Editor’s Note – Last week, the Gazette profiled the seven new teachers at Ashland-Greenwood Elementary School. This week, the focus is on the new teachers at the middle school/high school.
ASHLAND – The five new teachers at Ashland-Greenwood Middle School/High School have more in common than being educators. They are also all men.
Tyler Craven and Jordan Scheil can walk the halls of the middle school/high school building with their eyes closed, having spent their formative years there. The AGHS grads received their diplomas in 2015 and 2013, respectively.
Craven was recruited to play basketball at Midland University in Fremont. In between games, he earned a secondary education degree, with endorsements in special education and business, graduating in 2019. He has minors in mathematics and coaching and has completed nine graduate hours. He is enrolled a behavior interventionist program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Craven was hired last January as a middle school/high school special education teacher, so 2020-2021 will be his first full year of teaching at Ashland-Greenwood.
“I became a teacher because I was lucky enough to have a lot of different educators and coaches make an impact on my life,” he said. “I want to be able to positively impact students on a daily basis while continuing to be in a growth environment.”
Happy memories of his years at AGPS helped Craven decide to apply for the job.
“I grew up in Ashland and the impact the community and the school had on my life is one I will cherish forever,” he said. “I am happy to be back so I can rejoin the culture and have an impact on the youth.”
Although he is far from an outsider, Craven said he is aware of the reputation the Ashland-Greenwood school district has with the rest of the state, so he did not hesitate to become a teacher here.
“The culture that the community and school have going on right now is one that is highly sought after,” he said. “I am grateful to be able to learn and grow from all of the great people here.”
Craven said the state the world is currently in, including the COVID-19 pandemic, makes him want to teach his students to make the most of the situation.
“My goal for my students is to be able to be in the moment. Be present in every learning target, project, class, practice they are in and to work to be as successful as possible,” he said.
As a multi-sport athlete at AGHS, Craven will share his sports experience as an assistant high school football and boys basketball coach and head coach of the middle school girls track team.
Scheil also attended Midland University, where he earned a bachelors degree in 7-12 science and a minor in coaching in 2018. He took a job at Johnson County Central Public Schools after college, where he taught general science and biology and was head middle school football coach and assistant coach for the high school boys basketball varsity team.
Several teachers had a profound impact on Scheil’s life.
“I truly believe that I am the person today because of all the great people who taught me,” he said. “Being that person for someone else has always been something I have loved to do.”
As an Ashland native and AGHS grad, Scheil’s up-close view of the school district and the communities it serves made him want to teach here.
“Growing up in Ashland I got to see first-hand the excellent communities that Ashland and Greenwood are,” he said. “I can’t think of a better place to serve.”
Scheil said his impression of the AGPS district has always been a good one.
“Everyone here has been very enjoyable to get to reconnect with, and I look forward to what comes next,” he said.
Scheil will be teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to middle school and high school students.
“My plan for the upcoming year is to focus on day-by-day learning and ensure that kids get something out of every day I have with them,” he said. “My goals for my students are to come to school every day they can be ready to learn and grow.”
The new high school chemistry and physics teacher is Jacob Jensen. He graduated from Overton High School in 2011 and earned a bachelors degree from Hastings College. His post-graduate degree is from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
“I sincerely enjoy working with kids and adopting my style on a daily basis to ensure the best possible learning experience,” he said.
Jensen said he was drawn to apply at AGPS because he heard tremendous things about the district and the support the school enjoys from the community.
His plan for the year is to establish connections within the school and community and earn a reputation for being a hard-working, effective teacher.
“My goal for my students is for them to come to my class and expect to learn something new every day and have fun every day,” he added.
Ryan Keller has taken the position of secondary industrial arts teacher and SkillsUSA advisor. He is a graduate of Lincoln Northeast High School. After graduation he earned an associate degree of skilled science at Southeast Community College and a bachelor of industrial arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Before becoming a teacher, Keller worked at Menards for five years and in construction for one year.
“I became a teacher so I could teach the next generation a set of skills that have been passed down to me,” Keller said. “I have a great passion for industrial arts and I wanted to give back to those around me.”
Although he grew up in Omaha and Lincoln, Keller is attracted to small communities like Ashland.
“I have always loved smaller towns,” he said. “I had driven through Ashland many times before and noticed that it was a quiet place and one where I could see a future for me at.”
His impression of AGPS has been very positive.
“Everyone I have met is that ‘Nebraska nice’ and will help anyone out if they need it,” he said.
Keller’s plans for the 2020-2021 school year include establishing a positive relationship with the community.
“I feel that connection with surrounding community is vital for an industrial arts teacher because they are a gateway for students to connect with future employers,” he said.
He also wants to challenge the way his students solve problems.
“There are a lot of places in industrial arts where many routes connect to form an answer,” he said.
Logan Morris, the new seventh grade English teacher, wants to do for students what his teachers did for him.
“As a student, I had two different teachers really impact my life in powerful ways,” he said. “I want to be able to make a similar impact on our students’ lives here.”
Morris graduated from Twin River High School in 2009 and attended Wayne State College, where he earned a bachelor of science in 7-12 language arts education in 2013 and a masters degree in administrative education two years later.
He taught English for grades 8, 9 and 10 at Cozad Community Schools for five years. He was head cross country coach, assistant track coach and assistant basketball coach. His next job was at St. Teresa’s Catholic School in Lincoln, where he taught for two years.
His goal at Ashland-Greenwood is to continually grow and try new things to improve the educational experience for his students.
“I try to create engaging lessons and try to be as interactive as possible to help students learn,” he added.
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