Third Grade

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.  I am a third year teacher, but have worked in the education field since 1999. In those years I have gained vast experience as an assistant, tutor, and teacher.  I am married and we have two young daughters. We currently reside in Kenosha.

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.

Matt Lester

My name is Matthew Lester and this will be my third year teaching 3rd Grade at 21st Century Preparatory School.  I was born and raised in Northwestern Illinois and received my teaching certification from Western Governors University.  My favorite part of teaching is helping my students learn and grow.  I love being part of the wonderful staff we have at this school.  Everyone works together to help each of our students maximize their potential.  I currently reside in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee with my wife, Melanie, and our daughter, Lydia.

Every student has the ability to learn.  As educators, we are given the great responsibility of helping our students learn and grow on a daily basis.  Learning is an active and dynamic process that continues through a student’s life.  As a teacher, it is my goal to assist my students in becoming stronger learners and people.  I have a passion for education and for helping all of my kids achieve their goals.

Kristin Verenski


First and foremost, I truly believe that all students have the ability to learn and grow.  Students are not numbers, but unique individuals with varying experiences, cultures, strengths and backgrounds– but the goal should always be the same.  Students should leave my classroom knowing that they capable of succeeding and having learned skills to get there. 

I believe in cross-curricular teaching because it teaches the entire student – social, emotional and academic.  When students are taught themes, ideas, concepts and skills that are overarching in terms of subject, they are more motivated to learn and more likely to see the relevancy of what they are learning.  Students are then able to connect topics to their own unique lives and experiences.