Gretchen Harpster
 First Grade

Educational Background

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with emphasis in Early Childhood & minor in Spanish from Southeast Missouri State University May 2002
Master of Arts in Education with a Literacy Concentration, Special Reading Certification from Maryville University St. Louis, May 2011


Teaching Experience

4th grade-Rockwood School District (1 year)
Toddler 2 Classroom Lead Teacher-Elegant Child in Clayton (1 year)
3rd grade-Fort Zumwalt School District (3 years)
1st grade-Leopold R-III (this is my 15th year!)


Plans for this year (and every year)

Strive to teach my students to be strong readers and writers. To instill in them a love of reading and learning in general!

The SECRET to being successful in first grade:
Read, read read! Especially "just right" books, ones your child should be able to read most (about 97%) of the words, one that is enjoyable, and one that he/she can understand.
Write, write, write! Lists, stories, posters, signs, cards, notes, anything!



I am married to a great guy--Mitch Harpster! We've been married for 12 years now. We have two fur babies, our dogs, Charlie and Abbie. We have 3 kids: Owen-9, Aaron-7, and Henry-5. We live in Jackson, but love Leopold!


Other Interests/Hobbies

I love reading anything from mysteries to teacher books—even children’s books!
Most of all, I love following the St. Louis Cardinals!

Organizations (professional/community)
I have been a member of the International Reading Association for about 20 years now.


Memorable Events

The birth of all of our sons, (each 2 years apart!) and our wedding and honeymoon in Mexico in 2009!

The month I spent in Scotland with the Golden Eagles Marching Band at Southeast Missouri State University. (We performed at the Edinburgh Military Tatoo for a sold-out crowd every night!)

The day I adopted my first dog, Piper, when I lived in St. Louis and the day we adopted our dog, Polly.

My first year of teaching here at Leopold! There is nothing like it --- I love it!


Having Owen as a student in my class -- watching him learn is so inspiring!

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world."






Updated: September 1,2021