The Steckleins made their lives and raised their family in Sylvan Grove. Jude has served as an administrator for Unified School District 299 for the last 33 years. His wife, Rachel, recently retired as the Sylvan Grove city clerk after more than 29 years in that role.
Jude says Sylvan Grove has provided a great environment to raise their three children.
“When we moved here, we thought it would be 2-3 years,” Jude said. “But we found out we liked the small town atmosphere to raise our family.”
And Jude said it’s about more than just the community, but the opportunities available for his children – all now adults – in the small school district.
“Some people think kids in a small district have disadvantages because of low enrollment,” Jude said. “We found just the opposite. Our kids were able to participate in all activities they wanted to: sports, music, drama, speech. We felt they got a well-rounded education with excellent instructors.”
After her recent retirement, Rachel noted how much she enjoyed her role in the community.
“The part I liked best about my job was meeting and helping people,” Rachel said. “In a small town, the first place people go is to the city office. I was the chamber office, the housing contact, general information specialist. People would say, ‘Ask Rachel, she will know.’ (That was) not always the case, but I could usually find someone who did know. It made me feel good to help.”
The Steckleins have certainly gotten the most out of living “Rural by Choice” right here in Lincoln County, Kansas.