The 2012-13 school year begins Thusday at Centre schools with several new faces in leadership positions.
Bethany Lewis is the new music instructor for all grades. This is her first year of teaching after graduating from Kansas State University in December with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
In addition to vocal groups, Lewis will instruct and direct a fifth- and sixth-grade band and a seventh through 12th-grade band. She said a combined junior high and high school band will help the younger players learn from the older ones.
Lewis grew up at Riley. After a brief attempt to pursue a career in medicine after graduating from high school, she decided to switch to music, something she has always enjoyed. She said her grandfather, who earned a degree in music before deciding to pursue an army career, passed on his love of music to her.
“I was the second of five children,” Lewis said, “and my mother taught us how to work hard and never quit.”
She said she was impressed with the friendliness of the staff at Centre: “I felt welcome even before I came into my classroom.”
Lewis lives in Herington. In her free time, she spends time with her boyfriend, who lives in the Kansas City area. She also likes to read, watch reality shows on TV, and cook.
Jackie Ingram of Junction City teaches junior high and sophomore English. She also is the yearbook sponsor. This is her first year as a contract teacher. She did substitute teaching after graduating in December 2010 with a degree in secondary education from Peru State College in Peru, Neb.
Ingram grew up in western Nebraska and spent four years in Lincoln, Neb., where she worked to help foster children reconnect with their biological parents. She also worked with children and youth living in a homeless shelter.
“This is a different setting,” she said.
After exploring other avenues, Ingram settled on teaching English, which was always her favorite subject, she said, and something in which she excelled.
“I love it here at Centre,” she said. “When I first started researching schools, I was amazed with all the technology the district has.”
She said she is impressed with the emphasis on school improvement, both physically and academically.
“The teachers have goals and expectations. They keep up with the world despite being in a rural setting,” she said.
Ingram enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling with her husband, Elijah, who is stationed at Fort Riley.
Mallory Jacobs is the new school counselor. She has a master’s degree in counseling and student development from Kansas State University. This is her first year as a counselor.
Jacobs grew up at Holton. She said she was motivated to become a counselor because of several traumatic experiences she had in high school in which her school counselor helped her.
She plans to spend time in classrooms, addressing issues such as bullying, appropriate use of texting and the Internet, and career choices.
“I love it here,” she said. “I already feel at home. I feel wonderful. I feel prepared. Everyone is so welcoming. I feel this is a good fit. Being from a small town myself, this has been an easy transition for me.”
Jacobs lives in Herington and is an avid K-State sports fan. She takes frequent trips home and to visit other relatives.
Angela Basore of Burdick has rejoined the ranks of certificated teachers this year as the junior high math instructor. She was a math teacher at Centre from 1994 through 1998. She returned to Centre in October 2010, serving in various capacities.
In addition to teaching, Basore monitors students using the Interactive Distance Learning classroom and assists students who need additional help in making academic progress. She also oversees the character-building buddy program that pairs younger students with older students. Basore said this year the buddy program will pair students based on their interests.
She is excited about applying the more rigorous standards that are being set in the core math curriculum. She said students will be given more work problems, and the emphasis will be on understanding the process rather than simple rote learning.
Basore has four children, the oldest of which is a senior at Centre High School. Her husband, Rick, is a member of the board of education. She is active in her church, serving as a Sunday school teacher.
Dani Litke began working at Centre in March as an assistant technical co-coordinator after the former technician took a job in another district. She grew up in Chase County and graduated in May from Flint Hills Technical College in Emporia with an associate’s degree in business.
Litke has a lot of experience with Apple technology, which fits with the district’s goal of using 100 percent Apple products. She works under the expertise of Jerry Butler, a contracted technology consultant from Hutchinson.
“Dani is doing a fantastic job,” he said.
She programs and repairs desktop computers, Macbooks, iPods, iPads, TVs, and other technical equipment.
“I love it here,” she said. “Everyone is really nice. The district has some great things that not a lot of schools have, such as character-building and up-to-date technology.”
Litke and her husband, Nathan, have been married for a year and have lived near Antelope since October. He works for Martin Kroupa. She likes riding and taking care of their horses.