Portageville School District with six new teachers in 2019-2020

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
New teachers for the Portageville School District are, from left, Maura Kellams, Sasha Starnes, Mark Jackson, TJ Smith and Jill Kellams. Not pictured is Robbie McCulloch.
Scott Seal/Portageville Missourian

PORTAGEVILLE — Six new teachers will be gracing the halls of the Portageville School District.

Two will be in the elementary school, two will be in the middle school and two will be in the high school.

Portageville schools began Friday.

Elementary School

• Maura Kellams will be teaching English/ Language Arts in the fourth grade. She holds an Associates of the Arts in Education from Three Rivers College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education from Southeast Missouri State University.

One of her goals is to create a positive learning environment filled with engaging and hands-on activities.

“I also want all of my students to become life long learners and to enjoy reading,” Kellams said. “I became a teacher so I can positively impact the lives of my students and create experiences in school that my students will always enjoy and remember.”

• Jill Kellams is a elementary personal aide and will also be an assistant middle school basketball coach. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University in Health Studies.

Her main goal is to help her students become an independent as possible.

“I think being an aide is a great opportunity for me to gain knowledge and experience I can use in my future career of being a teacher,” she said.

Both are Portageville High School graduates.

Middle School

• TJ Smith will be teaching keyboarding and math. Other duties will include assistant volleyball and basketball coach in the high school, and the head junior high basketball coach.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in middle school mathematics from Western Governor’s University.

“My goal is to help increase typing proficiency, and actively engage students in learning math. I love working with students and watching them grow,” said Smith.

He and his wife, Ruby, have three children, Riley, Trip, and Grayson.

• Mark Jackson will teach social studies in middle school will. He is also the new high school football coach and has 25 years of teaching experience.

Jackson has a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks, ands master’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University. He has certifications in social studies, 7-12; PE, 7-12; and health, 9-12; and in secondary school administration.

One of his goals is to teach his students to be accountable.

“Impacting the lives of students,” was Jackson’s response to being asked about what he likes best about teaching. “I got into teaching to coach.”

He is married to Kimberly Jackson. He has one son, two step-sons and one step-daughter.

His two passions in life are, one, The Gospel; and two, football.

• Also coming back to teach is Robbie McCulloch. She is the middle school communication arts teacher. She had retired, but has agreed to comeback to help out for the year.

High School

• No stranger to Portageville High, Sasha Starnes will be teaching high school English for the ninth through 11th grades. Last year, she was a teacher’s aide in the elementary school and was the assistant volleyball coach.

Starnes will be the head volleyball coach and will also assist with the junior high volleyball program.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in communication disorders, and is currently working towards getting certified in High School English. She has one year of experience as a paraprofessional. 

Her goals are that each student will reach their full academic potential and become better individuals in the process. 

“I wanted to become a teacher to change the lives of students,” she said.

Her hobbies include spending time with family, coaching volleyball, and reading.