In a class of their own



Once a student in Tina Kilgore’s classroom at Crothersville Elementary School, Tara Bedwell is now a teacher in that room.

Once a student in Ryan Canada’s classroom at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School, Logan Oakes is now the history teacher.

With longtime interests in teaching, Bedwell, 23, and Oakes, 26, are thrilled about having classrooms of their own in their hometown.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

"It’s just incredible," said Bedwell, who is teaching second grade. "I’m very, very excited to be starting my first year, especially at my home school. The second I saw this job opening, I was like, ‘That’s where I want to be.’ I try to believe that everything happens for a reason."

Oakes said elementary Principal Drew Markel was a big mentor in steering him toward teaching.

"I was really helped out by people in this school system. Especially Drew was a huge influence in my life," Oakes said. "I wanted to be able to give back a little bit. I feel like teaching was a great avenue to go for."

The other new teachers at Crothersville Community Schools are Haley Deckert, 29; Sidney Chumbler, 22; Brad Emerson, 59; and Mark Monroe, 53.

Tara Bedwell

Cadet teaching her senior year and working at a day care since she graduated in 2014, Bedwell said she was interested in a career working with kids.

She studied nursing her first semester at Indiana University Southeast but learned it wasn’t for her.

In an exploratory class, she had to put her thoughts on paper, and her teacher told her it appeared she wanted to be a teacher.

"I followed my heart, and I eventually said, ‘You know what? This is for me. This is what I wanted to do,’ so I went for teaching," Bedwell said.

Taking education classes and doing observations at different schools, she knew she made the right decision.

"It showed me, ‘Wow! I would love to work with kids. I want to watch them learn. I want to watch them grow,’" she said. "To see that is just an outstanding feeling of being able to educate younger children."

Bedwell graduated from IUS in December 2018 and became an assistant in a second grade classroom at Fairmont Elementary School in New Albany.

Bedwell saw on Facebook where Crothersville was hiring, so she emailed her résumé to Markel, went through an interview and was hired.

"I was so surprised, and it’s still surprising to me that I was a student from first grade until I graduated, and now, I’m a teacher here," Bedwell said. "I told Drew in my interview, ‘If I had to choose anywhere, it would be here’ because I’ve always been a part of a small community. That’s what I’m used to. That’s why I went to IUS. I love the small community, and being within a small community, you can become a team."

Logan Oakes

After graduating from Crothersville in 2012, Oakes earned an English education degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Now, he’s teaching social studies to seventh and eighth graders, world history to freshmen and junior high students, U.S. history to juniors and economics and government to seniors.

The past three years, Oakes was a substitute teacher at Crothersville when he wasn’t out on the road with local band The Lasting Hope.

Jacob Payne was hired as a history teacher for the 2018-19 school year but recently announced his resignation, so Oakes was asked to fill that position.

"I actually wanted to go to college for history," he said, noting he was guided to study English because he would have a better chance at landing a teaching job.

Still, he earned 18 credits in history at IUPUI.

"One of my favorite things to read about is history, so it worked out really well that I ended up with this position because this is what I would have picked right out of high school," Oakes said.

Oakes also is the adviser of the History Club. Since he has a bus license, he plans to take students on history-related field trips throughout the school year.

"I love learning, and that’s something I didn’t appreciate in high school," Oakes said. "I’m just trying to instill a love for learning."

Haley Deckert

After graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2008 and Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus in 2013, Deckert taught special education at Seymour-Redding Elementary School for two years.

She then spent a year working with kids with autism at a clinic in Seymour before teaching fourth and fifth grades for three years at Henryville Elementary School.

"Ever since I was little, it’s what I’ve wanted to do," she said of being a teacher. "When I was a little girl and my grandma would babysit me, we had an old school desk and we would just sit and play school. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve never wanted to be anything else."

She came across Markel’s post on Facebook about needing teachers and decided to apply. A week after her interview, she received an offer to teach third grade.

"Crothersville has always been a school that I wanted to teach in just because it’s known to be such a good school corporation," Deckert said. "As soon as Drew called me, two hours later, I was getting Facebook friend requests, Facebook messages, text messages, emails from people that were like, ‘Hey, I’m so and so. This is what I teach. If you need anything, let me know.’"

That was a great way to start her new journey.

"I’ve never felt like such a member of a family before I’ve even started the school year," she said. "I already feel like I have true friends here that will come and help me and they will hang out with me outside of school, they’ll come help me at school and just be there. I’ve never felt a community like that before."

Sidney Chumbler

Chumbler was offered a job to teach third grade two days before school started.

She graduated from IUS in May and was looking for a teaching job near her hometown of New Albany. She had accepted a job in Salem covering for a teacher on maternity leave through December, but then she found out Crothersville was in need of an elementary teacher.

"I’ve never been more thankful because it has been a challenge to find a teaching job in the New Albany-Floyd County area because it’s so big and there are so many teachers," she said.

Like Deckert, she immediately felt welcomed at Crothersville.

"Within five minutes of me getting the job, I had 10 text messages," Chumbler said. "There were teachers saying, ‘I’m here if you need me’ and came and helped set up (her classroom) and answered questions. I got here at noon and stayed here until 4:30, and they helped me. They were amazing."

The 2015 New Albany High School graduate who played softball all four years at IUS said she’s happy to have her own classroom.

"My senior year of high school, it was really special because I was in a cadet teaching class with an amazing teacher," Chumbler said. "I knew then that that’s what I want to do the rest of my life and nothing else."

Brad Emerson

Emerson had been a substitute teacher over the years and also has coached tennis and given lessons.

After spending time working at a local industry, he switched gears and earned a master’s degree in business. He already had a general studies degree he earned after moving to Seymour in 1996.

His plans didn’t pan out and he was unhappy where he was working, so a couple of years ago, his wife talked him into going back to school and earning an education degree.

"A couple more years of school? Yeah, more school. That’s what I want," he said, smiling.

Emerson completed a transition to teaching program through Taylor University. Landing a job at Crothersville was similar to Chumbler, as he was hired as a fifth grade teacher two days before school started.

He had been student teaching at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour, but now, he has his own classroom.

"This is kind of a new, exciting thing. This is my room now. It’s not someone else’s room," he said. "I’m definitely going to have the kids help me out. They are going to help decorate the room because I feel that if they have some input into it, that shows that they’ve got some ownership."

Mark Monroe

Monroe graduated from Jennings County High School in 1984, earned an English education degree from Hanover College and taught for a couple of years.

He then left that field and worked at the Jefferson County Youth Shelter in Madison, where he stayed for nearly 20 years.

Moving back to the area and his daughter going to school in Crothersville, Monroe became a substitute teacher and also coordinated the after-school program offered by the Scott County Family YMCA.

Last school year, he was an aide in the special education resource room. That led to him being asked to teach English/language arts this year.

He teaches a couple of English classes at Austin High School in the morning before returning to Crothersville to teach English to seventh graders and work in the special education resource room.

After school, he oversees the free program for students in preschool through eighth grade. They start with a healthy snack, receive homework help, do STEM activities and finish with a physical activity. In the summer, students are bused to the YMCA in Scottsburg for programming.

"I really believe Crothersville gets written off being a small school, and people question the quality of the education we get," Monroe said. "The quality of the education that the kids get here, I think, is on par with anything else available, so I’m excited to be a part of that and hopefully pass that on."

No posts to display