Discussion Over Dinner

Elementary Education Podcast


In 1818, the Three R's appeared in "The Lady's Magazine" to describe the basic skills taught in primary schools. But, much has changed since the 1800s. There are challenges educators have today that they didn't 15-20 years ago.

Moderator: Nate Loucks
Logistics/Production: Becky Crain
Graphics: Alyssa Lingle 
Intro Song: Joe Ruiz/Rhymer/Educator



Zach Huber: Principal at Pine Elementary School

Zach Huber was born and raised in LaPorte, Indiana and still resides there with his wife of 14 years and their three daughters.  He graduated from Bethel College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Indiana University Northwest. He is currently in his third year as principal of Pine Elementary School in Michigan City, Indiana.  This year is his 8th with the district, previously teaching and serving as an Instructional Coach. Before his time in Michigan City, he spent nine years teaching in the Gary Community School Corporation. All of Zach’s experience has been in elementary education.

Staff Pics-Jason.jpg

Krissy Surma: Teacher at Rolling Prairie Elementary

Krissy Surma was born in Oregon and lived there for 21 years. She began her college career at Oregon State but finished a degree in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten and Reading endorsement from Indiana University.

She taught pre-school for four years before moving to Kindergarten at Rolling Prairie Elementary where she has been teaching for 17 years. At Rolling Prairie Elementary Schoo, she is a member of the crisis team, CPI trained, the RTL co-chairperson, student council co-sponsor, and teaches at the after-school program, Bulldog Club.

Outside of school, Krissy works with youth through LaPorte County 4-H and the goat club of La Porte County. She lives in Rolling Prairie, on a small farm, with her husband, Tony, of 27 years along with our three daughters, one adorable granddaughter, one son-in-law, one soon to be son-in-law and more animals than we can count.

John Slater: Retired Elementary Educator

John Slater grew up in South Bend, Indiana. After graduating from Washington High School in the South Bend Community School Corporation, John majored in Business Administration from Ball State. Without a teaching license, John was hired to teach a fifth-grade elementary class at Rolling Prairie Elementary School, a position he held until his retirement in 2012. In his time as an educator, he coached more than 100+ teams, developed a three-mile environmental trail, and started a tutoring program that met each morning with 8-12 low-performing students. In the five years of the program, every student that attended the tutoring program regularly passed the I-STEP exam at the end of the year. For his roles in building the three-mile environmental trail, John was recognized as a county, state, and national Teacher-of-the-Year. After retiring as an educator, John and his partner-in-education and wife, Jane, helped to create and manage the Jackson Street Community Garden and the Brighton Street Green Space in downtown LaPorte, Indiana.