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Demopolis City Schools welcomes new teachers

There are always changes for students when they return to school after the summer break, among them a crop of new teachers to get to know. This year’s new teachers to Demopolis City Schools are already busy getting acclimated to their new surroundings.

On Thursday, new teachers reported to a day of orientation and on Friday they met with the system’s instruction specialist, Dana Freeman.

“I’m excited about the new teachers we have this year,” said Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff. “Those who are new to the profession are bringing a lot of enthusiasm and those from other systems come highly recommended. I’m very optimistic about the impact they will have on the students we serve.”

There are 25 new teachers filling positions at the four Demopolis schools. Following is information on each of those.

Brian Allen will be a English and language arts teacher at Demopolis Middle School.  He is from Thomasville and has been teaching 14 years.

Allen is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and has one son.

“My goal is to prepare my students for academic success,” Allen said.

Kaley Barrett will be a sixth grade special education teacher at DMS. She is from Selma and this will be her first year teaching.

Barrett is a graduate of the University of West Alabama.

“I want to get my students reading and to see their comprehension levels rise. I want to see their confidence grow throughout the year,” Barrett said.

Kaley Criswell will be a special education teacher. She is from Thomasville, Alabama and taught a portion of last year at U.S. Jones.

Criswell is a graduate of the University of South Alabama. She and her husband, Brett, are newlyweds, exchanging vows in June.

“I want to encourage students to have a growth mindset and to think positively,” she said. “I will provide students with the differentiated instruction they need to succeed.”

Brandi Dannelly will be a physical education teacher at DHS. She comes to Demopolis from the University of Central Arkansas and has been teaching for five years.

Dannelly earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Delta State University. She is married to McKewn Dannelly and they have a son, Jackson.

“I want to teach students to establish lifelong fitness goals while developing and reinforcing cooperative behavior,” Dannelly said.

Kelly Easter will be a third grade teacher at US Jones. She is from Medina, Tennessee and has been teaching 18 years.

Easter is a graduate of the University of North Alabama. She is married to Darin and they have a son, Thomas, and a daughter, Sarah.

“I look forward to working with a new group of teachers, learning from them and sharing with them,” she said. “I am excited about learning new ideas and strategies for teaching and doing my best to help my students become their best.”

Javalynn Henderson will be a seventh grade English and language arts teacher. She is from Forkland and has five years teaching experience.

Henderson is a graduate of the University of Alabama. She is married to Jeffery Henderson and they have a son, Zion.

“My goal is to equip students with complex reading and writing skills that will increase standardized test scores and ultimately helping students become more academically confident and develop a lifelong passion for learning,” Henderson said.

Eric Hendricks will be a physical education teacher at Westside Elementary. He is a native of Tuscaloosa with five years teaching experience.

Hendricks is a graduate of the University of West Alabama. He is married to Shirnice Hendricks and they have two sons, Daylen and Bryce.

“My goal is to get each child to become physically active, not just during the school year, but for a lifetime,” Hendricks said.

Crystal Jackson will be a second grade teacher at WES. She is from Luverne, Alabama and is beginning her fifth year as a teacher.

Jackson holds both bachelor and master degrees from Troy State University. She is married to Demetrice Jackson and has a daughter, Caylee.

“I look forward to building relationships with my students and to inspire in them a love for learning,” Jackson said.

Kamie Leatrice Johnson will be a pre-kindergarten teacher at WES. She is from Demopolis.

Johnson is a graduate of the UWA. She is the daughter of Kimberly Johnson and Donald Constant and is engaged to William Byrd.

“I want to educate and inspire students in all aspects of their lives and to be the best educator and role model I can be,” she said.

Kristina Kallhoff will be a fourth grade reading and social studies teacher. She has 10  years teaching experience.

Kallhoff earned a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University and a master’s from the University of South Alabama. She is married to Kyle Kallhoff and they have four children, Carson, KaraLynn, John Curtis, and Anna Claire.

“I want to encourage each student to reach their highest potential and personal best,” Kallhoff said.

Remington Keen will be a Spanish teacher at DHS. He is from Demopolis.

Keen is a graduate of the University of Alabama and is married to Sierra Keen.

“I hope to encourage an interest in Spanish speaking cultures,” Keen said.

Sierra Keen will be a special education teacher at Westside Elementary. She is from Sturgis, Michigan and this will be her first year teaching.

Keen is a graduate of the Auburn University-Montgomery and is married to Remington Keen.

“My goal for this year is to help students explore their interests and to provide a foundation for their academic future,” Keen said.

Lauren Kiser will be teaching ninth grade advanced and AP world history. She has 13 years teaching experience and is a graduate of Auburn University.

Kiser is married to Brandon Kiser and they have a daughter, Ella Kate, and a son, Evan.

“My goal is to make history fun and engaging for all my students,” she said.

Lisa Lawrence is joining Demopolis Schools as a librarian. She is a native of Mobile County and has been teaching for over 19 years.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Judson College and a master’s from UWA.

“I want to assure each and every student that there are reading materials that can, and will, appeal to their interests, furnish extensions to their present bank of knowledge and will avail them of specifics needed to address issues in a wide range of subjects. I also want to foster a lifetime love of reading,” Lawrence said.

Aubrey Drinkard McElroy will be a science teacher at DMS.  She is from Epes, Alabama and has been teaching for 15 years.

McElroy is a graduate of UWA and is married to Kevin McElroy. They have a daughter, McKinley McElroy and two sons, Kevin Harmon and Bryce McElroy.

“My goal is to engage students in the learning process and to foster a love of learning in science and engineering,” she said.

Matthew Mellown will be a special education teacher at Demopolis High School. He is a native of Mobile with three years of teaching experience, most recently teaching in Andalusia.

He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and is married to Clara Mellown.

“I will be sign language and life skills to my self-contain students and look forward to having a great football season,” Mellown said.

Judith Moore will be a special education teacher at WES. She is from Demopolis and has been teaching for 20 years.

Moore is a graduate of UWA and has two daughters, Tamara Raby Charles and Jasmine Daniels, and two sons, Ryan Daniels and Charles Raby.

“I want to inspire students tto develop a love for learning; to equip them to become globally productive and competitive,” she said.

Nicholas Seymore will be a kindergarten teacher at WES. Seymore is from Selma and has been teaching for 11 years.

Seymore is a graduate of Auburn University and is married to Brian and has three children, Mary Taylor, Drew and Maggie.

“My goal is to produce a class full of kindergarten students who enjoy reading and learning. I also want to learn how to work a Promethean TV!,” Seymore said.

Amanda Smith will be a seventh and eighth grade math teacher at Demopolis Middle School, transferring after one year at DHS.

Smith is a graduate of Auburn University. She is married to Pat Smith and they have two children, Cooper and Beth.

“I look forward to sharing a love of math with my students,” Smith said.

Cain Sutton will be a social science teacher. He is from Corinth, Mississippi and this will be his second year as a teacher.

Sutton is a graduate of the University of North Alabama. He has two brothers and two sisters.

“I want to inspire my students to become culturally literate and take initiative,” he said.

Lindsey Thorne will be a first grade teacher at WES. She is from Demopolis and this is her first year teaching.

Thorne holds a bachelor’s degree from UA and a master’s from UWA.

“My first goal for this year is to create a loving environment in my classroom that encourages my students to learn and grow,” she said.

Jami Webb will be a fifth grade math and science teacher at US Jones. She is from Demopolis and has been teaching for 17 years.

Webb holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UWA. She is married to Fredie Webb Jr. and they are the parents of three children: Victoria, Gavin, and the late Cody Webb.

“I want to foster a love of learning through academics and technology and to prepare students to master college and career standards so they will be successful in society,” Webb said.

Rachel White will be a ninth grade English teacher. She is coming from Oxford, Alabama and has been teaching for eight years.

White is a graduate of Jacksonville State University. She is married to David White and has two daughters, Harper and Finlee.

“I would like to incorporate project based learning. I want to improve students’ writing and communication skills as that will benefit them throughout their lives,” White said.

Robert Wilkerson will be a seventh grade history teacher at DMS. He is from McCalla, Alabama having most recently taught in Selma. He has been a teacher for 13 years.

Wilkerson is a graduate of the University of North Alabama and has a wife and daughter.

“My goal is simple: to change a life,” he said.

Norvie Womack will be a career prep teacher for the sixth through eighth grades. He is coming from the Tuscaloosa City School System and has been teaching 16 years.

Womack is a graduate of UWA. He is married to Edna Womack and they have four children, Alexis, Norvie, Norilan and Norigh.

“I look forward to helping my students become productive citizens by helping them to acquire skills to become lifelong learners,” Womack said.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, August 5, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)