New counselor, teachers join Centre staff
Students returning to Centre schools Monday will see several new faces among faculty members.
Max Venable is beginning duties this year as the new seventh- through 12th-grade counselor. He is replacing Hillary Barlow, who was all-school counselor the last few years and reassigned as counselor and social worker for Centre Elementary School.
Venable was born in Kansas but lived out of state until, at age 14, he moved with his parents to Baldwin City.
Venable was a football player at Baldwin High School, graduating in 2012.
“I knew I wanted to be in the ‘helping’ profession,” he said.
He graduated from Emporia State University in 2016 with a major in rehabilitative services and a minor in sociology. His student teaching was at Emporia High School, where he related one-on-one with 12 students and taught a group of freshmen special education students.
After graduation, he immediately launched into obtaining a master’s degree in school counseling from ESU and will finish the work in December.
Venable likes the fact that all Centre students are in one location. They become familiar with all teachers and don’t have to move from one school to another.
“It makes the transition easier,” he said.
His training has made him aware of the different mindsets and backgrounds students have.
“I’ve had a lot of training, and I’ve learned to be non-judgmental,” he said. “My goal is to employ facilitative conditions of the counseling relationship so that students can reach their full potential. I want to help students help themselves.”
Venable has purchased a home in Marion and has been busy renovating it. His partner, Lacey, is a graphics designer for Emporia State University.
“I wanted to be in a position where we could have our own home,” he said.
He’s big on physical fitness, so he exercises regularly, including workouts with his two dogs — Henry, a Labrador and Australian Shepherd mix; and Luna, a Siberian Husky.
He enjoys guitar playing as well.
Venable is happy to be launching his counseling career and beginning a new phase of his life.
Bruce Rhodes might be new at Centre High School, but he isn’t new to Marion County.
Rhodes taught science at Marion High School from 1983 to 2015.
“I retired, but I’ve missed teaching, and I feel I have something more to give,” he said.
He is a graduate of Smith Center High School and Ft. Hays St. University. He received his master’s in science from Emporia State University in 1990.
He taught biology, chemistry, and physical science at Marion and will be teaching biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, applied biochemistry, and health science at Centre.
The last three are designed to help students explore various health-related careers as part of the state’s career pathways program.
“I’ve never done this before, and I am looking forward to it,” he said.
Rhodes and his wife, Brenda, continue to live in Marion. Brenda is lab director at St. Luke Hospital. Their son, Matthew, lives and works in Washington, District of Columbia. Their daughter, Molly Guinn, is finishing training as an anesthetist and will be working in Salina. She and her husband, Barry, live in Marion.
Bruce and Brenda have three grandchildren. Bruce likes to garden and work on home projects.
Rhodes hopes his teaching will, at the least, make students aware of how science affects their everyday lives.
“Students should be able to leave school and feel confident to go on and pursue their goals,” he said.
Heather Patton, the new kindergarten teacher, is no stranger to Centre school district. She was a teacher’s aide last year for kindergarten through fourth grade, and her husband, Sheldon, is activities director. They were married in May 2017.
A graduate of Chaparral High School at Anthony, Patton obtained a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human services in 2013 from Kansas State University.
She worked as a children’s pastor and teacher’s aide during the next three years and realized she wanted to teach full-time.
She received a bachelor of science degree in education from Ft. Hays St. University in May.
Employed to teach fourth grade at Centre, she was given a chance to switch to kindergarten when the kindergarten teacher resigned. She sees the position as an opportunity to help students build a foundation for future success in education.
“I’m excited to help my students be excited to come to school every day, learn new things, and form a solid base for what they will be learning throughout their education,” she said.
The Pattons live in Marion. In addition to helping her husband with school activities and sports events, Heather enjoys spending time with their 14-month-old black Lab, Bo.
After a three-year absence, Megan Stuchlik is returning to Centre as a fourth-grade teacher.
She taught at Herington one year and Centre nine years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her two children — Colt, 4; and Dakota, 2. She also was a substitute teacher and worked in Centre’s virtual program.
“I’m excited to be coming back to teaching,” Stuchlik said. “I got the itch.”
Sixteen students are enrolled in her class.
Stuchlik’s husband, Ross, is a farmer and rancher in the Lost Springs area.
Last modified Aug. 16, 2018