Coach Addison attended college at Northwest Missouri State University. He received his masters at William Woods University. He is a big Florida Gators fan and Los Angeles Chargers fan. He enjoys exercising and spending time with family and friends. He is also the head wrestling coach.
Mr. Ambrose received his BA from Buena Vista University and his MA, in Mathematics, from the University of Northern Iowa. He has taught Mathematics for 15 years, including classes ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. Mr. Ambrose enjoys spending time with friends, family, his dog, and staying active. He is also a football coach for Van Horn, coaching the defensive line.
Mrs Anderson received her undergrad from Missouri State (which she will always refer to as SMSU) and her masters from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. This is her first year at Van Horn and 20th 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 5th grade daughter and husband, who is a pre-K teacher in another district.
Forensic Science, Zoology
Dr. Bates holds bachelor degrees in Physics and Linguistics (MU) and a master's and PhD in Linguistics (KU). 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!
Mrs. Burasco has a Master’s in K-12 Educational Leadership from Northwest Missouri State and a Bachelor's Degree in Health Science from Mizzou. She played Division 1 Volleyball at The University of Tennessee-Martin for two years. This is her first year at Van Horn and fifth year of teaching. Mrs. Burasco loves playing volleyball, cooking, baking, crafting, and being outside. When not teaching, Mrs. Burasco enjoys spending time with her friends and family, especially her husband and their Chocolate Lab! She will also be the Head Volleyball Coach and Assistant Girls Basketball Coach at Van Horn.
Early Childhood Professions I & II
Mrs. Cavanaugh received a 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. 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.
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.
Ms.Calloni has her BAE in Art Education with a focus in Jewelry making and her BA in Art History. This is her 8th year teaching high school art, and first year in ISD Public Schools. Ms.Calloni loves creating jewelry, watercolor paintings, and sculptures. Ms.Calloni has been involved in set design and costume building for 7 years in 28 high school theater productions as well as an improvisational coach. During her time off from school, you can find her camping, hiking, reading, volunteering her time, and cooking.
Ms. Cherono teaches our functional skills classes.
Freshman Academy, Algebra I and Core Math
Ms. Cook has a Bachelor of Science in Math Education from Missouri State University and a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University. She is certified in Math grades 6-12 and has been teaching for 19 years, 12 years with the district and Van Horn.
Ms. Cook enjoys photo booking, hiking and watersports...and of course MATH!
PLTW Principles of Biomedical Sciences (PBS), Pre-AP Chemistry and Chemistry
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.
Sergeant First Class Alphonso Davis served in the U.S. Army for 20 years; he begins teaching SROTC at Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College for four years. He taught eighteen years with Kansas City Public Schools. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bible and Organizational Leadership from Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary, he has a Master Degree in Scripture Psychology and Doctorate Degree in Religious Education with Faith Bible College. He is an ordained Pastor and a License Barber. This is his second year with Van Horn. He enjoys sports, teaching JROTC and traveling with his wife.
This is his fourth year with Van Horn High School.
Ms. Davis earned her 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. The 2020-2021 school year will be her 3rd year of teaching high school English but her first year at Van Horn.
In her free time, Ms. Davis 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!
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.
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.
The 2021-22 school year will be his 7th year at Van Horn.
Mr. Diepenbrock enjoys reading, writing, cooking breakfast for others, 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; and building forts with his children, Leigh (born in 2010) and Graham (born in 2018).
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.
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.
English I and English II
Ms. Getter has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish, a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Arts in English, as well as has her TESOL certification. This is Ms. Getter's seventh year with the district and with Van Horn. Originally from St. Louis she 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.
Chemistry and Honors Chemistry
Mr. Gordon graduated in 2018 from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Education with a minor in Physics. In addition to chemistry and physics, he is also certified in math. He has been teaching at Van Horn since 2018. Mr. Gordon enjoys spending time with friends and family. When not in the classroom or with family, he enjoys reading, dancing, birdwatching, and paining.
Ms. Graville has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education with a minor in Mathematics from Mizzou, and a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governor’s University. She has been teaching math for 7 years, with her first 5 in St. Louis and 2 years at Van Horn. She enjoys reading fantasy fiction and true crime books, listening to music and attending concerts, cooking, and spending time with her cats. MIZ!
Symphonic Orchestra and Music Appreciation Movies
Woodshop and Metals
Ms. Henderson has a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences from Northwest Missouri State University and has been teaching for 8 years. She has completed one year at Van Horn during her time in education.
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.
Mr. Highlander is an Independence native who graduated from Northwest Missouri State with a major in physics and a minor in math. He has been teaching since 1990 when he was hired to teach at Van Horn. He left in 2006 and is very excited to be returing to Van Horn during the 20-21 school year.
General Biology and Pre-AP Biology
Ms. Hough attended 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. 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 has been in education for over 15 years. She enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with wolves.
LTC Bruce Hoover retired from the US Army after serving 20 years. He lived five years in Middle Eastern countries and three years in West Germany. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University, an MA in Special Education from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and an MA in Educational Leadership from St Ambrose University. He likes reading, exploring new places and spending time with his family. This is his second year at Van Horn High School and he feels blessed to be part of such a caring educational community.
Mr. Jones has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a Master of Science in Education. Both from Central Methodist University. 2021 will be his 3rd year teaching and his 1st year at Van Horn. He is an Assistant Coach for the Boys Basketball Team.
He enjoys playing sports, doing anything competitive, playing Xbox, spending time with his two cats, Bean and Blue, and watching anime
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.
Miss Keller has Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Benedictine College. She is from Bismarck, North Dakota, and is very excited to be joining the Van Horn community!
Miss Keller enjoys all things related to math, baking, reading, and getting to know new people.
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.
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.
Technology & Information Management and Physics
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 18 years. When he is not in the classroom, Mr. McQuerry enjoys fishing, cooking and traveling.
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
Interior Design I & II, Fashion Design I & II and Education Pathway Classes
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 teaches a variety of classes including Fashion, Interior Design and all the Education Pathway classes.
She also sponsors the Van Horn Students for Life Club, supporting women, babies and families in our community!
Mrs. Montesano is adventurous and creative. She loves spending time with family, deepening her faith, reading, crafting, organizing, scrapbooking and singing.
Mrs. Montesano loves teaching because it allows her the opportunity to challenge, expand and positively influence young minds and hearts!
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.
Mr. Sprugel has a Bachelor's of Science in Secondary Education with a Biology emphasis from the University of Missouri. This is his first year with the Van Horn family and he loves swimming, fishing, the Royals, Chiefs, and Sporting KC!
LEP English I Developing, LEP Study Skills and LEP English Emerging Reading and Listening
I have a 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. This is my 7th year as both ELD (English Language Development) and Boys Soccer Head Coach. It has been a great experience to work with the falcon family. Not only that, I see myself in all the students I teach on a daily basis. It makes it personal to bring my A game everyday. I always tell my students that I will always be a lifelong ELD learner just like them, but at a different level.
Coach Sollars attended Northwest Missouri State University where he obtained a Bachelors in Special Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. He has been a teacher for 6 years in Independence.
Coach Sollars is also the Head Boys Basketball Coach and 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.
Mr. Smith attended Kansas State University graduating with a degree in History. Mr. Smith is also certified in business and is currently teaching all business courses at Van Horn.
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.
Ms. Swearngin is the faciliator of our Independence School District Store known as "All Things Independence." To access our store please click here: ATI
Ms. Swearngin has a Bachelor of Arts in Business and a Master of Arts in Teaching for Secondary Business Education from Lindenwood University.
Ms. Swearngin enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling as much as possible. She is also a huge fan of Sporting KC.
Special Education and German
College Algebra Dual Credit and Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry
This will mark my 17th year of teaching mathematics. My teaching experience includes Van Horn, Blue River Community College, and Mays High School (Atlanta Public Schools). I received my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from William Jewell College and my Master’s degree from Georgia State University. My husband John works for Drumm Farm Center for Children, my daughter Jaelyn is starting her 9th grade year at Van Horn, my daughter Livia is a 7th grader at Foreign Language Academy, and we have a 2 year old pit bull mix named Ella. My hobbies include being active as much as my bad back allows, laughing in inappropriate situations, and working to disrupt systemic injustice whenever possible.
English I, English IV
Ms. Wacker has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Science from Northwest Missouri State University. This is her fourth year teaching at Van Horn High School, which she has spent sponsoring the GSA as well as a Dungeons and Dragons group.
My name is Abigail Walker and this is my first year teaching! I graduated from Mizzou with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Biology Education and a minor in Biological Studies. I love to read, watch movies, be outdoors, and visit new places & restaurants. I am so excited to join the Van Horn family and cannot wait to start my teaching journey!
American Government, WWII, American History, Public Law
Angela Weatherford has been a proud Van Horn Falcon for 10 years and worked in the ISD for 14. 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.
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!
Follow me on twitter @herstoryteller
Miss Wilson just earned her bachelor's degree in Speech and Theatre Education. She is so excited to be the Head Coach of Speech and Debate while also teaching classes she's passionate about. She has over 1o 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.
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.
Acting I, Introduction to Theatre Arts, Theatre Production
Ms. Yung is beginning her 22nd year of teaching theatre. She has taught speech, debate, and theatre throughout her career. She currently serves on the executive board for the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri, after serving as President last year. 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.