New school year brings many new staff members


Allison Brooks

Instructor Alan Neal gives directions to his G3 Honors Chemistry class.

Relocating to a new town and a new school can be a very stressful but exciting task. This year, seven new teachers were hired, and multiple other new employees were added to the school’s staff. 

The new staff members were hired for several reasons, such as previous teachers retiring or moving, or there were coaching positions that had to be filled. 

Instructor Jessica Augustine was hired to take over the journalism department when Bill Gasper retired. She is originally from Ellis, but has spent the last 17 years teaching in Manhattan and Wichita. 

“For me, Hays High had always been a school that I admired even as a high schooler,” Augustine said. “I remember coming over here for journalism and seeing all the cool stuff that Hays had.” 

Working in Hays has also allowed Augustine to be near some of her family members. 

“Within the past couple of years, I’ve started thinking about coming back home as my parents were getting older,” Augustine said. “The opportunity presented itself with Mr. Gasper retiring, and it was just a position that I couldn’t pass up.” 

The science department welcomed two new teachers, Alan Neal and Jennifer Olt, both of them are teaching chemistry classes. 

 Neal grew up in Colorado and has been teaching in Topeka and Norton for the past 18 years. 

For some new hires, they are just returning to town after some time away. Instructor Cole Cherryholmes student taught and coached in Hays during the 2013-2014 school year before moving to Wichita. 

“My beautiful wife Nikki and I moved to Wichita for her to go to nursing school at WSU, and I accepted a job at Wichita Northwest High School, where I coached football and track the last 5 years,” Cherryholmes said.  

Cherryholmes made his way back to town to coach football and teach Special Education classes. 

Another new teacher that will also be taking on a coaching position is Kyle Porter. 

Porter is not only taking on the role of a social studies and a physical education teacher, but also the role of head girls basketball coach. Porter has spent the last six years teaching and coaching at Royal Valley High School in Hoyt, Kan. 

“We moved to Hays because we love the family atmosphere of the town; it is a great community,” Porter said.