Updated: Aug 27
New teachers for the Parker Elementary School this year include, from left, Ashton Scholtz, Alyssa Madden and Kayla Eppel. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
The teaching staff for the Prairie View USD 362 elementary schools for the coming school year shows very little change from last year. Three new professionals hired for the elementary grades will all be going to Parker.
Two of those teachers have been at Parker Elementary before: one as a student and the other is a returning teacher. That returning teacher is back to resume her job as a third grade teacher, another teacher will focus on helping students learn and understand math, and the third will concentrate on helping students improve communications skills.
Kayla Eppel is the new speech and language pathologist for Parker Elementary this year, and she comes to the school through the special education cooperative out of the Paola school district. She has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication sciences and disorders from Western Illinois University, where she also minored in Spanish.
Eppel, who grew up and attended high school in the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters, Mo., served as a speech and language pathologist for Center School District in Kansas City, Mo., before coming to the Prairie View district.
“My goal for this year is to build strong relationships with my students and peers,” she said, adding that those connections can help her students develop better communication abilities. By developing those skills, Eppel said, those students can make progress toward their academic and personal goals.
A Louisburg resident, Eppel’s family includes her husband, Jacob, and their son, Christian, as well as two Australian Shepherds, Ella and Larry. She likes to stay involved in her church community, spending time with her friends and family, and performing music gigs with her husband.
The Prairie View district hired another teacher to help elementary students focus on math. Madden was hired to give more help to math students at Parker after Scott Bauer, who split his time at both Parker and La Cygne last year, was assigned to only at La Cygne.
Alyssa Madden, who is no stranger to Parker Elementary, will be the math interventionist there.
“I grew up outside of Parker and attended Parker Elementary up until third grade,” Madden said. “I then started attending Osawatomie School district and completed high school there.”
Madden has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and for 10 years has taught preschool for the Osawatomie school district.
“My expectations and goals for this year are to create and build relationships with students and their families,” Madden said. “I would like to be involved with the community and school district as much as possible as well. We are so excited to be here and a part of this great district.”
Madden her husband, Zach; and their two boys, Rhett and Boden, live outside of Fontana in the country. She said they love all things sports and outdoors.
Since she taught third grade at Parker for two years before moving to teach at Spring Hill last year, Ashton Scholtz is perhaps better than new. She’s back at Parker where she started teaching.
Growing up in Louisburg and graduating from Louisburg High School, Scholtz has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in inclusive education. She is currently working on her master’s degree in special education.
In addition to focusing on her third-graders, Scholtz also likes being involved with the high school and middle school students as well.
“I enjoy getting to work the gates or doing the scorebook/timer for high school and middle school sports and plan to continue showing up to help with games and supporting our students,” she said.
She recently celebrated the second anniversary of becoming the owner of a home in Spring Hill, and she enjoys spending time there. When she’s not working or hanging out at home, she enjoys going to concerts and spending time with her friends.
“My goal is to provide a positive and supportive classroom for my students. I am looking forward to having a great year in third grade and reuniting with all of the students and staff,” she said.