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 movies 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 beautiful daughters that are the light of her life. Mekenzie is a Junior at SMW and Jocelyn is in 8th grade at Bethany. Debbie loves to swim, boat, camp and decorate cakes. Debbie loves serving the Lord at Bethany and is grateful for families here that are now dear friends! See Debbie's favorite things here.
Allison Miller - First Grade
Allison Miller grew up in the rural community of Glidden, Iowa, which is located in Western Iowa. She is a graduate of Concordia University Chicago (CUC), and graduated with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in May of 2017. She also received her Lutheran Teacher’s Diploma while at CUC and an endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL). Allison previously taught preschool (ages 3-5) at St. Paul’s Lutheran Lighthouse Preschool in Aberdeen, SD. Allison enjoys biking, playing her violin whenever possible, and exploring the Kansas City area! See Allison's favorite things here.
Shannon Manley - Second Grade
Shannon grew up in the Northland of Kansas City. She taught Kindergarten in Germany for two years before returning to Kansas City and teaching Pre-Kindergarten for five years. Shannon has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Missouri Western University. She received her Lutheran Teaching Diploma from Concordia University-Wisconsin. Shannon is a proud Aunt to nephews Noah and Whit. She enjoys reading, playing cards, and spending time with friends and family. See Shannon's favorite things here.
Sarah Abramovitz - Third Grade
Sarah was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Concordia University Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education. She received her first teaching call to Topeka, KS, where she taught Kindergarten for five years. She is excited to be in her third year at Bethany. 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 third year at Bethany. She is enjoying living in Kansas City with her husband, Jonah. 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. She joined the ministry team at Bethany in 2017. Sarah enjoys playing tennis, riding horses, reading mysteries, and supporting mission service projects. See Sarah's favorite things here.
Kevin Kuske - Middle School
Kevin was born in Detroit and grew up in Frankenmuth, Michigan. He attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in history and minor in music. Kevin completed his Master of Science degree in Education at Concordia University, NE in 1988. Kevin has taught for 36 years at various schools in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Iowa. He has served schools and congregations teaching and leading in the areas of administration, music, athletics, and youth. Kevin and his wife, Janice, have three grown children, Matthew, Stephen, and Gina, a daughter and son-in-law, and grand puppy Harley. Kevin enjoys just about every sport and traveling. See Kevin'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 18 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.
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.
Dan Bickel - Middle School Science
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 and athletic director. Dan is also the school’s head track coach and has already had some very successful seasons in his eleven 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.
Peter Olson - Band Director
Peter is a 1992 graduate of The Lutheran High School of Kansas City. He earned a Bachelor's of Music Education (K-12) from Concordia University-Chicago and a Master's of Music from Northwestern University. He has taught music in public and parochial schools in the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Kansas City areas. He currently teaches music at The Lutheran High School of Kansas City and travels to several of the Kansas City area Lutheran grade schools, including Bethany. See Peter’s favorite things here.
Leigh Hinkel - Middle School PE/K-5 Spanish
Leigh was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. Leigh attended Johnson University in Knoxville, TN where she earned her B.S. in Bible/Missions and her M.A in New Testament before going on to earn her M.Div from Nations University. She also holds an A.A. in Exercise Science. Leigh and her husband, Larry, moved to the KC Metro in 2002 after spending several years on the mission field in Latin America. Leigh not only teaches at Bethany but she is also a Children’s Fencing Coach at the Kansas City Fencing Center. Leigh enjoys reading, playing worship music on her guitar, kayaking, playing games and square dancing. She Leigh’s favorite things here.
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 The Lutheran High School of Kansas City. 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. Abby attends SMS and Eli is in 6th grade at 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.
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. See Tina’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.
Diana Maresko- School Counselor
Diana grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL with a B.S. in Mathematics and Education. She taught high school math for several years then received a M.S. in Counseling and Behavioral Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She originally worked as a high school guidance counselor. She then began counseling with families, children and adults at various non-profit mental health agencies as well as self-employment at some private practice behavioral health groups in WI, IL, IN, OH, MO and KS. She is married for over 40 years to John, has four grown children and 10 grandchildren. She is a member of Hope Lutheran Church, Shawnee, KS. Diana enjoys music (plays piano and likes to sing), reading (fiction, non-fiction and Christian devotional books), Bible studies, socializing with friends/family and playing with grandchildren. See Diana’s favorite things here.