Four new faces highlighted for USD 382 students and families in education
Several new faces will greet USD 382 students as the new school year gets underway at the end of this month in Pratt. Those introduced at this time include Jessica Fortune - kindergarten teacher, Liz Krehbiel - resource teacher with SCKSEC, Jennifer Sowards - new school nurse and Jessica Wilson - 2nd grade teacher at Southwest Elementary.
Former Southwest kindergarten teacher and ACE preschool teacher, Jessica Fortune, is returning to Southwest to teach kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year.
Fortune graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education.
She beings her 14th year teaching, having previously taught preschool, 2nd grade, and kindergarten for 5 years in Belle Plaine, prior to moving to Pratt where she has taught preschool and kindergarten.
Fortune has been married to her husband, Aaron, for 10 years. They have two children, Harper (7 years) and Graham (5 years). They have a family dog named Mary.
Fortune said she loves teaching and enjoys the daily interaction with her students and building lasting relationships. She said it is rewarding for her to watch how much a child grows throughout their year in kindergarten.
She also enjoys spending time with my family, camping, and planting flowers. A fun fact about her is that she grew up in Pratt and went to school at Haskins through 3rd grade, before moving to Medicine Lodge where she graduated from high school. It has been a great experience for her to move back to Pratt to raise her family.
Liz Krehbiel joins the Southwest family as a resource teacher with SCKSEC this year.
Krehbiel previously taught 4th grade in McPherson and she has subbed for two years in the Pratt school district.
She lives with her husband, Jeff, sons Matthew and Nathaniel, and daughter, Laura. The family has two dogs named Lilly and Piper.
Krehbiel said what excites her most about being a teacher is the opportunity to work with kids daily and help them learn skills that they will need for future learning.
Krehbiel is originally from McPherson and once inhaled a tooth and coughed it back up a week later.
Jennifer Sowards joins USD 382 as the school district nurse. She replaces Glenda Houdyshell who retired at the end of last year.
Sowards graduated from North Central Kansas Technical College in 2009 as an LPN. From there, she worked as a nurse in a dermatology clinic for three years. After moving to Colby, she worked for a nurse practitioner in a family clinic until the family relocated to Pratt for her husband's job. For the past four years, she has been working as a public health nurse at the Pratt County Health Department.
Sowards is married to Wes, and she has three children: Jayde (11), and twins, Ryder and Reagan (7). The family also has a dog named Tucker.
She said she is very excited to be in the school setting, to take care of the students' health, and to build trusting relationships with students and their families.
A fun fact about Sowards is that she was born and raised in Maine and spent most of her childhood summers at the beach.
Jessica Wilson, 2nd grade Southwest teacher, graduated from Kansas State University in 2016 and has taught at Fairfield USD 310 for the last five years.
She lives with her husband Zach and 18-month-old son, Zaden, near Turon. The family has two dogs, Oliver and Ralphie, and too many cats, according to Wilson.
Wilson said she looks forward to being a teacher and building amazing relationships with her students and their families. She likes to have a lot of fun and make memories throughout the year with her students.
Wilson also said she loves playing volleyball, spending time outdoors with her family, and being creative. She comes from a family of teachers and knows that teaching is what she was meant to do. She looks forward to getting to know all of her students and their families in the coming year.