Diane Marquardt, Haisley Elementary first grade teacher

Diane Marquardt was born in Detroit and raised in Livonia. Her father worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, which exposed her to the work of aviation and instilled in her a love of travel, while her mother’s work at a local church provided her with a strong foundation for community engagement.

Adopted as an infant, Marquardt has recently reconnected with her birth father and family, with whom she’s currently building a relationship. She says this journey to find her birth parents has been a quest filled with a rollercoaster of emotions, self-discovery, and countless unexpected turns. 

After earning her first teaching degree at the University of Michigan, Marquardt furthered her education by attending Oakland University for graduate studies and obtaining a certification in Early Childhood Education. A passionate elementary teacher for more than 20 years, she joined AAPS in 2007 and taught at Lawton Elementary for four years before she joined the Haisley staff 12 years ago.  

She and her husband of 26 years, Greg Marquardt, have twin sons, Andrew and Joshua, who attended Ann Arbor Public Schools, graduating in 2016 from Pioneer High School. The twins are 2020 graduates of Michigan State University.

In her spare time, Marquardt can often be found traveling or on the beach watching her husband kiteboard. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, practicing yoga, running, and cooking new recipes. 

As you look forward to greeting your new students on Monday, are you having any back-to-school jitters of your own?
Beginning a new school year always brings a mix of emotions both excitement and a little nervousness when meeting a new group of littles!

Why did you pursue a career in teaching?
I have always wanted to be a teacher. I remember setting up a “classroom” in my play space in my childhood home while growing up. I consider myself a lifelong learner and forever a teacher!

Why first grade?
First graders brighten my day as they arrive with their friendly smiles, motivation to learn, and kindness in their hearts. They are always willing to share their experiences during our daily morning greetings.

Describe an average workday.
I like to wake up early and practice yoga each day. This helps to improve my energy and have a brighter mood while improving muscle strength for my longer runs. I arrive at school around 7:30 a.m. to prepare for instructional time, check emails, and connect with colleagues. With a focus on student relationships and engagement, our day is packed with excitement and building stamina. After school, I can be found at the gym or going for an outdoor run. Dinner, reading, and going to bed early are typical activities during the evening.

What are your best tips for classroom management?
At the beginning of the year, intentionally moving at a slower pace with modeling and practicing the routines and procedures will help to build a foundation for classroom expectations. 

Why did you want to work for Ann Arbor Public Schools?
Ann Arbor Public Schools Educators are the best of the best! Their dedication to their craft is impressive, their passion for reaching every student is inspiring and their commitment to their community is empowering. 

What do you like about working at Haisley specifically?
The Haisley community wholeheartedly showcases a sincere and inclusive learning environment by empowering students and building relationships throughout to make our space a better place. Our Haisley families and PTO are amazingly supportive and we appreciate everything they do for our community. I am proud to be a part of it.

What’s the happiest part of your day?
The happiest part of my day is when I greet each student at the classroom door and then proceed to our morning meeting. I enjoy connecting with each individual student as they share daily updates about their life.

What do you want most for your students?
I would like all students to know they are loved, accepted, and valued for who they are and what they bring to our world. By emphasizing confidence and self-esteem, educators can help all students succeed academically and empower them to navigate life with a strong sense of self-worth. 

How do you prevent burnout?
I connect with my family and friends and find time to travel. Being able to disconnect takes a conscious effort that is necessary to recharge and stay focused when needed. Frequent pedicures with my friend help too!

Favorite podcasts, websites, apps:
Some of the media tools I highly value are Google Calendar, Slides, and Instagram. As a seasoned educator, I actively follow teachers from different parts of the country. This practice helps me stay up-to-date and committed to continuous growth.

Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence on your career? If so, what did you learn?
Within our building, I’m encircled by a community of teachers who support one another. We engage in collaborative efforts whenever necessary and consistently maintain an environment of open and respectful accessibility through our inviting classroom doors.

How is teaching different from the way you imagined it would be?
Teaching is difficult and rewarding! As teachers, we wear many hats and our minds are always in “teacher mode.” It is hard to shut off our thoughts and often keeps us awake during the nighttime hours!

What advice would you give to a first-year teacher?
There is always something that has to be done. Our work seems to never end! So have fun with your students and take time for yourself.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching?
Participating in a child’s educational journey and witnessing their progress as they evolve over the years within our school is a source of great excitement and very rewarding.

What do you wish everyone realized about the work of a teacher?
Teaching demands significant effort and should be recognized as one of the most essential professions. Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping individuals, ensuring that everyone finds their path.

How do you spend your summers?
During the summer months, I set weekly goals for myself. These include reading at least one book per week, experimenting with a fresh recipe, and engaging in race training.  I prioritize travel and spending time in nature, as these experiences help me gear up for the upcoming school year.

What’s most exciting about your professional life right now? Your personal life?
So many things to look forward to…

  1. A new class family of first graders
  2. Catching up with my teacher buddies and connecting with new colleagues
  3. I am excited to be a part of the Language Essential for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training beginning this fall  
  4. 5K Trail Race
  5. Football
  6. Fall color tour up north and dare I say it…Pumpkin Spice everything!

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