Siebert was nominated by his colleague, Wyatt Waterkotte, the
Family and Consumer Science teacher at Mount Pulaski High School. In
the nomination letter, Waterkotte wrote, “Based on my knowledge, Mr.
Siebert exhibits a high degree of creativity and imagination in
developing lessons that are exciting and educational for his
students to engage in.
He shows a genuine interest in his students, which does not end when
they leave the classroom, but he continues to follow them through
high school and beyond.
Students regularly comment on how much they loved him as a person
and how they learned from him as a teacher. He demonstrates a high
level of character to the students under his influence, which I
believe encourages the development of a good character quality in
Siebert was presented a plaque and a $50 gift card at the September
board meeting. Recipients of this award can choose a gift card from
any Mount Pulaski business, and Siebert choose The Old Brickyard Pub
and Grill. Ralph Allen, the school district’s reigning Educator of
the Quarter from last spring, surprised Siebert the day after the
board meeting and presented him with the Traveling Trophy in his
fourth grade classroom.
While Siebert may have been a bit surprised by the Educator of the
Quarter award, his path to reach this achievement is even more
surprising. Siebert’s own success in the classroom as a child was
pretty much a struggle, to say the least. Siebert had to push
himself and overcome obstacles in learning to get to where he is
When asked the question, “At what age did you know you wanted to be
a teacher?” Siebert kind of laughed and said, “Oh gosh, it was late.
This is a funny story. I was a horrible student,” he admitted. “I
think education clicks at different times for different students. It
just kind of depends on the student. It didn’t click for me really
until college. I struggled in grade school. I got C’s and D’s. My
kids love to look at my report cards when we go to my home because
they are like, “You were so bad.” So it gives my kids hope.”
Siebert continued with the story of his path to a teaching career,
including the major obstacle he learned to overcome. “But anyway, I
struggled. I had a hard time paying attention. I am ADD. I know I am
and I was then and I didn’t take medicine. So it was hard for me to
focus and stuff, so I struggled all through school. When I got to
high school I wanted to do well but it was tough for me so I studied
really, really hard just to get mediocre grades. Then when I got to
college, because I had studied so hard, I knew what worked for me
and what didn’t work for me and so I was able to use that and then
Proudly he was able to say, “I ended up graduating ISU with honors.
So that was kind of funny. I would have never seen that.”
Siebert began his college career, though, in Lincoln at what is
currently Lincoln Christian University and started out down a
different path. "“As for when I wanted to be a teacher, I went to
Lincoln Christian College to be a youth minister. I wasn’t really
sure what I wanted to do. All throughout high school, I was involved
in programs where we would go to visit grade school students and the
teachers were always like, “Ah, you should be a teacher.” I’m like,
laughing, “Yeah, right, no way, not gonna happen,”" he would state
matter-of-factly. “I went three and a half years to LCC. I was going
to be a youth minister. I was sitting there and I had a card that
was the intent to graduate form that you had to fill out and I
looked over at my wife and was like, “I don’t think I want to
graduate and be a youth minister.” She’s like, “What do you want to
do?” Siebert said he told her, “Well, I think I want to be a
At that moment he changed career paths and schools, eventually
attending Illinois State University. “So I switched to ISU and went
to school for more; so I’m still paying on schooling for that
Financially it may be a bit of a setback, but certainly a step in
the right direction that would end up paying off tremendously in
ways you can never put a dollar amount on. With ministry education
to always fall back on, Siebert set his sights on an elementary
education degree at ISU. But first he had a pit stop along the way
at a grade school in Lincoln.
The story continues, “So I went three and a half years at LCC and
then I took a year off to work at Chester-East Lincoln. The next
year I still worked at Chester-East as a P.E. aide under Mrs. Aper
and then I started my schooling at ISU. It was during that time that
Elizabeth was born. She was born when I was commuting back and forth
because I was actually in class and Jill texted me and thought she
was having a baby. I was like, “Ahhh...” But it was all good, it was
The couple’s first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1998 while Siebert
was student teaching. At this moment Siebert is going through all
the years in his mind, mentally putting together a picture of his
past trying to recall exactly the year he graduated from ISU. “I was
older, I was quite a bit older,” he said, finally settling on 1999.
One thing he was certain on, he graduated from West Lafayette High
School in Indiana in 1993.
“That’s the Purdue thing. Go Boilermakers! Woohoo!” He smiled and
cheered for his beloved hometown team. He made mention of a good
sports season thus far, with his beloved Colts beating the Bears and
his Boilermakers beating the Fighting Illini, all in football. His
high school soccer team had also won a regional game this fall and
of course, his beloved Cubbies were playing in October. His sports
world was certainly giving him something to smile about.
Getting back on track with his career, Siebert noted, “I never
dreamed of being a teacher, it just kind of lined things up and
things fell into place for me. I’ve always loved working with kids.
I like seeing that light bulb click when they get something.”
Meanwhile Siebert, who has a strong Christian faith, certainly did
not waste his three and a half years studying to be a youth
minister. Aside from his teaching job, Siebert is also the
children’s minister at the Mount Pulaski Christian Church, a job
he’s held for several years now. As Siebert explains, “It just kind
of fell into place, too. The children’s minister, Bill Miller,
decided to move on and when he left I kind of stepped up and filled
in on an interim basis. They were like, well do you want to get paid
for it? So I’ve been doing that, too.”
For the man who simply cannot sit still, this particular job is
also perfect for him and he loves the responsibilities that come
with it. “We have Sunday morning services for the kids downstairs
which are engaging, fun and energetic, obviously. Then we have Big
Wednesday on Wednesday nights.” Siebert never misses a Big Wednesday
and the chance to entertain kids.
He has also been known to be involved with Fifth Quarter. Fifth
Quarter takes place on Friday nights following home basketball
games. As many as 100 kids have shown up to play games and eat pizza
and snacks inside the Christian Church Family Life Center.
Basically, anywhere in Mount Pulaski there are kids, there is Rob
Siebert. He never fails to take advantage of the opportunity to
influence and inspire the kids, even outside of the classroom.
Besides teaching Fourth grade at MPGS, Siebert is also the soccer
coach at Mount Pulaski High School and he will take over the MPHS
track coach position in the Spring. Siebert noted that he will still
work with the junior kids in track, even though his coaching
position has him moving to high school. “I just moved to the high
school and I’ll still see the junior high kids at the track and I
can work with them there, too. That’s kind of the best of both
worlds for me because I still really enjoy working with the junior
highers, but I want a challenge. I want to see if I can build up the
high school program and get it to a good spot again.”
[to top of second column]
So was Siebert an athlete in school? Well of course. “I was a
swimmer,” he said. “I swam four years in high school and played
football in junior high. Now I wish I would have stuck with it
(football) but I didn’t. I switched to swimming and I was a decent
swimmer. I did well. I decided there wasn’t really a point of
pursuing it in college because I wasn’t going to the Olympics or
anything. I kind of dropped it and I kind of regret that now. I wish
I would have kept doing it because I might have been able to swim
for Lincoln College.”
So how did this Indiana kid, who struggled throughout school, get to
Lincoln in the first place? Simple. He followed his sister, Amy
“I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go and I can’t really tell
you honestly why I picked LCC, except for the fact that my sister
was there.” Good enough reason. “My sister, Amy, went there and I
liked it. I thought it was nice so I figured I’d go there.”
The two are really close yet today. They both are married and live
in Mount Pulaski and each of them are raising their three children
in the community. The kids’ ages are all intertwined and this has to
be a fun time in their lives as “Uncle Rob” coaches the Dyer boys in
Speaking of married, the story of how Siebert met his wife, Jill, is
another funny tale. He tells it like this, “I forget what day I
arrived (at LCC), my wife can tell you better than I can, but
basically the second day of freshman orientation I was in a group of
people and I was talking with a girl I thought was cute and I said
something stupid and this girl called me a dork and she left the
conversation and the next day I was holding that lady’s hand and
that was Jill,” he smiled. “She called me a dork the first time we
met and the second day we were holding hands after a concert and the
rest is history. So, kind of funny. I really don’t know how that all
worked out but I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.”
The moral to that story, according to Siebert, “So I always tell
these kids, I tell these girls, be careful don’t call boys dorks
because, you gotta be careful, you never know what could happen!” He
cracks a big grin.
So Jill married her dork on May 25, 1996. Twenty years later the two
still share a lot of fun. “Usually our anniversaries are spent going
out and buying foam so I can make stuff for vacation bible school
decorations,” he says. “VBS comes up so usually we go above and
beyond for decorations. We get a truck and we buy foam on our
anniversary, that’s so exciting, so exciting,” he grinned.
The twenty years has been very good to them in the way of children.
That daughter, who was born while Siebert was attending classes at
ISU, is now a freshman at Lakeland University in Sheboygan,
Wisconsin. Elizabeth is a double major at Lakeland University,
majoring in both Spanish Education and Chemistry Education. Siebert
is very proud of her double major and even mentioned how this school
thought the idea was great. “Lakeland was like, that’s genius
because you’re so marketable.”
Elizabeth is also on the school’s soccer team. According to her
proud father, “She enjoys it. It’s a lot of fun.” He even recounted
how he was able to watch some of Elizabeth’s soccer games on the
internet this season. The former technology coordinator at MPGS,
yes, add that to his resume, was also excited about this latest
technology that brought him and his college daughter closer despite
the miles between them. “We bought an XBox Live account and a
headset so we play video games. Every once in a while Elizabeth and
I will play video games and just talk.” A little Sunday night
quality father-daughter time.
The Siebert’s also have a daughter at home. Emily, a sophomore at
MPHS, is a cheerleader and recently hosted Ainhoa, a Spanish
exchange student. It was pretty evident after observing Ainhoa with
the Siebert family that they now consider her as one of their own.
Rounding out the family is Daniel, an eighth grade student at MPGS.
Daniel is an avid soccer player and his dad is especially looking
forward to his skills on the field in the future.
“He’s been really working on his soccer skills, so I am looking
forward to having him on the soccer team next year. That will be
neat,” said Siebert, flashing another smile.
For the guy who really doesn’t seem to have any down time, what does
he like to do just for fun?
“I have a lot of stuff I like to do, I just don’t get to do it a
whole lot. Garrett LeVault and I, my assistant coach who also works
at the Christian Church, we are big into paint ball and we actually
have a paint ball team in Lincoln. But we don’t really get a chance
to play anymore because a lot of my friends, their kids are in high
school and college, and just everyone is busy. So I love
paintballing.” Siebert then adds, “I love just being creative,
whether it be making things physically, like out of foam, or
painting or drawing or music. I like making music and stuff.”
Siebert is pretty famous for making birthday videos for the family
and can sing a version of Flo Rida’s “My House” that will get stuck
in your head for eternity. Siebert also likes all genres of music
and says he doesn’t necessarily have a favorite band. He does admit
to being a channel-changer on his XM Radio. “If I don’t like one
song I move to the next.”
He does, however, stay loyal to his sports teams. At the top of his
list is his beloved Indianapolis Colts. “I like watching football.
Love my Colts,” he says.
In the corner of his classroom is a bookcase and on the top shelf
sits various Colts collectibles. Meanwhile, behind his desk hangs a
Colts poster on the wall. The guy also adores, as mentioned before
but worth repeating, the Purdue Boilermakers and again, not meaning
to rub this in but the guy cheers for the Chicago Cubs, who are
still playing baseball in late October. Good guy all around.
If there was an MVP award for community members, this is a guy who
would win hands down. Besides being a teacher, coach and a
children’s youth minister, Siebert gives his time graciously to the
community. He volunteers for Community Pride events, he lends his
voice to announcing duties and games associated with the Fall
Festival, he takes pictures at nearly every sporting event in town
and even writes an occasional article for the local newspaper. He
never misses a church or school activity. Basically, if there is
anything going on in the community, Rob Siebert is there giving a
helping hand. He has said the words, “I love this community” and
each and everyday he lives his life demonstrating that. Siebert’s
passion for life and his high energy, positive personality make him
a person that everyone loves to be around.
His students certainly admire, respect and love him, but he is more
than just a teacher, as Landon Watkins learned earlier this school
year. During the MPHS soccer season, Siebert included Watkins, a
student in his fourth grade class, in on several high school soccer
activities as the young man battled a brain tumor.
Ten-year-old Landon summed it up perfectly when he said, “Mr.
Siebert is the coolest teacher, coach and friend. He kept my mind
off of my surgery by including me with the soccer team. He will
always be a part of our family.”
Congratulations, Rob, on this very deserving honor!