Teachers of the Month

Teachers of the Month

November 2022

Cynthia Bray teaches 8th grade English at Lakewood Middle School. This is her 24th year with the district. She chose teaching as a profession because she has always enjoyed working with youth. Her inspiration was her mother because she always worked with kids to help them reach their full potential. Cynthia enjoys it when she gets to teach students something they did not know before and also when they understand it. Cynthia says to always look for the good in your children and to never give up on them. 
146 Brooke Jennings teaches 6th grade reading at South Middle School. She has been with the district for 13 years but this is her first year at SMS. She has known since she was in elementary school that she wanted to be a teacher. Her 5th grade teacher inspired her especially be he made learning exciting and fun. Brooke's favorite part of teaching is seeing students being excited to learn. She loves creating new and fun ways for the students to be engaged through technology, art or music. Brook says that when parents, teachers and community members work together, they can encourage and support students throughout their educational journey.
Carrie VanDeCreek is a SPED teacher at South High School. Carrie has been teaching for 26 years at SHS. She became a teacher to help all students strive to reach their full potential. She was inspired by many great teachers growing up. Carrie loves SHS because all students have a chance to feel accepted. She loves seeing them reach their individual goals. Carrie says that she wants everyone o know that it's not a disability, it's a different ability. 
Traci Pfeifer teaches P.E. and health classes at Central High School. Traci has spent 23 years teaching at CHS. She was inspired to be a P.E. teacher by her P.E. teachers in high school. She loves working and interacting with the students. She loves learning about their interests and for those that play sports, she enjoys watching them compete. Traci says that she works with a great group to teachers in her department and that parents should stay involved in their child's school and know what's going on. 

October 2022


Brian Nowak is a technical education teacher at Lakewood Middle School. Brian has been teaching for 31 years. After teaching trade school and working in construction, he decided to go back to school to get his teaching degree in order to share his love for shop classes and technical education with students. His favorite part of teaching is the the pride he sees in his student when they finish their projects. Many realize they have a talent or skill for it and being able to share that with parents is so rewarding. Brian says technical education classes open up the opportunities for students to build, create and fix a path forward.

Matt Gerry teaches guitar at South Middle School and has been teaching there for 20 years. He has been leading the guitar program for 12 years where he has been able to share his love of music and guitar with students. He enjoys watching his students learn and progress in their skill but especially when they shine on stage. Matt says that Salina has a vibrant arts community and that he hopes the community continues to support schools teaching excellence in the arts. 

Ryan Schafer teaches business classes at South High School. Ryan has been teaching for 15 years and is in his fourth year at SHS. He remembers when he was in middle school and wanted to be a teacher. His coach, Mike Butler, was a big inspiration to him and encouraged him to pursue teaching. Ryan enjoys that he gets to do something he loves every day he spends in the classroom. He enjoys building relationships with the students and loves seeing students accomplish new things. Ryan says he wants the community and parents to know that this generation of students is incredibly resilient. Through everything that has happened over the last few years, these students have shown up time and time again. 

Tony Slothower teaches social studies at Central High School. Tony has been teaching for 25 years and 17 of those years have been at CHS. Tony chose teaching as his professions because he thought it would be a good way to give back and help inspire students. The most enjoyable part of what he does is when he is able to see students take what he teachers and apply it in their own lives. Tony asks that the community keeps supporting our students as they are the future.

September 2022


Janeen Feil is a 8th grade counselor at Lakewood Middle School. She has been a school counselor for 9 years and this is her second year at LMS. She chose to become a counselor because she wanted to be able to help all students. Her inspiration came from the effort that teachers put into all of their students. She enjoys helping students and teachers in her building and is glad to be a part of the Lakewood team. She says that this is the best school she has ever worked at. 

Miranda Lumley teaches 6th grade math at South Middle School and has been teaching there for 15 years. Miranda has always wanted to be a teacher because her favorite teachers helped her to believe in herself. She wants to teach her students the same lesson, that they are able to do hard things. She loves making connections with students and helps them to see how amazing they are to the world. Miranda says that the best part about teaching is the lifelong relationships we make with our colleagues and students. She loves seeing former students be successful. Miranda believes that "when we all work as a team, we can really see our students flourish". 

Joseph Turner teaches English at South High School. He has been teaching for eight years and has spent the last five at SHS. Joseph chose teaching as his profession to help students find passion and enjoyment in learning. He also chose teaching to help students create goals that will help in life after high school. He enjoys the connections he creates with colleagues and students alike as well as the environment and culture at SHS. With so many different experiences within the high school, students can learn who they are and the limitless potential they have. Joseph was raised in this community and school district and wants to do his part every day to give back.