Fourth Grade

Chris Leach

I am entering my fourth year as a teacher at 21st Prep School. I am delighted to be teaching fourth grade SSIR(Social Studies, Science, Integrated Reading) for the third year. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and was a substitute teacher in Illinois for two years before coming to Racine.

I believe that every child can learn. Our job as teachers is to help each student to achieve their best. We can help the student to find the way they learn best, and encourage them to continuously pursue their education. I try to incorporate many teaching styles and methods into each of my lessons to encourage interest and enthusiasm in my students. My goal for each of my students is for them to want to continue their learning after they leave my class. The greatest compliment a teacher can receive from a student is their continuing curiosity and interest in learning new things.

I am excited for this school year and can’t wait to see what it brings!


Laura Leininger

I was born and raised in Illinois, and have lived in Wisconsin since 2007.

I completed my undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL where I majored in Elementary Education. I currently hold an Illinois teaching license for grades K-9 with middle school endorsements in English and Science. In addition, I hold a Wisconsin teaching license for grades 1-8.

This will be my 6th year at 21st Century, but I have worked in the education field since 1999. In those years I have gained vast experience as an assistant, tutor, and teacher.

My husband and I just celebrated 9 years of marriage, and we have a 2 young daughters. Lily is our oldest at 5 ½ and Iviana  just turned 3. We currently reside in the Kenosha area.

Educational Philosophy

I strongly believe that children have the ability to learn, but must be willing to be active participants in their education. One of my goals as an educator is to utilize my knowledge and enthusiasm to encourage students to strive for their best in school, as well as life. Academics are an essential part of educating children, but it is not the only concern in their development. Another area I believe is important to focus on is the student’s personal, emotional, and social well-being.

As an educator I will encourage my students to think critically about what they are taught, to ask questions, and to feel free to open up discussion of topics. I believe that it is essential to teach students to have a “game plan” for their future. By becoming productive members of society, students will feel confident about themselves, and be prepared to take on responsibilities. A student who feels secure will be more willing to share their experiences with the teacher and peers. Creating a friendly and caring classroom will be a step on the building block to teach students to grow into mature adults and assets to the community. Confidence, knowledge, respect, and caring are the traits I hope to pass on to my students.


Denniel Jurgens

My name is Denniel Jurgens. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a minor is Sociology. This will be my second year teaching at 21st Century. I also completed my student teaching at 21st Century in the winter and spring of 2016. Aside from being an educator I am also a mother, and have a 4 year old son. My family and I reside in Kenosha, WI.


My Philosophy


I believe the role of an educator is to facilitate and educate children in academics as well as create opportunities for students to learn and utilize life skills. Students spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with their teachers, therefore, I believe it is a teacher’s responsibility to educate, care for, and help a child grow. Students are continuously evolving emotionally, socially, physically, and intellectually and need support, guidance, comfort, and familiarity to help get them through these changes.


Part of being an educator is creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere where students feel safe and comfortable enough to take risks and accept new challenges. It’s a teacher’s responsibility to go the extra mile to make each and every student who walks through the door feel secure, wanted, and appreciated. I believe that the students will be young, responsible adults by knowing their thoughts and opinions matter. I firmly believe teachers should be the channel some students need to ensure their voices are being heard by incorporating their thoughts and ideas into lessons and activities.


I believe it is crucial for educators to be the positive light all students need in their lives. In

addition to teaching math facts and what metaphors are, they should also celebrate when students make the winning basket or try something new. They should work together with students to help them find themselves, and grow to positively contribute to society. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”