New teachers, staff start at Hillsboro

News editor

Hillsboro schools have several new teachers and professional support staff members to begin the 2012-13 school year.

Lance Sawyer

Math and engineering teacher Lance Sawyer arrives at Hillsboro High School after working five years in White City. He is a graduate of Inman High School and Kansas State University.

He will teach three sections of geometry, one section of calculus, and one section of technology innovations, as well as coaching high school football.

“I’ve always liked technology, and I’ve always been pretty good at math, and I’ve always wanted to coach,” Sawyer said.

He said he wants his students to learn not just the theory of math, but also how to put it to practical use.

“It puts kids in a good position, leaving high school with knowledge they can use,” he said. “It’s a huge benefit for the kids.”

Sawyer enjoys the times when a student suddenly understands a concept — “aha” moments — and seeing students use things he has taught them in real life.

“I really just like the interaction with the kids,” Sawyer said.

Becky Freeman

Becky Freeman is the new preschool teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 2011. Before taking the job at HES, she taught day care for three months before becoming assistant to the day care director for another six months in Wichita.

“I was looking for a job in a rural setting, and I found this one,” Freeman said.

She said she has been thrilled in getting to know the people she will be working with because they share her commitment to helping students.

“Children are our future, and they deserve to have great teachers,” she said. “I want to make an impact on their lives as much as I can.”

Freeman said people in the community have been very welcoming, and she even got help from USD 410 Board of Education member Deb Geis in finding a home northwest of Durham.

Linda Peters

Linda Peters is the pre-kindergarten special education teacher for both Hillsboro and Goessel through Marion County Special Education Cooperative.

She has a teaching degree from Emporia State University with additional education at Bethel College and a master’s degree from Tabor College. Peters has taught for 37 years, most of it in Marion County. The past five years were spent at USD 259 in Wichita.

One difference Peters appreciates between education now and when she began is that when she started, parents had to pay for pre-kindergarten services for students with developmental delays, which is no longer the case.

Peters said she looks forward to working with young children and providing quality preschool services.

Autumn Reece

Autumn Reece is the new school psychologist for Hillsboro and Goessel schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University and a master’s degree from Emporia State University. She worked for a semester in Burlington before being hired here.

Reece said she knew she wanted to go into psychology even as a high schooler growing up in Pomona. An internship with a friend who was a school psychologist led her to working in schools, too.

She said the simplest way to define the job of a school psychologist is to ensure each student is getting the right education for them, and to advocate for students, parents, and teachers.

Reece was happy to find this job because she wanted to work in a small town.

“I’ve tried the big city life, and it isn’t for me,” she said.

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