Sharon Fries - Principal
Sharon was born in Australia and grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana. She attended Emporia State University and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an area of concentration in health and physical education. Sharon completed the Lutheran Teacher Colloquy program through Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and has her Master of Science in School Leadership degree from Baker University. Sharon taught at Grace Lutheran School in Kansas City, Kansas for seven years. When Bethany Lutheran School opened in 2000, Sharon was one of the founding teachers and taught first grade. She has since served in many roles including kindergarten aide, athletic director, coach, PE teacher, music/choir teacher, piano accompanist... and now principal. Sharon and her husband, Martin, have two boys, Jacob and Luke, who attend Bethany. Sharon enjoys playing, coaching and watching sports of all kinds, including competing in several triathlons every summer. See Sharon's favorite things here!
Erin Bickel - Administrative Assistant
Erin grew up in Paola, Kansas. She attended Concordia University- Nebraska where she graduated with a BS in Secondary Education (English concentration) and a minor in history. She lives with her husband, Dan, and their daughters, Evelyn and Charlotte, in Belton, MO. Prior to working at Bethany, Erin worked at Calvary Lutheran EEC, Lutheran High School of Kansas City, and Mid-Continent Public Library- Red Bridge Branch. Erin enjoys reading, spending time with family, and watching crime dramas on TV with her husband. See Erin's favorite things here.
Debbie Dillon - Kindergarten
Debbie grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She attended Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. Debbie has two daughters at Bethany: Mekenzie is in 8th grade and Jocelyn is in 5th grade. Debbie loves to swim, boat, camp and decorate cakes. She also has a deep love for the Latino Community and teaches Spanish at Bethany. Debbie loves serving the Lord at Bethany and is grateful for families here that are now dear friends! See Debbie's favorite things here.
Shelly Matthews - First Grade
Shelly grew up in Central Missouri and graduated from Central Missouri State University with a BS degree in Elementary Education and an area of concentration in Early Childhood Education. She has taught grades Kindergarten through third grade all over the world and conducted training for preschool staff in a Northern Virginia Early Childhood Center. Shelly has been an assistant director at a preschool. She has a daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren. Shelly enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, traveling, golfing and spending time with her family and friends! See Shelly's favorite things here.
Megan Darby - Second Grade
Megan grew up south of Wichita in Mulvane, Kansas. She is a graduate of Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska with degrees in Elementary Education and Mathematics. She also received a Lutheran Teachers Diploma. Megan has been teaching at Bethany since 2002. She previously taught kindergarten and fourth grade here. She lives with her husband, Josh, in MIssion. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to Royals games, and sleeping in. See Megan's favorite things here.
Sarah Abramovitz - Third Grade
Sarah was born and raised in St.Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Concordia Unversity Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education. She received her first teaching call to Topeka, KS, where she taught Kindergarten for the past five years. She and her husband, Alex, live in Mission. She enjoys singing, traveling, photography, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. See Sarah's favorite things here.
Mary Schultz - Fourth Grade
Mary was born and raised in Greenfield, WI, just outside of Milwaukee. She graduated from Concordia University Chicago in May of 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Language Arts, Science, and Music, as well as a minor in Theology. She also received a Lutheran Teacher Certificate from Concordia's Lutheran Teacher Education Program. This is Mary's first Call after student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom. Mary is enjoying being newly married to her husband, Jonah, and settling into her new home. See Mary's favorite things here.
Jana Grimm - Fifth Grade
Jana is a graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in mathematics. She has completed the Lutheran Teacher Colloquy Program. Jana has taught fifth grade at Bethany since 2004. She and her husband, Brian, have three amazing children, Brianna, Reagan, and Evan. See Jana's favorite things here.
Sarah Kuske - Middle School
Sarah grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of Concordia University Nebraska with a degree in Middle Level Education, concentrations in Language Arts and Spanish, an English Language Learners endorsement, and a Lutheran Teacher's Diploma. Sarah and her husband, Stephen, taught middle school at Emmanuel Lutheran in Maui for four years before joining the ministry team at Bethany. Sarah enjoys playing tennis, riding horses, reading mysteries, and serving on and supporting mission projects. See Sarah's favorite things here.
Katie Senter - Middle School/Band Director/Elementary Music
Katie grew up in Iowa and moved to Olathe to go to college. She graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene with a Bachelor's in Music Education. Mrs. Senter has taught middle school band and K-4 music. She currently lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband, Mike and wonderful dog, Clara. Together they enjoy being outside, cooking, and making music. See Katie's favorite things here.
Lee Rudzinski - 6th/8th Grade Social Studies
Lee attended First Bethlehem Lutheran Elementary School and Lutheran High School North in Chicago and is a 1971 graduate of Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois. He has been a faculty member at Lutheran High School of Kansas City since 1984 after completing service at St. John’s Lutheran School in Beardstown, Illinois from 1971-1974 and Our Saviour Lutheran School in Kansas City, Kansas from 1974-1984. Over the years at LHSKC, he has taught Social Studies, Theology, English, Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physical Education as well as serving as registrar and interim principal and is currently Athletic Director and varsity volleyball coach. Lee has also coached baseball, basketball, track and soccer over the years. In February 2017, Lee was inducted into the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame. Lee is married to Marilyn (Mueller), his high school sweetheart, and they have been blessed with four children and 16 grandchildren. He is proud to say that all four of his children are Lutheran educators and LHSKC graduates. Both born in Chicago, Illinois, Lee and Marilyn remain loyal and vocal fans of the Chicago Cubs. See Lee's favorite things here.
Chelsea Stelmachowicz - 7th Grade Social Studies
Chelsea was born in Detroit, Michigan (Go Spartans!) and raised in Fredonia, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin. She teaches at the Lutheran High School of Kansas City, and is also the Admissions/Retention Coordinator there. She is excited to teach 7th grade Social Studies (Geography) at Bethany. In her spare time Chelsea enjoys watching sports, playing video games, reading, and spending time with loved ones. See Chelsea's favorite things here.
Ann Arndt - Algebra and Geometry
Ann was born and raised in Ainsworth, Nebraska. She attended Concordia University in Seward, NE, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music and Math. She has her Master’s Degree in School Leadership from Baker University. She began her teaching career at St. John, Seward, NE. She also taught for 30 years at Messiah Lutheran School in Independence, MO; 15 years as math and science teacher for middle school, and 15 years as full time principal. Recently she has served as interim principal at Calvary Lutheran and Martin Luther Academy, two years in each location. She and her husband, John, enjoy spending time with their seven grandsons, and are avid dog lovers. See Ann's favorite things here.
Lisa Osborne - Librarian
Lisa shares her love of books and reading with our students and has developed an incredible library which our students use on a daily basis! This year, library day takes place on Wednesday. Visit Mrs. Osborne for help with any book you'd like to check out! The library is always in need of donations, too. Ask Mrs. Osborne if you would like to donate books! See Lisa's favorite things here.
Austin Barnes - PE Instructor: Upper Grades
Austin Barnes has been a fantastic addition to our staff this year. He currently teaches PE to our 5th-8th grade students. He will also be doing some tutoring in various grades. Austin holds a Bachelor's degree in music education from Fort Hays State University and a Master of Percussion Performance from Kansas State University. He has taught percussion at several schools in Kansas and is an active musician around the Kansas City area. While in high school, Barnes earned all-league honors in football, wrestling and baseball. Today he is an avid ultimate frisbee player and continues to help out coaching youth sports through camps and other leagues around the Kansas City Area. Austin is an avid Dallas Cowboys fan.
Rick Borkowski - PE Instructor: Lower Grades
Rick was born and grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. He attended Gannon University in Erie, where he graduated with a BA in Communications. Rick and his wife Lynn, have a son Trey, who attends Bethany. When he’s not teaching PE, Rick works for The Nielsen Company, most commonly known as the "TV Ratings". When he was younger Rick loved to play soccer, but now he prefers to ride his mountain bike, he and some other Bethany members started the Bethany Bike Club in 2014 and host many rides throughout the year. Growing up Rick liked the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians, of course now he roots for the Royals, Chiefs and Sporting KC. See Rick's favorite things here.
Lynn Rasmussen - PE Instructor: Lower Grades
Lynn grew up in Sutton, Nebraska. She attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, where she graduated with a BA in Journalism/Public Relations. She and her husband, Eric, have two wonderful children, Abby and Eli, who attend Bethany. In addition to teaching P.E., Lynn also works as a Preschool teacher at Bethany’s Preschool program. Lynn enjoys hanging out with her family, playing volleyball, reading, and watching the Wildcats, Chiefs and Royals. See Lynn’s favorite things here.
Kristin Howard - Art Instructor
Kristin grew up in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She received a BA in Theater and Writing from Millikin University in Illinois. She has been painting and taking art classes for 8 years now, and has shown and sold her artwork in several local art shows. She loves to create and has been thrilled to share the creative process of many art forms with the students at Bethany. Previous jobs include Intervarsity Staff Worker (college ministry), Pre-school Teacher, and Tennis Pro. Kristin and her husband have 4 children who attend Bethany Lutheran.
Tina Berkley - Art Instructor/Classroom Aide
Tina grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. She received a BS in Psychology from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She worked for 10 years in marketing communications where she discovered her interest in design. She has worked as a graphic designer and dabbled in real estate photography. She and her husband, Stuart, have two daughters, Kate and Eva. From the moment her girls started drawing, she became hooked on children's art and the uninhibited creativity that is expressed. She adamantly agrees with Picasso that "Every Child is an Artist". Tina is also a teacher's aid at Bethany. She enjoys playing cards, games and practical jokes, as well as, listening to podcasts, reading, photography, landscaping, road trips and watching her girls' activities.
Dan Bickel - Middle School Religion
Dan was born in Appleton, WI and grew up in St. Louis. He is a graduate of Concordia University-NE with a degree in Secondary Education-Natural Sciences concentration and a Lutheran Teacher Diploma. He has taught high school biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, physical science, personal finance, health, computer applications, robotics, CAD, and current issues at Lutheran High School of Kansas City. He is currently serving as the high school’s technology coordinator. Dan is also the school’s head track coach and has already had some very successful seasons in his nine years at Lutheran High. Dan and his wife Erin have two daughters, Evelyn and Charlotte. In his spare time, Dan enjoys playing and watching sports, and reading articles about political and cultural issues. See Dan's favorite things here.
Peggy Spini - Classroom Aide
Peggy and her husband Steve have two children, Amy and Gina. She has seven grandchildren and a great grandson. Four of Peggy's grandchildren attended Bethany. Peggy worked as a preschool aide at King of Kings Lutheran Church, and has also worked in publishing at Vance Publishing Corp. Peggy is a trained Stephen's Minister and a Christ Care Small Group Facilitator. She enjoys traveling, watching sports, entertaining, walking Maggie her dog and spending time with family. See Peggy's favorite things here.
Sylvia Akin - Classroom Aide
Sylvia grew up in Independence, Kansas but has lived in the Kansas City area most of her life. She graduated from Kansas University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She taught first grade for eleven years in Kansas City, Kansas and taught first and second grade for 17 years in the Piper school district. Sylvia has two children and three grandchildren. She enjoys upholstering furniture and caning old chairs. See Sylvia's favorite things here.
Leigh Hinkel - K-5 Spanish/Classroom Aide/Athletic Director
Leigh was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. She attended Johnson University in Knoxville, TN where she earned a B.S. in Bible/Missions and an M.A. in New Testament. She also attended Kansas City Kansas Community College where she earned her A.A. in Exercise Science. Leigh, and her husband, Larry, were missionaries in Central and South America before moving to Overland Park. In her spare time Leigh enjoys Epee fencing and is a children’s fencing coach. She also loves playing all sorts of games, riding her bike, kayaking and reading books that draw her closer to God. See Leigh's favorite things here.