Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education
Faculty and Staff
MATT SEIMEARS, Ph.D., Department Chair, Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 241, 620-341-6057
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 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.
MARY BENJAMIN, Administrative Assistant
Visser Hall, Rm 241, 620-341-5367
Mary Benjamin joined the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education in 2010. She assists the department chair and faculty and with the PDS Program. She splits her time between working for the department and The Teachers College Dean’s Office.
Before joining Emporia State, Benjamin worked for the Chase County School District for 13 years.
ARLENE DODGE, Administrative Specialist
Visser Hall, Rm 241, 620-341-5750
Arlene Dodge has worked for the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education since 2004, previously working on campus in the student loan office. She manages the office and assists the department chair and faculty with their responsibilities at Emporia State.
SHARON PITTMAN, Administrative Assistant
Visser Hall, Rm 241, 620-341-5445
Sharon Pittman began working half-time in the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education in August 2011. She assists the department chair and faculty within the office. She also works half-time in the Office of Field Placement, Licensure & Alternate Route.
She previously worked in county government. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading and singing in her church choir.
M. ROBERT AMAN, M.S., Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 341, 620-341-5822
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. Aman then returned to Emporia where he received his master of science degree in psychology with a concentration in special education at Emporia State Teachers College. He 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.
CATHERINE AYANTOYE, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 342, 620-341-5093
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 before she moved to Emporia. She began working at Emporia State in 2014.
Dr. Ayantoye works 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.
She earned a master's of arts degree in special education in the area of learning disabilities, emotional behavior disorders and intellectual disabilities at Appalachian State University, where she was also licensed in K-12 teaching. She earned two bachelor's degrees - one in the area of deaf and hard of hearing and the other in Christian religious education.
KAREN BATES, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Kansas City, 620-341-5445
Dr. 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. She received her bachelor's of science in elementary education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master's 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.
Prior to coming to Emporia State in 2010, Dr. Bates 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. Dr. Bates 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.
KAREN BEVIS, Advisor
ESU Elementary Education Advising Office
913-469-8500 ext 3676
Karen Bevis joined the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education in 2011. Before joining Emporia State 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.
LENDI BLAND, Ph.D., M.S., Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 230
Dr. Lendi L. Bland has been a member of the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education faculty since 2000. Previously, she was an assistant professor and licensure officer at Sterling College and an adjunct faculty member at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky. She also taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades in Kansas and arts/humanities at two elementary schools in Russell Springs, Kentucky. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emporia State, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University.
At Emporia State, Dr. 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.
MARJ BOCK, Ph.D., Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 305
Dr. Marj Bock teaches graduate courses in special education, including Assessment in Schools, Advanced Behavioral Interventions, and Strategies for Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Her 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.
Dr. Bock worked in special education for more than 30 years, first as a special educator working with K-12 students with severe behavior disorders or autism and more recently as a higher education faculty member.
She earned an master's degree in emotional disturbance from Emporia State and a doctorate in special education from the University of Kansas. Dr. Bock developed and directed the Global Rural Autism/Asperger Information Network (GRAAIN) at the University of North Dakota.
SHARON BROWN, Elementary Advising Office Coordinator
Visser Hall, Rm 225
Sharon Brown joined the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education in 2008. Before joining Emporia State 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.
She 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.
HEATHER CASWELL, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 306
Dr. 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. Dr. Caswell is English as a Second Language endorsed and is a NBPTS Certified Candidate Support Provider for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards candidates.
A Teacher of Promise and Horizon Award recipient, Dr. Caswell has seven years of teaching experience in early childhood education as well as experience supervising preservice teachers in various pK-12 educational settings. As a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, she 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. Dr. Caswell actively serves as the liaison between The Teachers College and the Center for Early Childhood Education.
GERRY COFFMAN, Ed.D., Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 240
Dr. Gerry Coffman is professor and director of reading in the Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education. She 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.
She 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.
MARLA DARBY, M.S., Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 350
Marla Darby has a passion for teaching children who learn differently from their typical peers. Her professional goal is to share her passion with future teachers and guide their thinking to include all children in their planning and teaching.
Darby has taught children who receive special education services, coordinated assistive technology services, and consulted on IEP teams during her professional career. In her time at Emporia State, she has been the director of The Teachers College Resource Center and taught as an adjunct instructor for many years.
BETH DOBLER, Ph.D., Professor, PDS Coordinator - Topeka
Visser Hall, Rm 235
Dr. Beth Dobler teaches reading and language arts courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level at Emporia State. She is also the coordinator for the Topeka Professional Development School program. Dobler spent the first 13 years of her teaching career as a classroom teacher in kindergarten, first, third, and sixth grades.
Dr. Dobler joined the Emporia State faculty in 1998 and earned her doctorate in 2002 from Kansas State University. Her 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.
NELDA EPP, M.S., Clinical Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 222
Nelda Epp teaches undergraduate courses in Reading Improvement and Special Topics, Reading Lab Practicum, and Introduction to Teaching. In addition to these, she is the Director of the Reading and Academic Success Center for Emporia State. Her focus, through the center, is to help ensure the academic success of our students through assistance and the design of individualized improvement programs. Epp 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. She joined the faculty at Emporia State in 2008.
Epp has a bachelor's in elementary education and a master's in curriculum and instruction/reading specialist, both earned at Emporia State. For 14 years she taught 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.
She is an active member of the Kansas Reading Association. Epp 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.
SONJA EZELL, Assistant Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 241
Dr. Sonja Ezell is a professor at Emporia State University. She earned her doctorate at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has worked as an elementary classroom teacher and as a Reading Coach. In addition to teaching literacy courses, Dr. Ezell is an active member of the Kansas Reading Association and the International Reading Association. Her research interests include early literacy experiences and beginning reading instruction. Additionally, she is an avid supporter of the "Read to Your Bunny" program.
MARI WHEELER FLAKE, PDS Coordinator/Instructor
Dr. Mari Wheeler Flake earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in mathematics education from the University of Kansas. Her areas of concentration were elementary mathematics and special education. She received her bachelor's in elementary education from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. She then received her master's in special education, adaptive curriculum, from the University of Kansas.
TIFFANY HILL, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
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. She received her bachelor's in elementary education from William Jewell College, her master's in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and 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. Her interests include elementary teacher interpretation of and response to student work in the areas of mathematics and science, and student understanding of early number.
JILL JONES, M.S., Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 336
Jill Jones is currently teaching undergraduate methods courses. She supervises student teaching interns for Emporia State Professional Development School.
Jones earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and elementary education as well as her master's degree in elementary subject matter from Emporia State. She holds a Kansas Teaching License with qualifications in K-6 elementary and K-6 ESL.
She has taught third, fourth and fifth grade students and in a dual language program. Jones has served as a lead teacher in writing district curriculum and assessments. She also has trained pre-service and in-service teachers working with second language learners.
DEB LARSON, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 231
Dr. Deb Larson teaches reading and language arts methods courses. She joined the faculty of Emporia State in 2008 after spending 25 years in elementary education as a kindergarten teacher and reading specialist. Dr. Larson earned her master's and her doctorate from Kansas State University. Her research interests include 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. Dr. Larson is a past president of the Kansas Reading Association. She has been published in the Kansas Journal of Reading, the Kansas English Journal, and Utah Parent Newsletter.
JERRY LISS, Ph.D., Associate Department Chair, Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 320
Dr. Jerry Liss is an assistant professor of special education at Emporia State.
He taught high school students in the Lincoln Public Schools (Nebraska), where he worked as a teacher and special education vocational evaluator. Following that, Dr. Liss 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 master's degree in educational psychology and his bachelor's degree in psychology both at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his associate's degree at Platte Community College.
LAWRENCE LYMAN, Ph.D., Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 239
Dr. Larry Lyman teaches classes in classroom management, social studies methods and curriculum development. He also serves as a coordinator for the Professional Development Schools program. Dr. Lyman's research includes the areas of cooperative learning, integrated curriculum, working with student teachers, and instructional supervision.
Before joining the faculty at Emporia State, he taught elementary grades in California and Kansas and served as an elementary school principal.
He received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University.
LORI MANN, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 237
Dr. Lori Mann's current professional responsibilities include teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate reading classes, and advising undergraduate and graduate students. Her primary interests are in the areas of remedial reading instruction (all ages), vision and learning, and traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Mann holds earned her bachelor's and master's from Emporia State. In 2006, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in curriculum and instruction with emphases in reading and special education (traumatic brain injury).
In 1989, Dr. Mann returned to her alma mater as an instructor. Previously, she 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.
EARL MARTIN, M.S., Instructor
Earl 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. He came to ESU in 2011 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.
Martin received his bachelor's degree from Harding University and master's 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.
KELLY O'NEAL-HIXSON, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 334C
Dr. Kelly O'Neal-Hixson loves teaching and sharing her knowledge of special education content.
While working toward her undergraduate degree in elementary education, her interest in special education emerged. After receiving her bachelor's, she began working toward a master's degree in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities. After living and working in Kansas, she accepted a position in the special education doctoral program in Las Vegas, Nevada where she finished her Ph.D. in special education.
Dr. O'Neal-Hixson has five years teaching experience in the classroom (kindergarten through middle school) and seven years at the university level.
CONNIE PHELPS, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 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 9-12, and staff development in gifted education for teachers in grades K to five. She received her master's in special education-gifted from Emporia State, M.Ed. from East Texas State University and Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Phelps's 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. She delivers professional presentations at state, national and international conferences with research studies in online learning, gifted girls, underachievement and creativity.
MELISSA REED, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 234
Dr. Melissa Reed 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 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 bachelor's and master's from Emporia State and her Ph.D. in Literacy Education from the University of Kansas. Her teaching licenses include: PK-12 reading specialist, PK-12 ESOL, K-9 elementary, and PK-12 building level administration.
Her research interests include adolescent literacy, ELL instruction, undergraduate action research, non-traditional schools, and literacy coaching.
GARY RICE, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 236
Dr. Gary Rice earned his doctorate in reading and language arts from Syracuse University in 1990. He began his teaching career in 1981 as a middle school English teacher in Independence, Missouri. 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.
TODD ROBERTS, BEST Advisor/PDS Supervisor
Todd Roberts teaches method courses along with his role as BEST Advisor and PDS Supervisor in El Dorado and Andover.
He earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Emporia State University in 2008. Roberts worked as a graduate assistant in Elementary Advising in 2009-10 while getting his master's in elementary subject matter.
After graduating, he taught one year at Lowther North Intermediate School in Emporia. Roberts and his family then moved to Derby, Kansas where he taught third grade for four years in an open-concept classroom at Tanglewood Elementary. He also earned a second master's degree in educational leadership from Wichita State University.
TEDDY ROOP, M.S., Advisor/Instructor
Wichita metro phone 316-733-3375
Teddy Roop teaches along with her role as the BEST Co-Director/Advisor in El Dorado. She graduated from Caldwell High School and attended Cowley County Community College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University where she received a bachelor's 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 second grade and student teaching in fifth grade at Grandview Elementary. Her first teaching job was at Jefferson Elementary as a second grade teacher. Roop transferred to Grandview Elementary as a first grade teacher the following year and remained there until 2014.
She received her MS-Reading Specialist endorsement from ESU in 2010. She has served as 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. She lives in El Dorado with her husband and two children.
CAROL RUSSELL, Ed.D., Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 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 taught 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. Dr. Russell has been a facilitator for Supportive Workshops for Siblings of Children with Special Needs (SIBSHOPS). 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!
Dr. Russell 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, M.S., Instructor
Visser Hall, Rm 335
Sara Schwerdtfeger currently teaches methods courses for undergraduate students at Emporia State. She also supervises student teaching interns for Emporia State's Professional Development School.
Schwerdtfeger earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Emporia State 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, Schwerdtfeger 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.
NANCY SMITH, Ph.D., Professor, PDS Director - Olathe
Dr. Nancy Smith has been a faculty member in elementary education at Emporia State since the fall of 1994, and a full professor since 2005. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Central Missouri.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.
She currently serves as director of the Professional Development School program in Olathe, Kansas.
SCOTT WATERS, Ph.D., Professor
Visser Hall, Rm 238
Dr. Scott Waters grew up in Emporia and attended Emporia State, where he received his bachelor's degree in elementary education and his 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.
Dr. Waters 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. He 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 Emporia State students to Korea to teach ESL.
He has five children (all of whom have attended, are attending, or have graduated from Emporia State); his wife is a clinical dietician at the local hospital.
AMY WELCH, M.S., PDS Coordinator - Olathe
Amy Welch received her bachelor's in elementary education from Northwest Missouri State University with a minor in early childhood, and her master's in educational policy and administration from the University of Kansas. She worked six years as a classroom teacher and 10 years as an elementary principal.
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 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.