Centre, MCSEC welcome new classroom professionals

USD 397-Centre and the Marion County Special Education Cooperative bring a combined 11 new teachers and classroom staff to work with students this fall.


Centre welcomes five new teachers this fall.

Stephanie Allen teaches English and language arts. She received her bachelor of science degree in education from Wichita State University in 2015, concentrating on language arts for grades six through 12.

Originally from Wichita, Allen graduated from Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School in 2009.

Allen said she is looking forward to living and working in a rural community, as well getting to know students and staff. Her goals for students include experiencing literature and discovering different reading genres, as well as improving students’ writing skills.

A native of the Centre area, Hillary Barlow is the new counselor for the Centre schools. She attended Centre until the third grade; she graduated from Yates Center High School.

Barlow holds a 2001 bachelor of science degree from Emporia State University. She earned a master’s in counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 2003. She comes to Centre from El Dorado, where she was a high school counselor for four years and an elementary school counselor for two years.

Barlow said she is looking forward to getting to know the students and their families and being part of the community.

Barlow, who assisted with enrollment, said she wants to build a solid relationship between the community and the school. Centre has established a connection with soldiers at nearby Fort Riley and she plans to continue that.

Amy Carlson teaches fourth grade. She graduated in May from Emporia State with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.

A 2010 graduate of Chase County High School, Carlson and her husband live in Marion. She said they enjoy living in Marion County and look forward to getting to know more families in the area.

This year, her classroom goals are for students to have fun while learning and building relationships.

Bethany Carlson is the new preschool teacher. After spending several years as a stay-at-home mom, she is looking forward to working with her young students to prepare them for kindergarten, help them gain academic skills and learn classroom routines.

Carlson said learning to get along with others, cooperation and building peer interactions are all important preschool skills.

A 2000 Council Grove High graduate, Carlson earned her bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 2003 from Kan­sas State and a master’s degree in special education in 2005.

Carlson and husband Eric have four children.

Susan Saunders teaches science classes for grades seven through 12 at Centre High. A resident of the Lehigh area, she has been substitute teaching in area schools for the past few years.

Saunders is a graduate of Augusta High School and obtained her bachelor of science degree in math and chemistry education from Friends University in 1987.

Saunders hopes her students will learn about and enjoy the world of science.

In addition to her teaching duties, Saunders also is the new high school volleyball coach. She has been an assistant volleyball and basketball coach for Hillsboro Middle School the past two years. —Susan Mueller


Marion County Special Education Cooperative welcomes six new educational specialists this fall who will augment classroom teaching in the county’s six school districts.

Kristen Lindsay is the Goessel Junior High special education instructor. Her role is a shared position with Peabody. She will begin the day in Goessel, then transition to Peabody in the afternoon.

Karen Bonewitz is the speech and language pathologist this coming year for USD 411. She comes to Goessel from Newton, where she was a speech and language pathology teacher for many years. She will be serving the Goessel district on a half-time basis.

Joe Kvas, who has 30 years of experience in the classroom, teaches special education for grades nine through 12 at Centre. His resides at Council Grove Lake. He and his wife have four children.

Kvas earned his undergrad degree at Friends University and his master’s at Emporia State University.

Drawn to Centre because of its location and atmosphere, Kvas said he wants to help students recognize and reach their potential.

Heather Olson teaches English and math for middle and high school students at Oasis. A Tabor College graduate, she comes to MCSEC with six years of teaching experience, one at Hope and five at Hutchinson.

Olson said she and husband Andy have moved to the area to be closer to family. They have a 3-year-old daughter, Madelynne, and an infant son, Charlie.

Olson said she will be working to balance changes of a new school, new house and new baby.

Clare Galle serves district schools in Marion County as a gifted educator. She has a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis on gifted.

Galle, who has worked for 26 years as an educator, hails from Moundridge.

She said she’s pleased to join the MCSEC team, and wants to continue the excellence that is part of the program. She looks forward to working with students and their families.

Jennifer Janzen teaches special education to middle school students in Hillsboro and Marion. For the past seven years, she has taught business and computer courses at Marion High School. She has also substituted in the Hillsboro school district.

Janzen, who grew up in Wiley, earned her master’s at Emporia State University.

“The teachers and staff have always been very welcoming,” she said about the Marion and Hillsboro districts. “I know I will have a great support system.”

Janzen and husband Steven have three children: Zayden, Zeke and Zoey.

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