OSAWATOMIE — Osawatomie USD 367 is welcoming a group of new teachers to the district for the 2019-20 school year.
A few of the teachers are returning to the halls they walked as students before graduating from Osawatomie High School. Classes began Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Osawatomie schools.
The following article offers a brief look at each new teacher’s background, as well as a comment from each educator.
OSAWATOMIE HIGH SCHOOL
Jace is the new art teacher at OHS. He grew up in Mt. Vernon, Texas, with his mom, dad, older brother and sister. After graduation he moved to Branson, Mo., and attended College of the Ozarks and obtained his bachelor’s in Art Education. His first two years in education were at Reeds Spring, Mo., before coming to Osawatomie.
“I am very excited to begin the school year and be a part of such a wonderful, caring team!”
Jessea will be a life skills-special education teacher at OHS. She graduated from Ottawa University in December 2018 with a Secondary English degree. She is currently taking graduate classes through Pittsburg State University toward earning a master’s degree in Special Education. She was a para at Pleasanton High School for three years before student teaching in the fall of 2018. In January, she started as a long-term substitute at OHS in the Life Skills program and ended up finishing the year in Osawatomie and working Extended School Year.
“I am a wife and mom of four boys, ages 14, 10, 8 and 4. My husband and I were both raised in Pleasanton and our kids have grown up there as well. Aside from being my first year teaching, I am most excited for my boys and I to have a fresh start in a new school district. So far, we really love Osawatomie and are really looking forward to a great year!”
Caitlin will teach science at OHS. A southeast Kansas native, she was born and raised in Chanute. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Education from Pittsburg State University, her first teaching job was at Iola High School. She taught at Iola for two years while earning her master’s in Education Leadership. The past four years she taught in Kansas City, Kan., at JC Harmon High School.
“My husband and I decided we wanted to move to the outskirts so we both took new jobs and are looking forward to building our life south of the metro. This will be my seventh year teaching, and I’m excited to be a part of a community that already feels like home!”
Margaret will be a Life Skills teacher at OHS. She received her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from the University of Kansas and her master’s in Special Education from Pittsburg State University. She spent most of her career teaching 18-21 Special Education in Blue Valley.
“I am looking very forward to the challenge of doing something different and helping to create a new program on the Hillsdale campus. I have two sons — one a sophomore in high school, and one who graduated last spring and is heading to Texas to play baseball (which) is not a change I am looking forward to!”
Dave will teach math at OHS. He was born and raised in Texas and graduated from Friendswood High School in 2001. After spending time at the University of Houston and Dodge City Community College, he worked in radio, retail and tech support before going back to school in 2007. He attended Johnson County Community College and transferred to the University of Kansas where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in December 2014.
“I started at JC Harmon in Kansas City, Kan., and now I am happily here. I’ve been married 12 years to my beautiful wife Katie. We have a 3 ½-year-old son and expect a daughter in seven to eight weeks.”
OSAWATOMIE MIDDLE SCHOOL
Jennifer will be a sixth-grade English and Language Arts teacher at OMS. Originally from Princeton, she has taught third grade for 13 years in Liberal, Kan. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pittsburg State University.
“I am excited for the change to sixth grade. This year in a new grade will be a challenge, but I am excited about the new school and new students.”
SWENSON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
Amanda will be a special education preschool teacher at Swenson. She graduated from Osawatomie High School in 2015 and then attended Emporia State University where she graduated in May with her bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She is currently working on her master’s in Special Education at Emporia State. She lives at home with her family south of Osawatomie.
“I am looking forward to this year and getting to know the children and families in my classroom. My goal this year is to make the children feel safe and loved while also helping them make gains in all areas of development.”
Amber will be a Pre-K Special Education teacher at Swenson. She graduated from Avila University with a degree in Special Education. She also completed a degree in Sociology/Social Work from the College of the Ozarks in Hollister, Mo. She is originally from southern Missouri and said she loves going back to visit the lake and see her family. Her previous work experience included being a juvenile substance abuse case manager for a non-profit in Kansas City and a para educator and special education teacher in Gardner.
“I am married and have two children, a 12 year old and a 7 year old, and a super cute Australian Shepherd!”
Andi will teach first grade at Trojan. She is a recent Pittsburg State University graduate from Louisburg. Her family roots run deep in Miami County. Both sides of her family are from Louisburg and she has several family members in Paola and Osawatomie as well.
“I have a very large, supportive family. I would never have made it this far without them! Now I get to join another large family — the Trojan Family! I could not have asked for a better place to begin my career. I am extremely excited to meet my kids and watch them bloom throughout the upcoming year!”
Molli will be the music teacher at Trojan Elementary. She grew up in Osawatomie and graduated from OHS in 2006. She earned a bachelor’s in Music Education from Emporia State University. She taught in Kansas City, Kan., for four years and then moved to Topeka and taught at State Street Performing Arts School for four years. During that time she received her master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas. She lives in Osawatomie with her husband, Jesse, and their daughter, Hannah Jean.
“I am excited to be back in my hometown, sharing my love of music with my students!”
Sarah will teach physical education at Trojan. She attended Pittsburg State University where she was active in several clubs and also participated in three sports: cross country, indoor and outdoor track. Her parents are Russ and Janice Jewett of Pittsburg and her brother, Will, who is a student at Penn State University where he is studying music theatre.
“I am looking forward to meeting everyone and teaching kids about play, communication, sportsmanship and being creative when it comes to fitness and health. I loved PE from kindergarten through 12th grade and hope to share this excitement and enthusiasm with Trojan Elementary students every day.”
Natalie, a graduate of Emporia State University, will teach fourth grade at Trojan.
“I am excited about creating amazing relationships with my students and watching them learn and grow throughout the school year. I am also very excited about joining the Trojan family!”
Christine will teach art at Trojan. She received her bachelor’s in Visual Art in 2016 from the University of Kansas and her master’s in teaching PK-12 Art in 2019 from Pittsburg State University.
“I am most excited about getting to know my students and helping them learn all the ways they can use their creativity to express themselves.”
Megan will be a third-grade teacher at Trojan. She graduated in May from Kansas State University with a degree in Elementary Education.
“I am very excited to get to know each of my students and have some fun along the way.”
Haley, a graduate of Fort Hays State University, is a fourth-grade special education teacher at Trojan Elementary. She and her husband Cody Shaver have three children: Tripp (first grade), Rheaden (pre-K) and Dawsyn (2 years old).
“I am excited to help kids grow as individuals with learning styles focused to meet their own needs.”
Megan will be a third-grade teacher at Trojan. She graduated in 2005 from Osawatomie High School and received her bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Emporia State University in 2010. She worked in the corporate world for nine years before going back for a master’s degree from Emporia State, which she hopes to complete in 2021.
“I am excited to be meeting new kids and being more involved in the community.”