Rachael Davis: Learning support teacher, Bellefonte Area High School
Hello, my name is Rachael Davis and I am a learning support teacher at Bellefonte Area High School and the transition coordinator for the district. I started at Bellefonte Area School District in the fall of 2015 as a learning support teacher and transitioned to the role of life skills teacher that same year. I filled the role of the life skills teacher from the spring of 2015 to the fall of 2019. Prior to Bellefonte, I worked in the mental health and alternative education fields as a clinical teacher and an emotional support teacher. In 2011, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in special education with a minor in psychology from Lock Haven University, in 2016, earned a Master of Education degree in reading from Edinboro.
While working at Bellefonte, I have completed the Tucci Competent Learner Model program, which is based on a behavioral analysis of functional language. I also worked closely with the ICAN Talk Clinic of Pittsburgh, implementing various strategies to allow learners to communicate independently by utilizing their Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices. As the transition coordinator, my focus is on getting students prepared for their life after high school. I work with OVR, CareerLink, ACRES and a number of other service providers to give students exposure to employment and education options after high school. I work with students to identify their long-term goals (careers) and then help them develop and achieve their short-term goals (college, work readiness, etc.). I also assist them with accessing the various services available to them through agencies such as the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and more.
Outside of work, I really enjoy volunteering. I am part of the Juniata Big Brothers Big Sisters program and have been for three years. I enjoy sharing new experiences with my little and watching him grow and mature. I really enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. My husband and I often go hiking, kayaking, fishing and mountain biking throughout Pennsylvania. We have three dogs that typically participate in the majority of our outdoor activities that we obnoxiously love. We also enjoy working out at the gym and really love CrossFit! If I’m not doing something physically challenging, you can find me reading a good book or baking some delicious treats.
Megan Douty: Learning support teacher, Marion-Walker Elementary School
Hello! My name is Megan Douty, and I’m the fourth- and fifth- grade learning support teacher at Marion-Walker Elementary School. I started working for Bellefonte Area School District in the fall of 2016. Prior to working in Bellefonte, I taught fifth-grade learning support for four years at Mifflin County School District.
I am very proud to say that I am an alumna of Bellefonte Area School District. Due to the amazing and inspiring teachers I had while attending the district as a child, I decided to become a teacher. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Achuff, was my inspiration. I decided to get my degree in special education because I truly believe that every student can learn; just not the same way or on the same day. I enjoy helping students realize learning strategies that work best for them and teaching them how to be a self-advocate. I absolutely love what I do.
After graduating high school, I attended Lock Haven University where I graduated in the spring of 2011 with a dual degree in elementary and special education. I earned my master’s degree from Wilkes University in the spring of 2015 as a PA reading specialist. I love to learn, and I'm constantly seeking opportunities to improve in and out of the classroom.
My family and I live in Zion. My husband, Adam, is a meteorologist at AccuWeather. We have a 2-year old son named Weston and a beagle named Lucy. As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, traveling to new places, spending time with our families, playing games and cheering on the Nittany Lions at home football games.
Kate Glocke: Learning support teacher, Bellefonte Elementary School
Hi! My name is Kate Glocke, and I'm a third- and fourth-grade learning support teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School. I started at Bellefonte in the fall of 2016. I have been teaching special education since 2010, when I started in the Chicago Public Schools. I absolutely love what I do. Advocating for students and watching them grow is my favorite part of this position. I am a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology; and a 2010 graduate of DePaul University with a Master of Education degree in elementary and special education. My family and I live in State College. My husband Nate teaches seventh-grade general music and choir at Mount Nittany Middle School. Our son Gabe is 4 – hilarious, busy and keeps us on our toes! In our spare time we like to spend time watching and playing sports, adventuring to new places and visiting our family in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Jess Ketner: Life skills support teacher, Pleasant Gap Elementary School
Hello! My name is Jess Ketner and I am the life skills support teacher at Pleasant Gap Elementary School. I graduated from Lock Haven University in 2015 with a dual degree in early education and special education and received my master’s degree in applied behavior analysis in April 2019. I was hired by Bellefonte in 2016 after completing a long-term substitute position within the district. At Pleasant Gap our classroom consists of kiddos in grades K-5 who receive instruction in all academic areas. My favorite part of my job is letting the students know they can do it, hearing them say they can do it, watching them do it and then showing everyone that they can do it! The paraeducators in our classroom play a huge role in the success of our program. They help reinforce learned concepts to the students, are advocates for our students and believe in each student’s success. When I’m not in the classroom I enjoy spending time with my husband Ryan, our two children William and Olivia, and our dog Charlie. There is never a dull moment in our house, but we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Jen Kroboth: Learning support teacher, Bellefonte Elementary School
Hi! My name is Jen Kroboth. I’m a learning support teacher for students in kindergarten through second-grade at Bellefonte Elementary School. I grew up in Allensville and attended Indian Valley High School. I graduated from Penn State University with a degree in special education in December 1996, and earned my certificate in workforce education in 2001. I started my career as a learning support teacher at Bellefonte Area High School in August 1997 – now, I’m showing my age! In 2002, I transferred to Bellefonte Elementary where I’ve been happily teaching ever since, and, while I hate to brag, I do have the best job and students in the whole world! As a learning support teacher, I provide push-in and pull-out support to my students. When I push-in, I am fortunate to work with some very amazing regular education teachers, while they teach language arts and math within their general education classrooms. When I pull-out, I provide supplemental reading instruction and targeted math support to students in my classroom. I work alongside Debbie Caldwell, my wonderful learning support paraeducator. Without her, I would not be able to meet the unique learning goals and needs of all my students.
A favorite part of my job is having a classroom setting that is conducive to small group and one-to-one learning. I have the opportunity to get to really know my students, and since I often have them for more than one school year, I am able to watch them grow and mature by leaps and bounds!
In addition, I’m proud to say that my educational philosophy has not changed since the day I wrote my interview essay in August of 1997. I still wholeheartedly believe that for children to learn, they must first feel respected, feel safe and feel secure in their learning environments. It is imperative that basic needs be met for all students to reach their maximum learning potential. As an educator, it is also my responsibility to constantly change my teaching styles to fit my students’ unique learning styles – not vice versa. Because of this, I view every year as a new challenge and learning experience. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me!
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my family; exploring Pinterest to start – and sometimes finish – crafts for family and friends; shopping online; and watching college football. My husband Jason is an executive chef for Penn State where he does a lot of cooking for Coach James Franklin and my favorite football team. My son Evan is 15 and enjoys attending every PSU home football game and playing video games. My daughter Tori is 13 and enjoys playing on several travel and middle school softball and soccer teams. During the summer, we all enjoy spending long, hot days swimming in our new swimming pool and making s’mores by our fire pit. We have two pets – a puggle named Duke and a black cat named JoJo. They enjoy following me around the house all day long! In May 2018 I received my Masters of Teaching degree from Wilson College.
Renee McNichol: Speech and language pathologist
Bellefonte Elementary School and Bellefonte Area Middle School
Hello! My name is Renee McNichol and I'm one of the speech and language pathologists at Bellefonte Elementary School and Bellefonte Area Middle School. I started at Bellefonte Area School District in the fall of 2016. I have been teaching speech and language students since 2005, when I started in the public schools at Penns Valley Area School District. What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work with students on a regular basis. I enjoy helping them correct and master articulation errors, as well as achieving their language goals. I'm a 2003 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree, and a 2005 graduate of IUP with a master’s degree. I've lived in Bellefonte since 2005 with my husband Zeb; three daughters, Alannah, Ava and Audrina; and two dogs, Moxx and Jaxx.
Kayla Meyers: Autistic and emotional support teacher, Bellefonte Area Middle School
Hi! My name is Kayla Meyers and I am the autistic and emotional support teacher at the middle school. I also help coach girls soccer in the fall and, if the year allows it, I help coach lacrosse in the spring. I started at the district in 2019, which was a crazy year to start in a new district, since we didn't get to finish out the year due to the pandemic. Prior to accepting this position, I worked as a seventh-grade learning support teacher at Huntingdon Area Middle School.
I attended Lock Haven University, and received my undergraduate degree in regular and special education. I have always gravitated towards students receiving special education services, preferably students with emotional disturbances. My master's degree is through Edinboro University in behavioral management.
I cherish being able to make strong bonds with my students by having small group sessions with them, and am thankful for the real and serious conversations that we have, so I can help them overcome challenges life throws at them. My favorite part about my job is being able to help my students see themselves like I see them -- kind, generous, loving, personable, funny, quirky, amazing.
Christina Peterson: Speech-language pathologist
Benner and Marion-Walker elementary schools
Hi, my name is Christina Peterson and I have worked for Bellefonte Area School District since 2003. I am a speech-language pathologist at Marion-Walker and Benner elementary schools. As a speech-language pathologist, I help students to produce sounds correctly, build their vocabulary and grammar skills, and improve their fluency skills in conversation. In addition to seeing small groups for speech-language support, I am also trained to teach mindfulness from the Mindful Schools curriculum. I go into some of the kindergarten through fifth-grade classes at Marion-Walker and Benner to teach mindfulness. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are a Bachelor and Master of Science in communication sciences and disorders from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. I recently earned a Master of Technology degree from Wilson College with classes taken through Eduspire. I am currently in the process of becoming a certified mindfulness teacher from Mindful Schools. I also enjoy baking, reading and listening to music in my free time. My husband John and I live in State College with our two sons, Dante and Anthony.
Sarah Plotts: Learning support teacher, Bellefonte Elementary School
Hello! My name is Sarah Plotts. I'm the fourth- and fifth-grade learning support teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School. My favorite part of this position is getting to know my students on a personal level and celebrating their growth with them. I attended college at Lock Haven University. While there I earned my bachelor's degree in early childhood and special education. In August 2014, I began my first teaching job at Sugar Valley Rural Charter School in Loganton. During my two years there, I taught special education to students ranging from elementary to high school. I became a part of the Bellefonte Area School District family in August 2016. When I'm not at school I enjoy spending time with my family. In the fall, my husband Brock and I enjoy spending our weekends in Happy Valley attending Penn State football games. We like to spend time in the summer months traveling. Two of our most memorable moments from trips include zip lining in Colorado and salmon fishing in Alaska.
Lisa Reitz: Life skills teacher, Bellefonte Area High School
Hi! I’m Lisa Reitz, the life skills teacher at Bellefonte Area High School. I have been with the district since 2019. Prior to Bellefonte, I had some unique teaching opportunities. I spent 12 years in early intervention working with children aged from birth to 5 years old. I’ve also taught elementary autistic support, as well as some time teaching at a Department of Defense school in Germany. When I’m not at school teaching, I enjoy spending time and traveling with my family. We love finding new places to explore! I’m also a foodie, and love trying new things. I also enjoy refurbishing old items, as well as remodeling our old home and making it new again. I can also be found on Saturdays during football season cheering -- very passionately -- for Penn State!
Holly Williams: Autistic, emotional and learning support teacher at Pleasant Gap Elementary School
Hi! My name is Holly Williams and I am a special education teacher at Pleasant Gap Elementary School. I started at Bellefonte Area School District in 2004 and have worked in each of the elementary buildings and have provided support and/or coaching at the middle and high schools throughout the past few years.
I attended college at Penn State where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation services education with a minor in human development and family studies. I worked with children with autism in their homes and in the community for two years before deciding to return to school. I returned to Penn State and earned a master’s degree in special education with a focus on autism, applied behavior analysis and communication disorders in 2003.
I currently provide social skills instruction for students in kindergarten through fifth grades, and learning support services for students in fourth and fifth grades. I provide support to students within their classrooms, as well as provide them with direct instruction in small group settings. In addition, I assist students with managing their behavior in school, and collaborate with teachers and parents to create positive working relationships. While working at Bellefonte Area, I have completed the Tucci Competent Learner Model program, which is based on a behavioral analysis of functional language. I am trained as a coach in the program and work closely with the staff in our life skills and autistic support classrooms to implement effective research-based strategies and tools to promote productivity and independence among our learners. Each student represents a unique combination of abilities and educational needs. I enjoy getting to know them and exploring ways to help them grow, learn and become productive residents in the community.
Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two children. We enjoy camping, traveling and attending Penn State football games.