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Welcome aboard: Great Bend introduces new teachers
Great Bend USD 428 started the school years with 35 new teachers, although several have worked for the district before and most have previous teaching experience. This group photo was taken earlier this month. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Filling virtually every vacant teaching spot before the first day of school is no easy task, but Great Bend USD 428 was able to do it, Superintendent Brad Reed said.
There are 35 new employees this year. USD 428’s public relations director Jennifer Schartz asked all of them to share some information about themselves. While each teacher could be the subject of a story, we’ve included just a bit about each of them here:

Stacy Novak has been assigned to Lincoln Elementary as the English Language Arts instructional coach. She previously taught at Pike Valley, Auburn-Washburn, and Iola school districts.

Tanner Dahlke teaches K-2 Special Education at Riley Elementary. This is his first assignment since student teaching at Pauline Central Primary School in Topeka. “Growing up I had some very influential and spectacular teachers that made my educational journey worth waking up for and going to school each day.”

Abigail Morrison teaches kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary. She has been an assistant softball coach at Great Bend High School for three years and has previously been a substitute teacher for the school district. A Great Bend native, her interests are coaching and planning her wedding with fiance Shane Jonas.

Anne Drees is teaching English at Great Bend High School. Before that, she was a substitute teacher at Hays, La Crosse and Thomas More Prep-Marian. “Education has always been a passion of mine. Getting a good education is vital to preparing for the future.”

Adam Kline teaches sixth grade at Eisenhower Elementary. He has 14 years of experience as an elementary teacher or administrator, starting with Bullhead City School District No. 15 in Bullhead City, Arizona. Kline and his family moved to Kansas in 2007. “I really enjoy learning new things that can be implemented in the classroom and working with students.”

Ashley Riley teaches Interrelated Special Education at Eisenhower Elementary. Her previous experience includes three years teaching special education in Great Bend, followed by teaching special education for one year at Hays. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be a teacher. It’s my way of trying to make a difference in our world through influencing and educating children.”

First-year teacher Alyssa Bliven teaches seventh- and eighth-grade art at Great Bend Middle School, and sponsors the Middle School Art Club. She recently completed her M.F.A. in metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and “I ... thought that teaching would be a great way to get some experience working with kids. I am looking forward to their enthusiasm and hope to match it with my own.”

Belinda Jones teaches sixth-grade language arts at Jefferson Elementary. Her hometown is West Mineral, Kansas, the home of Big Brutus. Previous teaching experience includes schools at Fort Scott, Decatur, Oberlin, Mound City, Bazine, Ness City and Cherokee.

Amber Lucchesi is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)/technology teacher at Great Bend Middle School. Previously, she was a para at Lincoln Elementary in Hoisington. “The great teachers I have had throughout my education are my heroes and my role models.”

Carrie Shinogle teaches first grade at Jefferson Elementary. “I love to read, and hang out with family and friends! My hobbies include putting together floral arrangements (took a class), making diaper cakes, and shopping.” She taught first graders at Kismet Elementary School for three years. “Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a teacher. This is because of my teachers; they showed me that they cared, and wanted me to succeed.”

Anna Jones hails from Russell and now teaches Special Education at Riley Elementary. She was a paraprofessional for 14 years and a substitute teacher for seven. “I want to make a positive difference in lives of the students I interact with.” She’s also “a diehard Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan.”
Cody Carlson teaches In School Suspension (ISS) at Great Bend High School, and will coach high school football, basketball and track. He previously taught strength and conditioning at the Independence School District in Kansas City, Mo.

Taylor Baxter, from Moore, Oklahoma earned his degree at Sterling College and has worked as a para-educator in Lyons. Now she teaches third grade at Park Elementary. She enjoys playing softball. “I am in education because I want to make a difference in the lives of my students. I want to help direct my students down the right path.”

“I love helping students achieve success,” said Tim Brooks, the new boys basketball coach at Great Bend High School. He also teaches strength and conditioning at Great Bend Middle School and is assistant athletic director. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he was a coach at Dodge City before coming here.

Victoria Buelow teaches first grade at Riley Elementary. Before coming to Great Bend she was an outdoor educator at YMCA Camp Chingachgook in Kattskill Bay, New York. “I am in education because I want to make a difference in a child’s life and help them find a connection with learning.”

Denton “I go by Denny” Lewis teaches Social Studies at Great Bend High School. He has nine years of teaching experience and is also a bi-vocational pastor at New Life Baptist in Hoisington. “I love helping people realize their fullest God-given potential.”

Erin Beck is the head football, assistant track, and strength & conditioning coach at Great Bend High School. His previous jobs in education were at Truman High School, Independence, Mo., and Holy Family School, Great Bend. Coach and his wife Cindy have three children, and a new baby due at the end of August.

Kathy Moore teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and reading at Great Bend High School. Previously, she taught Spanish at Beloit High School, Pike Valley in Scandia, and Clifton-Clyde. “I enjoy teenagers. I believe that it is important to pour ourselves into the next generation, to help them excel and find/develop their talents, to give them the tools to be successful contributing members of our society.”

Don Regehr teaches band to grades 7-8 at Great Bend Middle School and grade 6 at Lincoln and Park, as well as Jazz Band, and assists with bands at Great Bend High School. “My second job is playing the organ at my church as well as playing at several other churches in the area. Other than my musical interests, which keep me quite busy, I enjoy doing yard work, riding my bike or taking a walk, watching the KC Royals and seeing an occasional movie.”

Jeb Detter teaches sixth grade at Eisenhower. He previously taught fourth grade at Natoma and Hoisington. He chose a career in education “to help the people I interact with become the most effective individuals they can be.”

Katrina Aumiller teaches K-6 music at Jefferson Elementary. She taught at Holy Family School for 11 years, is a licensed Kindermusik educator, and has a business, Kindermusik with Joyful Voices. “I love all things musical. I play piano, flute and sing. I direct the Perfect Fifths Choir at St. Patrick’s as well as the Inspirations Bell Choir.”

Jeff Jones teaches K-6 physical education at Eisenhower Elementary. He was the K-12 PE teacher and head high school boys basketball coach, as well as head high school track and field coach, in Oberlin. He also taught and/or coached in Mound City, Bazine/Ransom and Columbus. “Young students are always enthusiastic and honest and it makes everyday exciting. Being a teacher is the most important job in the world and I love the feeling of satisfaction that comes with it.”

Elisabeth Gafford is the new girls high school soccer coach and also teaches fifth grade at Jefferson. She has experience teaching first grade, Title I Guided Reading, and K-2 PE. Her pet is a Rhodesian ridgeback mix named Hoshi. “I teach because it is fun, rewarding and the biggest thing I can do to help our future generation.”

Joseph Bliven teaches seventh-grade science at Great Bend Middle School and is the boys and girls head tennis coach. He has a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology as well as a Master’s in Educational Studies. This is his first teaching job. “I did some mentoring after my B.A. and realized that it was right up my alley so I went back to school.”

Kelly Noland is “glad to be back with USD 428” after a two-year absence. She teaches second grade at Eisenhower. Noland taught Great Bend Reading Recovery from 200-2014, then left the district to teach third grade classes in Independence and then Fowler.

Maxwell Chamberlain hails from Huron, South Dakota. He teaches vocal music at Great Bend Middle School. His hobbies are writing and performing music; lifting weights, fitness, and nutrition; longboarding; wandering around; going on adventures and learning. “I enjoy watching people grow and succeed in the face of adversity.”

First-year-teacher Sadie Pile teaches seventh grade at Great Bend Middle School. “I want to make a difference in students’ lives. I had really impactful teachers growing up and I hope to be that for a student.”

Kevin Hoff teaches agriculture and welding at Great Bend High School. He has previous experience teaching industrial arts (drafting, welding and cabinetmaking). “I am in education because I enjoy seeing students progress and forming lifelong relationships with students, and I believe in the importance of a well-rounded education.”

Great Bend native Priscilla Rose teaches fourth grade at Eisenhower. She graduated from Barclay College with a degree in psychology and family studies in 2011, then completed coursework from Newman University to be able teach elementary K-6 and middle school English language arts. “I worked as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant for two years in Terri Schneider’s classroom at Park Elementary.”

Sherri Brantley says, “I love to teach,” and now she is teaching fourth grade at Eisenhower. Previously, she taught first grade in Oklahoma City Public Schools, Chapter I Math 5/6th grade at Guthrie, Okla., and fifth grade English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at USD 428. She was also an assistant professor Fort Hays State University.

Krystal Woodral is originally from Ellinwood but now lives in Great Bend and is a Family Support Worker at Jefferson Elementary. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bethany College and worked at The Center for Counseling & Consultation for more than seven years. “I love working with kiddos!”

Rachel Thexton is a counselor at Great Bend High School. She earned her master’s degree in school counseling from Fort Hays State University and has been a school counselor in La Crosse, taught middle school math in Hoisington, middle school science and high school computers in Centralia, and computers, leadership and yearbook at South Middle School in Liberal. “I love helping kids. Students have so many things going on in their life during high school, from class choice to a parents divorce to dealing with friend issues and sometimes they need some help figuring it all out. That is what I am here for.”

Lindsay Mazouch’s hometown is Arlington, Texas. She is the instructional technology coach at Lincoln Elementary. Her previous jobs in education include Everman Junior High in Fort Worth, Texas, Great Bend High School and Holy Family School. “I am in education to inspire students to be the best version of themselves.”

Dustin Klassen teaches physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary and is an assistant high school football coach. He taught PE at Great Bend Middle School from 2008-2012, at Ellinwood schools from 2012-2014, and was a PE and health teacher at Halstead Middle/High School in 2014-2015.

Rose Debes works for the Barton County Special Services Cooperative headquartered in Great Bend, and is assigned to Lincoln Elementary in Hoisington. She has taught kindergartners third graders and fourth graders at Shawnee Mission. Her hobbies include sewing, crafts, reading and piano. “(Education) incorporates everything I love and enjoy – all subject areas, helping others, a love of learning – and lets me pass it on to children.”