Anne Collett begins her first year teaching this term. Her students are grades five through eight for special education. Collett resides with husband Keith and their three children in Marion.
Janis Peterson teaches seventh grade geography and eighth grade history. She and her husband, Pete, live in Burdick.
First-year band instructor is Chris Waclawick of Olathe. He earned his teaching degree at Missouri State University. He plans to commute to Centre from Manhattan.
Susan Carlson joins the staff as librarian for Centre. She brings 30 years of professional experience, having worked as a substitute teacher, paraprofessional and librarian. Most recently she worked as a librarian at Herington Public Library. She lives in the Lincolnville area.
The pre-kindergarten class is taught by Briana Methvin from the Lincolnville area. She has previously taught in Louisiana.
Teaching math for middle and high school students is Pat Schoenhofer, who lives in Burdick. He comes to Centre after teaching most recently in Fredonia.
Adam Johnson is the new instrumental music instructor and band director for grades five through 12.
Johnson received most of his childhood schooling in Omaha, Neb., then attended Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, where he received his degree in December 2002.
Johnson taught in the Fowler school system for four years. He interviewed for the opening in the Goessel system, but the board already decided to hire Mike Connell, who had retired from the Marion district.
John Fast, Goessel superintendent, recommended that Johnson investigate the vacancy in the Marion district.
“I did and it worked out,” Johnson said. “It’s been a wonderful place to be.”
He said he was attracted to Marion because it was a larger district than Class 1A Fowler.
“The thing I like most about Marion is the numbers, and the natural talent that all the kids seem to have,” he said. “It seems they all have high energy and high expectations.
“That’s good and bad for me, because that’s something I can feed off of, but it’s also something that, coming from a smaller program, you bite your nails wondering if you’re going to make all the right decisions.”
Johnson is married to Laura, who works as a teller and bookkeeper at Tampa State Bank.
“Everyone’s been really, really nice and very supportive,” he said. “The administation has been very supportive, too. How many times does a band director walk into a school district where they’re building a new fine-arts center?”
Irma Piper is the new K-12 librarian in the district. No stranger to Marion County, she is an alum of Durham High School. She has received both a bachelor of science degree and master’s degree from Emporia State University.
She made her career as a classroom teacher or librarian in Hill City, Cherokee Southeast, Louisburg, Hartford, Stanton County and most recently at Alma Wabaunsee.
She came to Marion with husband Jim, who is the new elementary school principal.
“Things are going great,” she said of her new role. “I enjoy both buildings. It’s enjoyable for me to work both with kindergarteners and first-graders and juniors and seniors.
“I think the approach is still the same, you still have to encourage children to read and to share your love of reading with them so they hopefully can have the same enthusiasm that you have.”
Carole Ferguson accepted the part-time job in the high school English department following her retirement after teaching for 31 years in the McPherson school district.
Ferguson grew up in Kansas City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Emporia State in 1972 and then was awarded a master’s degree there in 1984.
“The Marion job came open with classes that I was experienced in teaching and enjoy teaching—ninth grade and 12th grade English,” she said of her decision to apply.
“It was a part-time job in the areas that I enjoyed and felt comfortable with, and it seemed to be good fit.”
She and her husband will continue to live in McPherson, but Ferguson said she’s been impressed with the Marion community.
“The people of Marion have been more than kind to me,” she said. “They made me feel very welcomed. They’ve been very supportive and helpful.
“It’s been going well so far,” she added. “There’s always a learning curve, but that’s part of the fun and exciting part, too.”
After teaching the last 25 years at Marion – USD 408, Mike Connell is making the transition to Goessel as the new instrumental music instructor for grades five to 12.
“After 25 very good years with the Marion School District, the challenges of a new position are welcome,” he said. “Also, the opportunity to work with new students and faculty is something to look forward to.”
A 2007 graduate from University of Central Missouri with a master’s degree in biology, Donna O’Neill will be teaching science at Goessel high school.
“USD 411 has an excellent academic reputation, and I love the small class sizes,” she said. “I’m very excited by the opportunity to put my mark on the science curriculum here and develop fun and exciting labs.”
Christy Berkey Pickerill comes to Goessel as a high school math teacher after teaching at Wichita Heights High School.
Pickerill likes the small town atmosphere of Goessel, and said “working with students will be very exciting.”
Editor’s note: This article completes our three-part series on new teachers in our six area school districts.