Mrs. Jane Goeden was all smiles when she was presented with Sacred Heart School’s Jean Hunhoff Courage, Faith and Love Award. The faculty, staff, parents, and the whole student body smiled with her on this prestigious honor.



This SHS family, as Goeden refers to her colleagues and students, has shared many smiles with her through the chapters of her life. Those smiling faces encouraged her along, on a daily basis over the past few years. They observed the way Goeden has courageously faced life’s challenges with surgeries, hospitalizations and a great deal of pain. They have been inspired as they witness her faith in action each school day. They have been the recipients of her seemingly never-ending love and acceptance, which is extended to everyone she encounters.

Yet, smiles surround Goeden. She has a consistently cheerful disposition. Her motto is, “Don’t worry. Be happy!” And she decorates her work area with smiley faces.

“I started the smile decorations when I began teaching at SHS…I was so excited to begin work at SHS. I wanted to remind the students to, ‘Smile, God loves you!’ Now, I must have 40 different things with the smiley design. I have flags, pillows, stickers, posters, chairs, vases, a coffeepot and cups and more,” explained Goeden.

The bright and sunny, yellow-colored, smiley designs reflect Goeden’s approach to life, which is the reason for her recognition.

“I worked with Jean Hunhoff at Sacred Heart Elementary School,” said Mrs. Goeden. “She was quite an inspiration to me. She was a very loving woman.”

The award is presented annually to one deserving person who serves SHS, modeling the magnificence of the award’s namesake.

The late Jean (Mrs. Richard) Hunhoff (1946 - 2003) lived her faith as she courageously faced terminal illness. Jean Hunhoff demonstrated her love of learning as the SHS Librarian, the role Goeden now fills.

Cindy Vyborny, a SHS parent, submitted the nomination for the award, citing Goeden’s love for God, family, friends, students and peers.

In the nomination submitted for Goeden, Vyborny stated, “Jane Goeden puts herself into God’s hands, and accepts what she is given, just like Jean Hunhoff. I had the pleasure of knowing Jean and I have been given the opportunity to know Jane Goeden and also work with her.”

Mrs. Goeden’s decision to pursue a teaching career began in childhood. Having grown up on a farm north of Yankton, her child’s play was always a school setting.

“I made my brother go to school. I would bribe him with candy if he would stay and play school with me,” said Goeden, laughing at her earliest days of ‘teaching.’


Every day students at Sacred Heart Elementary School enter into the world of books and stories through the guidance of Mrs. Jane Goeden. The kids (including these kindergarteners pictured above) love spending time in the library just as much as she loves having them.

A graduate of Irene High School, Goeden followed her faith to Mount Marty College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She taught second grade students for five years at St. Helena, Neb.; taught two years with first grade students at Bow Valley, Neb.; kindergarten for 13 years at Wakonda, and another 13 years with first and second grade students at SHS.


Along the way she married her husband Tim, and they have three grown daughters. Their oldest daughter, Beth, her husband Jeremy Loecker, and their children Samuel, Elijah and Gabriel, live in Sioux Falls. Their second daughter, Jennifer and her husband Nate Sandman, are expecting their first child any day. The Goeden’s youngest daughter, Sarah Loecker, also lives in Sioux Falls.

During her years of teaching, Goeden didn’t seem to ever rest!

Her summers were not spent at the beach, but she did a lot of camping… at Camp Learn-A-Lot. Over the past seven years, nearly 18 preschool through third grade students have enjoyed Goeden’s summer study for educational enrichment.

Then, two years ago, the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia forced Goeden to make a most courageous career decision. Her lifelong love of working with children seemed to be a dying dream. Goeden could no longer hop up to help a student, could no longer kneel beside a desk, and could not easily assist her students at the level of activity that she felt was essential for involved education. She was forced to leave the classroom.

“To walk out of the classroom was the hardest thing I had to do,” reflected Goeden, who had finally admitted her physical challenges.

“I like to dress well and I try to look my best so people may look at me and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with her.’ Some days…I hurt so bad… I have tried different medications, but some days I would like to stay home… but school is so wonderful,” Goeden explained.

Before fulfilling her career goals, Goeden’s lifelong love of working with children seemed to be ending far too soon.

Now, even two years later, recalling the need to tell Principal Manning of her decision to leave teaching still brings tears to Goeden’s eyes.

“It was a rough couple of months… I was so grateful that God was watching out for me,” admitted Goeden.

God’s intervention went deeper than Goeden anticipated. A retirement among SHS faculty opened the librarian position.

Principal Manning approached Goeden with news of this opportunity. Nearly two years ago Goeden transitioned into part-time status at SHS, working as the Elementary School Librarian and as a tutor for children needing one-on-one assistance.

Goeden’s new role also included transporting students to special services, but she quickly identified the need for increased time spent tutoring individual students. She had immediate support from Principal Manning, who found a way to maximize Goeden’s time and expertise to best serve the students. A call for volunteers resulted in 14 responses from parents offering to transport students, to shelf the library books, and assist as needed. That support allowed Goeden to tutor many more individuals and pass along her love of learning to them.

“Most important is how wonderful SHS is… how supportive they all are to me,” said Goeden, who some might say is getting back only a very small portion of the kindness, generosity and consideration that she has given so freely to so many over more than 30 years of teaching.

While not her chosen profession, Goeden’s enthusiasm is evident for her new job as SHS Librarian. She is thrilled to work in the library with the children she loves so much. She welcomes the opportunity to enrich their lives with a love of learning, building their faith in themselves to succeed in school.

“I have always had a lot of patience and I love working with others. I have always loved working with children,” said Goeden, who quickly transferred those skills to her new role.

Goeden once took great pride in seeing her classroom students advance to the next grade level. Goeden now takes great pride in hearing students listening to her read a story at the SHS Library.

She is especially pleased when students beg to stay inside to hear her finish reading the story, rather than race outside to recess. This creative teacher knows how to help the students get outdoors to exercise at recess, while they plot their own ending to the story, as their interest builds while they await the next library session, and hearing the author’s exciting conclusion.

This remarkable former teacher, now librarian and tutor, uses her courage, faith and love to teach those same qualities to her students.

Goeden said, “I want to continue to reach and teach everyone that needs help! I can use my faith and love to share with them, to learn with them, and to talk about God as the center of our lives.”

Some might say, Goeden’s story now has a happy ending — but she seems to only be beginning a new chapter. There is a whole new set of blank pages to be filled with the many ways Mrs. Jane


Goeden shares her courage, faith, and love.