New U234 Educators: Bethany Anderson, Kim Carpenter, Chad Ruddick

This is a series of features on the 26 new educators in Fort Scott.

School begins today for the district.

Bethany Anderson. Submitted photo.

Bethany Anderson, 23, will be teaching English at Fort Scott High School.

She earned her education at Emporia State University and has taught English at Lawrence High School.

Her hometown is Sterling, KS.

“My dad was my high school principal, now is a professor in the teaching department at Sterling College,” she said. “My mom is a school nurse where I did my student teaching.”

Outside of school she works at a coffee shop during the summers in Kansas City. She is in a sand volleyball league on Sunday and Friday nights. “I also really love playing tennis and reading books in my free time. On Wednesday nights I serve at my church for the high school youth program. I love being busy,” she said.

“I absolutely love English and it’s one of my biggest passions, but my first passion is loving kids well and building those relationships. That’s something I learned from my dad who has been in education for about 25 years. He taught me how to invest in kids first and then focus on the subject I teach. I think that has to be my favorite part of teaching, is the relationships I have built with the kids.”

“There are also some major challenges I have faced already in my short time teaching… hardships with administration support and feeling as if the kids weren’t a first priority in some decisions being made. It has also been an eye opener that there is a lot more that goes into teaching that they don’t mention in college or even during student teaching. I am excited to be apart of a smaller district where I already feel valued as an educator.”

 

Kim Carpenter. Submitted photo.

Kim Carpenter is an incoming 5th-grade teacher at Eugene Ware Elementary School.

Before returning to college to earn her B.Ed. from Pittsburg State University when her youngest child was in kindergarten, she worked at Winfield Scott Elementary as a paraprofessional and teacher’s aide. Having four children of her own while working in an educational setting made teaching seem like a natural career choice for her. Carpenter earned her M.Ed. ion Curriculum and Instruction from William Woods University in 2014. She taught 14 years as an elementary teacher from Nevada, MO.

 

Carpenter’s hometown is Fort Scott.

Her daughter Jana and husband Michael and their two sons Randy and Liam call Fort Scott home, as well at her son Jon and wife Rachel and their daughter, Evelyn. Her son Kyle and his wife Anna live in Erie and her daughter Kelsey and her husband Drew reside in Bentonville, AR.

When Carpenter isn’t spending time with her family, she enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. Apart from spending time in nature, she loves crafting, researching her family history, and going to flea markets. She is actively involved at her church, Faith Church.

Carpenter can’t say that any one teacher inspired her to become a teacher, but she has been blessed to have been impacted by many top-notch educators. Some of the most memorable include Don Miller, Fred Campbell, Jr., Barbara Albright, Joyce Sinn, Jean and Jack Gilmore, Connie Neil, and Pat Lamb to name a few.

She says the best part of teaching is building relationships with each new group of students who come through her classroom. Her philosophy is “relationships first and everything else will follow.”

Carpenter says there are many challenges educators face today. While there are so many things outside of our control, she says we can focus on the areas where they can have the most impact while still having fun.

 

Chad Ruddick, 39,  will teach 11th grade English at FSHS.
He earned a Bachelors Degree in Pre-law from Pittsburg State University, a Master’s in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Teaching  from PSU,  and a Specialist of Education in Educational Admin. from William Woods University.
Ruddick taught 10 years at North Middle School in Joplin, MO; one year at Chetopa High School, and five years at Pittsburg Community Middle School.
His hometown is Scammon, KS.
He and his wife Jennifer have  two children: Hayden (16 year old son) and Lily (13 year old daughter).
Outside of teaching he enjoys hunting, fishing, video games, woodworking, volunteering as a cook/chef for local organizations feeding those in need, and volunteer work with families in need.
He became a  teacher accidentally, he said.
“After attending law school, I began working as an Outreach Coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Association.  In an attempt to be better in that role, I began taking teaching courses through PSU.  When my office closed in December of 2007, I focused on finishing my Master’s in Teaching and focused on teaching secondary English.  What began as a two year plan has led me to 15 beautiful years in the classroom.”
Many have inspired him over the years, he said.  “My parents and family have inspired me to be a better teacher, and man.  However, I truly feel like the students and families we serve have had a tremendous amount of influence on my desire to keep teaching while becoming better at the things I wish to improve on.  Knowing I am helping those who need me is the driving force that fuels success in my life.”
“The best part of teaching for me is helping students and families.  Whether it’s the struggling student who finally connects the dots, or the family that finds success outside the classroom, the best part of teaching is serving those in our communities.”
There are some challenges.
“We face many challenges in the classroom in 2022.  The evolution of technology has greatly enhanced our ability to help students, but keeping up with the technology can be a hustle.  Teachers must continue to step up their game to stay relevant and provide 21st Century skills to our students.  On a larger scale, dwindling economics impacts our families in the southeast Kansas area and directly affects our students in the classroom.  It takes a village to educate and raise our young people.  Fort Scott does a great job of reaching our families, so I feel fortunate to be a part of the high school team!”

 

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