By Debbie Dakin
Licking School District has added three new teachers to its staff this school year.
Emery (Keeney) Buehlmann
The first new teacher isn’t new to Licking at all. Emery (Keeney) Buehlmann is an alumni of Licking. She graduated from LHS in 2013.
Emery grew up in Licking and is the daughter of Darrin and Joann Keeney. She has recently graduated from Missouri State University, which she considers to be one of her proudest accomplishments.
“It was a challenge doing school, having a husband and a baby,” laughed Buehlmann. “I’m very proud to have been able to do it all.”
Buehlmann is a first year teacher and will be teaching the first grade. She is excited and is thrilled to be working with the other two first grade teachers, Anita Reed and Debbie Taylor.
“It’s great knowing I will have them to help me and support me this first year,” said Buehlmann. “I’m not so worried having two teachers with such experience to help guide me.”
Buehlmann did her student teaching at Licking Elementary with Mrs. Suzie Blackburn. Buehlmann says she feels a little like she is following in her mother’s footsteps, as she has worked many years for the Licking School District and is currently high school counselor.
When Emery manages to find free time (from chasing around her 3-year-old daughter Paisley) she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and traveling.
Sharida Ford-Green is not brand new to Licking either. She is the daughter of Russell and Barbara Ford, Russell used to be the Superintendent and Barbara was a teacher here. Sharida graduated from LHS in 1990.
Not only were Sharida’s parents in the field of education, her grandfather used to be the Commissioner of Education for the state of Missouri. She is now following in the footsteps of these family members.
This has been quite an exciting summer for Sharida, not only is she moving to Licking to start a new career, she just recently got married to City Alderman Greg Green.
Green will be junior high counselor. She will also co-ordinate special education and oversee MAP testing.
“This is my first job in the education system,” said Green. “In the past, I did medical transcription for 22 years. And I went to college for three years getting my master’s degree in counseling.”
When asked what she feels is the biggest challenge she faces, Green replied, “Making them feel like ‘big’ people. That’s such a difficult age for kids. They’re not old enough to be considered adults but they don’t want to be treated like little kids. I want them to know that their thoughts and feelings matter.”
When asked if she thinks Licking has changed a lot since the time her father was superintendent, Green noted there were a few changes, but she feels it is as much her growing up as the town changing. She enjoys the relaxed atmosphere and says it “feels good” walking down the street to the library and such.
Green has two children, a grown daughter that is 23, who lives in Nixa. And she also has an 11-year-old son who will be in 6th grade this year. She states that he is looking forward to the start of school here in Licking.
Green feels one of her first roles will be getting to know the kids. “I love kids,” she said. “I have a strong desire to be a positive influence in their lives. That’s a big part of my job and that brings me joy.”
Licking’s third new teacher is Janice Llafet. Janice is new to Licking, but not to teaching. She has 34 years of experience and over 30 of those years have been in special education. She will teach 4th, 5th and 6th graders with learning disabilities.
“Special ed is my passion,” stated Llafet. “I have had some people take over for me and ask how I can do that job, but I love it. I hope to help my students learn to love reading and want to read, not just read because they have to.”
Janice used to live in the Plato/Success area but them moved to Arizona, where she lived and taught for 15 years.
“I moved there to be close to my parents but they are all passed away now,” said Llafet. “I decided to move back here where my family lives. I have three grown sons and two grandsons in this area. It sure is nicer to see them every week instead of just twice a year. And it has been great this summer going to t-ball games.”
Llafet enjoys reading, traveling, and hanging out with the family. She also loves canning and says she makes a mean salsa. She is married and is looking forward to getting back in the classroom. She noted that every school district does things a little different and she is anxious to get down her new routine.
When asked what are some of the differences she has noticed in her vast teaching experience, Llafet responded “Kids have more to deal with these days than in the past. The dynamics of family have changed. There is less parental involvement, mom and dad both working because of the economy.”
We wish Licking’s new teachers a successful and happy school year, as well as the returning staff. Educating our children, our future leaders of this world, is an important, often challenging task