Meet Melody Couchman and Sarah Ward

The Herkimer Central School District Spotlight showcases student, graduate and staff member successes.

Mrs. Couchman and Mrs. Ward teach kindergarten at Herkimer Elementary School.

Melody Couchman

Mrs. Couchman graduated from Herkimer High School in 1985 and began teaching at Herkimer in 1989.

What’s your favorite high school memory?

I have so many great memories of being a cheerleader! I still love cheering people on in life and promoting positive thoughts along the way.

What led you to become a teacher?

After working in the school cafeteria my senior year selling pizza, snacks and ice cream, I decided I wanted to be a waitress in Florida. My mom said no — she really encouraged me to go to college. I went to Herkimer County Community College and got my associate degree in early childhood education. I absolutely loved working with the young kids and continued my education at SUNY Oneonta. Thank you, Mom, for encouraging me! Best decision ever!

What do you love most about teaching at Herkimer?

I love teaching in the community I was raised in! In the beginning, I got such a kick out of teaching alongside teachers I had in elementary school. Then it was cool to be teaching my former classmates’ children! Now, I find it pretty amazing to be teaching my former students’ children!! I am just so proud of the incredible people in my community.

Did anyone from Herkimer Central School District influence you in becoming who you are today?

I can name every teacher I ever had! Every teacher had an impact on me. It’s not what anyone taught me or how they taught me. It was how they made me feel as a person — valued!

What advice do you have for current Herkimer students?

Be kind. Be the person who makes others feel valued, and do things that make yourself feel valued as well. Remember, you never know how the people you meet in the present will cross your path in your future!

Sarah Ward

Mrs. Ward graduated from Herkimer High School in 1999.

What’s your favorite high school memory?

I loved being in different clubs like FBLA, Student Council and Pep Club, and a reporter for our school newspaper. I enjoyed the friendship and positivity of those experiences. Another collection of treasured memories from high school involves my Grandpa driving my brother, cousins and myself to school from kindergarten to my senior year!

What led you to become a teacher? 

I connected with so many of my former teachers, especially Mrs. McCarthy in fourth grade. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up, and help others. In seventh and eighth grade, I volunteered in kindergarten and I was “hooked.”  I loved being a reading teacher for six years, but it was the best decision to become a kindergarten teacher!

What do you love most about teaching at Herkimer?

I love meeting all the kids and getting to know them.  It is just amazing to watch a little kindergartener learn and grow over the course of the school year!

Did anyone from Herkimer Central School District influence you in becoming who you are today?

I have had so many influential teachers from Herkimer High School: Mrs. Whitney, Mrs. Trefzger, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Tomaso, Mrs Guiffre, Mr. Nickerbocker, to name a few. Now as an adult, I’m fortunate to have all of my colleagues at Herkimer Elementary School share their expertise with me!

What advice do you have for current Herkimer students? 

Always be kind!