Bulldog Bark (11/12/18) - Tara Hoffman

At Rissler Elementary, we are fortunate to have an amazing Special Education Department. This is due to the dedication of our Special Education teachers, KelLeigh Bryant, Tristan Dugan, Abbye Michael and Mary Kate Stewart. These teachers go above and beyond for their students every day. Allow me to introduce the special education staff at the Rissler Elementary.  

Mrs. Abbye Michael is a special education teacher for our 4th grade students. This is her 4th year as a special education teacher. Prior to teaching she worked as a para for 11 years at Trenton R-9. She and her husband Shane, and their 3 children, Addie, Zane, and Evan, reside in Trenton. Outside of school Mrs. Michael enjoys spending time with her family and reading. Mrs. Michael states that her goal for her students is “to believe in themselves.” A favorite education experience is “having students come up to me that have already graduated, to tell me thank you, and that they couldn't have done it without me.” Mrs. Michael’s favorite quote comes from Rita Pierson, “Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them who understands the power of connection and insist they become the best they can possibly be.”

Mrs. Mary Kate Stewart is a K-4 special education teacher. This is Mrs. Stewart’s 6th year working at Trenton R-9. She and her husband Ethan, son Cameron and 2 dogs Moose and Bering, reside in Trenton. Outside of work Mrs. Stewart enjoys reading, scrapbooking, fishing, and traveling. When asked why she loves being an employee at Trenton R-9, Mrs. Stewart states “I love how supportive the staff members are at school. We work together to help all of our students become successful.” Mrs. Stewart found her love for working with students with disabilities after volunteering at home for adults with developmental disabilities in high school. Her goal for students in her classroom is “to become successful contributing members of society.”

Ms. Tristan Dugan is a K-2 special education teacher. This is Ms. Dugan’s first year teaching. She obtained her degree in education from William Penn University. Ms. Dugan enjoys reading, fishing, and four wheeler riding. She states “I like working for the Trenton school district because I believe in the education system I was raised in. I’m honored to be able to contribute to a community that has given me so much throughout my life. I remember as a child I had lost a family member and it was a very difficult time for me. I fortunately had a fantastic 4th grade teacher that reached out and was my biggest supporter at the time. This taught me the power of a teacher.” Ms. Dugan states that her goal for her students is “to be successful contributors to society using the skills and knowledge they have gained from the classroom.” Her favorite quote is “a man without education is a like a building without a foundation” 

 Ms. KelLeigh Bryant is a special education teacher for students in grades 2-3. This is her first year in her teaching career. Ms. Bryant obtained her bachelor’s degree in education from North West State University, currently working on her master’s degree in special education and did her student teaching last spring at Trenton R-9. Outside of work, Ms. Bryant enjoys painting and walking her dog. Her favorite quote comes from Oscar Wilde “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" Ms. Bryant enjoys working at Rissler because of the “family like atmosphere.” Mrs. Bryant states “a goal I have for my students is for them to become independent thinkers and learners.”

Our special education team wouldn’t be complete without the amazing support from our paraprofessionals; Ronda Brown, Kim Holloway, Tammy Leafgreen, Andrew Pauly, Jessica Roy, Ilisha Slater, and Amber Sprague. The teachers and paraprofessionals go above and beyond to support our students with special needs. Their compassion and grace with students and staff members, make them a valuable asset to Rissler Elementary. Their hard work and dedication is very much appreciated by all of the staff and students at Rissler!