• Last modified 583 days ago (Aug. 16, 2017)


Hillsboro school district welcomes new teachers

Staff writer

Dakota Tannahill, kindergarten

Dakota Tannahill is returning to Hillsboro, where she grew up, to teach kindergarten at Hillsboro elementary school.

“I’m so glad to be back ‘home’ and teaching in the school that I grew up in,” she said. Tannahill is returning home with her husband, Travis Tannahill.

She is going on her third year of teaching, having taught fourth grade at Spring Valley Elementary School in Junction City and first grade at Kennedy Elementary School in Abilene after graduating from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in education.

“I hope that the students I have want to come to school as much as I do and I hope that they feel as comfortable in school as I did throughout my entire experience at Hillsboro Elementary,” she said.

Jill Seibert, music and art

Jill Siebert’s first time in her own classroom will be as Hillsboro Elementary’s new music and art teacher. She graduated from Bethel College with a degree in music education.

She calls herself an avid tie dyer and a bluegrass and folk-music fanatic, and her husband, Braden Unruh, is in his first year teaching choir in Haven. Eight of the 10 people in her immediate family are music teachers, including her grandpa, Marles Preheim, whose first job was as choir teacher in Hillsboro.

“I don’t remember much about music at my elementary school, but I do have a lot of memories from back then that revolve around my music teacher mom,” she said.  “Whether it was singing in her after school choirs, visiting her classroom, or just making music at home, I have always admired her constant kindness, passion for her students and the music they make, and excitement to try new things. I like to think those qualities have rubbed off on me.”

Emily Dalke, fourth grade

Emily Dalke, Hillsboro Elementary School’s newest fourth grade teacher, is entering the district after 10 years teaching history in Newton.

She will join her husband, Dustin Dalke, who teaches art at Hillsboro Middle High School, and her two sons, Bryant and Owen, who have attended Hillsboro schools. They have lived in Hillsboro for 15 years.

Dalke said she is looking forward to implementing what her fourth grade teacher once did.

“I think my fourth grade teacher was good at building relationships with his students,” she said. “I think and hope we are similar in that way because it is important to me too.”

And while she hopes to maintain that same value in relationships as her teacher did, she knows the importance of technology in her classroom.

“I think the style of teaching is very different and a lot of that has to do with education changing in the last 20-30 years,” she said. “I use more technology, and I think teaching is more a student-centered type of instruction now than it was back then.”

Kyle Kroeker, sixth grade

There was a day when Kyle Kroeker looked up to Len Coryea, Phil Oelke, and Collette Haslett. Now, he’ll be replacing Coryea and teaching alongside Oelke and Haslett as the new the new sixth grade science, social studies, English, and PE teacher.

“I grew up in Hillsboro and now will be teaching alongside many teachers and coaches that taught me,” he said. “I learned a lot from these teachers and continue to use these lessons learned to grow as an educator.”

Kroeker has a combined seven-year history of teaching sixth grade at Remington Middle School, Ellinwood Elementary School, and Riley Elementary School in Great Bend.

“I am high energy and try to build on the interest of the students,” he said. “I have a balance of high expectations and challenging work mixed with having fun learning new information.”

Kroeker graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a degree in elementary education and from Fort Hays State University in 2017 with a masters of education in English as a second language.

He will also be the middle school assistant football coach.

“I am a sports fanatic, especially for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Tabor Bluejays,” he said. “I also enjoy singing and playing guitar.”

Kroeker is married to Alyssa Kroeker, and he has a one-year-old daughter, Blakely.

“This community invested a lot in my life and I hope to return the favor,” he said.

Jessica Bowman, eighth grade

Jessica Bowman is returning to Hillsboro, where she once lived for 12 years, to teach eighth grade English and yearbook after a combined 18 years of teaching at Canton-Galva and Decatur Community junior and senior high schools.

She was a 2017 regional semi-finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year, and she is the 2013 Kansas Scholastic Press Association Ad Astra Award winner for excellence in teaching journalism.

She said she holds high expectations for her students.

“My teaching style in my field is similar to those of my high school English teachers in that I hold very high expectations of my students; however, in procedure my classroom is very different from my own high school experience,” she said. “I am much more hands-on and technology oriented, instead of the sit-and-get style so common years ago.”

Bowman’s late husband, Kurt Bowman, former wrestling coach and was an educator for Hillsboro Middle/High School, and she has a daughter, Katelyn.

“(Hillsboro) is my home and where my own child will attend school, so I am thrilled to be a part of this district,” she said.

Last modified Aug. 16, 2017