Craig Addison - Social Studies

College: Bachelor's Degree from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master's degree from William Woods University.

Fun Facts: He is a big Florida Gators fan and Los Angeles Chargers fan.  He enjoys exercising and spending time with family and friends. 

Activities/Clubs: Head Men's Wrestling Coach; Assistant Soccer Coach for both Men and Women.


Contact Information:

Matthew Ambrose - Math

College: Bachelor's degree from Buena Vista University and a Mater's degree in Mathematics from the University of Northern Iowa.

Fun Facts: He has taught Mathematics for 16 years, including classes ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. Mr. Ambrose enjoys spending time with friends, family, his dog, and staying active.

Activities/Clubs: Defensive Line Coach for the Football Team, Assistant for Men's and Women's Track.


Contact Information:

Tammy Anderson - Librarian and Media Specialist

College: Bachelor's degree from Missouri State (which she will always refer to as SMSU) and her Master's from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.

Fun Facts: This is her second year at Van Horn and 21st year in education.  She's served as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, curriculum trainer and now Library Media Specialist.  When not reading Gateway Award nominees, she spends time with her 6th grade daughter and husband, who is a pre-K teacher.

Activities/Clubs: Mrs. Anderson sponsors many activities which include book clubs and other social engagements in the library. Be sure to follow the announcements so you can participate in our next library event!  

Contact Information: tammy_anderson@isdschools.orgYou can also follow on Twitter and Instagram @vanhornlibrary.

Dr. Jonah Bates - Science

College: Bachelor's Degrees in Physics and Linguistics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master's and PhD in Linguistics from the University of Kansas.

Fun Facts: Dr. Bates started teaching science at Van Horn in Fall 2020 and so far has taught Forensic Science, Earth Science, Biology, Introduction to Health Services, and Zoology. Outside of school, he enjoys being with his family, cooking, reading, writing, looking at the stars, and thinking scientifically!



Contact Information:

Joseph Banning - Math

College: Bachelor's Degree from Kansas State University and is currently enrolled at the University of Central Missouri for his Master's.

Fun Facts: Mr. Banning teaches Algebra 2 and the ACT/College Prep course. His hobbies include rock climbing, board games and playing Magic-The Gathering. His favorite quote- "A ship in port is safe, but that isn't what ships are made for," Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (pioneer in computer programming).

Contact Information:

Willis Blinzler - Math

College: Mr. Blinzler graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Fun Facts: Mr. Blinzler was born in Monett, Missouri. After graduating from college at Mizzou, Mr. Blinzler began teaching in the Indpendence School District. He also served as a vice principal prior to joining the math department at Van Horn.



Contact Information:

Kevin Boren - Communication Arts

College: Mr. Boren attended Northwest Missouri State University and received a degree in English Education. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Boren spends his free time reading fantasy novels, playing tabletop games, running, and spending time with family. Mr. Boren had Mrs. Romero for high school English at Grain Valley.



Contact Information:

John Bobeen

Mr. Bobeen is teaching algebra. This is his seventh year in education; the first six years were in middle school but he is excited to be teaching high school at Van Horn

Fun Facts: Mr. Bobeen spends the majority of his time with his family. He has a lovely girlfriend, Aspen, and an amazing son, Dacre. When he is not spending time with them, he enjoys riding his bike.

Activities/Clubs: Mr. Bobeen is the head girls wrestling coach. 

Contact Information:

Laci Brockmeier - Social Studies


Fun Facts: 

Activities/Clubs: Coach Brockmeier is the head coach of the cheerleading team.


Contact information:

Roshaad Byrd - Building Sub

College: Bachelor's Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Fun Facts: Coach Byrd is our head subsititute teacher here at Van Horn. Coach Byrd has been an intrical part of our school for five years now as he continues to build relationships with our students and staff.     

Activities/Clubs: Coach Byrd is the head football coach.



Contact Information:

Emily Cain - Social Studies

College: Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts (History Major) from Truman State University.

Fun Facts: Ms. Cain teachers Advanced Placement courses and has a leadership role for ISD with the Academy program. She enjoys traveling, singing, theater, reading and volunteering. 



Contact Information:

Steven Carpenter - Special Education


Fun Facts: Mr. Carpenter assists students in social studies classes.



Contact Information:

Charles Carter - Social Studies

College: Bachelor of Science in History Education with a Minor in Political Science from Missouri State University.

Fun Facts: Coach Carter played football at Missouri State University for five years. Mr. Carter completed his student teaching experience at Van Horn High School in the Spring of 2021. He currently teaches World History, Psychology, and Sociology. Coach Carter enjoys fishing, golfing, playing video games, watching football, and spending time with his friends and family. He is a huge Las Vegas Raiders fan and lets everyone else in the building know all about it!

Activities/Clubs: He is an Assistant Football Coach and an Assistant Track Coach for the Falcons. Coach Carter is also the sponsor for the Multi-Cultural Club.

Contact Information:

Dr. Russell Clothier - MPI / Science

College: Dr. Clothier has studied physics and earned degrees from the University of Missouri.

Fun Facts: Dr. Clothier is an instructor for the Math and Physics Institute here at Van Horn. He is semi-retired and in his spare time he operates a Senior Dog Sanctuary in Eastern Independence.



Contact Information:

Kara Cavanaugh - FACS

College: Bachelor of Science in Education in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Central Missouri, a Master in Curriculum and Instruction for Early Childhood Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City as well as a Specialist in Human Services from the University of Central Missouri.

Fun Facts: She began her teaching career at her alma mater, William Chrisman High School, and has been with Van Horn since 2008. She currently teaches the Early Childhood Professions 1/2 day CTE program for students from Chrisman, Truman and Van Horn and has been doing so since 2016. Mrs. Cavanaugh loves to hang out with her family, workout, watch funny movies and TV series.  She and her husband were high school sweethearts. They are now the proud parents of two beautiful girls.  

Contact Information:

Becky Como- Special Education

College: Ms. Como attended the University of Central Missouri to receive her Bachelor's degree.


Fun Facts: Loves History, performs on stage for CTI (City Theater of Independence), collects Lincoln memorabilia.


Contact Information:

Terri Cook - Art

College: University of Nebraska with degrees in Fine Arts and History. She received her Master's in Social Science from Missouri State

Fun Facts: 

Ms. Cook has taught in numerous schools including all four high schools in Independence, (Chrisman, Truman, Independence Academy, and a long-term position at IA & T).  She retired in 2017, but returned this year, because teaching is a passion and the incredible students at Van Horn reinforced her decision.

She is married with one daughter who was an ISD graduate.  In her spare time she loves to be outside, ride her horse, four wheeling, motorcycles, and inside she enjoys books, artwork, and quilting.    

Contact Information:

Deborah Cox - Science

College: Baker University, Park University, & MWSU

Fun Facts: Debbie Cox is a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) biomedical science, chemistry, and biology teacher in the Independence 30 School District. Before teaching, Debbie worked in industrial biochemistry which inspired her to bring real-world science into the classroom. Debbie created a science fair program in which she mentors students to conduct independent lab research, and her students have received awards at regional and international science fairs. Debbie also started a HOSA-Future Health Professionals chapter at her school, and her chapter has been recognized at state and international competitions. Debbie has established several FIRST FLL and FTC robotics programs, and her teams have received numerous awards and engineered and wrote patents for inventions. One of her robotics teams was even featured in a national STEM campaign with from the Black Eyed Peas, met President Obama at the White House Science Fair, and was showcased by national media outlets. Debbie was most recently awarded the regional 2019 Howard Gadberry Teacher of the Year for her work with science fair programs, the 2019 Independence Academy Teacher of the Year for her work with PLTW biomed and job shadowing within her district, and the 2021 National Geographic Society Remote Learning Award for her website allowing virtual students to participate in science fair from home. Professional organizations include the American Chemical Society (ACS), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and Science Teachers of Missouri (STOM). Debbie was also recently certified as a 2022 Bioscience Core Skills Institute (BCSI) Certified Evaluator.

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Cox is the sponsor for HOSA.

Contact Information: debbie_cox@isdschools.orgFollow on Twitter @CoxVHScience

Rosslyn Crawford - Jackson - Family Service Liaison

College:  Bachelor in Sociology with Criminology Emphasis from Emporia University and a Master in Social Work from the University of Kansas.  

Fun Facts: Ms. Jackson enjoys fishing, watching sports, reading and working in her yard.  

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Jackson is a sponsor for the Black Student Union.



Contact Information:

Kenneth Davis - Special Education

College: Bachelor's Degree of Southwest Baptist University

Fun Facts: Coach Davis enjoys spending time with his family and writing in his spare time.

Activities/Clubs: Assistant Football, Women's Basketball, and Track Coach



Contact Information:

Stephanie Davis - Foreign Language


Fun Facts: Ms. Davis has always had an interest in Foreign Languages and cultures.  She loves to travel and learn about different cultures.  When she's home, she enjoys reading and playing with her toy poodle.

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Davis is the sponsor of the French Club

Contact Information:

Rachel Davis-Piper - English Language Arts

College: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English, Master of Arts in English, and Master of Arts in Education in Secondary English at Truman State University.

Fun Facts: In her free time, Ms. Piper loves reading YA fantasy fiction, watching crime shows like Brooklyn 99 and NCIS, and baking. Ms. Davis also loves to travel and is looking forward to finally taking a trip to Europe where she can visit the Globe Theatre, Louvre Art Museum, and taste all kinds of new foods!


Contact Information:
Allison Dowell - Math


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Michaela Ebert - Science

College: Northwest Missouri State University

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Dora Fonseca - Foreign Language 

College: English at Donnelly College for a year and a half. She had to take the bachelor degree program again in USA in order to be certified in this country, therefore she attended the University of Missouri Kansas City to receive the Bachelor in Arts of Education 1-6.

Fun Facts: Dr. Fonseca was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Central America. Now she is naturalized American citizen. She is the second of four children; Leyla is the oldest sister and two brothers, Rafael and Pablo who live in New Jersey. Her mother, Marcia Hernandez is a retired nurse of 30 years. She has one child who is 32 years old and lives in Olathe, Kansas. Ms. Fonseca has a ten year old grandson and 18 month old granddaughter.  Ms. Dora, as some students call her, graduated from Escuela Normal Villa Ahumada, Danlí, Honduras in 1981 as an elementary teacher. She worked in San Pedro Sula for 9 years mainly as a first grade teacher. Dr. Fonseca enjoys gardening, being outdoors, cooking, spending time with friends, cleaning, drawing, painting and decorating.

Activities/Clubs: Dr. Fonseca sponsors the National Honor Society, Parent Family Circle, and the Multicultural Club. 

Contact Information:

Andrew Fansher - Music

College: Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia

Fun Facts: Mr. Fansher was a proud member of the Marching Mizzou while in college. He also serves as the leader of the ISD paint crew each summer along with his sister.

Activities/Clubs: Lead director for the Van Horn Choral Department.

Contact Information:

Rebekah Fields - Science

College: Ms. Fields has an Associate's degree from Maple Woods in general studies and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. and a Bachelor of Science Education degree in biology from the University of Central Missouri.

Fun Facts: A favorite quote is, "All of your dreams can come true-if we have the courage to pursue them," Walt Disney. I want to encourage, inspire, challenge, ad support my students as they set their minds and hearts on big dreams now and in the future.


Contact Information:

Brian Gant - Project Lead the Way - Engineering

College: Bachelor of Science in Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Special Education (K-12) from the University of Central Missouri.

Fun Facts: He teaches Project Lead the Way.  Mr. Gant is an avid Kansas City Royals fan.

Contact Information:

Rachel Getter - English

College: Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Master of Arts in English from Missouri State, as well as has her TESOL certification.

Fun Facts: Originally from St. Louis, Ms. Getter is a Cardinals fan and still enjoys going home, although she will root for the Royals when they aren't playing against the Cards. She has taken a liking to the Chiefs and cheers for them every game. Ms. Getter enjoys the serenity of nature, traveling, playing with her 3 dogs, and hosting game night with family and friends. Her travels have taken her to Europe and South America and hopes that one day they will take her to all 7 continents. 

Activities/Clubs: Co-sponsor of the Gay/Straight Alliance Club.

Contact Information:

Sylvester Gibson - FUEL



Fun Facts: 

Activities/Clubs: Assistant Football Coach


Contact Information:

Deborah Glenn - Journalism

College: Bachelor's degree in Speech, Theatre, and Communications from the University of Central Missouri and a Master's Degree from the University of Kansas in Communication Studies

Fun Facts: Mrs. Glenn is a veteran teacher having taught and coached debate and forensics at Raytown High and Shawnee Mission Northwest as a 4-diamond coach with multiple State champions and national qualifiers. After taking some time for her family, she took a position teaching and advising journalism at Blue Valley West and became a nationally certified journalism educator. 

Mrs. Glenn is also a wife and mother of two boys. Both boys enjoyed competitive swimming careers and swam at the Univ. of Massachusetts and Louisiana State University respectively. She supported their efforts as a member of the executive board of the Kansas City Blazers for more than 20 years. 

Activities/Clubs: VHHS Media (yearbook, social media, broadcast, news website)

Contact Information:


News Website:

Kayla Henderson - Family and Consumer Science

College: Ms. Henderson has a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on teaching technology, both from from Northwest Missouri State University. She has been teaching for nine years.  

Fun Facts: Ms. Henderson has a passion for cooking, child development, and all things related to the area of Family and Consumer Sciences. When not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, working out, and spending time outdoors. She also enjoys participating in community events and is a member of Church of the Four Corners. 

Activities/Clubs: STUCO

Contact Information:
Selene Hernandez - Orchestra

College: Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education from William Jewell College and her Master's from the University of Missouri- Kansas City.

Fun Facts: Ms. Hernandez has been teaching Orchestra, Music Theory, and Music Appreciation.  During the day, she also spends her day at Nowlin Middle School teaching our Nowlin Falcons. After school, Ms. Hernandez enjoys performing music with her brother, who is also a musician, teaching at Harmony Project KC, and playing violin with the Heritage Philharmonic Orchestra. During her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, and exploring coffee shops in search of amazing chai tea lattes. 

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Hernandez is in charge of the Orchestra Program and co-leads the Parent Family Circle.

Contact Information:

Anna Heist - Math



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Jessica Hernandez - Family School Liason

College: Ms. Hernandez has Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Fun Facts: Ms. Hernandez is an avid reader and never wants to stop learning new things. Shen enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Contact Information:

Don Highlander - Math

College: Bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State with a major in physics and a minor in math. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Highlander is an Independence native at he was hired to teach at Van Horn in 1990. He left in 2006 and returned again in 2020.




Contact Information:

Valerie Hough - Science

College: Niagara University, has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from University of Missouri Kansas City, and earned a Master of Art in Teaching and Master of Science in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri.

Fun Facts: She has presented some of her lessons at the annual state science education conference and is a National Geographic Explorer. Ms. Hough is a paramedic and she enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with wolves.



Contact Information:

Carl Jiabia - Business

College: Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Park University, Master's degree in Business Administration from Park University, PhD in Business Management from Capella.

Fun Facts: He enjoys watching and playing sports, hiking with his dogs, reading, writing, and traveling. 


Contact Information:

Jay Jones - Fuel Education and Credit Recovery

College: Bachelor's degree of Science in Physical Education and a Master of Science in Education. Both from Central Methodist University.

Fun Facts: He enjoys playing sports, doing anything competitive, playing Xbox, spending time with his two cats, Bean and Blue, and watching anime.

Activities/Clubs: Coach Jones is an assistant Men's basketball coach.



Contact Information:

Sara Kenney - Health/PE

College: Bachelor of Science in Physical Education K-12 from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO, a Master of Arts Education from the University of St. Mary’s in Leavenworth, KS.

Fun Facts: Ms. Kenney enjoys softball, family time and supporting Kansas City sports teams and University of Missouri teams.  

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Kenney is an Assistant Coach on the Volleyball team.


Contact Information:

Brooke Keown - Counselor

College: Ms. Keown is a proud graduate of UMKC

Fun Facts: Ms. Keown competed in track in college at UMKC.




Contact Information:

Jay Kolster - Strength and Conditioning

College: Master's of Science in Exercise Science and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from the University of Central Missouri and Associates in Arts from Jefferson College. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Kolster enjoys exercise, golf, cooking, hunting and sporting events.

Activities/Clubs: Mr. Kolster is the Head Baseball Coach at Van Horn.


Contact Information:

Patric Koon - Communication Arts

College: Bachelor's degree in English Education from Missouri State University and completed a master's degree in Educational Leadership at Northwest Missouri State University.

Fun Facts: Mr. Koon was born and raised in the Ozarks.   In his spare time he enjoys being outdoors, reading, traveling, and spending time with his fiancé and their dog 

Activities/Clubs: He is an assistant coach for Nowlin Middle School's boys basketball team. Mr. Koon is a co-leader of the STEM Academy, a co-sponsor for the GSA club, the CharacterPlus representative for Van Horn, and a member of the PBIS committee.

Contact Information:

Dalanie Krogman - Physical Education

College: Ms. Krogman graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education and Health K-12 in May. She worked as a student teacher at Van Horn in Spring 2023 and loved getting a jump start on knowing and building relationships.

Fun Facts: Ms. Krogman enjoys crafts, sports, board games, and nature.  She collects interesting rocks, gems and minerals especially on trips and vacations. She loves to spend time with friends and family. Ms. Krogman graduated from Van Horn and is excited to be back to serve the community and school that raised her!! As a student, she was involved in nearly every club and sport possible in high school and was one of the faces behind Freddy the Falcon… Ka-Kaw!!! 

Activities/Clubs: Coach Krogman coached club volleyball for six years, high school volleyball for four and is currently the varsity assistant. She'll also be coaching girls basketball this winter and girls soccer in the spring as a goalie specialist. 


Contact Information:

Mahayla Lane - Special Education

College: Ms. Lane has a Bachelor's degree from Graceland University and a Master's Degree in curriculum and instruction from Northwest Missouri State University. 

Fun Facts: Ms. Lane enjoys reading, baking and basketball. She has two boys and a "bonus" girl. 

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Lane is the softball coach.

Contact Information:

Dennis Luke


Fun Facts: Mr. Luke owned his own metalsmithing business for many years.




Contact Information:

Jessica Manco - Art

College: Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Cooper Union in New York City, Master of Fine Arts from Instituto Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, and Master of Teaching from the University of Central Missouri. 

Fun Facts: Loves to travel, garden, spend time with family, friends, and her dog Joan. 

Activities/Clubs: Visual Arts and Van Horn Stages. 

Contact Information:


Betsy Marshall - Business

College: Ms. Marshall receivd her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration before going on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Central Missouri and an Education Specialist in K-12 Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University. 


Fun Facts: Ms. Marshall spends part of her day teaching business at Van Horn and the other part is spent teaching at the student ran bank located on the Historic Independence Square.

Contact Information:

Lindsey McIndoo - FACS

College: Bachelor's degree in education from the University of Central Missouri.

Fun Facts: Ms. McIndoo is a mom to two amazing daughters, Blakely (7) and Macy (4). She loves spending her time out of school crafting, traveling, and hitting up all the sporting events with her girls and her husband, Tony aka Coach Mac. Her favorite quote is from Benjamin Franklin, Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 

Activities/Clubs: Ms. McIndoo is the STUCO sponsor and assistant cheer coach. 

Contact Information:

Scott McQuerry - Computer Science

College: Bachelor of Arts in Science and Unified Science Certification from William Jewell College and a Master of Education in Information Science and Learning Technologies (ISLT) from the University of Missouri. 

Fun Facts: Mr. McQuerry enjoys fishing, cooking and traveling.


Contact Information:

Josue Molina - Music

College: Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Central Missouri.  

Fun Facts: Mr. Molina enjoys cycling, Sporting KC, Chiefs, Royals and Yankees. 

Activities/Clubs: He is the Musical Conductor and Van Horn's Music Department Chair.   


Contact Information:

Follow the Van Horn Bands on twitter @vanhornbands

Sheri Mos- SPED

College: Recieved her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Graceland University.

Fun Facts: Ms. Mos has co-taught English at all high-school grade levels, History, and Science, and will be teaching Special Education Reading and English here at Van Horn.  She enjoys traveling, going to concerts, plays and movies, and spending time at home with her husband and her cat and dog. (Her home used to have two more cats, a dog, a bunny, and a bearded dragon, but those have all moved out with her two grown children.) 


Contact Information:

Jeremy Moreland - Math


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Jenna Nelsen-McMichael - Science


College: Ms. Nelsen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from the University of Missouri

Fun Facts: Ms. Nelsen has a passiion for traveling and spending time in nature, especially bird watching. Her favorite bird is the cedar waxwing. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, taking hikes with her two dogs, board games and reading. Ms. Nelsen is excited to join the Van Horn family and support her students in their science learning journey.

Contact Information:

Jim Oatman - Industrial Technology

College: Bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and a Master's in education from Mid-America Nazarene University.

Fun Facts: Mr. Oatman retired from the Blue Valley School District prior to joining Van Horn. He spends his summers teaching students Driver's Education. 


Contact Information:



William Purviance - ROTC

College: Lieutenant Colonel Purviance graduated from Northwest Missouri State University.

Fun Facts: Lt. Colonel Purviance did his basic training at Ft. Dix in New Jersey and continued his military career at Ft. Sam Houston. He was activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded with the campaign star and earned two National Defense medals. He was instrumental in the activation of US Army Reserve medical units for Desert Storm, the Bosnian War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and other American interventions that involved medical assets, especially in Africa. He left the army reserves after 34 years. 

For the last 30 years Lt. Colonel Purviance has been a crew chief (referee) for the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) for a varsity football officials crew.  

Contact Information:


Judy Richardson-Special Education

College: Masters in Human Services and a Masters in Special Education


Fun Facts:  Ms. Richardson has three grown children, a new puppy, and two cats. She loves teaching, learning new adventures, and getting to know all of her students. She hopes that her background and her experience will be a benefit to the school and to all of her students! 


Contact Information:

Jesus Rodriguez - Communication Arts

College: Bachelors in Secondary Physical Education and Health and a minor in Psychology from Graceland University. I also have a K-12 Graduate endorsement from William Penn University. 

Fun Facts: During his spare time, he enjoys spending time with the family, going to museums, parks, to sporting events, or sometimes he just goes downtown and ride on the byrds. He also enjoys playing Sunday League soccer, and watching EPL (the best league in the world of sports).  Lastly, he likes reading biographies. 
Activities/Clubs: Mr. Rodriguez is the head Men's soccer coach and the head Boy's soccer coach at Nowlin Middle School.


Contact Information:

Kim Sawyer - Social Studies

College: Ms. Sawyer has a Bachelor's of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from Texas Tech University. 

 Fun Facts: Ms. Sawyer has taught multiple grade levels from 2nd grade through college and Van Horn is her favorite!


Contact Information:

Deborah Shults - Family and Consumer Science

College: Bachelor's degree in Career Technical Education: Family & Consumer Science from the University of Central Missouri

Fun Facts: Ms. Shults substitute taught for six years and is starting her second year in the district teaching FACS and traveling between Van Horn and Truman. When not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, two sons and a daughter.  


Contact Information:

Shane Smith - Business

College: Kansas State University graduating with a degree in History and Northwest Missouri State with a Master's in School Administration. Mr. Smith is also certified in business and is currently teaching all business courses at Van Horn. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Smith enjoys working out and hunting in his spare time.

Activities/Clubs: Coach Smith leads the golf team


 Contact Information:

Maxwell Sollars - Special Education

College: Coach Sollars attended Northwest Missouri State University where he obtained a Bachelors in Special Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. 

Fun Facts: Coach Sollars was awarded the Kansas City Officials Coach of the year award in 2021. He was selected as the Direnah Award All-Star Game Head Coach in the State of Missouri in 2021 after leading the Falcons to the Class 5 Final Four basketball tournament for the first time in over 30 years. In his free time, Coach Sollars also coaches with the MOKAN basketball club through the spring and summer months. He enjoys watching football, basketball, and traveling in his free time. 

Activities/Clubs: Coach Sollars is the head Men's basketball Coach

Contact Information:

Trinity Snider-Foreign Language

College: Ms. Snider has an undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and is currently working on her Master's from University of Central Missouri. 

Fun Facts: Ms. Snider has been teaching Spanish for six years. A quote that inspires her is from Frida Kahlo, "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."


Contact Information:

Maggie Stewart - Foreign Language

College: Madame Stewart earned her Associate's degree from Moberly Area Community College and her Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). She plans to pursue her Master's degree next from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Fun Facts: Mme Stewart is passionate about language and culture and has studied French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Italian. She currently teaches French, German and Freshmen Academy. She loves her family including her fiancé, daughters, and dog. She plans to get a cat next. In her massive amounts of free time, you can find Mme Stewart playing outside, going on walks, doing yoga, and bullet journaling.


Contact Information:

Laura Swearngin - Business

College: Bachelor of Arts in Business and a Master of Arts in Teaching for Secondary Business Education from Lindenwood University. 

Fun Facts: Ms. Swearngin is the faciliator of our Independence School District Store known as "All Things Independence."  To access our store please click here: ATIMs. Swearngin enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling as much as possible. She is also a huge fan of Sporting KC.


Contact Information:

Callie Streich - Counseling


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Jenn Turner - Culinary


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Rebeca Wacker - Language Arts


College: Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Science from Northwest Missouri State University. 

Fun Facts: Ms. Wacker loves to read, play video games, and spend time with her friends, family, and animals.

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Wacker sponsors the tabletop games club, GSA, and is co-sponsor of the Multi-Cultural club.

Contact Information:

Angela Weatherford - Social Studies

College: She received an Associate's Degree from Blue River Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis, and Master of Science in Education Administration from the University of Central Missouri.  

Fun Facts: Ms. Weatherford’s hobbies include: traveling, SCUBA diving, swimming, attending Chief’s games and exploring the many hiking trails throughout the KC area with her dog. She has one daughter, Haley, who is a Park graduate and was just married in July of 2021. One of the things she is most proud of at Van Horn is that, During the pandemic, our community has really come together to support each other and our students. Students, staff and families take an active part in the success of Van Horn. There are dedicated teachers, administrators, custodians, cafeteria staff, and library support staff that volunteer countless hours to ensure our students are cheered for, listened to, fed, bandanged, coached, tutored and loved. The administrative team and faculty are willing to do whatever it takes to foster this amazing environment. I am so proud to be a Falcon!.  Fly to the sky Falcons!

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Weatherford is the sponsor of Academic Scholar Bowl Team.

                                      Contact Information: angela_weatherford@isdschools.orgFollow her on twitter @herstoryteller

Chris Wiley - Counselor

College: Masters in School Counseling and Bachelor in Photography from the University of Central Missouri. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Wiley enjoys watching movies, traveling, and spending time with family.

Activities/Clubs: Mr. Wiley is also the Boys Junior Varsity Basketball Coach and Assistant Track. He is also a co-sponsor of the Black Student Union




Contact Information:

Silvia Whiteto - Science



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Kaitlyn Wheeler -  Communication Arts

College:  Ms. Wheeler graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a B.S.Ed in English Education and went on to get a M.S.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from NMSU.

Fun Facts: Ms. Wheeler loves everything Taylor Swift. She has a dog named Magnolia and loves spending time playing with her and taking her on walks. She likes going on walks and being active. At home, she enjoys finding recipes to bake. 

Contact Information:

Katelynn Wilson - Communication Skills

College: Bachelor's degree in Speech and Theatre Education.

Fun Facts: She has over 10 years of Speech and Debate and Theatre experience. When Miss Wilson isn't out winning trophies you can find her binge watching crime shows, making arts and crafts, or attempting to snuggle with her cat, Bell Pepper. 

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Wilson is the coach for the Speech and Debate teams at Van Horn.


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Jamie Yung - Theatre

College: University of Missouri , Bachelor of Science in speech and theatre education. Ms. Yung also has a Master's in Education Curriculum and Instruction from Northwest Missouri State.

Fun Facts: She has taught speech, debate, and theatre throughout her career. She is passionate about helping individuals find their voice through the arts and believes that theatre can teach us to be more human and empathetic. When she isn't growing as an artist with her Theatre Arts students, she is being creative through crafting, thrifting, or hanging with the people she loves. It is her dream one day to showcase her crafting skills on the TV show, Flea Market Flip, but only if she can talk her dad into being her partner on it. She will always remind each of her students to LEAD WITH LOVE.

Activities/Clubs: Ms. Yung leads Van Horn Stages

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