Office: VH 335
Dr. C. Matt Seimears grew up in Kansas where he earned all four of his college degrees. He taught in Wichita, Kansas USD 259 before earning a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Kansas State University in 2007. He has been on the faculty of Emporia State University since 2004, teaching science methods courses and advising graduate students. Dr. Seimears research interests include: Personal epistemological development of in-service teachers of science, English language learners understanding of science, and the effects of constructivist-based teaching strategies on English language learners in science classrooms. Dr. Seimears is an active member of The National Association for Research in Science Teaching, AAAS, The National Science Teachers Association, and serves as a curriculum developer and consultant for PITSCO Education. He is also the contact person for the Elementary Education Robotics programs. Dr. Seimears was honored as Newman University’s Outstanding Leon A. McNeill Alumni of the Year Award in 2010. Dr. Seimears enjoys playing rugby and spending time with his family.
Office: VH 341
Mr. Aman grew up in New York and came to Kansas to attend the College of Emporia where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. After a five month teaching position in a small Kansas community, he returned to New York where he taught middle school music for four years. He returned to Emporia where he received his Master of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in special education at Emporia State Teachers College. Bob then became the director for a private facility serving developmental disabilities from infancy through adulthood. In 1982 he was hired by Emporia USD 253 to teach special education at Emporia High School. He remained a teacher there until his retirement in 2006. During his tenure at Emporia High he worked with students in many categories of disabilities in addition to serving as department chairperson. In 2006, he joined the faculty of Emporia State as a member of the Department of Special Education and School Counseling, and is now a member of the department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education, where he has taught a number of graduate and undergraduate courses.
Mr. Aman is licensed by the Kansas State Department of Education as a K-12 teacher for instrumental music, vocal music, fundamental music, educable mentrally retarded and trainable mentally retarded. In addition he is licensed 7-12 for psychology and behavior disorders.
Office: VH 342
Dr. Catherine Ayantoye earned a Ph.D in Special Education (major) and Educational Research (minor). She worked as an adjunct faculty at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in Greeley, Colorado before she moved to Emporia, Kansas. She began working at Emporia State University in 2014. Dr. Ayantoye has been working in contributing to the quality of life of individuals with disabilities ever since she met students with disabilities for the first time at a theological seminary several years ago. She is an advocate for students with disabilities, and has raised financial support for the education of individuals with disabilities in rural areas in Africa. Her research interests include learning rates of students with learning disabilities and students with emotional behavior disorders, facilitated individualized education programs, and inclusion of students who are deaf or hard of hearing in public high school.
Dr. Ayantoye also earned a Masters of Arts degree in special education in the area of learning disabilities, emotional behavior disorders and intellectual disabilities at Appalachian State University in Boone North Carolina, where she was also licensed in K-12 teaching. She earned two bachelors degree - Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Christian Religious Education.
Karen Bates teaches reading methods courses to undergraduates in the Kansas City metro area and online literacy courses to graduate students for the department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education in the Teachers College of Emporia State Univeristy. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Masters of Arts in Reading Education from the Univerisity of Missouri-Kansas City and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction/literacy from the University of Kansas (2006). Prior to coming to ESU in 2010, she taught as an elementary classroom teacher in Missouri but worked primarily as a reading specialist in both Missouri and Kansas with elementary through high school aged students. Her professional interests include reading development, developmental spelling, reading assessment and instruction, struggling readers and professional development. She is licensed by the Kansas Board of Education as a K-9 educator and as a reading specialist. In her spare time, she likes to read, cook and spend time with and spoil her granchildren.
Office: VH 241
Mary Benjamin joined the EE/EC/SE Department in 2010. She works ½ time in the EE/EC/SE Department and ½ time in the Teachers College Dean’s Office. Before joining Emporia State University she worked for the Chase County School District for 13 years. While working in the EE/EC/SE Department she assists the Chair, the faculty and with the PDS Program.
Karen Bevis joined the EE/EC/SE Department in 2011 as the Elementary Education Advisor for the ESU/JCCC Elementary Education Partnership Program at Johnson County Community College. Before joining Emporia State University she worked for 23 years in the Education Department of a private university serving as an advisor, data assessment coordinator, and licensure officer.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University. Her primary focus is guiding and supporting students as they progress through their first two years of core/general education curriculum at Johnson County Community College followed by their final two years at Emporia State University.
Office: VH 230
Lendi L. Bland has been a member of EE/EC/SE faculty since 2000. Prior to that she was an assistant professor and licensure officer at Sterling College, and an adjunct faculty member at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. She also taught grades four, five and six in Kansas and arts/humanities at two elementary schools in Russell Springs, KY. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Emporia State University, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University.
At ESU Mrs. Bland teaches a variety of methods courses, Introduction to Teaching, Reading and Writing Connections and is the coordinator of PDS sites in the Lebo/Waverly and North Lyon County school districts.
Office: VH 305
Dr. Marj Bock has worked in special education for over thirty years, first as a special educator who worked with K-12 students with severe behavior disorders or autism and more recently as a higher education faculty member. She earned an M.S. degree in emotional disturbance from Emporia State University and a Doctorate in special education from the University of Kansas. Dr. Bock's research interests include the development of effective instructional strategies and curriculum materials for students with autistic spectrum disorders and effective inclusion of students with special needs. She developed and directed the Global Rural Autism/Asperger Information Network (GRAAIN) at the University of North Dakota.
At Emporia State University she teaches graduate courses in special education including SD820 Assessment in Schools, SD805 Advanced Behavioral Interventions, and SD760 Strategies for Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
Office: VH 225
Sharon Brown joined the EE/EC/SE Department in 2008 as the Advising Office Coordinator for Elementary Education. Before joining Emporia State University she worked for 30 years as a classroom teacher. Most recently as a high school Guidance Counselor in Moorhead, Minnesota.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois and has a Certificate of Biblical Counseling from the American Association of Christian Counselors. Sharon loved being a classroom teacher and is glad to be able to encourage future teachers in the pursuit of their dream to be the best classroom teacher they can be.
Office: VH 306
Heather Caswell holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, and has an undergrad emphasis in Families Studies and Human Development. Caswell is English as a Second Language endorsed and is a NBPTS Certified Candidate Support Provider for National Board Certified Teacher candidates.
As a Teacher of Promise and Horizon Award Recipient, Caswell has seven years of teaching experience in early childhood education as well as experience supervising preservice teachers in various pK-12 educational settings. Being a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Caswell has presented at the international, national, state, and district levels focusing on emerging literacy, visual literacy, family literacy, developmentally appropriate and authentic assessments, as well adult learning, and technology. Caswell actively serves as the liaison between The Teachers College and the Center for Early Childhood Education.
Joyce Clark is a Missouri native who lives in St. Joseph. After 26 years in Missouri public education as a teacher and principal, she joined Emporia State University as an instructor and Professional Development Schools (PDS) coordinator.
She is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University where she earned an Education Specialist Degree in the Superintendency, a Master of Science Degree in Reading Education, and principal certifications at both the elementary and secondary levels. Her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education comes from Southeast Missouri State University.
Joyce is a certified superintendent in Missouri and a certified teacher, elementary principal, and secondary principal in both Missouri and Kansas.
She teaches reading classes on the ESU campus and via the internet, and supervises student teachers for ESU in the Kansas City and Olathe school districts.
As an avid genealogist and Civil War enthusiast, her hobbies include reading and research of the Border War era.
Office: VH 240
Dr. Gerry Coffman is professor and Director of Reading in the Department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education in the Teachers College. Dr. Coffman teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in reading education. Her research interests include reading comprehension, elementary-school literacy programs, and professional development for teachers.
Dr. Coffman has given numerous presentations on reading education at the international, national, regional, and state levels. She has authored articles in journals such as The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, Reading Research and Instruction, and Kansas Journal of Reading.
Dr. Coffman is past-president of the Organization of Teacher Educators in Reading and Kansas Reading Professionals in Higher Education. She is project consultant for Kansas Reading First and serves on the Reading Specialist National Advisory Committee for the Educational Testing Service.
Dr. Coffman is licensed by the Kansas State Board of Education as a K-9 Elementary Teacher and PreK-12 Reading Specialist.
Office: VH 350
Marla Darby has a passion for teaching children who learn differently from their typical peers. Her professional goal is to share that passion with future teachers and guide their thinking to include all children in their planning and teaching. Marla has taught children who receive special education services, coordinated assistive technology services, and consulted on IEP teams during her professional career. In Marla's role at Emporia State University, she has been the director of the Teachers College Resource Center and taught as an adjunct instructor for many years. She is currently a full time instructor in the Department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education.
Office: VH 235
Beth Dobler teaches reading and language arts courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level. She is also the coordinator for the Topeka Professional Development School program. Beth spent the first thirteen years of her teaching career as a classroom teacher in grades Kindergarten, first, third, and sixth. She joined the ESU faculty in 1998 and earned her doctorate in 2002 from Kansas State University. Dr. Dobler's research interests include web literacies and reading comprehension. She is an active member of the Kansas Reading Association and the International Reading Association and has publications in the Kansas Journal of Reading and Reading Research Quarterly. She is the coauthor of the book "Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet Inquiry".
Office: VH 241
Arlene Dodge has worked for the EE/EC/SE Department since 2004, and had previously worked on campus in the Student Loan Office. She manages the office and assists the Chair and department faculty with their responsibilities at ESU.
Office: VH 222
Nelda Epp is an instructor in the Department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education in the Teachers College. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction/Reading Specialist, both earned from Emporia State University. Nelda joined the faculty at ESU in 2008 where she teaches undergraduate courses in Reading Improvement and Special Topics, Reading Lab Practicum, and Introduction to Teaching. In addition to these, Nelda is the Director of the Reading and Academic Success Center for ESU. Her focus, through the Center, is to help ensure the academic success of our students through assistance and the design of individualized improvement programs. Nelda also supervises competency testing for the Teachers College in Reading, Spelling, Handwriting, the Elementary Math Gateway, and manages alternate testing of the Reading CAAP for the University.
Nelda has 14 years of experience teaching in public and private schools, second through ninth grades. She most recently taught as a Reading Specialist in the Wichita School District. She has also taught middle school Language Arts, Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Science, computers, and technology. Prior to that, she taught at the elementary level.
Nelda is an active member of the Kansas Reading Association. She is licensed to teach by the Kansas State Board of Education in the areas of Early Childhood, K-9 Elementary, and K-12 Reading Specialist, receiving the distinction of “Highly Qualified” from the Board.
Dr. Tiffany Hill earned a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching & Curriculum with an emphasis in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her areas of concentration were elementary mathematics and science education. Dr. Hill has also earned the following degrees: B.S. in Elementary Education from William Jewell College; M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia; Ed.S. in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Prior to her appointment as an assistant professor, Dr. Hill was an elementary classroom teacher and taught teacher education courses at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Hill's interests include elementary teacher interpretation of and response to student work in the areas of mathematics and science, and student understanding of early number.
Office: VH 336
Jill Jones is an instructor in the Department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education in The Teachers College. Jill earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology (2000) and Elementary Education (2005) from Emporia State University as well as her Master's degree in Elementary Subject Matter (2010). Jill holds a Kansas Teaching License with qualifications in K-6 elementary and K-6 ESL.
Jill has taught third, fourth and fifth grade students and in a dual language program. She has served as a lead teacher in writing district curriculum and assessments. She has also trained pre-service and in-service teachers working with second language learners. She currently teaches methods courses for undergraduate students at ESU. Jill also supervises student teaching interns for Emporia State Professional Development School.
Office: VH 231
Deb Larson teaches reading and language arts methods courses. Deb spent 25 years in elementary education as a kindergarten teacher and reading specialist. She joined the faculty of ESU in 2008. She earned her masters in 1980 and her doctorate in 2002 from Kansas State University. Dr. Larson’s research interests include the early literacy, the use of discussion in the classroom and reading comprehension. She is an active member of the Kansas Reading Association and the International Reading Association. She is a past president of the Kansas Reading Association. She has had publications in the Kansas Journal of Reading, the Kansas English Journal, and Utah Parent Newsletter.
Office: VH 225B, KCK- Rm 3392
Dr. Fred LeMaster earned his Masters and Ed. Specialist degrees from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas. He then completed his Doctorate in Education degree from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. A 40-year veteran educator, Dr. LeMaster has taught every grade, K-9, including special education.
He retired from Burlington Public Schools, Burlington, Kansas after 29 years as an Elementary Principal. Upon retirement, Dr. LeMaster joined Emporia State University Teachers College where he works as a student teacher supervisor and advisor in the KCKCC PDS program. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate education courses.
Office: VH 320
Dr. Jerry Liss is in his third year as an assistant professor of special education at Emporia State University. He has taught high school students in the Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was a work experience teacher and special education vocational evaluator. Following that he worked as a university supervisor of special education student teachers at the University of Kansas. He earned his Ph.D. in special education at the University of Kansas, his Masters degree in educational psychology and his Bachelors degree in psychology both at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his Associate's degree in the social sciences at Platte Community College.
Office: VH 239
Before joining the faculty at Emporia State, Dr. Larry Lyman taught elementary grades in California and Kansas and served as an elementary school principal. He received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University. Dr. Lyman's research includes the areas of cooperative learning, integrated curriculum, working with student teachers, and instructional supervision. Dr. Lyman teaches classes in classroom management, social studies methods and curriculum development. He also serves as a coordinator for the Professional Development Schools program.
Office: VH 237
Lori Mann is proud to be a Hornet and has a long-time connection with Emporia State University! She holds two degrees from ESU, a BSE Degree in elementary education (1979) and a MS in Curriculum and Instruction with a reading emphasis (1981). In 2006, Lori completed her PhD at the University of Kansas in Curriculum and Instruction with emphases in reading and special education (traumatic brain injury). Her dissertation is titled Teaching Reading to Adults with a Brain Injury: A Metacognitive Framework for Individualized Reading Instruction.
In 1989, Lori returned to her alma mater as an instructor. She currently serves in the department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education as an assistant professor. Her responsibilities include teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate reading classes, and advising undergraduate and graduate students.
Lori has many interests, especially those related to education. Prior to her position at ESU, Lori worked as an elementary teacher, a daycare owner/provider, a youth ministry director, and a reading specialist. She enjoys participating in a variety of professional and community organizations, and enjoys serving as a consultant in her field. Lori’s primary interests are in the areas of remedial reading instruction (all ages), vision and learning, and traumatic brain injury.
Mr. Martin came to ESU in 2011. Mr. Martin currently directs the Professional Development School partnership with Johnson County Community College as instructor and supervisor for student teaching candidates in Johnson County school districts. Mr. Martin comes to E.S.U. with a wealth of experience in K-12 education, having served as a special education teacher, elementary school principal, and Education Director for the Olathe and De Soto School Districts. Mr. Martin received his Bachelors degree from Harding University and Masters degree in special education from Rutgers University. He is currently working on his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Baker University, with a research interest in mentoring new principals.
Office: VH 334C
Dr. Kelly O'Neal-Hixson currently teaches in the Department of Elementary Education/ Early Childhood/ Special Education. She loves teaching and sharing her knowledge of special education content. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education (1996). While working toward her BS, her initial interest in special education emerged. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she began working toward a Masters degree (1998) in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities. After living and working in the wonderful state of Kansas, she accepted a position in the special education Doctoral program in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she finished her Ph.D. in special education (2003). Dr. O'Neal-Hixson has five years teaching experience in the classroom (kindergarten through middle school) and seven years at the university level.
Office: VH 233
Dr. Connie Phelps directs the gifted special education program, teaches gifted program courses and supervises gifted practica experiences. Prior to her appointment as assistant professor in 2004, she taught gifted students language arts and social science classes in the Wichita public schools in grades six to eight, provided consultation services for gifted students in grades nine to twelve, and staff development in gifted education for teachers in grades K to five. Her contributions in the field of gifted education include the Kansas Association for Gifted, Talented and Creative Board of Directors Historian; National Association for Gifted Children Counseling and Guidance Network Secretary; and Standards Committee member. Dr. Phelps delivers professional presentations at state, national and international conferences with research studies in online learning, gifted girls, underachievement and creativity. She received her MS in special education-gifted from Emporia State University, MEd from East Texas State University and EdD from the University of Arkansas.
Office: VH 241
Sharon Pittman began working ½ time in the EE/EC/SE Department in August 2011. She had previously worked in county government. She assists the Chair and department faculty within the office. Sharon also works ½ time in the Office of Field Placement, Licensure & Alternate Route. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading and singing in her church choir.
Office: VH 234
Dr. Melissa Reed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood/ Special Education in the Teachers College. She teaches courses in elementary and secondary literacy (content area, ELL, and special needs reading). In 2005, she served as the Reading First Coordinator at the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence. Before joining the faculty at Emporia State University in 2008, she spent the first 20 years of her teaching career as a teacher at various grade levels in both elementary and middle school classrooms. Dr. Reed received her B.S.E. and M.S. from ESU and her Ph.D. in Literacy Education from KU. Her teaching licenses include: PK-12 reading specialist, PK-12 ESOL, K-9 elementary, and PK-12 building level administration.
Dr. Reed's research interests include adolescent literacy, ELL instruction, undergraduate action research, non-traditional schools, and literacy coaching.
Office: VH 236
Dr. Gary Rice earned his doctorate in Reading and Language Arts from Syracuse University in 1990. Dr. Rice began his teaching career in 1981 as a middle school English teacher in Independence, MO. He has taught middle and high school English in suburban New York and on a Native American Reservation. Dr. Rice has been director of the reading clinics at the University of Texas - El Paso and University of Missouri - St. Louis. His research and teaching focus is on literacy issues of adolescent learners.
Teddy is the BEST Co-Director/Advisor in El Dorado and will also be teaching. She graduated from Caldwell High School and attended Cowley County Community College & Northwestern Oklahoma State University where she received a BS in Business Administration. Roop began working for a Community Action agency and Head Start following graduation. She returned to college to work on a degree in education and graduated from the BEST Program with a BS in Elementary Education in 2007, interning in 2nd grade and student teaching in 5th grade at Grandview Elementary. Her first teaching job was at Jefferson Elementary as a 2nd grade teacher. Roop transferred to Grandview Elementary as a 1st grade teacher the following year and remained there until 2014. She received her MS-Reading Specialist endorsement from ESU in 2010. She was also a mentor teacher for the PDS program in El Dorado. Roop was accepted into KSU's Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program in the spring of 2014. Teddy lives in El Dorado with her husband and two children.
Office: VH 232
Dr. Carol L. Russell has a doctorate in Special Education; an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies; and a B.A. in Art, minoring in Psychology. She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 35 years, and teaching in the fields of Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education for 30 years. She is co-executive producer of I Can Move, an inclusive creative movement video series for children with differing abilities, produced in conjunction with South Dakota Public Television. She has been a facilitator for SIBSHOPS (supportive workshops for siblings of children with special needs). She recently authored a book on the Sandwich Generation, entitled, Sandwiched! Tales, Tips, and Tools to Balance Life in the Sandwich Generation, and co-authored a children’s book, I Like Rocks! She has authored articles and presented regionally, nationally and internationally on various topics, including: artistic creativity, inclusion, inclusive creative movement, children with special needs and their families, sibling issues of children with special needs, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, ADA and accessibility, Person First Philosophy, curriculum adaptations / modifications, public policy, and advocacy.
Sara Schwerdtfeger is an instructor in the Department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education in The Teachers College. She currently teaches methods courses for undergraduate students at ESU. Sara also supervises student teaching interns for Emporia State Professional Development School.
Sara earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Emporia State University as well as her Master's degree in Elementary Subject Matter and her Master's endorsement in Building Leadership. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University with a math education emphasis.
As a former elementary school teacher, Sara holds a Kansas Teaching License with qualifications in K-9 elementary, 5-9 middle school science, and K-9 ESL. While teaching in public schools in Kansas, she has had the opportunity to be a lead teacher in writing district curriculum and assessments and facilitate a 21st Century Learning STREAM grant in her school.
Dr. Nancy Smith has been a faculty member in elementary education at ESU since the fall of 1994, and a full professor since 2005. She earned her BSE and MSE degrees from Central Missouri State University. She taught elementary school and middle school mathematics from 1980-1990. In 1994 she completed her Ph.D. in elementary education with an emphasis in mathematics education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Smith has taught elementary mathematics methods courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Introduction to Teaching, Foundations of Curriculum, field-based mini courses, and supervised student teachers and PDS interns. Her current interests include making the learning of mathematics meaningful and motivational, using the calculator as an instructional tool, and supporting elementary teachers as they reform their instructional practices. Dr. Smith currently serves as director of the Professional Development School program in Olathe, Kansas.
Office: VH 238
Dr. Scott Waters grew up in Emporia and attended Emporia State, where he received his elementary education degree and a master's degree in administration. He taught elementary school in Emporia before earning his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Oregon in 1983. He has been on the faculty of Emporia State since 1985, teaching social studies methods, foundations of education, and curriculum design courses, and supervising elementary education interns. Dr. Waters has had the opportunity to travel and do research in China through a Fulbright program, spend six months in New Zealand conducting research on social studies methods in that country, teach for a year in the Philippines, and most recently take ESU students to Korea to teach ESL during the summers of 2007-2009. He has five children (including three ESU graduates) and his wife is a clinical dietician at the local hospital.
Amy Welch received her BS in elementary education from Northwest Missouri State University with a minor in early childhood, and her MS in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Kansas. Her experience includes six years as a classroom teacher and ten years as an elementary principal. Mrs. Welch served as the director of the Kansas City Student teaching program for Kansas State University from 1999-2005. She began working for Emporia State University in 1999 as Clinical Supervisor for student teachers. Since 2005 she has served as a coordinator for the Professional Development School program in Olathe, Kansas.