to succeed in a changing world. Our students receive the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their potential in a global community through high expectations of academic achievement; diverse educational opportunities; and community involvement in a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at aberdeen.k12.sd.us.