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Villa Grove schools introduce several new faces

Change is truly inevitable, and each year, the Villa Grove schools undergo changes of varying degrees. 

Each year, we say thanks to those educators who have moved on, and say hello to those who come in to fill the void.  

With that being said and without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the new teachers at Villa Grove Schools for 2019-2020

Shelby Eversole-5th grade
1.  Where did you go to high school?  College?

I am a member of Villa Grove High School’s Class of 2010. I attended Eastern Illinois University and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2014 and my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2019.

2.  How many years have you been teaching?

This will be my fourth year teaching. I’ve previously taught fourth and second grade. This will be my first year teaching fifth grade.

3.  When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?

I’ve always enjoyed school and learning. I want to share the love of learning with my students. My grandmother was a teacher at Villa Grove, and it has always interested me. My teachers were great role models, and they led me to want to make a positive impact in my community. I’ve always felt I can have a great impact on my students.

4.  What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

I enjoy building relationships with students and getting to know them. Getting to know and understand my students helps me create exciting lessons and provide them with the support they need.

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom? What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love spending time with my family. We are always on the go! We love to be outdoors, attend concerts, and cheer for the Cardinals!

Jarred Koernner-HS Physical Science
1. Where did you go to high school?  College?

The High School of Saint Thomas More

Murray State University

2. How many years have you been teaching?

One and a half years

3. When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?

Working with the students outside of the classroom by coaching cross country and track has been my greatest influence towards teaching.

4. What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

Seeing the “Ah-Ha” look on a student’s face right when they understand a problem they were struggling on.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom?  What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I like to run. I have run 3 marathons, raced several 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons, and ran for the Murray State xc team during my undergrad. Recently though, I have switched (thanks to a long-lasting sibling rivalry) to triathlons. My first big tri challenge will come in June of 2020 when I race my first half-ironman. On the flip side, when I’m not out on the move, I REALLY like to relax! I could watch season after season on Netflix and I’ve been known to over-quote movies to friends.  

Jacob Griffith-HS/JH PE
1.  Where did you go to high school? College?

I attended Villa Grove from k-12, then went on to Millikin University for my bachelor’s in Physical Education where I ran cross country and track. I continued my education at Illinois State University where I received my master’s degree in Sports Management

2.   How many years have you been teaching?

This is my first year of teaching!

3.  When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?

I remember early on that I wanted to be a teacher, maybe even as early as elementary school. I remember asking Mr. Landeck why he was a Physical Education teacher and he said it is not really even work since you get to play games and interact with students and the community. 

I have had 3 great influences; first my dad he has been in education my entire life and I wanted to follow in his footsteps, second Mr. Landeck for the above reason, and lastly Coach Murawski for taking things that I found boring like math and running and helping me to understand and enjoy them.

4.  What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

I love seeing students achieve things they didn’t think they could do. For example, I have some athletes who at the start of summer workouts asked why we had to run 5 miles when we only race 3 and now, they finish their run and say they could go farther.

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom? What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love running! I am normally either running, reading articles or watching races and workouts, it might be a full-blown addiction at this point. I also enjoy watching Chicago Cubs games and playing golf.

Robert Knilands-HS/JH Math
1.  Where did you go to high school? College?

I went to high school at the now-defunct Ford Central in Piper City. (The Cougars are no more.) I went to college at the University of Illinois in Urbana and later at Eureka College.

2.   How many years have you been teaching?

This will be my fifth year.

3.  When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?

I decided to become a teacher while I was a regular substitute teacher. At that point, the book publisher where I had worked was no longer in business, and I was ready for a change. I liked what I was doing in the classroom, and it was apparent that I needed to move in another direction.

4.  What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

I like reaching the end of the year and seeing what we have accomplished.

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom?  What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I go cycling when the weather is good. I enjoy planning road trips.

Amber Osborne – School Counselor/Social Worker

1. Where did you go to high school? College?  

I went to Grant Community High School in Fox Lake, Illinois. I earned both my bachelors and masters at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

2. How many years have you been teaching?  

This will be the start of my 8th year.

3. When did you decide to become a teacher?  Why?  Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?  

I decided to go into School Counseling while I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degree at EIU. I knew I wanted to help students with issues they were having (whether it be academic or social) and help them achieve their goals. I was strongly influenced at the daycare center I worked at during a summer in college with school age children. So many of them had a variety of obstacles to work through and just wanted another adult to listen to them while they were going through it.

4. What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?  

Hanging out with the students and staff. The students are funny and smart and are a joy to be around. They surprise me every day with what they have learned, how they keep showing up and trying, and appreciate the adults that are there to support them. Everywhere I have been, the staff is a family and strives to work for the best interest of the students and help support one another.

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom? What are some of your hobbies and interests? 

I hang out with my kids and husband and catch up with friends. I enjoy travelling, reading, and watching my favorite shows on Netflix and Hulu.

Megan McClard-HS Social Studies
1. Where did you go to high school? College?

I went to High school at Marquette Catholic High school in Alton, Il. My graduating class had 120 students. I went to college at EIU, was a third generation EIU student but the first in my family to actually graduate from there. 

2. How many years have you been teaching?

I am a new teacher in my rookie debut, but I couldn’t be more excited to start my career in Villa Grove. 

3.  When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision?

I decided to become a teacher at about age 5 or 6 when I would spend most of my time with two stuffed animals sitting at the blue and red school desks that my mom had in our basement. Speaking of my mom, she and my grandmother were two of my biggest inspirations. They’re both teachers and always gave me a great example to look up to. Of course, I’ve also had some great teachers along the way that really helped me find my exact place in the education world. 

4.  What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

So far, my favorite part of teaching has been building good relationships with my students. When a student feels like going to school is a positive thing, and they look forward to coming to a class or learning something new, then I know I’ve been doing the best I can. And through that relationship, I know they’ll be inclined to do their best also. 

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom? What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love to hunt, fish, play volleyball and softball, watch sports, and most importantly spend time with my family and my dog.

Jim Kestner-HS English
1.  Where did you go to high school? College?

Tuscola High School, ISU, EIU, and U of I

2. How many years have you been teaching? 

5 years of jr. high/high school and 12 years college

3.  When did you decide to become a teacher? Why? Who or what had the greatest influence on that decision? 

I decided to become a teacher during my sophomore year of college. I had a history professor who conducted small-group discussion sessions about writings from the periods we were studying. I was captivated by the way talking about real-life issues could take something written many years before and turn it into a way to connect us with others in the class. It made us feel like our experiences and opinions mattered to someone other than ourselves. I thought what an amazing job it would be to create those opportunities for others and have been hooked on doing that ever since.

4. What’s been your favorite part of teaching, so far?

I love watching students identify my classroom as a place where they feel important, that they belong, regardless of their ability. I love watching students find success when they thought they might fail. I love to see students push themselves because it matters to them, not because I told them to. It comes down to helping young people realize their potential despite the circumstances and influences that threaten to hold them back. It doesn’t happen to every student every day, but it happens often, and it makes teaching the best job in the world.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not in the classroom?  What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love spending time with my wonderful wife Tami and visiting our children: Maxwell, Jackson, and Gracyn. I enjoy producing videos, mixing music, writing fiction, reading, and running. I also love action movies and watching sports, especially football and basketball.

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