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  • Becky Steinbach '85, a second-grade teacher at Gifford Elementary School in Racine, Wis., was named State Teacher of the Y...
    Becky Steinbach '85, a second-grade teacher at Gifford Elementary School in Racine, Wis., was named State Teacher of the Year.
    Carthage College

Becky Steinbach ’85

Class Year

’85

Major(s)

Elementary education, learning disabled education

Current home

Racine, Wis.

Current position

Teacher, Gifford Elementary School, Racine, Wis.
Wisconsin PTA’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011

When elementary school teacher Becky Steinbach was named the Wisconsin PTA’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in March 2011, there was one story that her colleagues wanted her to mention in her acceptance speech. Like all good teachers, she sees the impact she has on her students every day — but she had also received what she called the “ultimate recognition.”

“A 10-year-old, Max, named his dog after me,” Mrs. Steinbach said, laughing. “His mom wrote a column for a newspaper and did a story on it. He found a stray while he was at camp, and when he brought it home, he named her Becky.”

For Mrs. Steinbach, a 1985 graduate of Carthage, this was one honor in many. A second-grade teacher at Gifford Elementary School in Racine, Wis., she was nominated for the school’s PTA Teacher of the Year award in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and won the title in 2010-11. She went on to receive the state title.

“It’s the culminating recognition for the daily work that you do,” Mrs. Steinbach said about the award. “I love working with the kids, but to have the parents and my peers recognize me is an incredible feeling.”

Third-generation teacher

Mrs. Steinbach graduated from Carthage with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and learning disabled education. Before teaching at Gifford, she taught a fifth-grade learning disabled class at Dr. Jones Elementary School, and a fifth-grade class at Wind Point Elementary School. All three schools are part of the Racine Unified School District.

She is a third-generation teacher, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother.

“If you live in a household where that is your lifestyle, it isn’t about the money,” Mrs. Steinbach said. “It’s about being able to raise a family. You have extra summer time. You get to go home at 4:30. You learn that you’re a people person; you want to work with people.”

Her passion for working with children and understanding how they learn best have been instrumental in her success as a teacher, both in learning-disabled classrooms and in her other classes.

“I like being able to create hands-on ways to learn versus pencil and paper,” Mrs. Steinbach said. She particularly enjoys teaching math and science using experiments and tactical learning.

‘Best four years’

Mrs. Steinbach called her time at Carthage “four of the best years of my life.” She learned how to teach students of all learning styles, and was able to double-major and still graduate in four years, she said.

She also gained experience in working as a team and mediating student conflict as a resident assistant. She found a mentor in Carthage’s then-pastor Steve Samuelson. She went on to become a member of his church in Racine.

Mrs. Steinbach said she appreciated the connection that students have with the professors at Carthage, particularly those in the Education Department.

“The professors didn’t just teach from the book,” she said. “They all had experience being teachers, so the lectures were often based on their experiences. It made the information more valuable. Especially in the Education Department, they were there for you. You could go into their office, you could ask questions. They were very involved in the student teaching placements. I feel Carthage has a really good connectedness with the student teachers in the community.”

Why she loves teaching

For Mrs. Steinbach, seeing her students transform is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher.

“I enjoy their innocence, their desire to learn,” she said. “They’re motivated. For the most part, I have never had students who weren’t motivated. I love watching their progress from fall to spring. They have a genuine desire to learn. I’ve been very fortunate that way.

“Teaching is about being with children,” she concluded. “There is no reward greater than developing young minds.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Looking to teach? Count on becoming a familiar face in local schools. Carthage students accumulate 135 hours in local classrooms before their student teaching semester. Make that 450+ for those entering our new urban teacher program.

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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