Marion, Goessel welcome 13 new teachers this fall

New Goessel TeachersUSD 408 Marion and USD 411 Goessel will welcome a total of 13 new teachers as the new school begins this month.

USD 408

Nine new staff members will begin their duties for USD 408 this fall.

Dmitry Bucklin, who grew up in Mountain Lake, Minn., will teach instrumental music for grades five through 12 , elementary music for kindergarten through grade two and will serve as head coach for cross country.

Bucklin and wife Rachel came to Marion from Beloit, where he taught vocal and instrumental music for three years.

Bucklin said the strong support for music by school and community drew him to USD 408, where he wants to continue to grow the band program.

“I also hope that I can teach for a long time and that I can make a positive impact on the school and community,” he said.

Gary Ewert, with more than 30 years in the classroom, will teach American History at Marion High School.

“I grew up here, graduated from high school here and returned in 1995 to raise my family,” said Ewert, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Wichita State University.

His part-time MHS teaching assignment is coupled with being a paraprofessional at Marion Middle School, a “perfect fit for a semi-retired teacher,” added Ewert, who with wife Elaine has two grown children and three grandchildren.

Monica Leihy of Hills­boro will teach Spanish for grades nine through 12.

In the classroom, Leihy said her goal is to encourage students to become more “global” by learning another language.

Leihy, who worked two years with the Peace Corps in Ecuador and previously taught in the Hillsboro school district. She and husband Tom have five children.

Mark Lockhort, who studied at Pittsburg State University, will teach middle and high school industrial arts classes, including construction, cabinet making and drafting.

Prior to Marion, Lock­hort taught for 23 years at schools in Garden City and Deerfield.

He said he and wife Lori were drawn to USD 408 because of the area’s trees and lakes and to be closer to family. They have three dogs, four cats and four horses.

Simon H. McKee comes to Marion from Halstead after graduating from Tabor College this past May. He will teach seventh- and eighth-grade social science classes and help coach MHS football and track and field, plus MMS girls’ basketball.

McKee said he likes the small-town feel of Marion and is especially looking forward to coaching student-athletes at USD 408. He said his career goals include becoming a head football coach and possibly an athletic director.

Tyler McMichael ,who earned his education degree at Midland University in Fremont, Neb., will teach fifth grade. He also is MS/MHS head wrestling coach.

With Marion being his first teaching position, McMichael said he wants to have a positive impact on the students as well as be the best, most successful coach he can be.

“The size of the community and the people here make the district feel like home,” said McMichael, who grew up in Burden.

Jana Norquist will be the nurse for USD 408 and Oasis program. She grew up in Waterville and moved to Marion with her husband six years ago.

Norquist has been a nurse since 2008, having completed her nursing degree at Beatrice (Neb.) Community College.

She and husband Ivan have five children and two grandsons.

Emily Overton will teach kindergarten. Last year she taught second grade at Logan Avenue in Emporia.

Overton, who earned her education degree at Friends University, said her goals are to continue teaching and earn her master’s degree.

“I grew up in Marion,” she said. “I subbed for half a year and loved the environment and the teachers at Marion.”

Overton’s parents are David and Diane Hett. She and husband Alan have a daughter, Peyton.

Randy Skiles will teach MHS math and robotics classes and is head coach for MMS football and MHS boys’ basketball.

“I have been an administrator for the past eight years, and I decided to get back in the classroom because I really missed the contact with the kids,” Skiles said.

“My main goal this first year is to build some strong relationships and really get to know the kids.”

Skiles earned his bachelor’s degree at Newman University and his master’s at Baker University.

USD 411

Goessel is welcoming four new staff members this fall.

Harmony Gerlach will teach social studies at Goessel High School as well as sponsor the GHS Student Council. Gerlach and her husband come from Florida. Her husband accepted a position at Hesston College as the soccer coach.

Previously, Gerlach taught social studies at both the high school and middle school levels. She follows Wes Schmidt-Tieszen, who retired.

Chrystiana Miller has accepted the position as Title I teacher at Goessel Elemen­tary School. Prior to coming to Goessel, Miller taught fifth grade at Sheridan Elementary in Junction City. She is a graduate of Kansas State University and is a Horizon Award recipient, which recognizes exceptional first-year teachers.

Miller is a Goessel graduate. She and husband Bryant, also a USD 411 alumnus, have moved back to the Goessel community.

Megan Duerksen will teach Goessel Middle School language arts and chairs the junior high student improvement team. Duerksen has worked in the Goessel school district in a variety of roles: substitute teacher, elementary teacher, aide and support teacher in the garden­ing project.

Duerksen, along with husband Chelan and three children, reside in the Goessel district.

Peggy Shortridge will be teaching Spanish at GHS. Her position is unique as it is a shared position with Peabody-Burns. Shortridge will teach Spanish in the morning at Peabody-Burns and in the afternoon will teach Spanish at Goessel. She has taught Spanish, French and English and also served as an interpreter.

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