Marsha Jean Evans may not have taught more children than there are stars in the sky, but to her each child she teaches shines just as brightly.
Evans is a teacher with Head Start Zero-Five.
"I've been with Head Start since 1999, at the Maple Drive center," she said. "Before that, I had the Head Start classroom down at Urban Visions for three years."
Evans, who has a bachelor's degree from University of Northern Iowa with early childhood and reading endorsements, has been a teacher for many years.
"The first group of Head Start kids I taught are now juniors in college," she said. "And I taught preschool three years before that, even."
Moving from Maple Drive, on Aug. 20, Evans began the school year at Head Start classroom in the new Riverside Early Learning Center. She spent the end of summer setting up her new room there.
"We're really excited about it. Everybody's been really nice to us," she said. "It's obviously a new environment. It's a big change for us because we were at Maple Drive for so long."
Evans looks forward to the school year, not only implementing Positive Behavior Instruction and Support expectations, but also sharing new things with the children.
"We have a brand new story this year called 'Pete the Cat,'" she said. "It's a cool little story. I think they'll like it."
As a Head Start teacher, Evans wears "a lot of different hats."
"Obviously, we teach. But we work with the families. We do a lot to build self-esteem," she said. "We want to make sure that the child has a real good start, because we're their first school experience."
The first impression is key, Evans said.
"It's very important that it's positive, so that they love school, school is something they look forward to, that they want to do," she said. "It's up to us to make sure that first experience is very positive."
Evans, with her longtime paraeducator Mary Preston, also want to make the experience a positive one for parents.
"We want their parents to be happy with what's going on. We want their parents to be involved," she said. "We try to incorporate everybody."
Evans said she enjoys providing this positive experience to first-time students. More than anything, she enjoys the kids.
"When they're four, they're so excited about everything and everything's new. It's just a fun age," she said. "You can do the gingerbread man and they actually believe he's come to life and escaped from the oven if you're acting it out. They're just so full of joy."
Becoming a teacher was something that Evans had always assumed for herself.
"I always thought that that's what I would do," she said. "I've always had teachers that I really enjoyed while I was growing up. That's what I wanted to do."