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new teachers

The 11 new teachers and administrators for Beatrice Public Schools met at the administration building on Monday, August 5. From left to right: Karen Hodges, Kelli Cumberledge, Dave Henning, Leah Hipps, Nick Thompson, Erin Voigt, Andrew Haake, Darci Haraldson, Delaney Woodruff and Ashley Walker. Not pictured: Melissa Ventre.

Beatrice Public Schools has 11 new teachers and administrators for the 2019-2020 school year.

Some are familiar faces, as they graduated from Beatrice High School themselves, while others are new to Nebraska or teaching altogether.

Dave Henning is the new high school science teacher. He graduated from Beatrice High School in 2003 before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He previously was an ESU 5 science teacher in Fairbury, and this is his 13th year teaching. He shares another connection with BPS, as well. His mom, Pam Henning, taught at Paddock Lane Elementary and Beatrice Middle School before becoming the middle school’s assistant principal. She retired last spring. Henning also has two goats, a donkey, chickens, cats and a dog.

Kelli Cumberledge will teach freshman and sophomore English and creative writing at the high school. Cumberledge is from Omaha, and graduated from Northwest Missouri State in May with a B.S. in English education. Previously, she spent a semester as a long-term substitute in the Bellevue Public School District. She considers herself “obsessed” with reading, and her favorite author is Vonnegut.

Leah Hipps will teach math at the high school. Hipps grew up on a farm outside West Point, and graduated from California State University in Sacramento. This is her first year of teaching. Her favorite food is any kind of bagel.

Karen Hodges is the new high school special education teacher. Hodges is from Fairbury and studied at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before perusing her teaching license at Southwest Minnesota State. This is her sixth year of education. Hodges’ daughter is a registered nurse in Minnesota, and her son is about to start college at Southwest Minnesota State, and will wrestle for the school.

Ashley Walker will teach skills at both the high school and middle school. She’s from Adams, and studied special education at Doane University. This is her first year in education, and her favorite pastime is “watching any Nebraska sports.”

Andrew Haake is the new assistant principal for Beatrice Middle School. Haake graduated from Beatrice High School in 2007 and went to the University of Nebraska-Kearney. In his eight years of education, Haake was a social studies teacher at Malcom Public Schools and a principal at St. Joseph Catholic School in Beatrice. His wife, Krista, is also a BHS graduate, and they have three kids.

Delaney Woodruff will teach P.E. at the middle school. Woodruff is from Papillion, and studied health and physical education at Peru State College. This is her first year in education. She has a one-year-old dog named Ophelia, and her favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy.

Nick Thompson is the new middle school band director. Thompson graduated from Beatrice High School in 2008, and studied instrumental music at Northwest Missouri State University. In his six years of teaching, Thompson was the band director at North Polk Middle School and Wilber-Clatonia High School. His favorite food is “most” of the Taco Bell menu.

Erin Voigt is a special education teacher for Stoddard and Lincoln elementary. A Beatrice native, Voigt studied elementary and special education at Northwest Missouri State University. This is her 14th year of teaching, as she previously taught at Lincoln Public Schools. Her husband, Philip Voigt, is the assistant principal at Beatrice High School, and they have two daughters.

Darci Haraldson will teach skills at Paddock Lane Elementary. She is from Page, North Dakota, and studied special education at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In her 17 years of education, Haraldson was a preschool special education teacher at Sidney Public Schools in Montana. She has five children.

Melissa Ventre is the new special education teacher at Paddock Lane. She is from Crete, and received her master of education in educational leadership from Doane University. This is her eighth year in education, and her favorite food is “anything to do with pasta.”

The new teachers went back to school on Aug. 2, with the rest of the teachers and administration joining them Aug. 8. The first day of school for kindergarten through ninth grade is Tuesday, Aug. 13, with grades 10-12 starting Wednesday, Aug. 14 and preschool starting Thursday, Aug. 15.

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