March 15, 2022 Believe. Achieve. Succeed

California educator discovers new home, opportunities in Iowa

Wendy Foley
Longtime California teacher Wendy Foley discovered a new home in Iowa and opportunities to help students discover those important 'aha' moments as a teacher in the Sioux City Career Academy's engineering pathway.

Sioux City, Iowa – Sioux City Career Academy engineering instructor Wendy Foley has always been drawn to those ‘aha’ moments with students. Last July, Wendy’s own ‘aha’ moment led her on a new adventure to Iowa.

A longtime California resident, Wendy and her husband moved to Iowa along with her father-in-law so he could spend his remaining years with nearby family.

“While I had several opportunities in other areas of Iowa, I chose Sioux City and the Sioux City Community School District because I wanted to return to teaching PLTW [Project Lead the Way] and felt a position in the Sioux City Career Academy would be a good fit for me,” says Wendy.

As a Sioux City Career Academy educator, Wendy teaches four courses including Engineering Essentials, Principals of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Engineering Design and Development. Teaching engineering has taught Wendy more about the industry than she ever thought possible.

“My general knowledge in many areas has broadened considerably, and I find it much easier to bring that knowledge to my students,” adds Wendy. “My interest and passion shine through which encourages my students to engage in the material even when it is daunting or complex.”

Teaching engineering classes is only the latest of interesting curves in Wendy’s career. Prior to entering education, Wendy worked in healthcare as both a nurse and rehabilitation manager. In 1999, she joined the field of education, starting out as a clerical substitute in Pupil Services before moving up the ladder to become an alternative education principal. Along the way, she also taught middle school and high school in the classroom and virtually.

There are very few positions in education that Wendy, a lifelong learner, has not held or supported during her career.  It may have something to do with the motto that she teaches her students: fail often to succeed sooner.

“I find that students are willing to put themselves out there when there are no expectations of perfection. Allowing and even encouraging students to make mistakes and showing them how to fix those mistakes is rewarding,” Wendy says. “I encourage them to take that attitude into everything they do. If at first you don’t succeed, figure out what went wrong and fix it. Next time, you will know how not to do that thing and you will get better with each iteration.”