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!
Mary Culross - Curriculum Director/Assessment Coordinator/ Middle School
Mary grew up in Olathe, Kansas. She received her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She began teaching second grade at Grace Lutheran School in Kansas City, Kansas. After two years she went into the public school system of Independence, Kansas. She returned to the Kansas City area and taught in Kansas City, Kansas and Olathe, Kansas public schools before coming to Bethany. Mary received her Masters degree in Curriculum Instruction and Leadership from Emporia State University. She and her husband, Donald, have two children, Pierce and Isabella. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time with family, cooking, reading, quilting, and scrapbooking. See Mary'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.
Nancy Schulz - Third Grade
Nancy is a graduate of Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a math concentration. She also received Church Teacher and Director of Christian Education certifications. She is originally from Spencer, Iowa where she attended First English Lutheran Church. Nancy served Lutheran schools in Waterloo, Itasca, and Lake Forest, Illinois prior to moving to Overland Park in 2005. Since that time she has taught third grade at Bethany. She and her husband, Mark, have two daughters, Rebekah and Bethany. See Nancy's favorite things here.
Nathanael Eaton - Fourth Grade
Nathanael has lived in Missouri his whole life and his family currently lives in the Lee’s Summit area. He attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and received his degree in Elementary Education with Special Education along with a Lutheran Teacher's Diploma. He enjoys indie rock music, the great outdoors, conceptual art, the Royals, his Jeep, friends, family, and teaching about what God has created for us to learn about. On May 14th, he married his wife, Cenedra. See Nathanael'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.
Jennifer Appleby - Middle School
Jennifer grew up in Ulysses, Kansas. She attended the University of Northern Colorado and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. Jennifer lives with her husband in Lenexa. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and watching the Denver Broncos. See Jennifer'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.
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 a daughter, Evelyn. 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 - 5th-8th Grade Choir
Peter is on staff at the Lutheran High School of Kansas City, and shares his talents with Bethany by leading our 5th-8th grade choir. He is a graduate of Concordia Chicago and also has an advanced music degree from Northwestern University. When not directing various bands and choirs, Peter enjoys fishing and spending time at the lake with friends and family.
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.
Kaye Melgren - Classroom Aide
Kaye grew up in Topeka and Manhattan, Kansas. She attended Kansas State University where she earned her B.S. in Elementary Education. She and her husband, Dan, have two grown sons, Ty and Joel. Kaye enjoys traveling, discovering new places to eat in Kansas City with her husband, walking their dog, Scout, bike riding, and reading. See Kaye's favorite things here.
Leigh Hinkel - Classroom Aide
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.
Melanie Flores - Before/After School Care
Melanie grew up in Overland Park, KS. She attended Truman State University in Kirksville, MO and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in linguistics. Melanie and her husband, Tomas, have three kids: Liliana, who attends Bethany, Levi, and Lydia. In addition to working before and after care, Melanie works part time as a flood insurance underwriter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with friends and family. See Melanie's favorite things here.
Cassidy Johnson - After School Care
Cassidy is currently finishing her senior year at Shawnee Mission Northwest. After high school she plans to attend Pittsburg State University to major in Wood Technology. She enjoys spending her free time with her friends and family. She has been babysitting since she was 13 and enjoys kids very much. See Cassidy's favorite things here.