Harlan Community School District welcomes new staff members for upcoming school year
HARLAN — Harlan Community School District classes resume Wednesday, and the school district welcomes several new staff members.
· Kimberly Noethe joins the staff as a high school English and IWCC Concurrent Enrollment Composition teacher. She will continue to coach individual and large group speech at AHSTW this year and hopes to get into Harlan’s speech program as soon as there is an opportunity. Noethe has a BA in English Education and a MA in teaching, as well as endorsements in gifted education, school librarian, and reading. Her family includes her husband, Kirk Noethe, who is employed at Conductix-Wampfler in Harlan. The couple have three daughters, Corine is a senior at Creighton University studying social work; Peyton is a sophomore studying business online through Liberty University out of Lynchburg, VA; and Sami is a senior at AHSTW in Avoca. Her younger girls both work at the Harlan Fareway. The family also has three dogs and a hedgehog.
Noethe said her first recollection of Harlan was years ago through the rivalry between Harlan and Spencer football programs. “I knew it was a solid school and is close to my current home in Walnut,” she said. “I come to Harlan from teaching in Avoca. I’m very excited for a great new year with a reputable Harlan English department!”
· HCHS alum Sam Wilwerding is a new second grade teacher. Sam will also be the bookkeeper for the girls’ basket ball team. Wilwering earned a BS in Sport and Recreation Management, a Certificate of Interscholastic Athletic/Activities Administration, and a Certificate of Event Management from University of Iowa, Class of 2020. He also has BA in Elementary Education from Buena Vista University, Class of 2023.
His parents are Dave and Christy Wilwerding of Harlan. Wilwerding said COVID changed his original post college job and plans.
“I had been a substitute teacher at the elementary school for the last two and a half years, Wilwerding said. “During that time I began to really enjoy teaching and went back to school. The other teachers and the students here at Harlan made it so I didn’t want to go anywhere else!”
· Kaitlyn Feldman said the outstanding education she received at HCSD encouraged her to return as the elementary (K-5) music teacher. Fedlman is also the fifth grade chorus director. She earned a BA from Wartburg College in Music Education and Music Therapy. Feldman has several family members within the community, and said “I hope to help continue the tradition of excellence!”
· Harlan native Caleb Brouse joins the staff as a sixth grade science teacher and will coach the high school football team’s defensive line.
“I went to school and was raised in Harlan, and was also presented the opportunity to coach high school football. So I was drawn to come back to the amazing Harlan Community School District,” Brouse said.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State College. His family includes his parents, Jamie and Ryan Brouse, and siblings, Emily and Jacob Brouse.
· Gaylen Petsche has worked for the school district in various capacities for several years, and said she is excited to remain a part of the team in her new role as a third grade teacher. Petsche has an Elementary Education degree from Buena Vista University.
She and her husband, John, have two daughters, Aubrey,13, and Harper, 10. “As a Harlan graduate and a parent of children in the district, I was attracted to the HCS for its tradition and excellence in academics, the arts, and athletics,” Petsche said. “The level of community engagement and support is outstanding.”
· Megan Marten will be the Elementary Special Education teacher for first and second grades. She graduated with an elementary teaching degree from UNI in 2014 and earned her masters degree as a special education consultant in 2020. Her family consists of her husband, Collin and their son, Wade.
Marten is a Class of 2010 HCSD graduate and is looking forward to her son being a student in the district. “We currently live in Portsmouth,” she said. “I was looking to be closer to home, especially now with having a son, and knowing he’ll be part of the school system one day. I’m excited to see what the school district offers and how I can be a positive asset to the school and community!”
· Hayley Haines is a high school English teacher Haines said she always loved being involved with small communities. “The connections you can create are genuine, and it’s always nice to know that anyone will be there to lend a hand,” she said. “There isn’t a better feeling than getting to know the community and each student personally, understanding their unique styles, and providing the best support I can in and out of my classroom.”
Hayley received a Bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University. She has a dog named Rogue.
· Sarah Fink returns to the school after five years of working as a Digital Learning Consultant and Teacher Librarian for Green Hills AEA. Prior to her employment with Green Hills, she worked within the HCSD for 20 years. She rejoins the staff as the K-12 Digital Learning Coordinator, K-12 Teacher Librarian.
“The opportunity to rejoin HCSD and be part of a leadership team passionate about expanding opportunities for students in STEM, Computer Science & technology is exciting,” she said. “The opportunity to also work alongside my son, Thomas (5th grade teacher) is an added bonus. It’s great to be back!”
Fink has a Masters in Educational Technology from the University of Nebraska - Kearney; a K-12 Teacher Librarian endorsement; and a Bachelors of Education (Elementary) from the University of Nebraska - Omaha. Her family includes husband, Dale, and their sons Thomas and Braden, who lives in Overland Park, KS.
“Our family all graduated from HCSD so Harlan will always be ‘home’ to us,” Fink said. “It’s a great district with a history of top-notch education and extracurricular activities.”
· Kyleigh Lewis will be the high school STEM and Technology coach and will coach seventh grade volleyball. She attended Wayne State College, where she received a 7-12 Administration Certification; a Master in Business Administration (MBA); a Master of Science: Curriculum and Instruction - Business Emphasis; Business, Marketing, and Information Technology Endorsements; and supplemental endorsements for Information Technology, Diversified Occupations, and Coaching. “I’m excited to join a growing district that has found value in technology and computer science,” Lewis said. “Computer science is my passion, and I’m excited to share exploration and advanced technology opportunities with our students and staff.”
· Brett Croghan is a new high school social studies teacher, and will teach American History and Government. He will also be the high school mock trial sponsor.
Croghan graduated from Iowa State University in 2020 with a major in History and Secondary Education. He completed his masters in Educational Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University this summer.
Croghan and his wife, Clare are both HCSD graduates. The couple welcomed their newborn son, Callahan this summer.
“We left Iowa in 2020 we have always wanted to come back home. Harlan has a reputation of success in academics and activities, and I am looking forward to being a part of that tradition. Go Cyclones,” he said.
· Alexis Boes was a student teacher with Justine Holloway in 2021, and said she loved the school district. She returns as an FFA Advisor. Holloway has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education. Her parents are Kim and Jeremy Boes from Atlantic.
· The school’s reputation for high achievements in education, sports, and fine arts attracted Alesha Baxter to the school district. She will be a high school English teacher.
Baxter has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Master of Arts in English, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration, and a Certificate of Advanced Writing. She and her husband Mark, have a seven-year-old daughter, Daphne.
· Jill Clayton is the Middle School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher. She graduated from Villisca High School in 2013, received an Associate’s Degree from Southwestern Community College in 2015 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University in 2018. Her husband is Garrett Clayton.
Jill said, “I was attracted to Harlan Community School District because of its positive culture and inclusiveness. This district has a great reputation of excellence in the classroom, and I am very excited to be part of a team that continues to build on that excellence.”
· Alexis Assmann will teach first grade. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from The University of Iowa.
Her husband, Alex, attended school at Harlan Community, and she said, “Hopefully, someday when we have children of our own, this is the district they will attend as well.”
She and Alex have a golden retriever puppy named Harlow.
A discussion with a current HCSD teacher led Assmann to accepting the position. “A current teacher mentioned how ‘advanced’ their curriculum and teaching methods were here. She also mentioned that the teachers are always learning, growing and like one big family.”
· High school art teacher Michaela Kehoe graduated from UNI earlier this year. She is originally from Humboldt.
· Jordyn Juhl is the Elementary Special Education teacher for Kindergarten. Her husband is Kyle Juhl. She graduated from Morningside University (Undergrad 2016-2020) and Masters (Administrative Leadership 2022-2023).
“I was a Harlan graduate myself (Class of 2016), and my family lives in the area,” Juhl said. “We wanted to move closer to family and be a part of a great community.”
· Fourth grade teacher Amanda Donahoo said, “Harlan Community School District is a high-achieving school with a great track record of support for their staff and students. Having two children of my own makes that even more important to me. The community of Harlan was a big reason for my family’s move here, and we have been very appreciative of the warm welcome by the school district and community members.”
She earned a B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education from Northwest Missouri State University and is currently working on M.Ed in Master Teacher with Computer Science Emphasis.
Her family includes her husband, Anthony and children Kinsey, fifth grade and Karsen, third grade.
· Anthony Donahoo is the new Activities Director and the High School Assistant Principal. Donahoo has B.S Ed in Physical Education, M.S. Ed in Sports Administration, Ed.S as Secondary School Principal, all from Northwest Missouri State University.
His wife, Amanda, will teach fourth grade at Harlan Community and his daughters, Kinsey and Karsen will be students in the district.
“Harlan has a rich tradition of excellence,” Donahoo said. “The excellence transcends from the classroom, to the athletic field, to the fine arts performances. Beyond that, the community has embraced my family as Cyclones from day one. We’re excited to make this our home and look forward to working hard.”