JCN students getting their first look at four teachers
by Rick Nichols
The chance to join the team of teachers already in place in Jefferson County North USD 339 for the 2016-2017 school year was one that two men, Matt Mace and Brendan Stevens, and two women, Amelia Noll and Stacie Westermann, just couldn’t pass up.
Mace, Stevens, Noll and Westermann are the latest additions to the ranks of the district’s teachers and have been busy in the classroom for just over a week now. Roughly two weeks ago The Independent sent each of them a questionnaire to ascertain more information about them for the purpose of putting together a story for this week’s issue of the paper. What follows, then, is the information they collectively provided.
Matt Mace is the mathematics instructor at Jefferson County North Middle School.
Although this is officially Mace’s first year as a public schoolteacher, he has had some experience in the classroom. That came about 10 years ago, when he served as a student assistant for calculus classes and other math classes offered by the University of Kansas.
A native of Topeka, Mace took an online summer economics class through Allen Community College (Allen County) before enrolling at KU. He went on to earn two degrees from KU, both of which were conferred on him in May of 2006. One of the degrees is a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, the other a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
This past May, Mace received a Secondary Math Teaching License from Washburn University.
Mace and his wife, Becky, are the parents of a 2-year-old son, Caleb.
Away from work, Mace likes to spend time with his family and friends, go bowling, play golf, and watch sports.
When asked what word or words best describe him, Mace needed only one word and that word was “helpful.”
Given the chance to share his favorite quote or words to live by, Mace turned to a statement attributed to the late Jim Valvano, who guided the men’s basketball team at North Carolina State University, the Wolfpack, to the national championship in 1983. He said this: “If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
Amelia Noll is teaching one of the fifth-grade classes at Jefferson County North Elementary School.
A native of Nortonville, Noll is a two-time graduate of the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth. In 2013, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from USM, and in 2015, she received a Master of Arts degree in Education with a concentration in English as a Second Language.
When she’s “off the clock,” Noll enjoys spending time with members of her family, coaching and running.
Noll thinks the two words that best describe her are “hard-working” and “compassionate.”
Favorite quote or words to live by? “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa.
A native of Winchester, Brendan Stevens is the mathematics instructor at Jefferson County North High School, taking over for Jim Brickell.
Following his graduation from high school, Stevens attended the University of Kansas, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics in 2013. He did his student teaching at Lawrence’s Free State High School during the 2012-2013 term.
Equipped with his teaching certificate, Stevens spent the 2013-2014 school year at Highland Park High School in Topeka, home of the Scotties. While there he taught what he described as “resuscitation courses” for at-risk students along with Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II.
Outside of the school setting, Stevens, who described himself as a “competitive nerd,” enjoys competitive e-sports (e.g., League of Legends) and playing board games (e.g., “Dead of Winter” and “Settlers of Catan”). “Pickup basketball” also appeals to him.
If there’s one thing Stevens thinks you need to know about him, it’s that he’s “pragmatic but emotive.”
Favorite quote or words to live by? “Begin every day as if it were on purpose.”
Stacie Westermann is in charge of one of the third-grade classes at JCNES. In addition to this, she will be an assistant coach for the volleyball team at JCNHS this fall, and during the winter she will be an assistant coach for the girls’ basketball team at JCNMS.
Westermann is beginning her fourth year in the field of education, having spent the previous three with Atchison County USD 377 based in Effingham. During the 2013-2014 term, she taught social studies on the junior high school level at Atchison County Community High School. The past two years she was a fourth-grade teacher at Atchison County Community Elementary School.
Westermann is a 2013 graduate of Fort Hays State University. The degree FHSU conferred on her is a Bachelor of Science degree.
A native of Effingham, Westermann has a 6-year-old daughter, Ava Scherer.
In her leisure time, Westermann likes to be with her daughter, other members of her family and friends. She also enjoys kayaking, playing softball and following the various athletic teams that represent the University of Kansas.
As far as Westermann is concerned, the three words or phrases that best describe her are “passionate”, “outgoing” and “down-to-earth.”
Favorite quote or words to live by? Your attitude determines your direction.
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