Craig Addison - Social Studies

Taylor Ambrosi - Communication Skills




Jackie Becker - Business


Vanessa Brockmeier-Science




Jenna Brooks-Speech and Language Pathologist


The 18-19 school year is my sixth year serving as a speech-language pathologist for the Independence School District. I currently serve Blackburn Elementary and Van Horn High School. As an SLP, I have the unique privilege of serving students from Kindergarten to 12th grade. I am passionate about helping kids communicate and achieve success in their classrooms. Independence schools are positive and caring communities, and I am thrilled to be part of two spectacular groups of educators!

"Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try." - Gale Devens

Roshaad Byrd - Building Sub

Building Sub

Kara Cavanaugh - FACS

Early Childhood Professions, Professions in Education, Becoming a Teacher, Culinary Arts I and Career & Family Leadership-Arts and Education

Mrs. Cavanaugh received a Bachelor of Science in Education in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Central Missouri and a Master in Curriculum and Instruction for Early Childhood Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City. She began her teaching career at her alma mater, William Chrisman High School and has been with Van Horn since 2008. 

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 young girls.

Kandace Callwell - Counselor

Emily Cain - Social Studies

World History, World Geography and AP European History

Ms. Cain has a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts (History Major) from Truman State University. This is Ms. Cain's 3rd year with Van Horn.  She enjoys traveling, singing, theater, reading and volunteering.

Sharon Cherono - SPED


Dr. Russell Clothier  - MPI / Science

MPI / Science

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 Indendence.

Allison Cook - Math

Freshman Academy, Algebra I and Core Math

Ms. Cook has a Bachelor of Science in Math Education from Missouri State University, is certified in Math grades 6-12 and has been teaching for 13 years, 8 years with the district and Van Horn. 

Ms. Cook enjoys photo booking, hiking and watersports

Deborah Cox - Science

PLTW Principles of Biomedical Sciences (PBS), Pre-AP Chemistry and Chemistry

Mrs. Cox has been a science and math teacher as well as a FIRST FLL® and FTC® robotics judge and coach for several years in the KC area.  Mrs. Cox has received several teaching and robotics awards, and was most recently awarded the 2014 FTC® MO State Robotics Compass Coach of the Year, and was selected as the 2014-15 VHHS Teacher of the Year.  Before Mrs. Cox was a teacher, she worked in R&D surfactant chemistry developing antifoams and surfactants, and was the Chemical Hygiene Officer and the ISO Auditor for her chemical company.  Mrs. Cox holds several teaching and professional certifications, and is a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon (math honors fraternity) and the American Chemical Society.  Mrs. Cox is also a member of the MO/KAN FLL® Robotics Planning Committee, and helps lead training workshops for other coaches/judges. 
Mrs. Cox’s science students have received division awards at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair.  In 2015, over $800 in regional science fair prizes were awarded to her students including the EPA Environmental Award for a project involving phosphate testing of local water supplies, an Environmental Impact Award for a study of an antioxidant used to counteract a biohazard of a microorganism, and several engineering prizes were awarded for a self-charging cell phone case project.  In addition to science awards, Mrs. Cox’s robotics teams have been awarded championship trophies, medals, pennants, were featured in a national TV commercial promoting STEM with from the Black Eyed Peas, and met President Obama at the White House Science Fair.  Mrs. Cox’s robotics teams have developed many different inventions, several of which have received patents.  Mrs. Cox’s Van Horn FTC® team, Cyberbotic Independence Alliance (CIA), received a provisional patent for the development of a new type of ferrite bead that helps reduce radio frequency noise, and the team won regional trophies and were finalists in several state championship awards.  
Follow on Twitter @CoxVHScience
Rosslyn Crawford-Jackson - Family Service Liaison

Ms. Jackson has a Bachelor in Sociology with Criminology Emphasis from Emporia University and a Master in Social Work from Kansas University.  She has been with the district for 9 years and with Van Horn for 6 years.    She also works Summer School in the Recovery Room.  

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

Alphonso Davis-JROTC
Stephanie Davis - Foreign Language

French I, French II and Fuel Ed

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.


Ted Diepenbrock - Communication Arts

Mr. Diepenbrock has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in Education from Fort Hays State.  This is his first year with the district and at Van Horn.  

Mr. Diepenbrock enjoys reading, writing, cooking, working out, family time, walking his lab mix Daisy, reading scripture, watching TV shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Simpsons; he also enjoys discussing pedagogy with his wife, Lindsey, who teaches Chemistry and Biology within the Park Hill School District; and building forts with Leigh, their 5 year old daughter.

Daphnye Douglas - Special Education
William Diman - Industrial Technology

Dora Fonseca - Foreign Language 

Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III, Spanish IV and Spanish for Native Speakers

She 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.

Then in January of 1989, she decided to come to the USA to study 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. After finishing the English program she worked for eight years in the Kansas City, Missouri School District at Fairmount Magnet Spanish School in the full immersion program teaching to second and third graders.  Ms. Fonseca now has a Master of Science in School Leadership through Baker University.

When the magnet program phased out, Ms. Fonseca worked for eleven years at Southwest Charter School that later changed to Imagine Renaissance Academy.  At this school she taught Spanish I, II, III and IV. A year before the closing of the school, she went to work for the North Kansas City School District at Maple Park Middle School for a year. Ms. Fonseca has great memories and unforgettable experiences from both students and colleagues at all these schools. 

Presently she has enjoyed five wonderful years teaching Spanish I, II, III, IV and Native Speaker here at Van Horn. 

She sponsors the National Honor Society, Parent Academy and the Multicultural Club. This club meets weekly to study a country and discuss fundraisers. 

Ms. Fonseca enjoys gardening, being outdoors, cooking, spending time with friends, cleaning, drawing, painting and decorating.

Andrew Fansher - Music

Women's Choir, Varsity Concert Choir and Junior Varsity Concert Choir

Brian Gant - Industrial Technology

Principles of Engineering and Civil Engineering & Architecture and Introduction to Engineering

Mr. Gant has a Bachelor of Science in Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Special Education (K-12) from the University of Central Missouri and is in his third year at Van Horn.   He teaches Project Lead the Way.  He is an assistant coach of the Van Horn baseball team.  

Mr. Gant is an avid Kansas City Royals fan.

Rachel Getter - English

English I and English II

Ms. Getter has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  This is Ms. Getter's first year with the district and with Van Horn.

Ms. Getter enjoys the serenity of nature, traveling and playing cards.

Steven Gordon - Science

Chemistry and Honors Chemistry

William Harris - Physical Education

Physical Education

Selene Hernandez - Orchestra

Symphonic Orchestra and Music Appreciation Movies

Ms. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music Education from William Jewell College.  She has been at Van Horn and with the district for one year and also teaches Orchestra at Nowlin Middle School.  

Ms. Hernandez enjoys traveling, exploring Kansas City, attending classical performances at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts Center and working with Harmony Project.  

Ms. Hernandez is excited to be working with the Van Horn High School family.  It brings her joy to see students engaged in the world of music and learning so they can go out and make a difference in their community.

Robert Henderson - Industrial Technology 



Kayla Henderson - FACS




Jeffery Herron - Social Studies

American History and World History

Mr. Herron has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Kansas, Master in Education from MidAmerica Nazarene and has been teaching for 21 years. He has been with the district for 15 years and 7 of those at Van Horn. 

Mr. Herron has a passion for history and likes researching his family history.  He enjoys music, watching his daughter and son participate in their activities and is a member of First Baptist Church of Raytown.

Megan Holmes - Math

Algebra II, Geometry and Honors Geometry  

Ms. Holmes has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from Missouri State University and is in her 7thh year of teaching.  She has a Master in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Missouri Kansas City. 

Ms. Holmes enjoys sand volleyball, baking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Valerie Hough - Science

General Biology and Pre-AP Biology

Ms. Hough attended Niagara University, has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from University of Missouri Kansas City, a Master of Art in Teaching and Master of Science in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri. She is in her fourth year with the district and Van Horn. 

Ms. Hough enjoys reading and traveling.  She has also been accepted into MENSA.

Marion Holt - Math
Bruce Hoover - Military Science

Kari Johnson - Math

Geometry, AP Statistics and Algebra II-A

Ms. Johnson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Sterling College with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and minors in computer science and general science, a Master in Multidisciplinary Education from Webster University and is currently working on a Master in Mathematics at the University of Missouri Kansas City.  She has been in education for 29 years.   

Ms. Johnson enjoys traveling, cross stitch, reading, skiing, backpacking, camping and basically anything in the great outdoors.

Stefani Jones - Foreign Language

Spanish I, Spanish II

Ms. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Missouri Columbia and a teaching certificate from the University of Missouri Kansas City and has been teaching for two years.  She sponsors the Multicultural Club and Parent Academy.  

Ms. Jones enjoys reading and traveling.

Deborah Karlsson - Literacy Technology Integrationals (LTI)

Ms. Karlsson is a National Board Certified Library Media Specialist/Teacher and has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and English from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University in Kansas.  Her certifications include Library Media Specialist K-12, Earth Science 6-12, English 6-12, Science Composite 6-12, Special Education 6-12, and Elementary Education 1-8. Ms. Karlsson taught 8 years before becoming a Library Media Specialist for the past 9 years.  Through her new role as Literacy Technology Integrationist, she will spend the majority of her time in classrooms working with teachers at both Nowlin and Van Horn.  

Ms. Karlsson is a computer gamer and avid reader.  She also enjoys playing with her collie, Ginger Blue.

Sara Kenney - Health/PE

Physical Education I and Health

Ms. Kenney has a 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 and has been teaching for 19 years, six years at Van Hon. She is the assistant girls’ volleyball coach.  

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

Jay Kolster - Health/PE

Strength Training and Conditioning and Advanced Strength Training and Conditioning

Mr. Kolster has a Master 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.  This is his second year at Van Horn and third year with the Independence School District.  Mr. Kolster is the Head Baseball Coach at Van Horn.

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

Patric Koon - Communication Arts

Communication Arts

Mr. Koon was born and raised in Southwest Missouri.  He loves traveling the world, but enjoys being able to come back home to the Show-Me-State.  The only thing Mr. Koon is more passionate about than travel, is education.  That's why he feels blessed to be at Van Horn, where he has the opportunity to positively impact young minds.

Amber Lovisone - Science
Tshulthrim Zangmo - College Advisor

Ms. Z graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Sciences. She was born in West Bengal, India and grew up in Nepal as a refugee for twelve years. After a year's waiting period, in October of 2011, her family immigrated to Kansas City, Missouri through a third country resettlement program called UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

After immigrating to Kansas City, Ms. Z attended Northeast High School and graduated in May of 2015.


She is the oldest of two children and a first generation college student. She is fluent in four languages (i.e. Dzongkha, Nepali, Hindi, & English) and aspires to learn more languages. Ms. Z is honored to have the privilege to serve the Van Horn Falcons as an MCAC College & Career Advisor.

Jessica Manco - Art

Instruction to Visual Arts, Drawing I and Painting I

Ms. Manco has a degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, New York B.F.A., a Master of Fine Arts from Instituto Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, and Master of Teaching from the University of Central Missouri. This is her second year with both Van Horn and the Independence School District. She is also the sponsor for the Art Club at Van Horn, works with Van Horn Stages and is an INEA membership chair.  Ms. Manco is an Adjunct Professor of Art for MCC-Penn Valley Community College.  She is a professional working artist and creative consultant.   

Ms. Manco volunteers for local animal rescue groups and nonprofit organizations.

Brooke Madick - Health Services Secretary

Lindsey Markworth - Science
Kaitlyn McCain - Communication Arts

Scott McQuerry - Computer Science

Technology & Information Management

Mr. McQuerry has a 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.  He has been with the district for 14 years.  This is his first year at Van Horn.  

Mr. McQuerry enjoys fishing, cooking and traveling.

Katie Messick - Visual Arts
Amy Minich - Nurse

Registered Nurse



Melissa Miranda - Library Clerk

Library Clerk

Josue Molina - Music

Marching Band, Music Appreciation Movies

Mr. Molina has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Central Missouri.  He is the Musical Conductor and Van Horn's Music Department Chair.   He has been with Van Horn and the Independence School District for three years.  

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

Follow the Van Horn Bands on twitter @vanhornbands

Kyle Morse - Science


Mr. Morse is in his 2nd year of teaching full time.  He has a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri as well as a Masters in Science Education.  When he's not teaching, he enjoys coaching track and field (pole vault is his favorite event), watching the St. Louis Cardinals, or reading a good book.

Melissa Montesano - FACS

Interior Design I, Fashion Design & Merchandising I and Freshman Academy

Mrs. Montesano has a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Certification in Vocational Family and Consumer Science Education from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and minor in voice from the University of Saint Mary.  She has been in education for eight years and is in her fourth year at Van Horn. 

Mrs. Montesano is adventurous and creative.  She loves spending time with family, crafting, organizing, reading, scrapbooking, theatre, music and creative writing.    

Mrs. Montesano loves teaching because it allows her the opportunity to challenge, expand and positively influence young minds and hearts.

Christine Newton - Math

Algebra I, Algebra II and Honors Algebra II

Ms. Blunk earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from Northwest Missouri State University and has been teaching for 10 years, 8 of them at Van Horn.  She is our distance track coach and enjoys running in her spare time.

Claudia Perry - Math

Algebra II and Core Math III

Ms. Perry has a Bachelor in Science Education in Mathematics from Truman State University, a Master of Arts in Education with Computer Emphasis from Webster University and graduate courses from the University of Missouri Kansas City.  This is her second year with Van Horn and the Independence School District.   

Ms. Perry has been in education for 34 1/2 years.  Six and a half years in rural northern Missouri, 12 years in Gorin, MO, 3 years in Green City, MO, 3 years in Atlanta, MO, 26 years in the Kansas City Missouri School District and 1 year in the Hickman Mills School District.  She has one daughter who is 28 and has her cosmetology license.  Ms. Perry loves teaching because it keeps her young!

Ms. Perry enjoys jazz, crochet and knitting

Jim Oatman - Industrial Technology



Lisa Randolph - Communication Skills

Introduction to Media, Photojournalism, Broadcast Media I, II & III and Yearbook I, II & III

Mrs. Randolph has a Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education from Missouri Western State University, certified in grades 7-12 in English and Journalism, Master Degree in Education from Lindenwood University and has 24 years of teaching experience, 14 of which have been with the Independence School District and 6 years at Van Horn.  She has been our yearbook advisor for six years and has 13 years of experience in this field.  She is a coach for the FBI (First Bots of Independence) Robotics Team.  This team consists of students from Truman, Chrisman and Van Horn. Mrs. Randolph is also the Broadcast sponsor.  

Mrs. Randolph has a passion for yearbooks.  She has been yearbook editor in both her high school and college years.  She was also a freelance writer for a business publication in Columbia, MO.  She enjoys Candy Crush Soda, Pinterest, watching TV and reading.

Yvonne Rito - Counselor

Ms. Rito has a Master in School Counseling and a Bachelor in Education from Fort Hayes State University.  This is her fifth year at Van Horn and with the Independence School District.  

Ms. Rito enjoys spending time with her children, traveling, crocheting and unpacking.

Counseling Center

Jesus Rodriguez - Communication Arts

LEP English I Developing, LEP Study Skills and LEP English Emerging Reading and Listening

Kim Sawyer - Social Studies

Social Studies

Maxwell Sollars - Special Education

Special Education

Shane Smith-In School Suspension
Adam Surrey - Communication Arts

AP Language & Composition and English II and II

Mr. Surrey has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City and has been teaching for eight years.  Prior to working at Van Horn, Mr. Surrey spent six years working in school-age care in the Independence and Lee’s Summit School Districts. He is a member of the Computer Science Academy

Mr. Surrey enjoys reading, writing and guitar.  He is a married father of three children under five who lives in the Fort Osage area of Independence.

Laura Swearngin - Business

Computer Graphic Design I, Business and Computer Technology, Introduction to Multimedia, Microsoft Office and Personal Finance

Ms. Swearngin has a Bachelor of Arts in Business and a Master of Arts in Teaching for Secondary Business Education from Lindenwood University. This is her first year with Van Horn and the district.  

Ms. Swearngin enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling as much as possible. She is also a huge fan of Sporting KC.

Austin Thomas - Special Education

Special Education



Hilary Tramel - Math

College Algebra Dual Credit and Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry 

Ms. Tramel has a Bachelor in Math Education from William Jewell College and Master in Math Education from Georgia State University.  This is her second year with Van Horn and the district.  

Ms. Tramel enjoys playing basketball, reading and dance parties with her kids.

Rebeca Wacker - Language Arts
Dudely Wade - Marching Band and Fuel Ed

Mr. Wade has a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music.  Mr. Wade is the Assistant Band Director.  He has been with the district for 23 years and this is his fifth year at Van Horn.

Mr. Wade enjoys books and music.

Jenn Turner - FACS


Angela Weatherford - Social Studies

American Government, Psychology and Public Law

Ms. Weatherford 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.  This is her third year at Van Horn and eighth year with the district.  Ms. Weatherford is a Scholar Bowl Coach.

Ms. Weatherford enjoys reading, traveling, SCUBA diving, swimming and is a sports fan.  Does sleeping count as a hobby? smiley.

Ms. Weatherford's thoughts on being a part of Van Horn, "It is a unique school that encourages students, staff and families to not only be spectators looking in, but active participants.  The administrative team and support staff are willing to listen, learn and do whatever it takes to foster this amazing environment. I am a proud Falcon and I am so amazed by our kids and their endless capabilities.  Fly to the sky Falcons!"

Levi Wilson - Special Education

Special Education

Chris Wiley - Counselor
Zach Wilson - SPED

SPED Teacher


David Winslow - SPED

Strategies of Learning, Strategies of Reading and Strategies of English

Mr. Winslow has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Special Education and Master in Education from Northwest Missouri State University, Kansas State University and Prairie View A&M.  He has been teaching for 33 years.  He is our Head Track Coach. 

Mr. Winslow is an ordained minister, USATF (United States Track and Field Association) Level 1 Certified Track Coach and Nationally Certified Track and Field Official.  He enjoys working with leather, wood, sports and making jewelry.  He is a graduate of Truman High School, married for 36 years, father of three and grandfather of four.

Jamie Yung - Theatre

Acting I, Introduction to Theatre Arts, Theatre Production