Republic County welcomes nine new teachers this fall

By Cynthia Scheer – Telescope News

There will be quite a few new faces in the halls of Republic County Schools this year with the addition of new teachers and staff.

The elementary has new teachers for kindergarten, fourth grade and music. There is also a new school psychologist. In the junior/senior high

In the junior/senior high school there are new teachers in ag, band, music, English and special education.

Republic County was the only district in the county to add new teachers this year.
The following teachers are new to the district:

Ashley Collins, a Wellington native, will be teaching kindergarten at Republic County this year. The first-year teacher graduated from Kansas State University earlier this year. “I love the small town community,” she said of teaching in the district.

Connie Reedy will be teaching fourth grade. She graduated from St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City in 1991 and has spent the past 18 years teaching in Salina. Reedy said she accepted a position at Republic County because it is closer to home – she’s a Concordia native – and because of the school’s “great reputation.” She lives in Concordia with her husband, Jim.

Portia Schiltz, of Belleville, will be teaching K-6 music and 9-12 vocal music this year. The self-described military brat who has lived everywhere from Germany to Ashland, Kan., graduated from Wichita State University in 2010. She has previously taught in Dodge City, Ellis and Ashland. She moved to Belleville with her husband, Adam, who is also a new teacher at Republic County this year. “I love small town life,” she said. “I think Belleville has great people here, and there are two music positions for myself and my husband.”

Jody Bures-Helton, is the new school psychologist at Republic County. She was previously a school psychologist in the Wichita area for 21 years before becoming a school psychologist for LCNCK. She graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1995. She lives in Odell, Neb., with her husband, Greg Helton, eighth-grade daughter Mallory, and Doane University freshman son Brady.

Karen Miller, a David City, Neb., native, will be teaching special education for fifth and sixth grades. She graduated from Peru State College in 2014 before teaching at Washington County for two years. She lives in Haddam with her husband, Tyler, and daughters Elizabeth, 2, and Alexis, 11 months. “I chose this school district because of the atmosphere,” she said.

Adam Schiltz, a Liberal native, will be teaching 5-12 band and 7-8 vocal at Republic County this year. He graduated from Wichita State University in 2010 and previously taught at Victoria and Ashland. He moved to Belleville with his wife, Portia, who will also teach at Republic County this year. Schiltz said he decided to come to Belleville because he wanted to teach marching band and jazz band.

Darsha Bechard, of Belleville, will be teaching English Language Arts this year. She graduated from Sterling College in 2016 with a bachelor of science degree in theatre education and has been substitute teaching for a year-and-a-half in Wichita. “I was very familiar with the district because it is where I went to school,” said Bechard, who has a fiance, Benjamin Enns. “I also had time subbing in a smaller school in Richmond, Kan., that reminded me how much I enjoyed being in a smaller district.”

Jed Strnad, Munden native will be teaching ag this year. He graduated from K-State in 2004 before teaching ag the past 12 years at Russell. He will live near Cuba with his wife, Tranda, who is also a new teacher in the district, and children Charlie, 2, and Rooks, 9 months. “I’m able to be closer to family and create our own family traditions without the need to travel as much during the summer, weekends and holidays,” he said of moving closer to home.

Tranda Strnad, a native of Goodland, will be teaching 6-12 art this year. She graduated from Emporia State University in 2009 with her bachelor’s degree, and from Fort Hays State University in 2014 with her master’s. She previously taught K-5 art in Russell for seven years. She will live near Cuba with her husband, Jed, who also teaches at Republic County, and children Charlie, 2, and Rooks, 9 months.