Elkin High School welcomed a new Occupational Course of Study (OCS) teacher, Jan Qualheim, in August. Although she has taught for more than 20 years, this is her first teaching assignment in Elkin.
Qualheim has always known she would become a teacher. As a little girl, she learned to read before she began attending school. Her teachers would ask her to help other students who struggled with reading. Those early days in the classroom began a lifelong love of learning and teaching. Today, her favorite part of the job involves working with and getting to know her students.
Qualheim recently moved to the Yadkin Valley after marrying Robert Qualheim, an Elkin High School graduate. He is a nephrologist and practices in Boone.
She grew up in Mount Airy and graduated from North Surry High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Gardner-Webb University, and later did graduate coursework at UNC-Greensboro in special education.
She has two sons, Joshua, 26, and Christopher, 23. Joshua recently completed his master’s degree in forestry at Virginia Tech and has recently accepted a managerial position with a logging corporation in West Virginia. Her youngest son, Christopher, is a student at Surry Community College. He will complete his paramedic certification in December of this year. He plans to attend a four-year college in the future and most likely will earn a degree in a medically-related field.
Qualheim has several hands-on projects planned for her students this semester. Since most of her students are male, Qualheim plans to focus on construction and building skills in practical application. For instance, simply building birdhouses could offer opportunities to learn how to safely operate machinery while coming to understand effective construction techniques.
Qualheim commented, “I want them to learn to be productive citizens of the Elkin community and to learn skills necessary for employment.”