The Canton-Galva, Centre and Peabody-Burns school districts will welcome a total of nine new classroom teachers this fall.
USD 419, Canton-Galva
Canton-Galva schools will have five new classroom teachers as the school year begins.
? Jeannie Koehn has been hired to teach third grade.
Prior to coming to Canton-Galva, Koehn taught eight years in the Fairfield school district. She will begin her 15th year of teaching this fall.
She and husband Shawn, a Canton-Galva graduate, have two children.
? Megan McKenna, a first-year teacher, will lead the instrumental music program and also will teach some middle school vocal music.
McKenna earned a bachelor?s degree in band and vocal music from Wichita State University.
? Judy Seidl has been hired to teach biology, chemistry and other science classes at the high school.
Prior to coming to Canton-Galva, Seidl taught various chemistry classes in McPherson for six years.
This will be her 30th year in education, having taught science classes at both the middle school and high school levels.
She has a master of science degree in curriculum and administration.
She and husband Bill, who is the district superintendent, have three married children and seven grandchildren.
? Blake Thornburgh, a first-year teacher, has been hired to teach fifth- and sixth-grade math and fifth-grade social studies.
Thornburgh earned his elementary education degree from Emporia State University.
? Mark Lackey will teach science for students in seventh through ninth grades.
Prior to coming to Canton-Galva, Lackey worked in Elkhart. He earned his bachelor?s degree from Washburn University and master?s degree from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.
Lackey is divorced and has three children.
USD 397, Centre
Three new classroom teachers began their assignments in the Centre district with the start of classes Aug. 15.
? Bob Mitchell will lead the music program?both chorus and band?for grades one through 12. Before coming to Centre, Mitchell taught four years in Baltimore.
He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, having started his degree at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio.
?I put together my bachelor?s degree?a few credits here and a few credits there?while I was in the Army,? Mitchell said. ?Then when I got out of the Army, I did graduate work at Florida State University.?
Mitchell is married to Darleen, and the couple has grown children.
Mitchell listed some of his goals for the school year.
?I?d like to get as many people as possible in the Centre school district playing instruments,? he said. ?I?d like to have everybody?all 260 of them?having a good time doing music, whether they?re singing or playing music or whatever.?
Mitchell said he is also interested in teaching some students to play the violin, guitar and piano.
? Jay O?Brien, a first-year teacher, has been hired to teach vocational agriculture.
His duties will include helping with both the wood and metal shop for the FFA chapter and the high school. He also anticipates teaching a plant soil science class.
Originally from Cherryvale, O?Brien earned an agricultural education degree with a minor in animal science and horticulture from Kansas State Univer?sity last spring.
His family has farmed in southeast Kansas since the mid-1800s, he said.
Regarding goals for the year, O?Brien said: ?(I) hope to try to get to know the kids because I?m brand new; trying to get to know them so I can help them, no matter what difficulties or obstacles they may face in this upcoming year or even years to come. (I) hope to try to get some good projects to go through our shops and get the kids to learn a few tricks and skills which they haven?t had before.?
? Phil Duerksen will teach science classes for grades seven to 12 and will coach junior high girls in volleyball, basketball and track and field.
Duerksen lived in India from age 11?2 to 14. He and his family then returned to the Kansas City area for his high school years.
A Bethel College graduate, Duerksen attended seminary for a year, then taught in the Goessel school district for three years. He earned a master?s degree in biology at Emporia State in 1977.
After a stint of voluntary service in Chicago, he and wife Norma moved about 20 years ago to Ohio, where she served as a pastor.
Duerksen returned to teaching about five years after the move. A desire to be closer to family brought them back to Kansas and the job at Centre.
?It?s good to get back to this area,? Duerksen said. He is looking forward to working with the students and believes he will enjoy the variety that comes from teaching different classes to different age groups.
?I?ve (taught) more biology in the past, but I?ve done a variety of things,? he said. ?This year it will be fun to be exposed to different fields.?
Duerksen said teachers and staff have been helpful in the transition.
?If I have any questions, they?re willing to answer those questions,? he said. ?It?s been fun getting to know the culture.?
USD 398, Peabody-Burns
The Peabody-Burns district has only one new classroom teacher this fall.
? Sharon Matz has been hired to teach art for students in seventh through 12th grades.
Prior to coming to Peabody-Burns, Matz worked as a paraprofessional at Centre.
She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design from Kansas State University and also holds a graduate certificate in teaching for art education. She and husband Brad have two children, Jacob, 15, and Maggie, 10.
Matz said her goal is ?to help students find themselves through art and to be themselves and be able to express themselves through art.?