Teachers of the Month

Teachers of the Month

May 2021


Seth White

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Seth White. He is in his 5th year teaching business/computer at South High. He chose to become a teacher because he had teachers growing up who changed his life and he wants to return the favor and help out every student he can, regardless of their circumstances. He also says having summers off is pretty cool. Seth enjoys watching students learn new things and seeing that moment it all "clicks" and they can apply their knowledge to real life scenarios. He would like to tell everyone to wake up everyday with a positive attitude and make the best of each day no matter how many negative things happen.

 Ben Fetherston  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Ben Fetherston. He has been teaching for 5 years with 1 of those years at South Middle where he teaches 6th grade math. Ben says he chose teaching as his profession because his 4th grade teacher taught him that your career shouldn't feel like work. Wake up each morning and love what you do. The part of teaching he enjoys the most are the smiles that he brings to his students. He says school should be fun and he tries his best to make it that way. Ben's message to parents is to encourage your children to chase their dream. "You can't live your life dreaming, but instead live your dream." - Mark Twain.

 Nancy E. Williams  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Nancy E. Williams. She subbed for 4 years and has taught 23 years at Roosevelt-Lincoln / Lakewood Middle where she teaches art. Nancy says she chose teaching as her profession because she always loved her teachers and thought it would be the most helpful career. The part of teaching Nancy enjoys the most are the students themselves. She says that is what makes her keep showing up everyday - they are amazing! Nancy says always having a smile on your face can change the whole room. 

 Amanda Tackett

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Amanda Tackett. She has been teaching for 13 years with 1 year at Central High where she teaches speech/debate/forensics. Amanda says she always wanted to be a teacher, even as a child. Her inspirations were her dance teachers and high school English/debate teacher, Mr. Keith Miller. Amanda says her favorite part of teaching is being involved in newspaper/yearbook, debate/forensics and band. She says each activity challenged her in ways that in-class curriculum could not and she enjoys building relationships with students. Amanda says that although she may be new to the community it will always be her goal to support both the students and parents of Salina.

 

April 2021


Megan Hagaman

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Megan Hagaman. She has been teaching for 15 years with 5 of those years at South High where she teaches speech, debate and forensics. She chose to become a teacher because she loves learning and helping students find their voice. Megan was inspired by great speech and debate teachers like Gary Harmon. Megan says her favorite part of teaching is building relationships and encouraging students to achieve the goals that they have set. She would like to tell parents that communication skills are even more important today, in our screen mediated society, and appreciates the support of communication studies in our schools.

 Curtis Demars  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Curtis Demars. He has been teaching for 18 years with 8 of those years at South Middle where he teaches 7th grade math. Curtis says he chose teaching as a profession after his high school math teacher inspired him and he knew he wanted to inspire others. The part of teaching he enjoys the most is that moment when the "light" comes on and the student gets it. Curtis would like to thank the parents for their support this year. Continue to encourage your child to do their best.

 Michaela Kroeker  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Michaela Kroeker. She has been teaching for 5 years with this being her second year at Lakewood where she teaches 6th grade reading. Michaela said she chose teaching as her profession because she wanted to help students build a strong foundation for their future. Her inspiration came from her teachers who supported her including her dad who works in education. The part of teaching she enjoys the most is getting to know the students and helping them grow as readers by introducing books that they like to read. Michaela would like to thank everyone for their support during this school year. 

 Sharon Eckstrom

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Sharon Eckstrom. She  has been teaching a total of 18 years with 16 years at Central where she teaches human anatomy and physiology and earth/space science. Sharon says her inspiration to be a teacher was her third grade science teacher and her dad. Sharon says her favorite thing about school is working together with her colleagues and students and her most satisfying moment is when a student says, "Oh, now I understand." Sharon says to let kids be kids as much as possible and try not to let the high stress level that some students feel damage their personal and educational development.

 

March 2021


Charlie Lynn

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Charlie Lynn. Charlie is in his seventh year of teaching, the past four being in the South High English department. Charlie loves reading and discussing literature and that led him to wanting to help others find that same joy. He enjoys interacting with students and helping them grow their reading and writing skills and is proud when he sees how their skills grow. Charlie would like to tell all parents to present reading as a fun activity to your children, because it is!

 Scott VanDeCreek  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Scott VanDeCreek. He has been teaching for 29 years with 24 of those years at South Middle where he teaches 8th grade science. Scott says teaching is a very rewarding profession and he enjoys watching students grow and learn. He says he really enjoys the relationships he has made with families over the years. Scott says he enjoys the staff at South Middle and the administration is very supportive and progressive. He says building relationships with his students is what he enjoys the most - give respect to get respect. Scott says Salina is a wonderful community to make a home. It takes a village to educate a student and everyone must do their part.

 Noah Smucker  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Noah Smucker. He has been teaching for 3 years with this being his first year at Lakewood where he teaches 6th grade art. Noah said he chose teaching as his profession because he was inspired by all the great teachers that had a positive influence on his education when he was a student in USD 305. The part of teaching Noah enjoys the most is getting to know so many great students and being able to give them an outlet for their creativity. Noah would like to thank parents for supporting their student and being flexible with all the changes during this crazy year. 

 Melinda Jett

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Melinda Jett. This is Melinda's ninth year teaching at Central High where she teaches 9th grade English and 12th grade Advanced English. Melinda chose teaching because she loves working with young people. She says they are thoughtful, open to ideas and curious. Melinda says she loves watching students get excited about learning and it is a joy when a student begins to engage and enjoy school realizing that they are responsible for their own education and success. Her message to parents is to put time and effort into our young people, listen to them and hear them. They want to be accepted, valued, encouraged and loved. They deserve it.

 

February 2021


Collin Carlson

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Collin Carlson. Collin is in his eighth year of teaching, all in the South High social studies department. He is especially grateful to Dave Ewers and Mike McRoberts for their encouragement in pursuing teaching as a profession his senior year. Collin enjoys the fun he gets to have on a daily basis with his colleagues and enjoys getting to know his students when they share moments of success, struggle and aspiration. He would like to tell parents and the community that, even before most students pay attention to American politics and civic life, they do pay attention to how we engage and conduct ourselves in those spheres. He sees, in that sense, that we all have the capacity to be positive and constructive social studies teachers.

 Bianca Adams  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Bianca Adams. This is her third year teaching at South Middle where she teaches 6th grade reading and modified 6th and 7th grade math. Bianca says she worked for the ESL department for ten years. After coming to work every day and not feeling like "work", she decided it was time to have her own classroom. Bianca enjoys spending time with the students and staff, getting to know them and building a relationship. She says seeing the progress the students make over time makes everything worth it. Her message is to strive to do your best work.

 Patty Emme  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Patty Emme. She has been teaching for 29 years with 17 years at Lakewood Middle where she teaches 6th grade science. Patty says choosing teaching as a profession was easy. She likes helping others learn new things. When she was in high school, she was always helping the teachers in any way possible. Her parents encouraged her to always help others and be kind. They would tell her you have to believe in yourself and stay positive. The part of teaching she enjoys the most is connecting with the students. She says it's fun to see them smile when they discover and understand something new. Patty says parents need to get involved in their child's education. When the parent, teacher and child are working together, the child is more successful which builds more confidence. Patty's message is to always stay positive and smile. 

 Kim Werth

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Dr. Kim Werth. She has been teaching for 26 years and is in her third year at Central High where she teaches English. Kim says as a new substitute teacher, she was inspired and challenged by her students to become a teacher and she's glad she listened. Kim says the best parts about school are the people - the students and her colleagues. She says the students make every single day interesting, challenging and remarkable in every way. Kim says she is humbled to serve alongside the hardest working individuals she knows and she is grateful to be a part of a community that cares.

 

January 2021


Jesse Yarochowicz

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Jesse Yarochowicz. She is in her second year of teaching at South High where she teaches Medical Investigations. Jesse says she has always loved science and she wanted to share that love with others. She especially enjoys getting to see her students explore career possibilities in their field of interest. Jesse grew up in USD305 and loves still getting to be a part of the district. She would like to tell parents, thank you for trusting us with your children and their safety this year.

 Jacob Andres  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Jacob Andres. He has been teaching for 8 years and has been at South Middle for 2 years where he teaches band. Jacob says he chose teaching as his career so he could help mentor the next generation. He says that Jake Montoya at Lakewood Middle was his inspiration. The part of teaching Jacob enjoys the most is the family atmosphere at South Middle where he gets to enjoy the wonderful students he gets to work with. Jacob wants parents to know that even though this has been a difficult year, your students have been a bright spot and true pleasure to work with.

 Barbara Bonohotal  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Barbara Bonohotal. She has been teaching for 18 years with 6 years at Lakewood Middle where she teaches FACS Family and Consumer Science. Barbara says she chose teaching as her profession because she likes to be helpful and in her first middle school teaching job she got hooked on watching the metamorphosis that occurred in her students. She says she enjoys interacting with her students and teaching so many science concepts within the context of Family and Consumer Science. She enjoys the trust many students place in their teachers to be a safe place, a compassionate ear and a cheerleader. Her message to parents is that other than love, character guidance, and morals, supporting and encouraging a child's education is the greatest gift. 

 Tyler Barnes

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Tyler Barnes. He has been teaching for 5 years and all of those have been at Central High where he teaches biology and earth and space science. Tyler says he chose teaching as his profession because is just really loves science and wanted to share that with students. He says his favorite part of teaching is getting to know his students. He says their unique personalities bring different perspectives to the classroom. He enjoys helping them investigate and problem solve while trying not to be overly helpful. Tyler says his message to parents is to encourage their student to consider a career in science.

 
 

December 2020


Tina Donnelly

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Tina Donnelly. She has been teaching for 17 years, all of them at South High where she is an adaptive special education teacher. Tina has always loved working with kids, including teaching dance to younger children when she was in high school, which led her to teaching as a career. She loves the relationships that she gets to build with her students and the amazing faculty and staff she gets to work with every day. Tina says that teaching is a wonderful career because you get to help students accomplish their current goals now to enable further success with their future plans.

 Sarah Floyd  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Sarah Floyd. She has been teaching for 8 years and has been at South Middle for 6 years where she teaches 7th grade reading. Sarah says she chose teaching as her profession because she loves to learn and wanted to help others enjoy learning. The part of teaching Sarah enjoys the most is working one-on-one with students to help them understand and grow as readers and sharing new books with students, Sarah's message to parents and the community is to read to your children; put books everywhere and let your children see you reading.

 Robert Black  

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Robert Black. He has been teaching 3 years at Lakewood Middle where he teaches 7th grade social studies. Robert says he remembers when he was in summer camp teaching a class of kids and realized how much fun they had learning and sharing and that's when he knew he wanted to be a teacher. The part of teaching he enjoys the most are the amazing discussions about the tales and stories of events in the past that they study, which in turn prepares them for today. His message to students is to find something you love to learn about and keep learning about it. It makes learning other things just a little bit easier. 

 Julie Opat

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Julie Opat. She has been teaching a total of 27 years and this is her 8th year at Central where she teaches special education - English. Julie says she has always wanted to work with the youth, especially students who struggle and hope to make a difference in their lives. Growing up, Julie says she had wonderful teachers in USD 305 and she wanted to be like them; making a difference. Julie says she loves seeing her students everyday and watching them develop into some great young adults. The part of teaching she enjoys the most is getting to know the students and building relationships with them. Julie would like to thank all the parents for giving her the opportunity to work with your children.

 
 

November 2020

Calla Raasch

South High School’s Teacher of the Month is Calla Raasch. She has been teaching for 11 years and this is her first year at South High where she teaches Spanish. Calla's love for teaching and the Spanish language was inspired by her high school Spanish teacher. Her experiences studying abroad and traveling to Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica continued to foster her love of different cultures. She is enjoying getting to know the students and faculty at South High and the greater culture of Salina. Calla loves teaching students to be open to other languages and cultures showing them the importance of seeing other viewpoints in today's society. She would like to say thank you to all of those who have welcomed her family to the Salina community and helped them to see that they have found their forever home.

 
 TJ Turner  

South Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is TJ Turner. He has been teaching for 20 years and has been at South Middle for 15 years where he teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies. TJ says he chose teaching as his profession because he wanted to help students fulfill their dreams in and out of the classroom. His inspiration was his dad who was a teacher and coach. TJ saw the difference he made with his students and wanted to do the same. The part of teaching TJ likes the most is interacting with students and helping them grow academically and socially. His favorite topic to teach is government to his 8th graders. TJ says he is not only a teacher but also a parent in the school district. He believes it takes a village to raise and educate the whole child and we have to work together, no matter the child. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller

   

Lakewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Month is Anna Dechant. She has been teaching a total of 9 years and this is her third year at Lakewood Middle where she is a 7th grade school counselor. Anna says that in her 7th grade English class they read the book, The Man Who Loved Clowns, and that book inspired her to want to work with students and adults with learning challenges which led her first to special education and then school counseling. Anna says she enjoys problem solving with students and helping them realize they can do hard things. She enjoys celebrating their successes - no matter how big or small. Anna's message to parents is thank you for partnering with us in your child's education and thank you for all the support you've shown to school staff as we navigate school during a pandemic. 

 Shelby Dinkel

Central High School's Teacher of the Month is Shelby Dinkel. This is her 5th year at Central where she teaches journalism. Shelby says she chose to be a journalism teacher because she fell in love with it in high school thanks to her journalism teacher, J.D. Garber. Shelby graduated from Central in 2012 and loves being back trying to ensure students love high school and journalism as much as she did as a student. She says she is extremely blessed with talented students that are willing to go the extra mile to achieve success as high school journalists. Shelby's message to parents is thank you for putting your faith in her to teach your children during this crazy time in history.