Originally from Iowa, Taylor Hubbard was living half a world away, teaching English to students in Hong Kong from 1996 to 2007. Today he is a science teacher at Ankeny High School. But Ankeny offers a lot for him to learn as well.
"Ankeny makes it easy for families to enjoy activities together."
When Taylor and his wife Mari (an associate at East Elementary) decided to move back to Iowa, he began applying for teaching jobs. "Ankeny had an opening, and we decided to give it a try for a couple of reasons," says Taylor. "One was its proximity to Des Moines. After living in a large city, we thought Ankeny and the Des Moines area would be an easier transition for our kids."
"The other is that we knew two families who had moved to Ankeny to teach in the school system several years earlier and really liked it - both as a place to work and a community to live in. As it turned out, Ms. Brenda Colby, the high school principal, interviewed me via Skype and I was hired!"
Their two children Paul and Sarah are both in the Ankeny school system.
For Taylor, there are several reasons Ankeny works as a good place for his family to live. Many of them are centered around education. In addition to employment for Taylor and his wife "our children have benefited from attending Ankeny schools," he shares. "Our children were 4 and 2 when we moved to Hong Kong and 15 and 13 when we moved back. A move for any child can be difficult, and especially so for teenagers. We were concerned about the transition. But the helpfulness and patience of the special education teachers and guidance counselors have all played a huge role in making the transition much smoother than it might have been."
"Our children are nearing college age," Taylor continues. "Having Des Moines Area Community College as a high-quality, affordable option so close to home is a big plus."
Taylor and his wife are also continuing their own educations and he appreciates Ankeny's nearness to higher learning institutions as an advantage.
"Along with improving as a science teacher, I am interested in possibly becoming a guidance counselor," Taylor shares. "I am currently in a graduate program at Drake University. My wife is taking classes toward a reading endorsement through Upper Iowa University. Ankeny's proximity to these institutions has made this possible."
Ankeny offers Taylor and his family a high quality of life that he values. "Ankeny makes it easy for families to enjoy activities together," he says. "There are many neighborhoods, parks, walkways and bike paths to walk, run, play, bike or picnic in. We have also spent a lot of time at the excellent public library."
"Our family was able to settle into a church home soon after we moved to town. We are thankful for the worship, fellowship and service opportunities this has provided. Our kids have plugged into the youth group in a big way."
When it comes to doing his job well, Taylor values the opportunities outside the classroom that help inform his ability to teach others.
Taylor was one of the first teacher interns to participate in Ankeny's 2009 Workforce Partnership Program. "The school district provided teachers with the opportunity to experience several Ankeny industries. The purpose was to get a better idea of both the skills today's students need to excel in the workplace and local career opportunities that are available to our graduates."
"In the summer of 2010 I was able to spend six weeks as an extern with Monsanto at their Ankeny facility, sponsored by the Iowa Mathematics and Science Externship Program," he continued. "Again, the purpose was to give me a better idea of the application of science in industry and how I can help my students better prepare for careers after graduation. The variety of industries in the area makes Ankeny an ideal place for such professional development opportunities."
For Taylor, education is a lifelong pursuit that permeates nearly every facet of life. Ankeny's tradition of education supports his goals.
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