Why Assisting as a Special Education Associate at Waukee is Amazing

“My favorite thing about being a special education associate is watching the students’ excitement when accomplishing a new task or goal,” Special Education Associate Michelle Ryan says.

As a special education associate in the Waukee Community School District (WCSD), Michelle advocates for students with disabilities and special needs. She first began working in education years ago, which is how she recognized her future path in special education.

Michelle’s Story and Routines

“As my kids grew, I began subbing in their school districts and found a love for the special education area. When we moved back to Iowa in 2020 with my girls in college, I decided to apply for a special education associate position. I was so happy to begin working with students daily and being a part of the team that helps each student become the best version of the person they can be,” Michelle says.

Her typical day consists of helping her students work on academics to reinforce lessons, doing small and large group activities, and facilitating positive and appropriate peer interactions.

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“Outside of student interactions, I assist teachers in developing strategies for reinforcing materials and skills based on student understanding and ability, collaborate with the teacher regarding behavior and IEP (Individualized Education Program) plans, and assist with other classroom duties as needed. Each day is a little different, so flexibility is key.”

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Why Michelle Recommends Being at Waukee

While Michelle always prioritizes her students, she says this career allows her personal growth, too.

“I love learning new things, and each day provides something new — a new opportunity is a great way to grow and keep learning.”

She admits the job isn’t always easy.

“Being an associate can be difficult at times, but the reward of working with students and a great team has far outweighed any difficulties.”

If you’re looking for a career change, she suggests joining her at WCSD.

“Waukee offers competitive pay and benefits, and as an associate you have summers off and school holidays to enjoy personal time with your family. Watch out though, because you might just find many of your co-workers become like family here at WCSD!”

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