Teacher Spotlight: LAC’s Heather Zwick.

March 17, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: LAC’s Heather Zwick.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbybank.com with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

LUDINGTON – Heather Zwick has worked in early childhood education for over 20 years and wouldn’t have it any other way. She recently helped start the tuition-based preschool program at Ludington Area Catholic School. 

“I have been working in the early childhood/preschool field for 23 years,” she said. Zwick graduated from Bay City Western High School in Auburn and then received an early childhood degree from Delta College.

After working around the state, she ended up at Ludington Area Catholic Schools for many years and helped mold its preschool programming.

“I did my internship hours at Happy Days Preschool Center in Midland,” she said. “After completing my hours, I was hired on full time. I worked in the 4-year-old preschool classroom and also as the kindergarten enrichment teacher for three years. After getting married, I moved to Fremont, where I worked at the Ark Christian Child Care Center as the lead teacher in its 3-year-old and 4-year-old classrooms for four years.”

She was then hired by Ludington Area Schools to start its tuition preschool program. 

“I worked for LASD for 13 years building the program. After I left LASD, I went to Hart Public Schools and taught Head Start for one year. I ended up coming back to Ludington and teaching the 4-year-old class at Ludington Area Catholic School for a year. 

“My family moved away from the area for a short time and I was a stay-at-home mom during that time. I missed the students’ smiling faces and being in the classroom, so in August of 2020, I took a position again with LAC as the preschool teacher and early childhood director.”

Zwick said she has had many different influences throughout her life who lead her to the field of education and who have helped her after she entered the classroom.

“I had many wonderful teachers growing up as influences and really enjoyed working with young children,” she said. “In high school, my child development teachers really encouraged me to pursue early childhood as my career. I have been very fortunate to work in some great early childhood settings and with some phenomenal co-workers, which is definitely a bonus. I truly love watching the children grow emotionally, cognitively and socially. In early childhood, the growth from the first day to the last day of school is amazing. It has kept me coming back every year. When I see the ‘a-ha’ moment it warms my heart and reminds me that I am where I am supposed to be.”

Like Zwick having many individuals supporting her decision to pursue education, she recommended that anyone who is interested in the field of education check it out and see if it’s something that really interests them for the long-term.

“I say if you have an interest in working with children or the education field, seek out a mentor, and visit some classrooms to see what it is like,” Zwick said. “If you have the passion you won’t regret it.”

Even though Zwick wasn’t working in the classroom last spring when COVID-19 first hit, she was working at the beginning of this school-year and said that there were definitely changes that needed to be made to make sure everyone was safe.

“I do know that returning to the teaching field in the middle of a pandemic this past fall did add a little more stress to going back to school,” she said. “I work with some outstanding professionals and have a good group of educator friends that have helped me through it. Preschool is regulated by LARA (Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) and we have some strict cleaning protocols that we adhere to. All preschoolers wear face masks throughout the day. They actually do a pretty good job of keeping their masks on and do very little complaining about them.”

Zwick said she is happy to be back in the classroom and around other staff members and students, even with the pandemic causing some headaches for everyone.

“Ludington Area Catholic School is a wonderful place to work,” she said. “It is a caring, family atmosphere for both the staff and students. We are now enrolling, preschool, child care, young fives and kindergarten through eighth grade for the 2021-2022 school year.”

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