Team 8 Red Teachers

Meet the Team 8 Red Teachers:  Heather Athmer, Leslie Gurley, Amanda Holcmann, Chas Hyre, Deb Johnson, Jill Kelley and Sharon Schmitz
B.S. Elementary Education from McKendree College December 2000.  Endorsed in Middle School, Language Arts, and Social Sciences.  Minor in Psychology and Sociology.  She has a Masters Degree in Elementary Education, Teacher Development from McKendree College 2006 

Mrs.Athmer joined the Highland School District in 2001 as a third grade teacher. She enjoyed teaching fourth grade for 12 years. She also loved teaching IMSA at the Elementary. In 2013 she moved to the Middle School to teach American History. She is looking forward to seeing her former students as they travel to the eighth grade.  She enjoys spending time with her children, Abby and Joshua, and her husband, Scott. Mrs. Athmer loves scrapbooking, shopping and baking, and playing golf. She also admits she enjoys going 4-wheeler riding, camping, fishing, and maybe even hunting with her family!

Mrs. Heather Athmer
American History
Model UN Sponsor

MSW-Masters in Social Work, Graduated from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville in 2003.M.ED- Masters in Education, Major in Special Education, Graduated from McKendree University in 2008.
Mrs. Gurley did her student teaching at St. Jacob Elementary and Granite City High School.  She also taught at Shiloh Middle School for two years prior to coming to Highland Middle School in 2010.  She also has seven years experience working for a non-profit child welfare agency, as a case manager and supervisor for Children’s Home + Aid.  She has volunteered for Habitat For Humanity, Girls on the Run and church events.She enjoys bicycling, stain glass, painting, cooking, swimming, reading, 4-wheeler and spend time with her family.  Mrs. Gurley enjoys vacationing at the beach.

Mrs. Leslie Gurley
8th Grade Special Education Teacher

B.A., Special Education Major, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2002 M.Ed., Elementary education, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2009 I began my teaching career at Highland Middle School in 2002. I have taught special education since 2003. My husband’s name is Chris and he works at Cooper B-Line in Troy. We have three children: Trent,  Madelyn, and Brayden. Outside of school I enjoy exercising, shopping, reading, and spending time with my family.

Mrs. Amanda Holcmann

6,7and 8th grade Special Education Teacher

P.A.W.S Team

B.A., English and Speech Communication, 1997.
M.Ed., Instructional Design and Learning Technology, 2005.
Mrs. Chastity Hyre has taught 8th grade Language Arts at HMS since 1997.  She has coached HMS track  HHS cross country and sponsored HMS Student Council and Speech Team at HHS.  Now she is active on school committee groups.  
Mrs. Hyre loves middle schoolers because they keep her young, and make her laugh on a daily basis.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, vacationing, cooking, baking, yoga, bicycling, gardening, landscaping, fishing, swimming in her pool, shopping with her mom, acting goofy with her daughter Kalysta, and watching movies with her husband Brad. She and her family have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Luca.

Mrs. Chas Hyre

8th grade Language Arts teacher

B.S. in Elementary Education from SIUE with emphasis in Middle School.  Endorsed to teach math, science, and social studies.  A.S. in Drafting Technology. Ms. Kelley taught seventh and eighth grade at Alton Middle School as the Title One math teacher - specializing in remediating students.  She also spent a year as a teacher's aide in a Special Education classroom. Ms. Kelley has experience with CAD and CAM in the medical, aircraft, and mechanical fields.  She coached seven seasons of youth girl's soccer through the YMCA of Edwardsville.  She has tutored at the Juvenile Detention Facility in Edwardsville.<  She enjoys time with her two children, reading, and traveling.

Ms. Jill Kelley

8th Grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra teacher

Hi! My name is Deb Johnson. I am a resource teacher and very excited to be returning to Highland Middle School and Team 8 Red!  I have taught 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th grades. I attended and graduated from Lebanon High School. I completed my Learning Behavior Specialist degree at Greenville College. Currently, I am working on a Master’s of Arts in Education with an emphasis in reading degree at McKendree University. I will be serving on the School Improvement Team and the Special Education Planning Committee this year. I am also a member of the International Reading Association and the Illinois Education Association. I love to read, and Language Arts is my favorite subject to teach. I also specialize and tutor students in the Wilson Reading program. There is nothing more rewarding than giving children the gift of literacy! My husband and I will be celebrated our 30th anniversary this fall. Our children, Alyssa and Timothy both attended Highland schools. I enjoy reading and scrapbooking in my free time. I am looking forward to working with the terrific teachers and students on Team 8 Red!

Mrs. Deb Johnson

7th Grade Special Education

B. S. - Elementary Education - Southern Illinois University @ Edwardsville, 1997
National Board Certified Teacher - Early Adolescence Science, 2003 and re-certified in 2013. 
M.S. in Ed. - Elementary Education - Southern Illinois University @ Edwardsville, 2008 
Administrative Certification at Southern Illinois University @ Edwardsville, 2011.
Yearbook Advisor
Mrs. Schmitz has been with the Highland School district since 1998-1999 school year.  She taught 2 years of 4th grade before coming to her current position as 8th grade Science teacher at HMS.
Volunteering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and St. Paul's Catholic Church is very important to her. Mrs. Schmitz enjoys - singing, sports, running (marathons in particular!), boating, reading, spending time with family.  She is married, has three children and four grandchildren.

Mrs. Sharon Schmitz

Science Teacher