Dale Sandquist cares about his students, and it shows. “You can tell he really loves his job,” said Riley Anderson, one of his former students.
Sandquist spends his days teaching physical education at Waukee Middle School, and he makes sure that his classes are fun. “I looked forward to P.E. because of him,” said Anderson. For this reason, Anderson felt compelled to nominate Sandquist for recognition in myWaukee.
Sandquist grew up in southwest Iowa and describes himself as “a farm boy from Emerson.” He originally began teaching because he wanted to be a coach. He taught and coached every girls’ sport at the high school in Treynor, Iowa, for ten years during the 1970s. He then moved away from education, opening a clothing and sporting goods store in Shenandoah. He owned the store for 25 years and did part-time radio work as a local sportscaster. After moving to central Iowa to be closer to his family, Sandquist began teaching middle school physical education in Waukee, where he has been for the past eight years.
It’s a busy workweek for Sandquist, with 950 students at the school. He and the two other physical education teachers at Waukee Middle School each have six class periods a day with 90 students in each class. The teachers emphasize physical fitness with daily activities and a fit log program in which students can monitor their physical activity.
A big part of Sandquist’s job is to help his students as they learn and grow. “There’s a lot of transitioning and learning going on for middle school kids,” he said, “so we just try to get them headed in the right direction and make them feel safe and happy.”
Sandquist said his favorite part of being a middle school teacher is interacting with the students. He’s also inspired when he receives a letter from a past student expressing appreciation for his teaching. “It’s always satisfying when students feel like they’ve made progress,” he said.
When he’s not working, Sandquist enjoys spending time with his family and following his favorite sports teams, including the Huskers.
Sandquist plans to retire from teaching at the end of this school year, after a total of 18 years in education. However, if his varied and vigorous career is any indication, Sandquist will remain active even after he says farewell to Waukee Middle School.