A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Kate Bieker

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Kate Bieker

When it comes to stimulating the minds of students and cultivating their interests, Kate Bieker of Willowcreek Middle School would tell you that reading and literature are vital components to success. Working as the Media Specialist for Portage Township Schools, Bieker believes that a passion for reading and literature is an instrumental part of the curriculum that cannot be overlooked.

Bieker’s position involves assisting students in the school library and various applications, like e-Reader. She also organizes the school’s One School, One Book program, which encourages students to read at home through support, guidance, and a variety of tools. She is also an innovative tech coach, assisting teachers with all of their technological needs. Prior to her current position, she was a sixth grade Language Arts teacher, news reporter for The Times, and a newscaster for Indiana 105 radio, so multimedia has always been a very important part of her life.

“I love to read, so when the opportunity came up to work in the library, I decided to challenge myself and try something different,” Bieker said. “Since I don’t see the students as much as I did when I was a teacher, it’s more challenging to connect with them, but learning their mindsets and interests definitely helps.”

Bieker stated that her love for reading and literature makes her job incredibly enjoyable. As Media Specialist, her job is to invest in and present new books and programs to continuously interest and stimulate the students. Among the most popular selections have been various manga (Japanese comic books) titles like Fullmetal AlchemistMy Hero Academia, and The Promised Neverland, which have been “flying off the shelves.”

“What I really appreciate about this job is the time I spend learning about the students and their interests,” Bieker said. “When I am in the process of buying materials for them, I often sit down with them and ask them to tell me what they like. I’ve selected books for them on topics like sports, cars, animals, and drawing. It is an excellent way to find what spurs their interests which makes it easier to establish connections with them.”

Bieker believes that students should aspire to read more so that they can cultivate their interests and learn more about the world at large. Broadening their horizons will help them as they mature.

“As an avid reader myself, I don’t necessarily tie reading to education, but to pleasure,” Bieker said. “I’ve found that reading challenges us to explore new horizons and helps us learn more about ourselves in the process.”

Besides reading, Bieker likes baking, cooking, and gardening. Some of her favorite books are Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.