First-time teacher now teaching at Lincoln elementary school she once attended

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 9:26 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Every year, Lincoln Public Schools introduces new teachers, and this year Arnold Elementary School will have a familiar face. Katrina Barnes will start her first year at Arnold, teaching fourth grade at the same school she once attended.

“I want to be able to give back to my students like my teachers did for me when I was in elementary school,” Barnes said.

Barnes graduated college in May and will meet her class for the first time in just a few days.

“To be able to come back to my elementary school and work with the same neighborhood and community, it really is an honor to be back,” Barnes said.

Not only is she back at the place she calls home, but she will be teaching with one of her former teachers from elementary school. Eric Wachter was her second and third grade teacher, when the school had the same teachers instruct students for two consecutive years.

Barnes said these relationships with her teachers helped her know she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.

“I think my teachers really impacted me to want to be a teacher,” Barnes said. “I was really close with them and I felt like I could tell them anything, and that made me want to be a teacher. I can impact my students’ lives like they did for me.”

Wachter said he couldn’t be happier that she is living her dream and teaching at the place it all began.

“Any teacher will tell you that all you want for your student is to grow up and be happy and successful,” Wachter said. “So for her to succeed, it’s one of those great stories particularly for an Arnold kid to come back to Arnold, you know - walk in the footsteps where she grew up.”

Barnes said her time at Arnold will definitely be told to her students, and she can’t wait to meet them.

“I was an Arnold Eagle before, and I know what it’s like being here and be a student here. I think I’ll show them some pictures that I have when I was in elementary school and I think they’ll be really excited,” Barnes said.

Barnes will be teaching at the same school, but not in the same building. In 2009, students made the transition from the old Arnold Elementary School to the new one where Barnes and Wachter will be teaching this year.

Left: Katrina Barnes as a student at Arnold Elementary
Right: Katrina Barnes is now a teacher...
Left: Katrina Barnes as a student at Arnold Elementary Right: Katrina Barnes is now a teacher at Arnold Elementary(10/11 NOW)

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