BVSW names new staff members

Ten new members have been named to the Blue Valley Southwest staff for the 2010-2011 school year. Four of the staff members were also named to coaching positions.

Jill Blackmon has been confirmed as the bookkeeper for the Timberwolves. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Accounting and is looking forward to opening a new school.

Heather Lawrenz, a graduate of the University of Kansas and Emporia State University, will be the new journalism teacher, newspaper and yearbook adviser. Lawrenz formerly worked at Lawrence High School, where the newspaper and yearbook won numerous awards under her instruction. She is excited to begin the journalism program at Southwest.

“It’s the chance to be involved with Volume One [of the yearbook], and to get to name a newspaper, name a yearbook,” Lawrenz said.

Stacey McVey, who will be the registrar for BVSW, worked as a Systems Analyst for almost 20 years and was, most recently, the library para for Sunset Ridge Elementary. She will be in charge of registration, enrollment, maintaining school records and sending senior’s transcripts to colleges.

“I am most looking forward to meeting and working with the students,” she said. “I think it will be a lot of fun to be a Timberwolf.”

Susan Scheibler, who has worked in the Blue Valley district for 10 years, is the new Performing Arts Chair and Choral Music Director. She taught musical education for more than 25 years at various levels: preschool music, elementary music, middle school choir and band, high school choir and band and college choir.

Shawn Stelter,  the Visual Arts Chair, has worked in the district since 1997. She graduated from Iowa State University and the University of Saint Mary. She is excited about the “new-ness” of the school.

“Think of all of the blank canvases,” she said. “The blank walls, and all of the art we get to create for them. That is the best. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Marshall Thompson will be the new Campus Police Officer. He said that this job will be different, because ordinarily, when you start a job, you’re the new guy. At Southwest, everyone is “the new guy.”

“The most special thing, though, is the enthusiasm,” he said. “The staff is all incredibly enthusiastic, which will spill over to the parents, which will then hopefully spill over to the students.”

Four coaches were hired as well.

Scott Dowis, who will also be a business teacher, is the head volleyball coach for next year. He has coached at Avila University, Shawnee Mission East and for the MAVS club volleyball program. He currently teaches at Shawnee Mission East as a Personal Finance, Business Law and Computer Applications teacher. He is looking forward to this experience with a small sense of déjà vu.

“It’s a unique situation, opening a new school, but I was also a part of a new school,” he said. “I was in the first class to go all the way through the school, and there was just so much excitement involved. So, in general, I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Rick Rhoades is the girls basketball coach. Rhoades, who is currently the girls basketball coach at Shawnee Mission East, will also teach P.E. at Southwest.

Bill Lowe will be the football coach. He will also teach P.E. Lowe attended the original Blue Valley High School. He currently works for Emporia High School, where he teaches Strength and Power Training and led their football season to an 8-3 record.

“I’m coming home,” he said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to come back here and coach. I’m ready to come here and start a program from the ground up, a program that hasn’t had any previous influence.”

Jason Pendleton, a graduate of Emporia State University, currently teaches American history, African-American history and Government at Lawrence Free State High School. He is going to be the Timberwolf boys and girls head soccer coach. Last season, he led the boys Free State soccer team to second place at 6A state.

by Annie Burress