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Meet Our New Staff Members

Updated: Feb 15

Please welcome Kingsley Area Schools' newest additions!

Peggy Brennan - Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Brennan has been a teacher for 25 years and has worked in districts across the midwest. In 2021, she relocated to Northern Michigan from Wisconsin and taught in Traverse City. From there, her plans went up in the air.

"Last year, I thought I was done with teaching. So I became a flight attendant!" said Mrs. Brennan. "I flew for Air Wisconsin, and we did the small flights for United and American."

After many travels and adventures, she found her way back to the classroom when she joined Kingsley Schools this school year. She spends her mornings as a special education teacher at the high school before going to the middle school in the afternoon to teach Life Skills.

"I teach folks from the age of 9 to 19! I love hanging out with this young set of friends, it's so fun," she said. "Kingsley has been lovely. The students and the staff are really great. I mean, I've really enjoyed my time here."

Tiffany Eichler - Middle School Art Teacher

A longtime photographer, Tiffany Eichler comes to KMS with years of professional artistic experience plus many years as a homeschool teacher.

"I've taught in other capacities for a long time. And I just think in general, teaching is fun, because you can transfer information that you're really excited about to somebody else and I also learn new things too, which is really great!" said Mrs. Eichler.

Mrs. Eichler is one of two new art teachers in the district. Ms. Hanna Rose now leads the Art Cart, a new offering at the Elementary, and longtime art teacher Mrs. Sue Graham is up at the high school.

"I really like our team. We work well together and we all have different interests, and we all kind of fill each other's gaps nicely. We're really excited to make the whole program from elementary to high school a little bit more cohesive than maybe it is currently. We are learning from each other too, and bouncing ideas off each other," said Mrs. Eichler.

At the middle school, Mrs. Eichler dreams of working on some murals with her students.

"I'm hoping to decorate the school more and see some more art publicly in our building," she said.

Want to help support the KMS art class? Mrs. Eichler is looking for art supplies and things her students could upcycle!

"A lot of times I'll be asking for things like paper towel rolls. Someone just gave us a bunch of wallpaper samples, which is really great because I love taking things that would otherwise be trash and turning them into something beautiful. We ended up making some really neat ornaments with them that highlighted all the different patterns of the wallpaper!"

Christopher Gaddy - 8th Grade ELA Teacher

Mr. Gaddy grew up in a small town between Lansing and Jackson, Michigan. He is an Army veteran who served several years stateside before going to South Korea for his final year of service.

He received his teaching degree from Northern Michigan University in Marquette before moving to Maryland, where he taught for 14 years. Then, he decided it was time to come back to Michigan, and he joined Kingsley Schools this year.

"The biggest highlight of this year is just how welcoming everyone has been, the support being new to the community and the support from coworkers and the staff is very welcoming and very supportive," he said.

Mr. Gaddy teaches 8th grade ELA, and his students have been focusing on grammar and nonfiction standards. In the third marking period, they moved into fiction.

"I enjoy covering fiction and being able to analyze a story. The English teacher in me does like grammar and how the language works. That can be a struggle to be to make that engaging, but it is important," said Mr. Gaddy. "I try to be supportive of students and help them along the way as they traverse both middle school and language arts."

Michelle Lewis - KMS Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Michelle Lewis took over as the administrative assistant at Kingsley Middle School following the retirement of longtime secretary Kay Wagner, who had been in the position for 30 years.

"It's always a bit intimidating to follow someone that everyone knows and has built a relationship with and is a staple in the community," said Mrs Lewis.

So far, she says the year has been smooth sailing! She comes to the district with years of experience in education, having been a teacher for nine years.

“I love the staff I work with. There are some really nice students that I get to interact with on a daily basis,” said Mrs. Lewis.

This spring, she'll be stepping into another role: director of the KHS drama production!

“Make sure you come and check it out!”  

Kyle Smith - Middle School Special Education

Mr. Smith was born and raised in Kingsley. His teaching career took him to several local school districts before he joined the middle school team this past fall. Although he's a new Kingsley teacher, he's been part of the district's staff for the past several years as a member of the high school football coaching team.

He says coming back to work in his hometown has been a smooth transition, especially since he previously worked with KMS assistant principal John Arnold in a different district.

"It's been great. It's cool to interact with families that I have known from the past," said Mr. Smith. "I think you have a lot of teachers that probably grew up in the area or are familiar with the area who realize that Kingsley is a great school district and they want to keep that going. I think there's a lot of buy-in from the community to support the schools, and that drives us forward."

As a special education teacher, he says that his goal is to not only reinforce learning concepts, but to help them grow in their personal lives.

"I want to allow them to experience things that maybe they're not used to in their lives, maybe open up a window or an opportunity for them for their future," said Mr. Smith. "I think my teaching superpower is building relationships with kids, getting to know them on a personal level, and then kind of tapping into that to help drive lessons and other educational pieces."

Tony Taylor - Sixth Grade Special Education Teacher

Mr. Taylor and his wife Lesli moved to Kingsley in 2021 after careers in the Armed Forces and years of assignments abroad and stateside.

A few years ago, they answered a new call: to fulfill a community need in the school district. They both volunteered to become substitute teachers and later became substitute bus drivers. Today, they share the "Camel" bus route, with Mr. Taylor bussing in the morning and his wife taking kids home in the afternoon. During the day, Mr. Taylor is the sixth grade special education teacher who helps students during WIN (What I Need) class.

"So if the students are behind on some work from science class or social studies or math, they'll bring that material with them and then I will help them go over it," said Mr. Taylor. "My favorite part is watching their eyes and their expression when they get it whether it's math or reading or new vocabulary. Then when the light kicks on, they're like, 'oh, I know what that is.' So I love that."

Another highlight of his day is seeing his sixth grade daughter in math class.

"Our daughter is here and we have six years to be fully invested here before she goes off to college, but we're not going anywhere," said Mr. Taylor. "Kingsley is our forever home and we want to keep contributing as much as we can."

Aaron VanLandschoot - High School History Teacher

Mr. VanLandschoot is one of the newest faces in Kingsley Area Schools, having started just after Thanksgiving break this year. But Mr. V is no stranger to Northern Michigan!

He spent a decade living in Traverse City and has taught in multiple districts including Munising in the UP and Forest Area Schools in Fife Lake. For the past six years, he taught at Forest Area Middle School. He lives in Kingsley now with his wife and his two children, a 3-year-old and a one-year-old.

"I live a block from the Kingsley football field! It's been great to be part of the community I live in," said Mr. VanLandschoot. "Right now, I can't make it to too many sporting events because of my children's bedtime, but in the upcoming years, I envision maybe coaching and being able to make it to lots of events!"

Mr. VanLandschoot teaches US History 1&2. Currently, his students are learning about both world wars.

He says his teaching superpower is being able to relate well with his students.

"I can understand where they're coming from. I know when to push and when to kind of back off. So I think I really develop those relationships pretty well with students, and I think, then, they're willing to put in maybe a little bit more effort."

Brendan Wiltshire - High School Math Teacher

Mr. Wiltshire grew up in Michigan but joined us in Kingsley after four years of teaching in Texas. At KHS, he teaches geometry, statistics, as well as Personal Finance.

"I personally love working with numbers. Over the last several years, I have been figuring out how to ignite that creative sense and that sense of wonder in my students. Math isn't just a series of rules, it's really about patterns and how it all ties into the real world," said Mr. Wiltshire.

He says his teaching superpower is his patience.

"I can maintain my demeanor. I don't have a short fuse, I know how to control my emotions and you know, kind of defuse the situation. Part of that is just understanding that a lot of times problems that you might encounter in the classroom have something to do with something else going on there. You need to be firm with expectations yet sensitive to the individual needs of your students."

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