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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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Teacher Education Faculty and Staff

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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. Chris Jochum

Department Chair
Associate Professor
Rarick Hall 244

Dr. Chris Jochum joins Fort Hays State University after an eight year stint at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he served as an Associate Professor of Spanish and Foreign Language Education, Chair of Graduate Studies in Modern Languages and directed an online master’s degree in Spanish education. In 2015, Dr. Jochum was inducted into the Academy for Teacher Education Excellence, a prestigious award for those who have made significant contributions to teacher education and preparation at UNK. Dr. Jochum’s previous professional appointments include the University of Central Missouri as an Assistant Professor of Secondary Education, Salina High School South as a Spanish teacher and Chair of the World Languages Department and Kearney Public Schools (Nebraska) as a K-12 English as a Second Language teacher. He completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at UNK and holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University. Dr. Jochum’s research interests focus on the preparation and professional development of preservice and in-service educators, with primary emphasis on self-efficacy, mentoring and the value of study abroad. His research has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals and has been presented at both national and international conferences. In his free time, Dr. Jochum enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Ms. Amber Barratt

Senior Administrative Assistant
Rarick Hall 244

Ms. Sue Boldra

Rarick Hall 209B

Ms. Sarah Broman

Rarick Hall 239

Ms. Sarah Broman 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 Correction of Reading Disabilities Methods and Internship courses 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. Lorie Cook-Benjamin

Interim Executive Director of Faculty Affairs and the Virtual College
Associate 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 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. Linda Feldstein

Rarick Hall 245

Ms. Erica Fisher

Academic Advisor
Rarick Hall 237

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 and her Master of Science in Higher Education Student Affairs from Fort Hays State University in 2015. 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. Kristine Hepner

Academic Advisor
Rarick Hall 238

Kristine Hepner is an Academic Advisor for Virtual College students in the Department of Teacher Education. Kristine was born and raised in Colorado and graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree majoring in Elementary Education. She has teaching experience in early childhood education and upper elementary grades. In her free time, Kristine enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, baking, and making crafts with her two children, Shirley and William.

Ms. Mary Meckenstock

Rarick Hall 209A

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.

Ms. Becky Newell

InPLACE Education Coordinator
Rarick Hall 209C

Mr. Allen Park
Allen Park

Rarick Hall 210E

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

Senior 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

Associate Professor
Rarick Hall 244

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 Interim Department of Teacher Education Chair and 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

Tiger Tots Director
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. Sara is the director of Tiger Tots Nutury Center, an on-campus pre-school for children of students, faculty and staff. 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

Virtual College Instructor

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 for FHSU and last, but certainly not least, chocolate.

Dr. Beth Walizer

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 a 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 Academy’s Shoot ’em Down, Turn Around (Mony).

Dr. Teresa Woods

Assistant Professor
Rarick Hall 241

After living and working in communities throughout the state, the U.S. and abroad, Teresa Woods joined FHSU in 2015, specializing in elementary science education methods. She is a biologist and a science education researcher, having earned her B.A. (environmental education) from Prescott College in Arizona, and her M.S. (biology) and Ph.D. (curriculum and instruction) from Kansas State University. She has taught at elementary, middle, and high school levels, and also at the undergraduate and graduate levels in STEM teacher education and biology. She has coordinated and developed numerous STEM education programs, courses, and curriculum modules through partnering scientists and educators. She also loves the fine arts, and as a former Waldorf teacher, has integrated STEM content across the curriculum. She is dedicated to environmental stewardship and is passionate about helping children develop strong connections with the natural world. She enjoys cooking, gardening, running, hiking, botanizing, and cheering on the Royals.

Dr. Valerie Zelenka
Zelenka, Valerie 1

Assistant Professor
Program Coordinator, Special Education
Rarick Hall 210B

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