Thursday, December 18, 2014

New faces grace school hallways and classrooms

By The Herald Staff | 8/25/2014

More than 30 new teachers will join the staffs of Franklin County’s four school districts for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Herald asked these educators to tell us a little about themselves and what they will be doing this school year.

More than 30 new teachers will join the staffs of Franklin County’s four school districts for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Herald asked these educators to tell us a little about themselves and what they will be doing this school year.


• Karolyn Barclay — Barclay will be an early childhood special education teacher at Eugene Field Elementary School.

Barclay is a life-time member of the community and would like to support Ottawa and its young people as the district’s early childhood program continues to develop and expand in the coming years, she said.

Barclay is a recent Kansas State University graduate, earning the Outstanding Student Award this year along with scholastic honors.

• Lisa Botkin — Botkin will be a counselor at Garfield Elementary School.

Botkin said she was attracted to the Ottawa school district because she had friends who told her it was a great place to work and the location is close to home. Botkin said she loved the friendliness and professional atmosphere and when she interviewed and toured the buildings.

For the past six years, Botkin served as a counselor at Lebo Elementary School and Lebo Junior/Senior High School. She was an English teacher at Madison Junior/Senior High School for four years and an English teacher at Lebo High School for four years.

“My husband and I live in Lebo with our two sons,” Botkin said. “I am very excited to get to know everybody in the community.”

• Angie Bradley-Butts — Bradley-Butts will be a special education teacher in Ottawa High School’s achievement program.

Bradley-Butts, who left the Ottawa school district two years ago, said she was excited to work in the district again.

Previously, she was a fifth grade teacher in the Ottawa school district and then an instructor at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center in Ottawa. She taught in the Ottawa school district for 14 years.

• Ashley Farrell — Farrell will be the early childhood special education teacher located in the Ottawa school district’s central office.

Farrell grew up and attended school in the Ottawa school district.

“It has been a school district that I have always loved and hoped to be able to teach in some day,” Farrell said.

Farrell recently graduated from Emporia State University and completed her student teaching in the Olathe school district. After graduating, she aided in beginning a new preschool program in the school.

Farrell has two daughters, Avery Jo, 6, and Sevanna, 3.

• Nick Harris — Harris will be a sixth grade science teacher and football coach at Ottawa Middle School.

Harris lives in Baldwin City and said he is a frequent visitor to Ottawa.

“Last year I worked with the work study program [in Ottawa] thanks to a call from Dr. Brian Krause [Ottawa assistant superintendent],” Harris said. “When the science position opened up, I jumped on it.”

This is Harris’ 35th year in education.

“I retired in 2013, but I missed the students and the classroom,” Harris said.

• Elizabeth Koerner — Koerner will be an interrelated resource teacher for grades third through fifth at Lincoln Elementary School.

“My husband and I were looking to move to a small town from our childhood home in Lawrence,” Koerner said. “I absolutely loved the professionalism and kindness I found in Ottawa during the interview process, and cannot wait to work with such a high quality staff who truly value education.”

Koerner previously worked as a interrelated resource teacher for one year in the Lawrence school district.

She has a 15-month-old daughter and is a huge Sporting KC fan.

• Meghan Mace — Mace will be an English Language Arts teacher for the seventh and eighth grades at Ottawa Middle School.

“I came to OMS to focus on my passion of reading and writing, and I am excited to interact with a new age group of students,” Mace said.

During the past school year, Mace was the paraprofessional for the school psychologists in the Ottawa school district. Prior to coming to the Ottawa school district, she was a classroom teacher for 14 years at Sacred Heart School in Ottawa.

• Amanda Ortega — Ortega will be a kindergarten through second grade counselor at Lincoln Elementary School.

Ortega said she was attracted to the quality and reputation of the Ottawa school district.

Previously, Ortega worked one year as a counseling intern and two years as an elementary autism teaching assistant for the Park Hill School District.

“I am active with the Girl Scouts, I love the outdoors and you might see me geocaching around Ottawa,” she said.

• Kady Paul — Paul will be the seventh and eighth grade math teacher and will coach volleyball.

“I grew up not far from here and live in Lawrence, so Ottawa is a perfect place to begin my teaching career,” Paul said.

A first year teacher, Paul graduated in May from Emporia State University.

“I am excited to begin my teaching career at Ottawa Middle School and look forward to meeting my students soon,” she said.

• Patrice Peoples — Peoples will be a librarian and reading teacher at Ottawa Middle School.

“I am excited to be a part of USD 290,” she said. “I am looking forward to working with the team at OMS.”

Peoples previously taught at Sacred Heart School in Ottawa for nine years. During her time at Sacred Heart, she was a third grade teacher, a fifth grade reading teacher, librarian and technology coordinator.

• Alexander Rand — Rand will be the school psychologist at Eugene Field Elementary School and Ottawa High School.

Originally from New York, Rand received a master’s degree in June from Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, N.Y. This will be his first job as a school psychologist, he said. Prior to becoming a school psychologist, he was a paralegal at a law firm in Manhattan, N.Y.

Rand’s wife, Sarah, is from Ottawa and the family moved earlier this month from New York to Ottawa. The couple recently had an addition their family. Their son just turned six months old.

“I am excited to join USD 290,” Rand said. “I look forward to supporting the students, parents and staff to the best of my ability.”

• Jamie Roecker — Roecker will be a first grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

Roecker was born and raised in Ottawa and currently resides in Ottawa with her family.

“I decided to join the Ottawa school district to be closer to my children and look forward to being more involved in my community,” she said.

Roecker previously taught kindergarten and first grade special education the past five years in the Wellsville school district. She also has taught fourth and fifth grade special education in the De Soto school district.

• Matt Schurman — Schurman will be a sixth and seventh grade school counselor at Ottawa Middle School. He will supervise the Bystanders Over Bullies program and help with the AVID program.

Schurman will coach seventh grade football and eighth grade junior varsity boys basketball in the winter.

“I first came to Ottawa in 1998 to attend Ottawa University on a men’s basketball scholarship, later graduating in 2001,” he said. “After living in surrounding communities for several years my wife Amanda and I found our first home and settled here in 2002. We have remained in the community ever since.”

While at Ottawa University, Schurman accepted a position with the Elizabeth Layton Center for Hope and Guidance as a case manager, therapist and emergency services clinician. Schurman’s focus the last 15 years at the center was providing services to school-aged children and their families, he said.

Schurman resides in Ottawa with his wife of 12 years, two daughters, Joey and Charlie, and a “completely crazy shorty bulldog named Georgia,” he said.

“I am on the CASA board of directors and serve as a member of the Reach for the Stars advisory board,” Schurman said.

• Stacy Slabaugh — Slabaugh will be a special education teacher in the Ottawa school district.

Slabaugh said she was attracted to the school district by the new behavior and emotional training program it has developed.

She has worked as a therapeutic education support specialist for the past three years.

“I am very excited to be a part of the Ottawa school district,” Slabaugh said. “I live in Olathe with my husband and our two dogs.”

• Ann Smith — Smith will be an early childhood special education and preschool teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

“I had heard good things about the Ottawa School District,” she said. “I was very excited when I heard about the preschool program the Ottawa School District was implementing this year with children with special needs, children at-risk and typically developing children.”

Smith worked at the Olathe Heat Start program as a teacher for 15 years. After getting her master’s degree in early childhood special education, she worked for the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative for two years.

“I live in Olathe,” she said. “I am married and have three sons.”

• Katlin Sullins — Sullins will be a fifth grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School. Sullins said she was attracted to the Ottawa school district because it had a reputable history of student success.

“I feel that my experience and abilities as an educator will greatly impact the students at Garfield Elementary to continue in this success,” she said.

Sullins previously taught in the Garnett school district for four years as a second and third grade teacher and for two years as a fifth grade teacher.

Sullins was a recipient of the Kansas Horizon Award, which honors first year teachers who distinguish themselves as outstanding among their peers.

She is marred to John Sullins and they live in Gardner.

• Kathie Wingert — Wingert will be a third grade teacher at Eugene Field Elementary School.

An Ottawa resident, Wingert’s children attend Lincoln Elementary School and Ottawa Middle School.

Wingert has been a substitute teacher in the Ottawa school district for the past five years and taught second and fourth grades in Garnett until May 2000.


• Hannah Betten — Betten will be a special education teacher at Central Heights Middle School.

“I loved the warm welcome from coworkers and other adults in the district,” Betten said. “I love being a part of a family at Central Heights. Everyone is extremely supportive.”

A first-year teacher, Betten graduated in May from Concordia University in Nebraska.

• Jonathan Garcia — Garcia will be director of bands for Central Heights School.

A recent graduate of Colorado State University, Garcia said he was searching for a new experience.

“I love my job,” Garcia said. “The passion for my choice of subject is great.”

• Sarah Rand — Rand will be a Title I teacher at Central Heights Elementary School.

“I was looking for a close-knit, small community,” Rand said.

Previously, Rand was a second grade teacher at Success Academy in Bronx, N.Y.

• Ruby Reynolds — Reynolds will be a special education teacher at Central Heights Elementary School.

“I was attracted to the small family community feel that this school district has,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds was a special education teacher for two years at Prairie Creek Elementary School in the Spring Hill school district.

“I am married to a wonderful husband who also teaches,” Reynolds said. “We have two beautiful daughters and we currently live in Paola.”

• Katie Riemer — Riemer will be a fifth grade teacher in the Central Heights school district.

“I grew up near the school,” Riemer said. “I am a Central Heights graduate, having attended elementary, middle and high school there.”

Riemer was the K-5 elementary special eduction teacher for Central Highest for the past nine years and was employed through the Paola school district serving the East Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative.

“I am starting my 19th year of teaching,” she said. “Before working for the Paola district, I spent nine years teaching fourth and sixth grades at Sacred Heart School in Ottawa. My husband, Tom, and I have two children which both attend Central Heights School.”

• Ashley Rowan — Rowan will be teaching sixth and seventh grade social studies in the Central Heights school district. She also will be co-coordinator of Healthy Choices for Reading Roadmap, an after school program focusing on literacy for elementary aged children.

Rowan said her family moved to the district in 2011 from Liberty, Mo.

“We fell in love with everything Central Heights had to offer and never regretted our decision and are very happy to be a part of the Viking community,” Rowan said.

For the past three years, Rowan said she has been employed by Central Heights in a number of positions, including building aide, reading intervention specialist and computer instructor.

• Shawn Walters — Walters will be a business teacher, FBLA sponsor and yearbook advisor for the Central Heights school district.

Walters said he likes Central Heights because it is a small, personal school district with top notch leadership.

Walters previously taught business and physical education in the West Franklin school district for 19 years.


• Jonathan Dodds — Dodds will be a fifth grade teacher at Wellsville Elementary School.

“I wanted to be part of a school district that is built on a caring community that aspires educational greatness in all of its students. Wellsville has that small town charm built on Midwest values that I appreciate,” Dodds said. “I am excited for the new school year and look forward to being part of the Wellsville educational community.”

A first-year teacher and former school bus driver, Dodds said he and his wife Christina have been married for 10 years.

“We have two beautiful girls, Abigail is eight years old and going into third grade and Maisie is five years old going into kindergarten,” Dodds said. “My wife is a preschool teacher in Olathe were we live with our two year old Bichon dog Molly. We enjoy outdoor activities and adventures as a family.”

• Kelly Hoehn — Hoehn will be a second grade teacher at Wellsville Elementary School.

Hoehn is from Wellsville and said she was attracted to the district and area because she enjoys the small town feel.

She previously worked as a paraprofessional at Trojan Elementary School in Osawatomie.

“I’m a first year teacher from Paola and graduated from Emporia State University,” she said. “I enjoy spending time with my family.”

• Bryan Kindle — Kindle will be a pre-Algebra and Algebra I teacher at Wellsville High School as well as the new basketball coach.

“I like the small town feel and grew up around the area,” Kindle said. “This will be my first year of teaching. I graduated from Baker University in December 2013.”

• Rick O’Neil — O’Neil will be a Wellsville High School and Middle School physical education instructor, assistant cross country coach and head boys’ basketball coach.

“Wellsville has a strong and long tradition of great students, great athletes, and very competitive teams,” O’Neil said. “This district is progressive and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.”

O’Neil is moving from Spring Hill High School in Spring Hill, where he spent the last 21 years as head boys’ basketball coach, head cross country coach, head boys’ golf coach and physical education instructor.

• Amanda Lyman — Lyman will teach at both Wellsville high and middle schools as an eighth grade science teacher and a ninth grade Earth and Space science teacher. She also will coach seventh grade volleyball and will be one of the high school junior class sponsors.

Lyman is a 2002 graduate of Wellsville High School and grew up in the area.

“I had a wonderful biology teacher, Mr. Morris, that first intrigued me with the science curriculum,” Lyman said. “Chemistry and physics solidified for me that I wanted a future career in science. I went to college with the plan to either go into pharmacy or research but I had a few college professors who led me to education instead. This allowed me to combine my passion for science and youth.”

Lyman said she wanted to “give back” to the school that initially set her on her path to success.

“I am excited about the opportunity to be a role model for other female students as there are fewer female science instructors, especially in physical science fields, compared to men,” Lyman said. “I also want to bring hands-on experiences to the students who attend Wellsville and let them know that just because you attend a smaller school district doesn’t mean their education isn’t as compared to students who attend larger high schools. Over the coming years, I hope to play a role in increasing course selections, lab investigations and real world opportunities for our kids to participate in and show them that science is the future.”

For the past eight years, Lyman taught physical science, chemistry and honors chemistry at Gardner Edgerton High School. She also served as assistant coach for volleyball and softball at GEHS.

• Hailey Waymire — Waymire will teach family and consumer sciences at Wellsville high and middle school and a prom co-sponsor.

“I have heard wonderful things about the Wellsville school district,” she said. “I am excited to be part of bringing a Family and Consumer department back to the district and developing career pathways to help produce career and college ready students for Franklin County.”

Waymire previously taught family consumer sciences in the Louisburg school district for three years. She received her undergraduate degree from Pittsburg State University and a master of science in family studies and human services from Kansas State University. She is married to Colton Waymire and they reside in Ottawa.

She is originally from Lane and attended Osawatomie High School.


• Kayla Jehle — Jehle will teach physical education at Williamsburg Elementary School.

She previously taught physical education at Junction City High School and wanted to get closer to home in rural Baldwin City.

Jehle and her husband, Ted Jehle, farm in rural Baldwin City.

• Tim Kilgore — Kilgore will be the agriculture education teacher and FFA chapter advisor at West Franklin High School.

“My wife is from Lyndon, so we moved back into the area to be closer to family and put down ‘permanent roots’”.

Previously, Kilgore taught agriculture education and was FFA advisor for eight years at Blue Valley-Randolph.

The Kilgores have a 4-year-old son and two hunting dogs.

• Anna Moon Bradley — Moon Bradley English language arts at West Franklin High School.

“I live in a nearby community and am eager for a new challenge,” she said.

She has 14 years of high school English language arts teaching experience.

• Alissa Smith — Smith will be a sixth grade and eighth grade resource room teacher at West Franklin Middle School.

“I grew up in Pomona,” she said. “I love the small town.”

She has two years of teaching experience as a resource room teacher at Fort Riley.

“My husband and I are happy to be back and close to our families,” Smith said.

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