The school districts of Marion, Centre and Canton-Galva have a total of four new teachers this academic year.
Marion Middle School welcomed Mike Ayers, a new language arts teacher.
Ayers, who was born and raised in California, graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.
He went on to earn a master?s degree in literature from San Jose State University and a second master?s degree in teaching from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.
Before accepting the teaching position at USD 408, Ayers taught sixth- and eighth-graders in the Kansas City area.
?The (USD 408) school district is impressive and I was looking forward to the chance to work with Lee Leiker (superintendent) and Tod Gordon (principal),? he said.
Ayers and wife Amanda have a daughter, Lyla, 9 months.
?We arrived in Marion two weeks ago,? he said. ?It?s a lot smaller and different than Kansas City, and we like that.?
Laura Klenda, the new agriculture education teacher at Centre High School, grew up in the area and graduated from Kansas State University.
?Not everybody gets an opportunity to do this, to go back home to teach, but I did,? she said.
Klenda was in FFA as a CHS student, and grew up working on the farm of her parents, Val and Julie Klenda. She thinks of Tampa as her home town.
Klenda will teach a new course at the junior high level, ?Explorations in Agriculture,? and expects to have about 60 students daily in senior and junior high agricultural subjects.
Tyler Weinbrenner, meanwhile, is specializing in physical education in his first year at Centre.
The Hillsboro native graduated from Tabor College. He spent a semester student teaching under Stan Wiles, the retiring teacher whom he succeeds.
Weinbrenner will teach physical education for kindergarten through eighth grade, plus coach junior high track, football and basketball.
He said teaching lifetime fitness for seniors will be among his unique opportunities.
Brian Johnston comes from a 10-year tenure at Wakeland-Grinnell schools to be the science teacher for grades seven through nine and a coach at Canton-Galva.
He will be the assistant football coach at the high school, and middle school basketball coach.
Johnston said the move to Canton-Galva was a ?golden opportunity? to move to a half-way point between his wife?s parents in Missouri and his parents in Stockton.
?I?m really looking forward to meeting everybody here, and getting to know the kids,? he said.