Seed to STEM Lead Teachers

Nine Kansas teachers have been selected to lead the Seed to STEM summer workshops and to conduct mini workshops during the school year. Dedicated to training middle school and high school science teachers, these lead teachers will provide hands-on instruction teaching labs related to ethanol, biotechnology and corn production.

  • KS Corn - James Burk View Bio
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    James Burk grew up in a farming family and has taught biology, chemistry and physics in Kansas for 20 years. He received both his Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Science Education from Fort Hays State University 2014. His focus is engaging students in doing science, and he is currently a high school science teacher at Trego Community High School in WaKeeney.

  • KS Corn - Brent Conner View Bio
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    Brent Conner has taught middle school science for five years. He received his undergraduate degrees at Kansas Wesleyan University and earned a Doctor of Chiropractic
    degree from Logan College of Chiropractic. After spending over eight years as a practicing chiropractor, he earned his Alternate Route to Teaching Certificate from Emporia
    State University. Brent is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade science at South Middle School in Salina.

  • KS Corn - Lacie Fair View Bio
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    Lacie Fair has taught biology in Kansas for 11 years. She received her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Secondary Education from K-State and her master’s degree in Special Education from Fort Hays State University. Her focus is bringing authentic hands-on science experiences to students of all ability levels. She currently teaches biology at Newton High School and is working with an interdisciplinary team of teachers to create and teach in an agriculture career academy.

  • KS Corn - Brian Nelson View Bio
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    Brian Nelson has been teaching in the Wichita Public Schools for 19 years. He teaches 8th grade science at Hadley Middle School where he also coaches the Science Olympiad team and girls’ basketball. Brian has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Curriculum and Instruction from Wichita State University. He believes in giving back to the profession and conducts workshops throughout the state. Brian believes strongly in a highly engaging labbased approach to teaching science and hands-on project-based learning.

  • KS Corn - Chris Remmich View Bio
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    Chris Remmich has been teaching science in Kansas for six years. He earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry education from Pittsburg State University. Chris is currently teaching chemistry, zoology and biotechnology at Garden City High School. He loves using current technology and hands-on labs to prepare students for their future careers.

  • KS Corn - Shelly Robinson View Bio
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    Shelly Robinson has taught science for 28 years and teaches at Santa Fe Trail High School in Carbondale. She taught for 20 years at the middle school level and the last eight years she has taught high school biology, energy science and earth science. Shelly earned her Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Southwestern College and a Master’s in curriculum and instruction from St. Mary College. Her passion is working with students to help them find their niche inlife to pursue a career path that will enable them to be successful and accomplished.

  • KS Corn - Jessica Sadler View Bio
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    Jessica Sadler has been a teacher in Kansas for the last seven years. She spent one year teaching 3rd grade and four years teaching 5th grade before moving to the middle school level. Jessica now teaches 6th grade science and facilitates the STEM Connection program at Oregon Trail Middle School in Olathe. Jessica attended the University of Kansas and holds a Master’s Degree in special education. Jessica’s goal in teaching is to provide authentic and engaging learning opportunities that push students to new heights.

  • KS Corn - Blake Smith View Bio
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    Blake Smith has been teaching earth science, biology, and emerging technologies at Maize South High School for the past eight years. He holds a Master of Art in Teaching degree from Wichita State University, and a Master of Educational Administration degree from Emporia State University. Before becoming a teacher, Blake was a broadcast meteorologist for ten years. He is passionate about showing students real world applications in science.

  • KS Corn - Bill Welch View Bio
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    Bill Welch has taught biology for 29 years at Derby High School, Mulvane High School, and Wichita North High School. He currently teaches biology and AP biology at Derby High School. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Newman University and a Master of Science in Biology from Emporia State University. He has a passion for student-generated research and has had numerous students present and publish research. Bill teaches science with the premise that students only really learn science by doing science.

Inquiry Ambassadors

Inquiry Ambassadors are a select group of elementary teachers who have been trained to share their excitement and experiences using inquiry-based learning in the classroom. The Kansas Corn Commission supports their efforts in traveling across the state training other teachers during professional development workshops about inquiry-based instruction using corn and soybeans as model organisms.

  • KS Corn - Dennis Eickhoff View Bio
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    Dennis Eickhoff currently teaches 6th grade and has for the past 14 years at Frank Bergman Elementary in Manhattan. Eickhoff earned his Associates in arts engineering at Mount San Antonio Junior College; Bachelor of Science in liberal studies and elementary education from Oregon State University and a Master of Science from Kansas State University. Eickhoff takes part in the education industry serving on the professional development committee, member of the building leadership team and multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) mentor. His focus is on developing students who are thinkers, inquiry-based problem solvers, who can communicate to solve world problems and make improvements for all. He feels it is exciting to watch students learn something new.

  • KS Corn - Shane Fairchild View Bio
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    Shane Fairchild has taught mostly 5th grade for the past seven years at Milford Elementary and this year he is teaching both 5th and 4th grade students. Fairchild is a graduate of Kansas State University. He is involved in the education community as he serves on the building leadership team and is on the 5th grade district curriculum and technology committees. Fairchild’s favorite part of teaching is the impact he is making on his students. He enjoys learning how he has impacted students’ lives. His goal as a teacher is to maximize student learning; as inquiry-based learning is the most motivating way to foster engagement and curiosity.

  • KS Corn - Cindy Norris View Bio
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    Cindy Norris brings 34 years of teaching experience and has spent most of that time teaching 6th grade with eight years instructing 3rd grade. She currently teaches 6th grade at Lee Elementary School in Manhattan. Norris earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Kansas State University. She enjoys working with kids and helping them build their confidence. She loves seeing the pride students show in their accomplishments. Norris is active in her local Kansas National Education Association (KNEA). Her passion for inquiry-based learning comes from her success with student centered engagement and watching students act on their curiosities.

  • KS Corn - Josh Runyan View Bio
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    Josh Runyan has taught 5th graders at Spring Valley Elementary in Junction City for the past five years and taught one year in special education. Runyan earned his Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Kansas State University. He serves as the director who leads the club Code Ninjas; which focuses on building tech literacy. Runyan says science is his favorite subject to teach, he enjoys proving student’s misconceptions wrong with experiment they create. He supports inquiry-based learning because it is authentic, student led, and teacher supported. Through his own teaching he has found that inquiry-based teaching takes practice and sometimes failing, but the result is worth it.

Teacher Advisory Board

Kansas Corn Commission strives to provide high quality and useful resources and programs to support teachers. Educators from across the state of Kansas serve on the Teacher Advisory Board providing guidance and expertise to assist the Kansas Corn Commission’s in developing and achieving their educational initiatives.

  • Wendy Calderwood, Ninth through Twelfth grade Teacher, Sterling High School, Sterling
  • Dennis Eickoff, Six Grade Teacher, Bergman Elementary, Manhattan
  • Lacie Fair, Biology Teacher, Newton High School, Newton
  • Shawn Fiscuss, Third Grade Teacher, Black Bob Elementary, Olathe
  • Dale Jessup, Ag education Instructor, Scott Community High School, Scott City
  • Jandee Kruse, Second Grade Teacher, William Allen White Elementary, Emporia
  • Mark Meyer, Ag Education Instructor, Marion High School, Marion
  • Jake Rutledge, Ag Education Instructor, Beloit High School, Beloit
  • Blake Smith, Science Department Head, Maize South High School, Wichita
  • Nancy Smith, First Grade Teacher, Bentwood Elementary, Olathe
  • Elizabeth Tackett, Elementary Teacher, Garinder Elementary, Wichita
  • KaCee Thompson, Ag Education Instructor, Hiawatha High School, Hiawatha