Click here to learn more about Cassie Biebertein's Marklund story

Cassie has been with Marklund Day School for 5 years, moving up from a paraprofessional to teacher to Instructional Coach with Marklund Day School-Geneva.

Q. What attracted you to Marklund Day School as a teacher?

I actually started my career here at Marklund as a paraprofessional, but that is not actually what I applied for. I originally applied for a teaching position in a Multi-Needs classroom. As fate would have it, I didn’t get the job, but this was for good reason, I had no idea that schools like Marklund existed as I was just coming out of college. Then about a week later Marklund called and offered me a paraprofessional position in the Life Skills department. I was so intrigued with the day school after my initial tour and observation that I accepted and embarked on this adventure. I was a paraprofessional for about two months when I was offered a long-term subbing position. I was the long term substitute for only about 6 months when Paula, and the rest of the Marklund team, convinced me to become the full-time life skills teacher! Transitioning into the teacher role was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was also the best decision I ever made!

Q. What attracted you to this position as Instructional Coach?

Being a first year teacher is very challenging. I struggled a lot during my first couple years. This ignited a new passion of mine; supporting teachers to navigate the teaching role at Marklund. I want to help teachers so they can provide the best education for their students! I love figuring out how people (teachers/students) learn information/skills! I can definitely nerd out on these topics!

Q. What are your priorities for working with other teachers and the students?

My priority for the teachers is to support them so that they can create, implement, and reflect on different sustainable instructional strategies and approaches. This will then benefit the students because the teachers will be giving their students the best education possible.

Q. What challenges do you face in this role?

I think that the biggest challenge that I am facing right now is transitioning from being a teacher. I am still trying to get a feel for what my new “day to day” will look like. I am currently taking an instructional coaching class to further my skill set as an instructional leader. I have already learned so much from this class, and I am excited to see what else it has in store!

Q. What would you say to other teachers thinking about a career move to Marklund Day School?

I would say it is 100% worth all the work! I tell people that when you finally see a student succeed it is like magic before your eyes!

Q. What vision would you like to see for MDS’s faculty as the world moves on from the pandemic?

The pandemic seemed to have put a lot of extra stress onto all the employees at MDS. Teaching remotely isn’t ideal at all! My vision would be for the staff to feel less stressed about COVID exposures or having to teach remotely as we move away from the pandemic.

Q. What’s the best part about working at MDS?

There are so many great things about working for Marklund, but if I could pick one thing it is that we are always student centered and because of that everyone at the day school is always willing to help out a student or coworker in need. It is pretty rare in the educational world for administrators to work directly with students when a classroom needs support. This is a daily occurrence here!

Click here to learn more about Nicole Molleur's Marklund story

Nicole has been with Marklund for four years, moving up from a PSP to Nurse Case Manager for the Marklund Richard & Dreher Homes on our Geneva campus.


Q. What attracted you to Marklund?

I have always enjoyed working with different groups of individuals from all walks of life. When I was in nursing school I saw that there was a position open for a PSP and I had to jump at the opportunity. I was drawn in by the positive attitudes of the staff and their comments about how much they enjoyed working with this population, coupled with the amazing residents who truly made me realize how special life is. I have continued to stay here at Marklund because I love the work that we do and I am so blessed to spend time with our residents every day! They truly make my life better.

Q. What attracted you to this position as Nurse Case Manager?

I was attracted to the position of Nurse Case Manager because I have always had a passion for advocating for any resident or patient I have worked with. I have a background in law and I was originally a paralegal working for an attorney at a large hospital in Massachusetts before I moved to Illinois to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. Ethics remain at the forefront of the work that we do as nurse managers. We can work closely with the resident’s care teams to advocate for them, the best that we can, to help provide a comprehensive care plan here at Marklund.

Q. What are your priorities for your staff and the residents?

There are many priorities for my staff and the residents. For my staff, the goal is to focus on creating an environment that empowers the nurses so that they can confidently work their shifts knowing that they are competent. We are very fortunate to have a nursing staff that is diverse and multi-faceted which in turn provides a rich, unique nursing community that the residents can benefit from.

The idea of managing a successful team starts with the understanding that there is much more than clinical skills, critical thinking skills, and ideas that you were taught in nursing school. My priorities include keeping communication open and honest with staff, providing opportunities for staff to learn and grow, being open to change, being a mentor, and setting a positive tone. I want my staff to come to work feeling supported, safe, and excited to spend the shift with our amazing residents!

My priorities for the residents start with providing evidence-based, safe nursing care that they all deserve. My other priorities are intertwined with my daily workflow. As nurse case managers, we conduct individualized clinical evaluations of our residents, identify their health needs and concerns, and try our very best to advocate for the safest approach to their personalized action plans. At Marklund, we have worked very hard to develop a strong team-oriented relationship among our interdisciplinary team. Our hospitalist is extremely knowledgeable, and the support from our DON and Administrator helps ensure that we can advocate on behalf of our residents the best way we can. Our residents deserve quality care, a team that is willing to advocate, and a supportive environment, and that is what Marklund provides.

Q. What challenges do you face in this role?

With any management position, especially in healthcare, there can be many challenges. The goal is to stay positive and maintain an open mind when these arise. One to note is the many different generations and work styles that I come across. Some people work well in a group setting, while others prefer to work more independently, and this can cause staff to have to work through those barriers. This is OK. Things like this happen in all work environments and approaching it with a teamwork-based mindset helps. Another challenge is communication styles. Many people communicate very differently or interpret certain communication styles as positive or negative. Navigating how each of my staff prefers to be addressed, taught, etc. can be difficult, but the positive is that it helps me build my interpersonal skills and I have become much more confident in working with different groups of personalities since starting this role.

Q. What would you say to other nurses thinking about a career move to Marklund?

To a nurse contemplating a career move to Marklund, I would say “do it.” I say this because I have the work-life balance that I was craving. To accompany a better work-life balance, with 8-hour work days, I can have a more hands-on approach with my residents. I am so blessed to be able to have the ability to build long-term relationships with the residents, caregivers, and their families. In a hospital setting, this does not happen as often and it is one of the many reasons why I love my job.

Another reason why a career move to Marklund would be beneficial for a nurse contemplating the idea is that they would be supported by the nursing staff and management greatly. Our nurse management team tries our absolute best to create a positive work environment that allows staff to share their concerns, ask questions, and feel confident in the work that they do. We are all here for the residents, and we would love to have any of those nurses join us, especially if they feel the pull to serve a community that needs our advocacy so greatly.

Q. What vision would you like to see for Marklund’s nursing department as the world moves on from the pandemic?

Post-Covid-19 has been a very interesting time for us all. The emotional and mental strain that this pandemic has caused the nursing profession will need some time to recover. I urge people to be patient with us and supportive of us during this time as we try to move forward from what occurred. Burnout is a real issue, and this happens in many different medical departments all across the country. My vision that I would like to see for Marklund’s nursing department would be the opportunity to have more applicants for the nursing positions that remain open. My comment to these potential applicants would be “Marklund is an inviting, safe space, where you can provide amazing nursing care while also having the work-life balance that you so desperately need post-Covid-19.” I am optimistic for the future, and I ask anyone that knows of a nurse looking for a change to reach out to us. We want to grow our nursing family very much so.

Check out our social media!