• Last modified 1426 days ago (Aug. 27, 2015)


Peabody-Burns schools to see many new teachers

With the beginning of the new school year, eight new faculty members will become part of the district. Some are new to teaching while others are experienced teachers new to our area.

They all filled out a questionnaire to provide Peabody Gazette-Bulletin readers with some information about themselves, their families, and their teaching styles.


Scott Bauer will teach sixth and seventh grade math, sixth grade science, and sixth grade physical education. In addition, he will serve as head coach for both the track team and girls’ basketball and sponsor the sophomore class.

Bauer lives in Hillsboro. He is a first year teacher who did his student teaching in seventh and eighth grade at Hillsboro Middle School, as well as with second grade students at Walton Rural Life Center.

He is a graduate of Tabor College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a math endorsement.

Bauer is single, but claims “an awesome girlfriend of five years.”

He also is an enthusiastic golfer. “There is one hobby I spend all of my free time doing,” he said. “I love to golf. You could find me at the golf course seven days a week. My goal is to play golf in all 50 states.”

Asked how his personal instructional style differs from a teacher he had who taught the same subject, Bauer said, “My instructional style is nothing like my sixth and seventh grade teachers. I am a more ‘hands on’ teacher. I recall going straight out of the book. My goal is to take it that extra step.”


Andrea Kaufman, kindergarten teacher at Peabody-Burns Elementary School, graduated from Wichita State University in May with a degree in elementary education. She did her student teaching at White Elementary School.

She replaces Mary Thiessen, who retired.

Kaufman lives in Walton, but is originally from Moundridge. She and her husband, Jayson, were married in Aug. 2014. They have an Irish setter named Gunner.

Kaufman recalls the effect of her kindergarten teacher’s instructional style on her own teaching.

“Just like my own kindergarten teacher, I like creating fun learning environments,” she said. “I also enjoy making a connection with each of my students.”

Shopping and do-it-yourself projects top her list of personal hobbies and interests.


A 2015 graduate of Wichita State University, Sarah McQuery has degrees in English education and musical theater performance. She did her student teaching at Wichita East High School.

In her first year as a full-time teacher, McQuery will teach high school English and serve as sponsor for the PBHS junior class. She also will coach the scholar’s bowl team.

She and husband Brian McQuery live in Newton.

McQuery worked professionally in various Wichita theaters from 2007 to 2015.

“I recently won two Mary Jane Teall awards for best leading actress in a musical for ‘Man of La Mancha,’ and best supporting actress for ‘A Little Night Music,’” she said.

Leaning away from the instructional style of her own English instructors, McQuery plans not to rely on lectures in the classroom.

“My high school English teachers mostly lectured; occasionally they led whole class discussions,” she said. “I like for students to do the talking — they should be generating ideas and opinions, not memorizing mine.”


Susan Morgan will teach business, computer applications, business law, keyboarding, and event planning, and serve as sponsor of the junior class and Business Professionals of America.

Morgan has most recently taught similar courses at Topeka West High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University in secondary education with certification in health and business, and a master’s degree from University of Kansas in education and program planning.

She grew up in Newton. She lives there with her husband, two children, Jade and Amber, and two dogs, Frisbee and Kita. Her parents and a sister and brother-in-law also live there, and another sister lives in Hutchinson.

During her high school and college years, she worked at Newton Recreation Center. She still enjoys walking and swimming along with gardening and being outdoors.

Her business teacher at Newton High School also was her neighbor and piano teacher.

“I always appreciated that she was organized, positive, and encouraged each student to pursue life in the best possible way,” she said. “She was very student-focused, had an ethic of hard work, and an open mind.

“However, with the new millennium I have had to adjust to broader teaching techniques, diverse communities, and variable learning styles. I hope to bring students together, collect the necessary resources, and work with each one to create and open inspiring doors.”


Fourth grade teacher Denae Pickens is not new to the community, having spent her own kindergarten thru senior years in Peabody-Burns schools.

Denae earned her bachelor of science in elementary education from Bethel College, and then attended Kansas State University, majoring in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education. She became certified in English language learning in 2014.

Previous teaching experience includes, most recently, nine years in Shawnee Mission teaching fifth grade, one year at Hesston Middle School teaching fifth grade language arts, and one year at Marion Elementary teaching fifth grade.

In addition to teaching fourth grade at Peabody-Burns Elementary, she will be the Warrior cheerleading coach and sponsor.

Pickens has a 17-year old daughter, Jaycee, who is a senior at Spring Hill High School in the Kansas City area. Two sons, Clay and Landrey, are enrolled in seventh grade and second grade, respectively, in Peabody-Burns schools. Her parents and brothers live in Peabody as well.

“My fourth grade teacher was Alice Cooper,” Pickens said. “She always told us funny stories about her life and her kids. She would make us laugh often. I like creating a fun environment for my students, much the way she did for me and my classmates.”

Asked what she might want district patrons to know about her, she added, “I’m actually teaching in the classroom that was my favorite room while I attended Peabody Elementary School.”


A 16-year Wichita transplant originally from Mission, Texas, Eliza Salinas will teach Spanish at the high school. She will teach part-time, but will replace the district’s yearlong reliance on online courses.

Salinas graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She also earned an endorsement in Spanish for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Most recently, Salinas taught third grade for five years.

She is married to Jesus Salinas and they have three sons, 10-year-old Matthew and six-year-old twins Michael and Jacob.

Salinas says she tries to keep her instructional style fun, hands-on, and structured.

Reading and spending time with her family are her favorite pastimes.


Another teacher with close ties to the county, Jennifer Svitak of Pilsen, will teach middle school and high school science.

Svitak just finished her student teaching under Bruce Rhodes in the Marion school district. She has a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University in middle school science, earth and space science, and chemistry.

In addition to teaching science and chemistry classes at Peabody-Burns middle and high schools, Svitak will be class sponsor for the sophomores.

Her husband, Shane, is a farmer. They have four children — Daniela, a freshman at ESU, Shania, a senior at Centre High School, Payton, in fourth grade at Centre, and Jonah, in second grade at Centre.

“I hope that I have the compassion and enthusiasm Deb Wiles had for middle school science,” Svitak said of her own science teacher. “I had many amazing teachers and I hope to bring pieces of them all to my classroom.”

Svitak grew up in Marion County and attended Centre High School. She and her family live on the family farm and her children are the third generation to attend Centre schools.

“I am super excited about being at Peabody-Burns this year,” she said. “Everyone seems amazing and Peabody has the small town feel I am used to.”


Nicklaus Ulrich comes to Peabody-Burns Middle and High Schools from Spearville High School where he taught algebra 1 and 2, geometry, and physics for six years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Fort Hays State University.

At Peabody-Burns he will add eighth grade math and pre-calculus to algebra and geometry classes he taught previously.

Ulrich is single and lives in Peabody.

Like the math teacher he had, Ulrich has high expectations for his students.

“I’ve always been impressed with what my students can do when challenged a little,” he said. “My style is a bit different because of technology. It helps keep the students engaged and able to access tons of information online.”

Ulrich enjoys playing sports and staying active.

“I’ve been part of a town basketball team in Spearville the past few years and enjoyed doing that.”

Last modified Aug. 27, 2015