New educators join school district

Lisa Depies
Teachers and administrators new to the Geneseo School District were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Evangelism Committee at Grace? United Methodist church. Pictured are, front row, from left: Janelle Kaiser, Southwest second grade; Thomas Ryerson, middle-school associate principal; and Matthew Eastlick, high-school science. Back row, from left: Heather Marsh, high-school special education; Amy Feely, middle-school guidance counselor; Dee Humphries, Ladders to Learning parent educator; Michelle Garrison, middle-school art; and Christine O’Malley, Ladders to Learning. Not pictured is sixth-grade teacher David Martin.

The 2008-09 school year in Geneseo started on Aug. 26 with several new faces. Eight new educators have joined the district. New staff members include:

Amy Feely

Amy Feely is a counselor at Geneseo Middle?School. A native of Wataga, Feely graduated from? Western Illinois University.

Prior to joining the Geneseo School District, Feely worked as an agency counselor with the Youth Service Bureau in Rock Island.

Feely said she decided to come to Geneseo because “I have heard great things about the school, and they have an excellent counseling program.”

She said she’s looking forward to “meeting the students and teachers and, hopefully, having a positive impact on the school.”

Matthew Eastlick

Matthew Eastlick teaches freshman earth science and sophomore biology at Geneseo High?School. Originally from Belmot, Wis., Eastlick graduated from the? University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2008.

“This will be my first teaching job out of college,” said Eastlick. “I chose Geneseo for many reasons, but the one that stands out is the sense of community that I?got from the school district and the town. ?I believe this quality makes a school district, and a town, great. I’m looking forward to getting involved in both the district and the community.”

Thomas Ryerson

Thomas Ryerson is the associate principal at Geneseo Middle School. Ryerson lives in Geneseo and attended the University of Iowa for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Ryerson was the principal at the K-8 Eagle Ridge School in Carbon Cliff for the past three years. Prior to that, he spent two years teaching in Rock Island, one year teaching in Peoria and two years teaching in Carbon Cliff.

“Geneseo schools are outstanding, and I?have always wanted to be an administrator in the district that my children will be attending,” Ryerson said. “I look forward to meeting all the new students, staff and parents and to working collaboratively with everyone to continue to make Geneseo School District an  outstanding place for children to attend school.”

Christine O’Malley

Christine O’Malley is a Ladders to Learning preschool teacher at Southwest Elementary School.

A native of Elgin, O’Malley graduated from Northern Illinois? University in 2008.

“My boyfriend, Andrew Dewey, lives in Geneseo and introduced me to the area. I thought moving to Geneseo would be a great fit for me,” said O’Malley. “I found out I got the position in May, and I have been here since June, and?I am loving it here.

“Since this is my first year teaching, I’m looking forward to everything. I?am so excited to teach in the Geneseo School District.”

Janelle Kaiser

Janelle Kaiser is a second-grade teacher at Southwest? Elementary School. Originally from

Morrison, Kaiser graduated from Northern Illinois University.

Prior to coming to the Geneseo School District, Kaiser spent a year teaching fourth grade at Prophetstown Elementary.

“The community of Geneseo has a strong reputation of providing a quality, well-rounded education,” said Kaiser. “I am looking forward to the new challenge of teaching second grade, as well as getting to know each of my students throughout the school year.”

Heather Marsh

Heather Marsh is a special education teacher at Geneseo High School. A Hampton native, Marsh now lives in Silvis.

She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology  with a minor in biology from Northern Illinois University and an undergraduate degree in education from St. Ambrose University. Marsh also has a masters of education in special education from St. Ambrose.

For the past two years, Marsh has taught at Moline High School. Prior to that, she served as a long-term substitute at Muscatine High School.

“I became interested in the Geneseo School District because of its smaller atmosphere,” said Marsh. “I?am looking forward to meeting all of my new colleagues and students. I?am also very excited to be the freshman girls’ volleyball coach this season.”

David Martin

David Martin is a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Geneseo Middle School. Originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, Martin attended the University of Iowa.

From 2000 until the end of the 2007 school year, Martin taught in Bettendorf.

Martin said he’s “looking forward to meeting the new students and staff” at?Geneseo Middle School.

Michelle Garrison

Michelle Garrison teaches seventh- and eighth-grade art at Geneseo Middle School and one class of art at the high school. Originally from Moline, Garrison attended Northern Illinois University.

“I chose Geneseo because I?feel that it is just the right size of school district ... not too big, not too small,” said Garrison. “I am looking forward to trying new ideas and meeting new students.”