Mike Durnell, 51, will be teaching mathematics at Uniontown Middle School (grades 7-9) for the next school year.
In the vacancy that 50-year math teacher Alan Shinn left, the subjects are being reassigned to two current math teachers and then Durnell was hired as a new math teacher to take the junior high classes, USD 235 Superintendent Bret Howard said.
“I have been a Missouri educator for 28 years,” Durnell said. “In my career, I have taught math at the middle school and high school level.”
He and his wife, Suzan have been married 28 years.
“We have been at El Dorado Springs (Missouri) for the last 19 years,” he said. ” I taught 8th-grade math for 14 years before becoming the activities director for the last five.”
” I retired after 28 years but really wanted to get back into the classroom,” Durnell said. “If I stay in Missouri, I am limited to part-time ( 550 hours) or going to a private school. Teaching in Kansas allows me to teach full time. It is a financial decision.”
“Suzan has another two or three years before she can retire,” he said. “I plan on commuting until she retires. It will be a longer drive than my current 10-minute commute, but that has spoiled me.”
Suzan is the elementary librarian for El Dorado Springs.
Durnell earned his bachelors degree from College of the Ozarks, his masters in educational administration from Missouri State University, and his specialist in educational administration from William Woods University.
His hometown is Moundville, Missouri and he attended Bronaugh schools.
In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and fishing, he said.
How did you become an educator?
“I was fortunate enough to have some great teachers and had a positive experience with school. I decided I wanted to be a part of that. I found that I love working with students and helping them understand difficult concepts.”
Is there someone who inspired you to teach?
“Coach Randy Roberston, my high school coach, and teacher under whom I student taught.”
What is the best part of teaching for you?
“I like interacting with the students and realizing that I have the ability to make a difference in their lives just like Coach Robertson did in mine.”
What are the greatest challenges in teaching for you?
“It can be frustrating when you have students who are not working up to their potential abilities. However, I love a good challenge in teaching.”
The Durnells have two daughters:
Jenna Vickers and her husband, Quade, live in Springfield, Missouri. Jenna is an accountant and Quade is an emergency room nurse, he said.
Tessa is finishing her Junior year at Ft. Hays State University and is a speech pathology major. “She runs track and cross country for the FHSU Tigers,” Durnell said.