Local schools hire new teachers

By Emily Marner
Posted 9/14/21

The new school year is here, which means new students and new faculty. After the novel COVID-19 became pandemic, many schools faced a loss in staff. Despite this shortage, many schools are still …

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Local schools hire new teachers

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The new school year is here, which means new students and new faculty. After the novel COVID-19 became pandemic, many schools faced a loss in staff. Despite this shortage, many schools are still welcoming new teachers into their district.

Mid-Prairie hired fourteen new staff members for East and West Elementary, the middle school, high school, and HSAP. Mid-Prairie hired Adrianna Pacha (HS English), Stacy Jack (HS English), Amy Johnston (HS Special Education), Keary McHugh-Onken (HSAP Supervising), Miranda Miller (HSAP Supervising), Mikayla Ulin (MS Art), Melanie Steinhart (MS English), Olivia Tucker (5th Grade), Wendy Punteney (MS Spanish), Hallie Whitten (2nd Grade), Carmen Fernau (Nurse), Kelsey Stumpf (4th Grade), Lisa Kesten (Special Education), and Kyla Wiebe (Pre-K).

Kyla Wiebe is one of West Elementary Pre-K teachers. This is her first-year teaching after attending college at Hesston and graduating from the University of Akron in Ohio. Wiebe grew up in Kalona and went to Iowa Mennonite School, now known as Hillcrest Academy. She has three kids, ages eight, six, and four years old and has spent the last eight years raising them.

“I fell in love with this age group (Pre-K) at Hesston College in my first placement,” Wiebe explains why she chose to teach Pre-K.

Hillcrest Academy hired six new staff members: Andrea Farrier (English), Shawn Sandersfeld (Instrumental Music), Donna Swartzendruber (Vocal Music), Pam Gerig Unruh (Math), Dick Yoder-Short (Math), and Mike Goudy (Science).

Mike Goudy is Hillcrest Academy’s new science teacher. He is originally from Ottumwa, Iowa but now lives in Montezuma. Goudy has been teaching for 23 years, after receiving his BA from William Penn University and his MA from the University of Northern Iowa. Goudy chose science because of the space race, environmental movement, and the influence of his elementary and junior high school teachers.

“I would like to see students motivated to explore and research their questions using reliable sources in understanding creation,” Goudy explains his goals for this school year.

Highland hired thirteen new staff members for the elementary and middle school/ high school. Drake Brezina, Ryan Cortum, Thomas Hartley, Brooke Henze, Courtney Hurt, Tanner Kruse, Cam Larson, Makenzie Stoffer, Kelsey Tran, John Black, Casey Halligan, Zach Hebl, and Peggy Schwab.

Peggy Schwab is the new counsellor at Highland, she received this position after attending Kirkwood and the University of Iowa for her master’s degree. She currently lives in Iowa City with her husband, Justin and two kids, Piper (2nd grade) and Parker (Kindergarten).

“I chose school counseling over mental health or rehabilitation counseling because I believe every student matter and should be supported to reach the height of their potential. What better place to support the youth than inside of a school?” Schwab said.

Schwab has goals for the community and herself at Highland, wanting to grow their counselling into “one which encourages all Highland students to know the height of their potential” and to “continue achieving beyond school walls”. She is also excited to become a part of the culture and energy at Highland and be able to interact with students and community members alike.

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