Our Story 

Since the first Catholic school opened at St. Boniface in Westphalia in 1884, Catholic education in Shelby County has been a cherished tradition. And while Catholic education has seen many changes throughout the years, our commitment to providing an education rooted in faith, centered on values, and driven by a shared vision has remained. Today, Shelby County Catholic School and the six parishes that support our mission provide a quality Catholic education to students in grades PK-5.

We prepare students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers in a faith-filled learning environment that nurtures faith, community, prayer, academics, and service. Caring teachers and staff collaborate to create a supportive and encouraging atmosphere where all students can achieve their full potential.


Shelby County Catholic School, growing in faith with Jesus, is a family-oriented school committed to academic excellence.


We Believe

  • Each child is unique and gifted in different ways.
  • A well-balanced education is a continuous process committed to the development of the whole person – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially, and physically.
  • Parents are the primary educators and have the chief responsibility for the spiritual and moral growth of their children. The faculty and staff at Shelby County Catholic School will help parents in fulfilling this obligation.
  • The responsibility of education is shared by the student, parents, families, school personnel, and parish communities.
  • Through our teachings, students will learn how to carry out the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in their daily lives and become caring and responsible members of the community.
  • Our curriculum and programs should foster, teach, and reinforce values based on Sacred Scripture, principles of social justice, and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Students can achieve academic excellence through a challenging curriculum and high expectations.

Fast Facts

92 Students in PK-5
48% Receive Tuition Assistance
1:7 Teacher to Student Ratio
78% Catholic
31% Teachers with Advanced Degrees
20+ Annual Services Hours/Student

Portrait of a Graduate 

At Shelby County Catholic, excellence is relentlessly pursued by instilling a culture of continuous improvement, innovation and growth. As a result, our graduates are prepared to:

  • Apply technology competently.
  • Think critically and creatively.
  • Solve problems independently and cooperatively.
  • Reason scientifically, mathematically and historically.
  • Accept Church, civic and personal responsibility.
  • Anticipate and constructively react to change.
  • Communicate ideas and emotions effectively.
  • Demonstrate global awareness, cross-cultural understanding and social justice principles.
  • Cultivate an understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What grades does Shelby County Catholic serve?

Shelby County Catholic serves students in PreKindergarten through 5th grade.

What is the cost to attend?

We are in the process of setting our tuition rates for the upcoming school year. For more information, please contact the school office at 712-755-5634.

What are Education Savings Accounts?

Governor Reynolds signed Education Savings Account (ESA) legislation into law on January 24, 2023. This legislation allows families that meet eligibility guidelines to receive an ESA in the amount of approximately $7,600 annually per child to enroll at the accredited nonpublic school of their choosing. Students accepted for enrollment will be able to use their ESA funds toward tuition at Shelby County Catholic. Additionally, tuition assistance does not impact ESA eligibility. Parents may apply for and receive both tuition assistance and an ESA.

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Is Shelby County Catholic accredited?

Yes. Our school is fully accredited through the state of Iowa and meets or exceeds the education standards of Iowa Code section 256.11

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What credentials do your teachers have?

All teachers are licensed by the State and certified to teach in their assigned areas. In fact, more than 30 percent of our faculty hold advanced degrees. Special endorsements held by teachers include reading, mathematics, social studies, talented and gifted, health, special education, learning disabilities, early childhood, English, speech, communications, and coaching.

What curriculum is used?

Standards and benchmarks are used in each subject area to guide teacher instruction and student assessment. Students are assessed on these standards and benchmarks using a standards-based reporting system. Currently, all Diocese of Des Moines Catholic Schools, including Shelby County Catholic, follow the Iowa Core mandated by the State of Iowa.

What if my child has diverse learning needs?

We are committed to working with all learners to the best of our ability, including children who may require additional academic support. Our school has faculty endorsed in special education to meet the needs of diverse learners. Moreover, all faculty benefit from professional development designed to aid our schools in differentiating instruction to ensure academic growth and success for all students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure all students receive an education that leads them to discover their individual strengths and abilities in order to reach their God-given potential.

Do you have to be Catholic to attend?

While the Catholic faith is integral to all aspects of school life, we welcome families of all faith traditions into our school community.

Are students involved in service projects?

We value service to God and others. Our students discover servant leadership by participating in various service projects throughout the school year. Projects benefit a variety of non-profit organizations and social causes throughout the Harlan community.

How is technology used in the classroom?

Our school is committed to research-based teaching strategies and innovative applications of technology. Desktop computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, interactive whiteboards and other equipment are integrated into the classrooms. Additionally, Shelby County Catholic was the first school in the Harlan community to initiate a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum for all grade levels.

Are extracurriculars offered?

Yes. We offer opportunities for students to participate in numerous academic, fine arts, leadership, service, and enrichment activities. 


School Administrator - Ann Andersen

Hi! I’m Ann Andersen, administrator at Shelby County Catholic School in Harlan, IA. I’ve had the pleasure of working in education for nearly 30 years. I earned an Associate Degree in Business from Iowa Western Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Buena Vista University, a Master’s Degree in Effective Education with a Reading Coach concentration from Drake, and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Drake.

My educational career began as a 6-8th grade mathematics teacher at Shelby County Catholic School’s St. Joseph’s Center in Earling, IA. I later transferred to the St. Michael’s Center in Harlan, where I taught in various classrooms ranging from grades 2-6. While at St. Michael’s Center, I coordinated religious education for St. Michael Parish, taught 2nd-grade religious education and sacramental preparation, and served as the summer Bible School coordinator.

I am the youngest of nine children and grew up on a farm in Portsmouth, Iowa. I’ve been a Shelby County girl all my life and graduated from Harlan High School. I love the rural life! 

My husband and I are proud parents of a son, a daughter, and five amazing grandsons. Both of my children have made me very proud, not only as Catholic school graduates but also for their very successful military careers. 

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, babysitting my grandsons, visiting parks, and attending sports events.

Administrative Assistant - Meghan Hastert

Hello! My name is Meghan Hastert and I am the Administrative Assistant here at SCCS. I am originally from Harlan and attended kindergarten-6th grade at St. Michael’s. I currently live on a farm outside of Panama with my husband Jason (who attended SCCS in Panama and Earling) and our daughter Alivia. One of my favorite parts of working here is getting to see my daughter throughout each day. It is truly a blessing that I will someday miss as she moves on from SCCS in a few years.

I graduated from Midland University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development. After traveling a few different paths, I found my place here at Shelby County Catholic School where I get to interact with families and students every day.

In addition to lending a helping hand to teachers and staff, I enjoy having students stop by the office to read me a story or just to chat. I also like that this job has connected me to so many great families within our school.

Prekindergarten - Joy Petersen

Hello.  My name is Joy Petersen. I am the preschool and physical education teacher at Shelby County Catholic School.  My husband Darrin & I live in Harlan with our 2 pets Phoebe & Junie B.  We have 2 daughters, Jordan & Jandy.  Jordan is a CMA at the Harlan Hospital and Jandy is a student at DMACC.

I attended Iowa Western Community College for two years after high school before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa where I completed my education degree.  I have also received endorsements in physical education, reading, and early childhood.

I have been with Shelby County Catholic School for 25 years.  I love the flexibility of teaching preschool and physical education.  The best part is watching the students grow and learn over the years.


Kindergarten - Tammy Klein

Mrs. Klein began her teaching career as first grader teacher at St. Joseph’s in Earling, IA after graduation from Iowa State.  She taught first and sixth grade in Earling and Panama.  Mrs. Klein has also taught kindergarten and second grade in Woodbine.  When a new position came available in 2020, Mrs. Klein joined the Shelby County Catholic School staff as an interventionist.  She enjoys working and collaborating with the dedicated staff of SCCS and the amazing kids.

Mrs. Klein and her husband, Mark, live in Dunlap where they raised their two children, Alex and Annie.  She enjoys attending Iowa State basketball games and traveling.

She is happy to be back with the SCCS family where academics and the faith community work together to form life long learners.  She says the best part of her job is watching the growth students make in their learning.  Mrs. Klein is in the building 3 days a week to offer instructional support for math and reading.

First Grade - Holli Plambeck

My name is Holli Plambeck, and I live in the small town of Persia with my husband Chad and our three kids, Katelyn, Kari and Brody. 

I graduated college from the University of Northern Iowa in 2002 with a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education (Learning Disabilities). Literacy plays a significant part in reaching one’s goals. Teachers should help students read clearly, know the material, and stress good reading habits. 

My goal is for students to read clearly and understand what they read. If students use good reading habits, such as learning vocabulary, asking questions, and reading slower, they will become better readers. This is an excellent way to help kids read better, so they will better understand how to comprehend what they’ve read. My classroom is a place where all students will feel safe, feel they belong, and are a part of a group. Additionally, students in my class will meet their goals while enjoying the learning process. 

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, playing cards, watching movies, and eating ice cream!

Second Grade - Allison Bruck

Hello! My name is Allison Bruck, and I am a second-grade teacher at SCCS. I live in Portsmouth with my husband Tyler and daughter Bailey. I enjoy camping, music, baking, and spending time with my family! 

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a minor in Psychology and an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. Teaching has always been my passion since I was young. I attended SCCS as a student and am now back teaching here because this is my home! 

In my second-grade classroom, we follow The Golden Rule. My main goal as a teacher is to support my students in becoming independent, empathetic citizens while fostering a strong Christian faith to guide them in life. I also acknowledge that a student will want to come to school if they enjoy school and are safe, so my goal is for my students to feel loved and have fun while learning! My philosophy is for my students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers. When they come to a problem in any subject or skill, they have to think differently to come to a solution. If students work hard in the classroom and have God to guide them in life, they will be successful!

Third Grade - Dana Seivert

Hello! My name is Dana Seivert, and I am the 3rd Grade teacher at SCCS. I am from Panama and currently still live there. I live with my husband Bobby, our children Beck and Noah, and our two dogs. I enjoy being with my family and friends, trying out new restaurants, and shopping. 

I attended SCCS from preschool through 8th grade and thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a student in the school. As soon as I started teaching, I knew I would love to be back in a Catholic School setting. I am excited to have the opportunity to teach at this wonderful school. I graduated in 2017 from Buena Vista University, where I majored in Elementary Education with endorsements in Reading and Early Childhood. 

As your child’s teacher, I am here to help foster a love of learning and to deepen their relationship with God. In addition, I want all students to feel safe, valued and respected in my classroom. When teachers, students and parents work together, we all succeed.

Fourth Grade - Emily Sonderman

My goal as a teacher is to help students be their personal best while providing a student-centered classroom. In a student-centered classroom, students do most of the thinking and talking while being problem solvers. No matter the subject area, I provide engaging questions that allow students to use problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to continue their learning. It is very rewarding to watch students reach their potential. 

My husband Troy and I have four children, Will, Lindsey, Josie and Ben. We live on a farm near Earling. My favorite thing to do is to be with my family. Our four children keep us busy. We stay busy with all their activities, including running, dance, football and baseball. When we have downtime, we enjoy playing games, eating anything chocolate, and watching movies. We are members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Defiance.

Fifth Grade - Cheryl Long

My name is Cheryl Long.  I grew up in the small town of Earling, Iowa.  I attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Earling from first through eighth grades. After graduating from Harlan High School, I attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a minor in Special Education.  I also went on to receive my Masters Degree in Reading Education from Northwest Missouri State University.  I hold a Permanent Professional Teaching Certificate.

My first teaching position was as a fifth grade teacher at Washington Middle School in Maryville, Missouri.  In 1985, my family moved back to the Harlan area, where I taught 4th grade at my elementary school alma mater, St. Joseph Catholic School in Earling.   I spent 19 years at the St. Joseph Center in Earling teaching 4th grade for seven years before moving to 5th grade after a school consolidation.  After a second school consolidation, I moved to Shelby County Catholic School in Harlan to teach 5th grade and have been here ever since.

My family includes my husband, Steve, who took over his dad’s tax preparation business a number of years ago in Columbus, Nebraska.  We have three children.  Jodi graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her undergraduate degree and her Masters degree. She works for Junior Achievement in Denver, Colorado.  Jodi and her husband, Khari, have two children, a daughter, Kaia and a son, Kieran.  My daughter, Kari, graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, my alma mater, with her bachelor’s degree. She earned her Masters degree at Park University in Kansas City.  She works for Children International, a global organization that helps children break the cycle of poverty, headquartered in Kansas City, MO.  My son, Matt, served in the Air Force for 4 ½ years where he received an Associates Degree in Allied Health Sciences.  He has since separated and attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and his Master of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  He works for Nelson Forensics as a structural engineer.  He and his wife Ashley live in Denver, Colorado.

Helping a child foster their love of God and a love for learning is something I am very passionate about.  I have always valued my Catholic education and feel so blessed to be able to share my faith with my students.  It is so rewarding to help children achieve their goals and to be able to help them learn to be kind, loving, and caring people so they will be an asset to our society.


Resource Teacher - Cindy Smith

Hello! My name is Cindy Smith, and I am the At Risk/Resource Teacher at Shelby County Catholic School. I have been an educator for over 20 years and love working with students and families. My degree is in elementary and special education. Additionally, I hold an endorsement in English as a Second Language. I believe that all children are unique, valuable gifts from God. My passion is fostering confidence in students as they build upon their individual abilities and strengths. All students can learn, and it is a privilege to walk alongside them to help increase their learning and knowledge. Shelby County Catholic School is a wonderful, caring environment where students are loved, valued, and taught with excellence. It is exciting to be a part of such a dynamic community of students, families and staff.

Business Manager/Technology Coordinator - Joanne Erlbacher

Hello, my name is Joanne Erlbacher. I have been with Shelby County Catholic School for over 30 years. I began working part-time when the St. Joseph’s center needed someone to teach the students something about computers. I progressed to teaching computer classes to students at St. Mary’s in Panama and then at St. Michael’s in Harlan through the consolidation of the schools. 

I am the Business Manager and Technology Coordinator for Shelby County Catholic School, which means a lot of time at my desk in the office, but my favorite times are when I get out of the office and work with the students on their Chromebooks/iPads/STEM skills. 

I received an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming and Accounting from the American Institute of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. I was employed as a computer programmer in Des Moines for several years before I moved back to the Earling area to marry my husband, Mike. Mike and I have 4 sons (all of which attended kindergarten through 8th grade at Shelby County Catholic School). In addition, we are the proud grandparents of 3 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.

My professional goal is to maintain an up-to-date, secure network and computer system and stay on top of the updates and trends in technology and the accounting and business world.

Head Cook - Pam Grudle

Hello, my name is Pam Grudle, I am the head cook here at SCCS.  This is my 14th year as a cook.

Before coming to SCCS, I ran an in-home daycare for 21 years.  I grew up in Harlan.  My parents are Ken and Sandy McGraw and they live in Harlan.  I am the oldest of 5, I have 3 sisters and I brother.

I have a daughter, Kylie Stahl who works at Verizon, her significant other (Dan Stevens) works construction in Council Bluffs.  Kylie has 1 daughter and Dane has 2 girls and 3 boys.

I have a son Tyler Stahl.  He and his wife Jessica are managers at Menards in Shelby.  Tyler and Jessica have 1 boy and 2 girls.

I enjoy spending my time with my grandchildren and family.  In my spare time I like to cook, bake, sew, and garden.

Para Professional - Michelle Schaben

Hello! My name is Michelle (Shelli) Schaben and I’m the para educator for second grade at Shelby County Catholic School. I grew up on a farm by Earling. That is where I attended SCCS through 8th grade. I am number 4 of 6 children.  I now live on a farm outside of Earling with my husband Larry. We have 3 children, Christopher, Tyler and Kelsey. I enjoy spending time with my family, Boutique shopping and helping on the farm.

I was a hairstylist for 31 years. I started working as an associate in preschool 2 days a week and eventually I decided to close my beauty shop and work full time here at SCCS. I love working with the students and teachers in different classrooms and also in the library. I have been here for many years now and truly love the SCCS family.

Para Professional - Kristi Herbst

Hello, my name is Kristi Herbst and I am a para professional at Shelby County Catholic School.  I live in Harlan with my husband Tim and our 3 sons.  Our oldest son Caden, is in 8th grade, Trevor is in 7th grade, and Gavin is in 5th grade. I enjoy baking, going for walks, and spending time with my family.

I have worked here at SCCS for 7 years. My boys have all gone through Shelby County Catholic School, it is like a second family to me. I enjoy getting to know all the students and love that we can all pray together.

Career Opportunities  

Teachers do so much more than teach reading, writing and mathematics. They inspire. They lead. They care. Considering a career in education? Working at our schools is more than a job. It is a vocation and a career worth exploring. Contact our Main Office at 712-755-5634 for more information or learn more about working for the Diocese of Des Moines Catholic Schools by clicking the button below.

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