New Staff Find Their Home at BLHS

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New Staff Find Their Home at BLHS

Written by: Jeda French, Photographer

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Last year, many staff member left to pursue other opportunities. This year ten new staff members join the high school in various positions.


  Name: Brooke Van Hecke

Subject: “I teach Honors English I, English III, Creative Writing and Graphic Novel.”

College: Kansas State University

Previous School: “I taught five years at the Basehor-Linwood Middle School.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “I liked the idea of working in a smaller community because I like to build relationships with students, parents, and other community members.”

What do you like most about the subject you teach?: “I love the discussions and the critical thought piece that goes into literary analysis.”

Fun Fact: “I know conversational bits of Kiswahili.”



  Name: Shannon Powell

Subject: “I am an Interrelated Special Education Teacher and teach Reading and Learning Strategies.”

College: Park University

Previous School: “This is my third year teaching and I came from Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools at Central Middle School.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “I came to Basehor because I wanted to teach back in the district that I live in. I originally substituted for around 20 years between Basehor and Piper and was a para educator here at the high school.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I always knew I wanted to become a teacher and started school to become a teacher. I went for three and a half years and then life happened and I didn’t finish because of my husband’s job transfer. I went back because after being a para educator in this building I truly knew that this is what I wanted to do.”

Fun Fact: “I like to travel, and I  really like the beach. My husband and I have a motorcycle and we like to ride with some of our friends.”



  Name: Jay Johnston

Subject: “I teach Exploring Social Studies, Leadership, Sociology, and Economics.”

College: “I graduated from Missouri Valley College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree and completed my Master’s Degree from Baker University in 2013.”

Previous School: “This will be my 13th year teaching. I taught for one year in Warsaw, Missouri. I then taught for 11 years in Leavenworth.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “I came to Basehor to coach wrestling. I was a head wrestling coach for a while and decided to take a break a few years ago when my daughter was born to spend more time with family. After two years I wanted to get back in the sport and Basehor had an opening!”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I had some great teachers and coaches during my upbringing that positively impacted my life – I wanted to do the same for others.”

Fun Fact: “I am a nerd and love all kind of board games and card games. We always play games at my house and I love to play the card game Magic: The Gathering.”



  Name: Haley Timmons

Subject: “I teach Anatomy and Physiology, Professional Learning Experience in Health Science, and Concepts of Geometry.”

College: University of Kansas

Previous School: “This is my first year teaching but my third year at BLHS. For the past two years, I have been a para-educator and the athletic trainer for BLHS.”

What do you like most about the subject you teach?: “I like Anatomy and Physiology because the human body is capable of amazing things and in the class we explore all the different way that the body works. I like PLE because it allows students to explore different career options and there is a wide range of topics that we cover. I like Concepts of Geometry because Geometry can be applied to many different careers and parts of life.”

What are you looking forward to this year?: “I am looking forward to continuing to be a part of the Bobcat community!”

Fun Fact: “I have two adorable cats at home!”



  Name: Peter Diehl

Subject: “Here at BLHS I teach Physical Science, though I am certified to teach all sciences and math.”

College: “I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of California, Davis. I also received my Master of Science in Education at Indiana University.”

Previous School: “This is my 9th year teaching. I spent the last six years in Louisville, KY at an all-boys Catholic school. Before that I taught math and science for two years at an independent school in East Machias, Maine. It is a nice change to have both boys and girls in my class again.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “After 10 years of active duty in the US Navy, I finally decided to settle down a little and teach. I was in charge of training at my last two commands, so teaching others sort of became natural for me. I am still serving in the Coast Guard Reserves, and still in charge of training at my unit.”

What do you like most about the subject you teach?: “I LOVE science. It is math with toys. I can honestly say that I get to play with toys every day. I also enjoy showing students all the cool things that they can do in science, and how they can explore beyond what they already know.”

Fun Fact: “I have been known to turn my class into a live action game.”



  Name: Justin Wieser

Subject: “I teach four levels of strength and conditioning classes.”

College: “I got my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree form Emporia State University.”

Previous School: “This is my first year teaching high school students. I taught several college level courses while I worked at Emporia State.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I wanted to be a teacher so that I could impact the lives of students. I had great teachers growing up that made a big difference in my life. I believe that teachers have a great chance to help students grow into great adults.”

What are you looking forward to this year?: “I am looking forward to having more time to teach students about living a healthy lifestyle and reaching their fitness goals.”

Fun Fact: “I rode in my first competitive 100 mile bike race in June and finished in 7 hours and 40 minutes.”



  Name: Alex Hirbe

Subject: “Here I teach Information Technology, but I’m also the district Technology Integration Specialist.”

College: “I have my Bachelor’s from K-State and education, and then I have a Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri.”

Previous School: “I taught at Oak Grove, Missouri for six years.”

What’s different from where you used to work to Basehor?: “Where I used to work didn’t have nearly as much technology and here is like the mecca of technology at this building. It was a fight at my old district to even have laptops for kids in one class versus all of the kids having laptops. The amount of technology, for sure, is the big difference.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I decided to become a teacher while I was in college after a failed attempt at architecture. I did that because I thought I’d like to teach architecture and engineering more than I’d like to do it. So at that time I decided to become a teacher.”

Fun Fact: “I am a huge Star Trek fan.”



  Name: Gregory Burton

Subject: “I teach Biology, General Science, and Outdoor Biology.”

College: “USM (Southern Miss) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Go Golden Eagles!”

Previous School: “This is my third year teaching, and I taught the first two years at Pearl River Central Middle School. Both school have great spirit, but the weather is nicer here.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “I moved to Kansas in order to be closer to my family. I came to Basehor because it is the best school district in Kansas. Bashore has a reputation for being innovative and spirited. The decision was a no-brainer.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I first tried teaching when I was in the third grade. I would come home from school and try to teach my younger sister the things I had learned that day. She was too little to understand most of it, but I felt like I needed to share it. I have always loved teaching. Now I just get paid for it.”

Fun Fact: “My hobby is sporting clays. It is like golf with a shotgun.”



  Name: Keara Lenard

Subject: “I teach Chemistry and Honors Chemistry.”

College: “I went to Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, KS.”

Previous School: “This is my second semester as a teacher. I taught at a Washington High School in Kansas City, KS for the spring semester after graduating from KWU in December. BLHS is a slightly smaller school than Washington so it still has that small town feel similar to my high school experience.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “I accepted the position at BLHS after experiencing the Basehor-Linwood community. This community reminded me of home and made me feel comfortable.”

When/why did you decide to become a teacher?: “I decided to become a high school teacher during my first semester of college. My high school chemistry sparked my intent in science and I knew I wanted to do something related to chemistry. During Thanksgiving Break of my first semester of college, my high school chemistry teacher invited me back to his classroom. After spending an afternoon observing him teach, I decided to change my major and pursue education.”

Fun Fact: “I have been to 35 states and plan to scratch a few more off the list this year.”


  Name: Kinsley Pister

Subject: Nurse

College: “I went to Missouri Western and to Platte City.”

Previous School: “This is my first year nursing at a school, but I graduated nursing school in 2013. I’ve been nursing for four years.”

Why did you come to Basehor?: “We actually moved to Basehor because my husband works for the Lenexa Fire Department and we had to relocate, and everybody suggested Basehor.”

When/why did you decide to become a nurse?: “My grandmother was a nurse and she was my inspiration and I would love to make her proud and be like her.”

Fun Fact: “I love to sing and play guitar.”

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