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Department of Teacher Education
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Rarick Hall 244
Phone: 785-628-4204
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National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Kansas State Department of Education

Teacher Education Faculty and Staff

The Department of Teacher Education is open every week day, excluding state holidays, from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Feel free to call the department during normal business hours toll free at 1-800-628-FHSU or directly at 785-628-4204. If you have a general inquiry, please click on Contact Us to submit your question. If you want to reach a specific faculty or staff member, see his or her direct contact information below.

Dr. Adam Holden

Department Chair
Rarick Hall 244

Dr. Adam Holden was born near London, England, and raised in the southern part of the United Kingdom. Adam first came to Fort Hays State University to serve as coordinator of the District Leadership and Educational Specialist Degree programs in the Department of Advanced Education Programs. After serving as Assistant Superintendent for Lawrence Public Schools, Adam returned to FHSU in 2013 as the current Chair of the Department of Teacher Education. His degrees include a Bachelor of Education (Southampton University), a Master of Education (Washburn University) and a Doctorate of Education (California Coast University). He has been a private and public school administrator for more than fifteen years in both Europe and the United States. Adam has received multiple Outstanding Achievement in Education Awards and a Citation for Distinguished Professional Service from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and is a two-time recipient of the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award. Before his career in the education sector, Adam played semi-professional soccer for over a decade in Europe. Outside of work, Adam enjoys spending time with his two daughters and two English Bulldogs.

Ms. Beverly Wilkens

Administrative Assistant
Rarick Hall 244

Beverly Wilkens has been employed in the field of education for twenty-one years. She began her career at FHSU as Senior Administrative Assistant in the Department of Teacher Education in the fall of 2006. Coming to Hays from Salina, Beverly was employed at Kansas Wesleyan University for nine years - four years as an administrative assistant and assistant director of public relations in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and five years as administrative assistant and assistant director of career services in the Office of Student Life. She also worked at the Smoky Hill Education Service Center for five years. In her free time, Beverly spends time with family in Hays, Bennington and Nashville, TN.

Dr. Paul Adams

Anschutz Endowed Professor
Interim COET Dean
Rarick Hall 213
Custer Hall 241

Dr. Paul Adams is the Director for the Science and Mathematics Education Institute and currently serving as the interim Dean of the College of Education and Technology. He received his Bachelor of Science in Physics/Math from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in 1983. From there he went on to receive his Master of Science in Physics from Washington University. In 1996, he achieved his Doctorate of Philosophy in Science Education from Purdue University. When he is not busy working, Dr. Adams enjoys his time at home with his wife, Cheryl, and twins who are in middle school. He also has two children who live outside of the home and one grandchild.

Ms. Sue Boldra

Rarick Hall 216

Dr. Sherri Brantley

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 245

Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 240

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dr. Cook-Benjamin came to Fort Hays State University in 2008. Prior to her arrival, she taught and worked as an administrator in public and private institutions. Dr. Cook-Benjamin currently teaches in the areas of curriculum, assessment, and diversity. In addition, she mentors students completing the Teacher Education Honors Program and serves as a reviewer for the International Journal of Diversity in Education and the Academic Leadership Journal in Student Research. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, antiquing, and taking care of her horses and dog, but not necessarily in that order.

Ms. Amanda Deneault

Academic Advisor
Rarick Hall 237

Amanda Deneault joined the Department of Teacher Education in 2013 as one of two Academic Advisors for virtual students. She received her Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Fort Hays State University in 2007. In December 2013, she received her Master of Science with an emphasis in Technical Teacher Education from Pittsburg State University. Amanda is occasionally an adjunct for FHSU. Outside of her work, she enjoys hunting and fishing with her husband, Eric Deneault, who is an instructor in the Institute of Applied Technology at FHSU and trying to keep up with her twins, Gaven and Braelyn, born August 2009.

Ms. Erica Fisher

Academic Advisor
Rarick Hall 238

Erica Fisher is one of two Academic Advisors for virtual students in the Department of Teacher Education. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of Kansas in 2005. She is currently working on her Master of Science Higher Education Student Affairs degree. Erica joined FHSU in 2009 as an administrative specialist in the Virtual College and began her current position in 2012. Erica is Google Apps for Education Certified and assists in training Kansas schools on open education resources. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good piece of fiction, watching NASCAR and spending time with her two growing boys!

Ms. Joy Fuqua

Dodge City Comm. College

Ms. Tiffany Hester

Coordinator of Clinical Practices
Rarick Hall 244

After living, studying and working across the U.S. and abroad, Tiffany Hester returned to Fort Hays State University in 2011 to teach English to international students in FHSU's English as a Second Language Center and to serve as the Coordinator of Clinical Practices for the Department of Teacher Education. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies (Fort Hays State University, 2003) and a Juris Doctorate (Pepperdine University School of Law, 2006). Tiffany has teaching experience at the elementary and university levels. She served as a special education teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools through The New Teacher Project Teaching Fellows program. Prior to that, she taught business ethics at Shenyang Normal University in Shenyang, China. Tiffany loves to experience new places, people and cultures. Her addictions include running, dark chocolate, coffee and true crime shows.

Dr. Elodie Jones

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 210C

Elodie Jones earned two bachelor degrees from Fort Hays State University and her Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas. Born and primarily raised in Western Kansas, she has rural teaching experience at the secondary level within the field of technology and business. Her areas of interest include educational assessment, technology integration for pre-service and in-services educators, as well as pre-service clinical experiences. In her spare time she can be found playing taxi driver to her daughter, as well as being active within the community of Hays and her church. Elodie enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening, reading, and any outdoor activity that involves mountain air or sea water!

Ms. Mary Meckenstock

Rarick Hall 217

Ms. Stephanie Muth

Virtual College Instructor

Stephanie D. Muth began her career in the Department of Teacher Education at Fort Hays State University in the fall of 2012 after teaching as a public educator for the previous thirteen years. She is currently seeking an Education Specialist degree in Education Administration from FHSU. In addition to serving as an academic advisor, she has been the instructor of the science methods and foundations of modern education courses. She has also served as the Region 5 Representative for the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science. Stephanie currently teaches online courses for the Early Childhood Unified program. She is married and enjoys spending time with her three beautiful daughters.

Dr. Diane Plunkett

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 241

Dr. Plunkett came to Fort Hays State University as an instructor for the Department of Teacher Education in 2009. She received her Ph.D in Special Education from the University of Kansas in 2013. Previously, she completed her Master of Science in Special Education degree at KU with an emphasis in Early Childhood Unified in 2002. As a public teacher in Kansas, she has taught in both rural and urban schools. Dr. Plunkett's primary interests of scholarship and research are inclusive intervention for young children, teacher preparation, and effective assistive technology support for young children in natural settings. She enjoys taking walks with her dog, Lily, visiting her family in Lawrence and Pinterest crafts.

Ms. Sarah Rhodes

Rarick Hall 239

Ms. Sarah Rhodes grew up in Russell, Kansas. Upon leaving Russell, she owned and operated a federally licensed childcare business in California, taught conversational English in Japan, and was contracted by the federal government as a Religious Education Director aboard Camp Kinser, Okinawa, Japan. After returning to the United States, she began course work at Indiana University in pursuit of a degree in Elementary Education. Sarah later transferred to Fort Hays State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 2010. She taught in the public school system for four years while continuing her education at FHSU, receiving her Master of Science degree in 2014. Currently working towards a doctoral degree in education, Sarah is the instructor for the Elementary Science Methods course in the Department of Teacher Education. She is the mother of two children and three dogs, a mutt named Stanley and two schnauzers named Pepper and Sneezer. In her spare time, Sarah likes to read, run, watch movies with friends, and spend time with her parents and children.

Dr. Robert B. Scott

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 210A

Dr. Robert Bruce Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Kansas and earned an Ed.D. in Special Education from Kansas State University. He has lived and worked in Ecuador, Japan and Saudi Arabia and has a Certificate in Negotiating Across Cultures from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Robb's research interests are bilingual special education, multicultural transition planning, cross-cultural communication and philosophy of education. He likes Latin American music, literature and art and also enjoys eating Colombian empanadas y tamales. He is the founding director of Kansans for Equal Access to Transition Services and a member of the Special Education Advisory Council to the Kansas State Board of Education.

Ms. Sherry Spangler

Administrative Assistant
Rarick Hall 210 F

Sherry Lynn Spangler began her career at Fort Hays State University in the spring of 2008 after leaving the field of medicine as an office manager for eighteen years. Sherry works between two departments with emphasis on accounting, budgeting and maintaining records for six of the Advanced Education Programs. Sherry is also the Grant Financial Officer for the Department of Teacher Education. In addition, she coordinates department events and works with faculty on student activity accounts. Sherry is also a degree analyst for the Transition to Teaching program. Outside of work, Sherry likes to read and travel to visit her children and grandchildren.

Dr. Janet Stramel

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 213A

Born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Janet Stramel earned her Ph.D. at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Before that, she taught middle school mathematics in Guthrie, OK and Wamego, KS. Dr. Stramel joined the Department of Teacher Education in 2009 and teaches elementary mathematics methods courses. In addition, she is the Director of Assessment and Accreditation for the College of Education and Technology. Dr. Stramel is an accomplished pianist and enjoys traveling with her husband.

Ms. Sara Stroup

Rarick Hall 210D

Sara Stroup graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Special Education. Her teaching experiences include sixteen years of teaching in the school district, prior to becoming an instructor in the Department of Teacher Education in 2009. Her areas of interests and experiences include human growth and development, early childhood education, special education, and mental health across the life span. She and her family enjoy spending time together camping, traveling in the mountains, riding motorcycles and providing respite care for children and elderly. One of her favorite quotes is that of Albert Einstein: "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

Ms. Natalie Unruh

Rarick Hall 210B

Natalie Unruh moved from her hometown of Medicine Lodge, Kansas to Hays in 1981 to attend Fort Hays State University. Upon graduation she accepted a job as lead teacher at the FHSU Child Development Center where she soon became the director. She remained in that position for twenty-three years and loved every minute of it. During that time she received her Master of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood and was an adjunct instructor for the Elementary Education program. She became an instructor in the Department of Teacher Education in 2008 and teaches a diverse range of courses. A few of her favorite things include spending time with her husband and two grown children, hiking in the Colorado Rockies, every aspect of teaching and working at FHSU and last, but certainly not least, chocolate.

Dr. Beth Walizer

Associate Professor
Rarick Hall 243

Beth Walizer graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1979 and a Master of Science in Education Administration in 1992. She earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Assessment with an emphasis in reading from Kansas State University in 2004. Beth taught elementary grades for USD 407 in Russell, Kansas from August 1979 until May 2003. She began teaching as an adjunct in 2001 for the Department of Teacher Education at FHSU. In August 2003, Dr. Walizer became a full time faculty member. Currently, she is an associate professor teaching reading and language arts methods courses. In her free time, she and her husband, Ken, adore being grandparents to two wonderful grandsons, Evan and Beau. In addition, they enjoy working with their black Labrador retrievers, GRHRCH War Eagle What’s Up Toots MH (Toots), Zippity Do Da Day QAA (Zippy), and new pup, Academy’s Shoot ’em Down, Turn Around (Mony).

Dr. Valerie Zelenka

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 242

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