My name is Travis Dirks, and this is my 13th year of teaching at Benton Community. I taught special education in Norway for six years before moving up and teaching special education at the middle and high school levels. I also coach 8th-grade boys' basketball and high school girls' golf.
Thomas Trainer is the Chemistry Teacher at the High School. He is also the 9th Grade Boys Basketball Coach and the Varsity Girls Soccer Coach. Thomas lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife Lindsay. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, golfing, and spending time outdoors.
I grew up in northeast Iowa on a dairy farm and I wrote a book about dairy farming as part of my Master's research project. In my free time, I quilt, read, and enjoy spending time outdoors with my 3 children camping, biking, and gardening.
I am in my second year as Tanager’s Engagement Specialist at Keystone Elementary. I have loved the opportunity to collaborate with the Tanager staff as well as Benton Community in order to best support students.
Ben teaches Art at the High School.
I teach high school English classes. I also direct the fall musical, coach speech, sponsor the yearbook, and sponsor the school’s Thespian troupe. This is my 11th year at Benton, and I have worked in every building in the district.
My name is Chris Frimml. This is my first year at Benton Community. I teach first grade at Keystone Elementary. I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the district where I grew up.
I am one of the Reading Intervention teachers at Atkins Elementary. This is my 16th year teaching in the district. My husband, Justin, and I have twin girls and a boy on the way. Outside of school, I enjoy trail walks, reading, yoga, cooking, and spending time with my children.
My name is Dawn Morris and I am the Food Service Director for Benton Community. This is my 11th school year with the district. My husband and I along with our children, Craig (20), Janelle (18) and Isaac (16) moved from the Philadelphia suburbs in 2012 & are now enjoying the peaceful, Midwest life.
I teach preschool at Atkins Elementary. I have been a preschool teacher for 23 years and 4 of them have been here at Benton. Being a Bobcat has been such an amazing experience. I live in Atkins with my husband Chris and my two children Colsen (5th grade) and Annalyn (3rd grade).
I am enjoying teaching my 8th year of 3 year old preschool at Atkins Elementary. I love to hang out with my dog and take walks. I grew up an Indianola Indian, but I am very thankful to have been adopted into the Bobcat family.
I am currently the Math Interventionist at Atkins and I have loved every second of it! I have loved getting to know all the students and seeing them grow in their learning, and seeing their personalities! When I am not at Atkins, I can be found with my dog, Magnus, snuggled up ! reading a new book!
I am a 3rd Grade Teacher at Keystone Elementary. I have taught for 27 years and 24 of those have been here at Benton. I started my teaching career at Keystone Elementary as a Special Education Teacher and then transferred to 3rd Grade. I live in Keystone with my husband Mike and daughter Kaitlyn.
Steph is the School Nurse at the Middle School & High School.
I am a Kindergarten teacher at Keystone Elementary School. This is my 5th year teaching in the district. I live in Blairstown with my husband and our two daughters. I love reading and playing with my girls, and watching them experience new things.
I am a K-3 Music and Technology teacher at both Atkins and Keystone Elementaries.I am also the music director for the Fall Musical at the high school. This is my 18th year teaching in the district, and I was a 2000 graduate of Benton Community! I live in Watkins with my husband & our two children.
I have been teaching for fifteen years. This is my tenth year at Benton and all of those years have been spent teaching at Atkins Elementary. I have taught kindergarten for nine years and this is my first year venturing up to second grade!
This is my 10 year being an educator and my first year teaching and coaching here at Benton Community. My wife Jamie has taught Spanish here for 9 years. We have two beautiful children Zara (4) and Abel (2). Currently, I teach Global Affairs, American Government & Economics.
Aaron is in his 17th year at Benton Community where he serves as a Professional School Counselor, Senior Class Advisor, and Sophomore Basketball Coach. He enjoys spending time with his family, photography, coaching basketball, and fishing.
This is my 23rd year teaching at Norway Intermediate. I have taught a variety of subjects to my 6th grade students over the years which include math, reading, and language arts/writing. I have decided to retire at the end of this year to spend more time with my family.
I am in my 16th year of teaching at Benton Community. I teach 7-12 business classes. I also coach boys golf & 9/10 girls basketball. I am married to my wife Jamie & we have three kids, Brayden (16), Hailey (14), &Taylor (11). Last April I was able to take my dream trip to the Masters in Augusta, GA.
This is my 33rd year of teaching here at Benton Community. My husband and I are both graduates from Benton Community. We have 3 sons who are 21, 23 and 25 years old. We have spent many hours over the years watching them and cheering them on as they played baseball.
This is my second year of teaching but my first year teaching 5th and here at Benton! I have loved being a Benton Bobcat! Outside of school, I enjoy visiting my family back in Minnesota, listening to Taylor Swift’s music, reading, and planning future trips to Disney World!
I am in my 12th year of teaching. I am a Special Education Teacher at Atkins Elementary but have taught in multiple buildings and grade levels throughout my 9 years at Benton Community. My husband Chad and I live in Atkins & have three kids, (Jaxson, Leigha, & Logan) who are students at Benton.
Garret Albers is a high school Social Studies teacher at Benton Community. He is also an assistant football coach, 7th grade basketball coach, and and assistant golf coach. In his free time he enjoys many hobbies, but his favorite is to shout random fun facts at strangers and friends.
This is my 5th year teaching 3 year old preschool and I grow more in love with it every year!! My husband and I live in Blairstown and have 3 kids. Our daughters, Mallory and Jaden, are in college and our son, Jordan is a Sr. at Benton.
This is my 11th year teaching. My husband and I were born and raised here and now I am proud to say my three kids also attend Benton Community. I enjoy spending time with family and supporting my kids in all of their hobbies and activities.
Tyler Maschino is currently the Technology Director at Benton Community Schools. He’s been employed at Benton for the past 24 years. When he first got here email was a big deal and data was stored on 1.44 inch floppy disks. Those disks wouldn’t have the space to store one photo taken with an iPhone
I have amazing co-workers who have become wonderful friends and I truly enjoy getting to teach and share my passions with awesome kiddos and families every day. In my free time I love to stay active by running, biking, hiking, walking my dog or playing volleyball.
My hobbies outside of school include reading, fishing, keeping my many houseplants alive, and the occasional cross-stitching. This is my first year at Benton, yet I feel like I fit right in! Benton's staff and community allow me to love what I do. #APlaceToBelong
Lacey Johnson teaches 5th & 6th Grade Band at Norway Intermediate. She and her husband Owen have two daughters Aurora (2 years) & Sylvia (7 months), along with two cats and a dog. Mrs. Johnson loves teaching band here at Benton, spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and being creative.
I teach both art and technology at Atkins and only art at Keystone Elementary. It is my 4th year here in Benton Community School District. I love traveling and exploring new places! My most recent adventure was to Medellin, Colombia.
Emma Cochrane is in her 3rd year teaching 8th grade social studies at Benton Community. Along with teaching, Emma coaches middle school cross country and is an assistant high school track and field coach. Emma is also finishing up wedding plans, and getting married next month!
I have been teaching for 34 years in both domestic and international settings. I grew up in Van Horne and went to Benton Community. My husband Bill, daughter Emma and I returned to the area in 2008 to raise our family, and to be around family. I enjoy reading and traveling!
My name is Amber St. John. I'm the K-6 English as a Second Language Teacher and an interventionist at Keystone Elementary and Norway Intermediate. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a licensed massage therapist. I am blessed to be a member of the Bobcat family!
My name is Jocelyn Nimmo and I teach special education along with 3YO preschool school at Keystone Elementary. This is my 4th year teaching but 1st year in the district. Both of my stepchildren go to school in the district so I am excited to finally be a part of the Benton Community Family!
I am currently in my 15th year teaching high school math, and my 10th year teaching at Benton Community. Along with teaching, I also coach football and girls basketball. My family (Chelsey, Kinley, Cooper, and Coen) lives in Atkins and we love being a part of the Bobcat Community.
I teach special education at Atkins Elementary. I have taught special education for 11 years with the last 4 years being at Benton Community. My husband & I live in Atkins with our two children (Clara and Walton) and our two frenchies. Both of our kids are now Bobcats.
Hello! I am in my 14th year teaching special education at Benton Community High School. I wear many hats. I coach robotics, am the prom sponsor, and help with the food bank and clothing closet. I live in Atkins with my family. My older two children are both Benton Alumni.
I have served the children of Keystone Elementary for 5 years. It has been a great joy in my life to watch your children grow and learn at Keystone. When I am not at Keystone, you will find at The Hive, in other words, our farm.
My name is Lori Gleason and I am a third grade teacher at Atkins Elementary. I am in my 30th year of teaching in the Benton Community School District. We have lived in the area for 32 years and all of my children have gone or are still going to Benton Community!
I am in my 26th year of teaching here at Benton. I have taught at multiple grade levels and have coached volleyball for 13 years at Benton. I have a wife Becki, three children (Grant, Grace, and Anna), and two dogs. I enjoy coaching and watching my children compete in athletics.
I grew up in Benton County, but wore black and gold for the majority of my life (don't hold it against me). I love being a Bobcat, and I especially love being a Bobcat at Keystone Elementary, where I get to spend my days with some of the best staff and students!
Hello! My name is Taylor Dengler, and I teach 7th grade general music, 7th and 8th grade girls choir and middle school show choir, and assist with all of the high school choral groups and activities.
In the summer of 2021, I moved to Atkins with my wife, Meridith, and daughter, Moira. Our family grew last July with the birth of our son, Leo. This is our first year as Benton Bobcats. I hope that my family and I are a good contribution to the school and community.
My name is Sarah Sellers and I am a 2nd-grade teacher at Keystone Elementary. This is my second year in the district. I live in Vinton with my husband Dakoda and daughters Sevenna and Scottie.
I am in my first year teaching social studies and coaching basketball at Benton after previous stops at Marion and Janesville. My wife Nicole and I and our dog Willie live on our farm east of Atkins. I enjoy farming, sports, and anything to do with history.
I teach 5th grade in Norway. I am married to Mrs, Bergert, who also teaches in Norway & we have 3 fantastic kids, 2 dogs (a Rottweiler & a German Shepherd), a cat that lives outside & several classroom pets. I served in the military for 22 years & I have been working in public education since 2003.
I am in my 34th year of teaching; 23 of those years at Benton Community. I am a graduate of Benton class of 1983. I currently teach 4-6 gr Special Education at Norway Intermediate. I live near Amana with my husband, Joel & son, Trey. Our daughter, Holli & son-in-law Sam were also Benton graduates.
This is my fourth year as a high school science teacher at Benton. In my time here, I have been able to teach foundations of science, physics, biology, and human biology (essentially all types of science!). Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my two cats.
My name is Claire Hentges and I teach fourth grade at Norway Intermediate School. This is my third year of teaching and my first in fourth grade. I live in Cedar Rapids with my husband, two kids, and two doodles.
I am currently in my 27 th year of teaching at Benton Community. I began teaching at the Norway building in 1995 and then moved over to the Atkins building to teach kindergarten when sections were relocated. My husband and I enjoy going to Iowa basketball games and our Bernese mountain dog, Tanner.
This is my 16th year teaching at Benton Community School District. I taught Kindergarten my first two years & have spent the last 14 years as a first grade teacher. I enjoy gardening, kayaking, camping, and being outdoors. I live in Cedar Rapids with my husband Wes, and sons Henry (5) and Levi (1).
Dee Kulbartz is in her 10th year as the school nurse at Norway Intermediate. Dee and her husband, Jeremy, have three children and enjoy attending their activities, watching sports and spending time with family and friends.
I have been in education for many years, but this is my first year at Benton Community as the 7th grade math teacher. When I have free time, I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking and spending time with my incredible family. I am thrilled to be part of the Bobcat Family!
This is my 10th year of teaching. I currently teach Spanish and English as a Second Language at the MS/HS. My husband is also a teacher at the secondary level. We live in the district with our two children and future Bobcats Zara and Abel.
I am in my 30th year as an educator at Benton Community and in my first year as the Keystone Elementary Principal. I live in Atkins with my wife Tammy. My son Riley and daughter Peyton are both Benton Community graduates. The Benton Community school district is an amazing place to raise a family.
Kory is currently in his 16th year of teaching. He has spent all 16 years at Benton Community. He currently is in his first year as a 7th grade social studies after teaching it at the high school level the previous 15. Kory is going into his 12th season as the head coach of the varsity boys track.
This is my 22nd year of teaching and my second year with Benton Community School District. I have the privilege to teach special education at Norway Intermediate and enjoy being a Benton Bobcat. Mr. Bergert, who also teaches at Norway, and I have three kids (two boys and a girl) who attend Benton.
I teach Special Education at the Norway Intermediate Center. This is my 23rd year at Benton Community. I enjoy cooking and following my kids to all of their activities and events.
I teach third grade and coach sophomore volleyball. I am originally from Benton (Class of '94) and now have three kids that will graduate from here also! I have taught 3, 4, 5, and 6th grades. Go Bobcats!
Kelsey student-taught at Benton Middle & High School in the spring of 2022. She spent the last 10 years teaching yoga and dance in New York and performing as a singer/dancer around the world. She is grateful to call Norway Intermediate home.
I teach reading, math, and ELO (extended learning opportunities - formerly known as TAG) interventions to students in 4th-6th grades. Both my husband and I are former Bobcats who now work in the schools where we were once students. We just welcomed our first daughter, Alayna, in May.
This is my 8th year serving as a High School Math Teacher. I also served as a middle school football coach and will be starting my 7th year as the Head Boys Soccer Coach. It will certainly be a busy spring as my wife Alyssa and I are expecting our second child in May!
This is my 24th year teaching at Benton Community School District. I have spent 22 of those years in first grade. I also am an assistant track and field coach for the boys and girls. I also attended Benton Community and my husband and I enjoy raising our four boys in the district.
Hello! I am Ethan Kaiser and I currently teach 5th Grade in Norway. This is my first year teaching. I attended William Penn University where I competed on the Men's Golf Team. I am also going to be helping coach the Benton Boys Golf Team this season!
Mr. Platt teaches 4th through 8th grade art at Benton Community. He hails from the tri-town area of Newhall, Atkins and Norway. Mr. Platt enjoys reading and fishing when he is not creating artwork with the students.
I am the Personal Finance and Computer Applications teacher. I enjoy watching any sports and basketball is my favorite. I enjoy golfing in my free time and hanging out with my family.
My name is Abby Swiatly and I teach 4th grade at Norway Intermediate. This is my second year teaching, but my first year at Benton. I previously taught 1st grade at South Tama Elementary. So far I am loving working at Benton and I can't wait to see what this year brings!
Chris Chapman teaches K-3 PE at Keystone in the morning, 9-12 Strength and Conditioning at the High School and one class of Middle School PE. Chris graduated from Mount Vernon in 2016. Chris loves to golf.
Mrs. Tracie Kimm is in her 26th year of teaching at Benton. She currently teaches 3rd grade & loves working with the amazing students, families, & staff at Keystone Elementary. Tracie & her husband, Byran, live in Keystone. They are the proud parents of Benton grads Caleb, Hannah, & Rebecca.
My name is Ashley Lueckenotto and I teach 2nd grade at Atkins Elementary. This is my fifth year teaching, but my first year at Benton. Previously I have taught middle school. My husband and I live in Cedar Rapids, and we are both Benton grads. I am loving being back in the district!
My name is Katie Nimtz, I am in my fifth year of teaching high school special education at Benton. Katie and her husband live in Fairfax with their two cats.
Brooke Osborn has taught 24 years with 19 being at Keystone Elementary as a special education teacher. Brooke and her husband Ben live outside of Newhall. Brooke graduated from Benton Community and so did their boys Blake ('20) and Brady ('22).
Kasey Hullett is in his fifth year of teaching and second year at Benton. Kasey teaches Composition I & II, as well as Sophomore English—he is also the advisor for the D&D Club. Kasey is currently working on his second book, a YA novel titled "The Creatures of Misty Meadows".
My name is Keri Graveman and I teach 3 and 4 year old preschool at Atkins Elementary. I come from a long line of teachers, both of my parents were teachers and my grandma was a school counselor. I have 3 children that attend Benton Community Schools & 2 step-children that attend Waterloo Community.
Ashley Jones is in her sixth year teaching and third year at Benton. Ashley teaches 7th grade language arts and one section of senior English. Over the summer Ashley got married and went to Hawaii for her honeymoon.
Krystal Wright is in her 16th year as the Agriculture Education Teacher and FFA Advisor at the Benton Community MS/HS. Krystal resides in Atkins with her husband Bryan and three sons, Kaden, Bowen and Easton. When not busy with FFA, Krystal enjoys spending time with family, reading & baking .
My name is Jamie Mnayer and I teach 2nd grade at Atkins Elementary. My husband is also a teacher and teaches orchestra in Cedar Rapids. This is my 5th year of teaching, but my first year at Benton Community. I am loving it! Go Bobcats!
Heather Mayrose is in her fifth year of teaching middle school and high school language arts at Benton Community Schools. Prior to working at Benton, Heather taught overseas in the Philippines for five years and traveled through much of Southeast Asia.
Samantha Happel has been a Benton Bobcat for almost 14 years. During her time here, she has worn many "hats", with her current role as Preschool teacher being her most recent. Samantha is an avid lover of all things outdoors including hiking, camping & kayaking & she loves to travel with her family.
Tammy Franck teaches Kindergarten at the Atkins Center. This is her first year teaching at Benton, but her 18th year teaching Kindergarten. Her family moved to a farm north of Newhall and is enjoying country living! Tammy grew up as a Bobcat and is happy to be back!
My name is Samantha Kesterson, this is my fourth year at Benton Community. I teach 6th Grade Reading and serve as the Data Team Leader for our team. I student taught with Lori Gleason before teaching in Marshalltown for three years and was bound & determined to make my way back to Benton Community!
John Hayden is in his 30th year at Benton Community and works with choirs at the middle school and the high school. John and his wife, Jennifer, have 4 kids and 3 dogs. John also directs the a capella ensemble "Metro Mix", a women's competitive choral ensemble in the corridor area.
This is my second year as the school counselor at Keystone Elementary. My husband and I live outside of La Porte with our two children. I love spending time outside and with my family.
This is my second year at Benton Community High School teaching 9-12 Band and fourth year overall. When not busy with band, Mr. Lancaster is a freelance composer and arranger who enjoys going for walks and bike rides. Go Bobcats!
I teach Middle School Special Ed and Intervention. This is my first year in this role, but my 12th year with the district. I have 3 children, 2 of which have already graduated from Benton, and my 3rd who is currently a junior.
I am currently the instructional coach at Atkins Elementary, starting my seventh year here. I have also taught K-3 Intervention, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade during my 6 other years in the district. I love to spend time outside with my family including my two sons, Beau & Jace, who keep me very busy.
This is the start of my 24th year at Benton Community as an elementary counselor. Prior to that, I taught middle school math in another district for four years. My husband Matt and I live in Atkins, and my two kids are both Benton graduates.
Deputy Tyler Brandt is in his 3rd year as a School Resource Officer. He strives to be a positive influence and resource for the students. Deputy Brandt enjoys spending time with his family, camping, and DIY projects.
This is Emily’s twelfth year employed at Benton Community, beginning her first year as a Middle School/High School Instructional Coach. She has worn a lot of hats at Benton including teaching MS/HS Special Education, MS interventionist, and 7th grade Social Studies.
Kim is the Instructional Coach at Keystone Elem. & serves the district as the PK-6 Professional Development Leader. Kim has always considered herself lucky to have been born & raised a Bobcat & she enjoys creating opportunities for others to fall in love with this great community just like she has.
Jeff Furler is starting his 17th year of service to Benton Community, and also starting his 4th year of teacher leadership as an Instructional Coach at Norway Intermediate. Jeff has four children attending Benton Community Schools in three of our four centers.
This is her 4th year at Benton and 14th year as a school superintendent. Dr. Ewell earned her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2004. A fun fact….2 of her children were also at ISU at the same time she was working on her degree! In her spare time, Dr. Ewell enjoys fishing, boating and gardening.
Dr. Bieschke is completing his 3rd year as Associate Superintendent at Benton Community. Prior to this role, he was the high school principal at Benton for 13 years.
Larry Carlson is starting his 23rd year of service to Benton Community, and also starting his 3rd year of teacher leadership as an instructional coach. Larry has two children who have graduated from Benton Community and a wife who has her own business in Van Horne.
Anna and her family live in Keystone. Time outside, dinner with friends, and traveling are what they enjoy most. Anna is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Drake University.
Craig shares something you may not know about him, "My son was born six weeks early with a heart condition that has required 3 open-heart surgeries and 13 catheterizations (so far). He will now be a sophomore in high school!" We are very excited to have Mr. Huegel join the Bobcat Family!
In his free time Tim enjoys traveling with his grandchildren. Tim also loves watching sports especially the Hawks, Cubs and Packers!
My children attend Benton Community and we have been so impressed with the School District! I love to read, attend my kids activities, and I am a lifelong learner. I am excited to be a part of the Bobcat Community!
I currently live in Van Horne and feel part of the community already. I student taught at Benton HS, so I know most of the student & students. I have wanted to be in the Education field since 5th grade.
I graduated from Benton in 2010 and am excited to be a Bobcat again! I am a Mom of 3 kids, ages 6, 4, and 1. We are looking forward to lots of time together this summer.
We boast both the benefits of a small town atmosphere with the rich advantages of being located in a prosperous area of Iowa, and we call the benefits and core values we embody, THE BOBCAT WAY!
Our school district embraces the best of each of our community's rich traditions and celebrations and combines those strengths as the foundation and character of our school district.
Small Class Sizes
Our elementary schools average 19 students per classroom. For next year, we anticipate an additional section of Kindergarten and 1st grade!
Focus on Literacy
Our district participates in the Literacy Project, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education. We are focusing on literacy and reading in our elementary classrooms and will provide acceleration and enrichment for our students K-6th .
We are a one-to-one laptop or iPad school for all of our students. Students use either Chromebooks or iPads, depending on their age.
Benton Community School District's geographic footprint covers 342 square miles and includes the communities of Atkins, Blairstown, Elberon, Keystone, Newhall, Norway, Van Horne, and Watkins.