By Jenna Comes

As the 2019-2020 school year gets underway on Friday, Aug. 23, there will be some new faces in the hallways at the area schools.

Charter Oak-Ute

At Charter Oak-Ute, there will be two new teachers. Tayler Ransom will be teaching second grade and Melissa Crall is the new school counselor.

This will be Ransom’s first official year of teaching after graduating from Buena Vista University.

“I am so excited to begin my teaching career!” Ransom exclaimed.

This summer, she taught summer school, and she has worked as a para-educator in Atlantic for two years and in Westside for one year.

Ransom student taught fourth grade in Denison and kindergarten in Dow City. She also did a lot of subbing at surrounding schools in the last half of the 2018-2019 school year after she graduated.

Ransom currently lives in Arcadia, but grew up in Denison.

In her free time, she loves going to the races, fishing, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

Melissa Crall is the new school counselor at COU.

Crall grew up in Panama and currently lives in Dunlap. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree from Capella University.

She has been subbing for a year and also worked as a counseling intern at Logan-Magnolia.

“I am really looking forward to the upcoming school year!” Crall said.

Her hobbies include reading and cooking.

Maple Valley-Anthon Oto

In the Maple Valley-Anthon Oto School District there is one new teacher, Melissa Vermeys, at the Anthon Elementary School and one new teacher, Brian Brown, at the MVAO Middle School.

Vermeys will be teaching first grade at Anthon Elementary.

This will be her 10th year in education after teaching transitional kindergarten and second grade for nine years at River Valley Community School District. She graduated from Buena Vista University.

She lives in Battle Creek with her husband, Jary, and daughter Madison. Melissa is originally from Mapleton.

She doesn’t really have any hobbies, but enjoys gathering with family and friends and cooking for them.

“I am very excited to be teaching at my alma mater!” Melissa said. “I look forward to getting to know the families in the district.”

Brian Brown might be a new face in the middle school, but not to the MVAO school district.

He was a high school teacher at MVAO/MVAOCOU from 1998-2018. He then retired from teaching for a year and was farming. Now he’s coming back to teach eighth grade math for the first time in his career. He will also continue to farm.

Brown has been in education for 34 years. He graduated from Midland Lutheran College (now called Midland University) and is originally from Battle Creek.

He lives in Mapleton with his wife, Brenda. The couple has three kids, Travis, Derek, and Lindsey, and three grandchildren, Ava, Aaden, and Adley.


There will be a new kindergarten teacher at the Schleswig Community School. Trisha Fink will enter her first year of teaching.

Fink student taught fourth grade at Denison Broadway Elementary School and kindergarten at Charter Oak-Ute as part of her teaching education at Buena Vista University

“I grew up on a farm three-miles outside of Schleswig and attended K-8 there,” Fink said.

She and her husband, Jay, have two daughters, Avery and Sydney, who attend Schleswig Elementary School as well.

Trisha has her cosmetology license and had been working in a salon for the past 14 years. She decided to go back to school and obtain her teaching degree so she could spend more time with her family.

“Working at the salon included nights and weekends, and it was difficult to attend my children’s activities as they grew older and became more active,” Trisha said.

Her hobbies include traveling and being outdoors.

“My husband and I had been living in Arcadia for the past eight years before we decided to relocate and move back to my hometown,” Fink said. “Our family helped us renovate my grandparents’ house in Schleswig, and now we have been living here for two years.”

Trisha said she’s glad to have gotten a teaching position in Schleswig.

“I get to be at the same school I grew up in, and now get to watch my girls attend as well,” Fink said.

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