Class of 2020: Karen Wells

Karen Wells

Karen Wells

7 years at District 28
Westmoor School Aide

Karen Wells has been Lisa Nordland’s classroom aide for 71/2 years at Westmoor School, and she worked as a substitute teacher for some months before that.

Advice for new classroom aides

It is a partnership. Listen. No one flies alone. Work at it and reap the rewards.

Teachable Moment 

Something Lisa taught me early on was to find a connection with each student. Find something to love, no matter what. Some days it is easier than others, but in the long run, it is so much easier to reach them and teach them. The sad part is that this time of year, because of this strategy, we are usually having so much fun in the classroom about now. It's just not the same with our Zoom meetings, but we try.


I am still humbled by what a student taught me a few years ago. We both were avid college sports fans, but cheering for rival teams. It was a connection. We often talked sports, sometimes loudly. One day, the student suggested it would be better if we cheered for each other's teams. Really? A rival? He thought we would enjoy our conversations more. Out of the mouths of babes.

Plans for retirement

Finally make a serious commitment to volunteering. And I remind my husband we are out of excuses, so we should get a few things done around the house. Life is good.