Jason Hett always knew he wanted to return to Marion as an athletic director or teacher.
“Getting into education, I always envisioned myself back in Marion,” he said. “I didn’t know it was going to be this soon, but I always envisioned teaching and coaching, and giving back to the community I grew up in.”
The new gig isn’t his first time working in Marion. Hett was a paraeducator in the spring of 2011, after graduating from Tabor College.
“That was eight years ago so some things have changed, but walking down the hallways, it hasn’t changed that much,” he said. “I still see some of the stuff that was here when I was in school, and even when I was a paraeducator that one semester.”
Kylie Schroeder hasn’t taught any Marion students yet, but she is already looking at ways to improve the high school’s art program.
“I really wish we could bring back our darkroom,” she said. “That’s one of my bucket list goals. We had a really cool one when I was here and it’s diminished down, so I hope to bring that back eventually.”
While art is more expressive than core classes, having a standard rubric is important, Schroeder said.
“It’s important to have a curriculum because it sets an expectation,” she said.
As Peabody native, and former band director at Peabody-Burns, Steven Glover knew what to expect before taking the job at Marion High School.
“The Marion community is very supportive of music, and they want a strong program,” he said. “It’s always nice when they want the program to be successful.”
No matter how much support the community provides, the students’ dedication is more important, Glover said.
“When they’re fifth and sixth grade, or into junior high, you are trying to get them to see the importance of practicing on their own so they can get better,” he said.
Juliana Drouhard started teaching music as a long-term substitute for third, fourth, and fifth grades in the spring.
“Now that I’m doing kindergarten through fifth grade, it’s like I already know the fourth and fifth graders,” she said. “That really helps because I only have to learn kindergarten through third grade.”
She blends other subjects into the music curriculum to broaden the learning base.
“Maybe their strength isn’t in music,” she said. “Finding ways to integrate core curriculum like math and science really get them sparked and engaged.”
Sarah Mason and her family moved from Iowa because of her husband’s new job at PrairieLand Partners in McPherson, and she is looking forward to teaching in Marion.
“Probably the reason I applied was because it was a kindergarten position,” she said. “They’re our foundation. I believe in giving our children their first foundational skills in school.”
For Mason, having children at the elementary and middle school levels is beneficial because coordination is easier.
“I love being in the same district as my kids,” she said. “It keeps us on the same schedule, and we know who the community members and teachers are.”
Luis and Danielle Medina were surprised by the quality of education here in Marion.
“We didn’t think it would be this good compared to what we experienced in Arkansas,” said Luis, Marion’s new Spanish teacher. “Good academic schools weren’t as predominant as around here.”
The couple spent a year teaching in Arkansas, said Danielle, the new high school counselor.
“A year of experience definitely helps with knowing what did and didn’t work,” she said.
With a course like Spanish that isn’t required, showing the course’s value is important to making it work, Luis said.
“We’re going to be like Canada,” he said. “We’re going to have Spanish and English, while they have French and English.”