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KDS Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

KDS DAR School is pleased to welcome new faces to its faculty and staff for the

2023-2024 school year.

 

KDS DAR Elementary welcomes Tracie Ford to its faculty as a teacher of second grade. A graduate of Crossville High School, Tracie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Athens State University. She comes to KDS having taught previously at Albertville Elementary. Tracie and her husband Nathanael reside in Boaz with their 11-year-old daughter Kinsley, who is a student at Boaz Middle School. In her free time Tracie enjoys spending time with her family and pets. She also enjoys researching her family history. Tracie states, “I look forward to getting to know all of my new students and helping them reach their fullest potential.”

 

KDS DAR Middle School welcomes Stephen Jackson, who will teach Middle School Physical Education. He will also serve as the Patriot Football team’s offensive coordinator/offensive line coach and as an assistant baseball coach. A 2007 graduate of Wilcox Academy, Stephen holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education from the University of West Alabama. He has 11 years of teaching experience at schools in Alabama and Tennessee. Stephen and his wife Emily live in Horton, Alabama, with their 3-month-old daughter Charlotte. Stephen is a big fan of the University of Alabama football and Atlanta Braves baseball and in his free time enjoys grilling and playing the drums. Stephen states, “My family and I are excited to join the DAR Middle School staff! We look forward to building new relationships and bringing new energy to Grant. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this community!”

 

KDS Elementary School welcomes KDS Class of 2018 graduate Shelby Baugh Sanders as she joins the staff as a first grade teacher. Shelby first earned an Associate Degree at Northeast Alabama Community College, then went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of West Alabama. She comes to KDS with one year of classroom experience as a Pre-K auxiliary teacher and another year as a first grade teacher. Shelby and her husband, Blade, who is U.S. Marine Corps veteran recently moved back home to Grant after living the past three years in North Carolina. Her hobbies include shopping and working in her classroom. She states, “I am so excited for my first year teaching first grade at KDS DAR Elementary! It is truly such a special place, and I cannot wait to share that with my students. I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach where I spent all of my childhood school days learning!”

 

KDS DAR High School welcomes Jeff Helms to the position of language arts teacher. He will also serve as the Middle School basketball coach. A 1989 graduate of Gadsden Christian School, Jeff earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Jacksonville State University and later a Master’s Degree from the University of West Alabama. He comes to KDS with 20 years’ teaching experience including one year at Albertville High School and 19 years at Rainbow Middle School. Jeff and his wife, Andra, reside in Guntersville with their 19-year-old son, Elijah, who is a student at Snead State Community College. Jeff’s hobbies include officiating football, volleyball, and soccer games and sailing on Lake Guntersville. He is also working towards his Doctoral Degree at Liberty University. He states, “I am excited to be a DAR Patriot!”


 

KDS is happy to welcome KDS Class of 1982 graduate Kim Kennamer Smith to the position of counselor at KDS Middle School. A very familiar face at KDS, Kim taught 2nd grade at KDS Elementary while working towards her Master’s Degree in School Counseling. She then served as counselor at Grassy Elementary School for five years before returning to KDS Elementary as counselor for 11 years. During that time, Kim furthered her education as she earned an Educational Specialist degree in School Counseling and an additional certification in School Psychometry. For the past four years, she has worked in Madison County as a school psychometrist. This will be her 25th year in education. Kim’s husband, Kent, is a KDS school bus driver. She has four grown children who are all KDS graduates; daughters Erica Sutphin Stewart (KDS Class of 2000) and Ashton Sutphin Brown (2004), son Trey Sutphin (2006), and stepson Caleb Smith (2018). Kim very much enjoys spending time with her five grandsons. She states, “I have many happy memories of KDS, both as a student and as an educator. I am happy to be back on the KDS campus, and I am looking forward to serving as the KDS Middle School counselor.”


 

Julia “McKinnon” Smith joins the faculty at KDS Elementary as a first grade teacher. A 2008 graduate of Guntersville High School, McKinnon then earned her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama. She has eight years’ experience in the education field working with children with special needs, and then moving to general education. This will be her second year as a first grade teacher. McKinnon and her husband, Parker, live in Guntersville with their sons Campbell, age 4, who is a Pre-K student, and Cal, who is 3 years old. McKinnon especially enjoys spending time with her family and reading. She also says that the beach is her “happy place”. She states, “I have loved being with my DAR family since the first day I walked into the school after being hired. Everyone has been so welcoming and there is such a warm, homey feeling here. This year is going to be so much fun, and I look forward to getting the school year started!”

 

KDS Middle School welcomes Sandy Lang Campbell to the position of math interventionist. A KDS graduate of the Class of 1985, Sandy went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Athens State University in 1989. She also earned a Master’s of Elementary Education from the University of Alabama in 1991. She comes back to KDS with 15 years classroom experience in Marshall County Schools. Sandy has one daughter, Kinsley Sims, who is in 7th grade at KDS. They reside in Grant. In her free time Sandy enjoys attending KDS sports teams’ events, vegetable gardening, and watching college football. She states, “I am thrilled to be back at the ‘Gem of Gunter Mountain’! There is no place like home!”

 

KDS Elementary School welcomes Katie Whitaker Maynard to its staff as math interventionist and STEM teacher. A 2016 graduate of KDS, Katie received her Associate’s Degree from Coastal Alabama Community College where she also was a member of the volleyball team. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary/Collaborative Education K-6 at Athens State University and then a Master’s in Elementary Education at the University of West Alabama. She comes to KDS with two years’ classroom experience having taught special education at Albertville Intermediate School. Katie’s husband, Jacob, is a teacher at KDS DAR High School. They reside in Grant with daughter Caroline, age 3, and son Cooper, who is 2 months old. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time with family, going on walks, attending sporting events, and shopping. She states, “I am so excited to be back home at DAR! I look forward to growing as a teacher here and helping to shape young children, just as this school shaped me and made me want to go into education. I love this school and this town. It truly is a special place to be!”


 

KDS High School welcomes Kevin Knight to the position of business education teacher. He will also serve as defensive coordinator of the high school football team and assistant baseball coach. A 2009 graduate of Fairview High School, Kevin completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education Social Science at Athens State University in 2016. He later earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Auburn Montgomery in 2022. He comes to KDS with five years’ classroom experience. In his free time, Kevin enjoys hunting, fishing, working out, and watching sports. He states, “I am excited to be here at KDS. I look forward to having a positive impact on the lives of the students this school year.”

 

KDS Middle School welcomes Emily Mitchell as a new 6th grade math teacher. A 2010 graduate of Guntersville High School, Emily earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Education Studies at the University of Alabama in 2013 and went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Secondary Math Education at Samford University in 2015. She later furthered her studies at the University of Alabama, earning a Post-Master’s Certificate in Instructional Leadership in 2022. She comes to KDS with nine years of classroom experience at Minor High School, Douglas Middle School, and Douglas High School. She has been married to newly named KDS Middle School Assistant Principal Trevor Mitchell for five years. They have two sons; Parker, who is 3, and 1-year-old Carter. They are expecting a 3rd son in December. The family resides in Guntersville. In her free time Emily loves being with her family. They especially enjoy travel and spending time at the lake. She states, “I’m looking forward to learning and growing with the 6th grade class at KDS DAR!”

 

KDS Elementary welcomes Kerri Treece Hill to its faculty in the position of 2nd grade teacher. A 2008 graduate of Woodville High School, Kerri earned her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science at Snead State Community College in 2010 and later an Associate’s Degree in General Education at Calhoun Community College. She then went on to Athens State University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2017. She comes to KDS with six years’ classroom experience having taught 5th grade in Huntsville City Schools. Kerri and her husband, Kenny, live in the Paint Rock community with their daughter Treece, age 13, and son Kooper, age 12. They are both students at KDS Middle School. In her free time Kerri enjoys spending time with family, reading, and attending Auburn sporting events. She states, “I feel so blessed to be able to teach at DAR. I can’t wait to build relationships and help my students grow!”

 

KDS High School welcomes Nicole Brook Ledbetter as she joins the staff as Access virtual learning facilitator. A 1996 KDS graduate, Nicole holds an Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education from Snead State Community College and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and Adult Education with a Biology Endorsement from Athens State University. She has one daughter, Callie Ann, who graduated KDS High School in the spring, and one son, Noah, who is a sophomore at KDS. Nicole and her children reside in Scottsboro. In her free time, Nicole enjoys watching her son play basketball, walking, hiking, and going to the beach. She states, “I am very happy to be able to work at KDS. I enjoyed my time here as a student, and I look forward to many years working with students.”

 

KDS Elementary welcomes Shelby Morgan Smith to its staff where she will teach music and art to students in kindergarten through 4th grade. A 2010 graduate of Hamilton High School, Shelby earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Athens State University in 2022 and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts at the University of North Alabama. She completed an internship in a first grade classroom at Caldwell Elementary and has taught Pre-K at Nelson Elementary. Shelby and her husband, Trevor, have 3 children. Their sons River (3rd grade) and Charley (kindergarten) are students at KDS and daughter Norah is 3-years-old. The family resides in Grant. In her free time, Shelby enjoys spending time with family, exploring the outdoors, live music, and doing arts and crafts. She states, “I am so excited to be at KDS Elementary teaching music and art! Teaching is a passion of mine, and I am grateful to be here in this wonderful school with all the awesome kids!”


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1 Comment


Ann Harder
Ann Harder
Aug 25, 2023

I am a sustaining supporter of KDS. It is wonderful to see so many KDS graduates return to KDS as faculty and staff. Congratulations! Wishing you a successful school year.

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