The Knoxville Community School District welcomed six new teachers to the district for the 2019-2020 school year.

Caty Haning joined the team at Northstar Elementary as a fourth grade teacher. Haning is a 2002 Knoxville graduate. She attended the University of Northern Iowa for three years, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in education, with an endorsement in reading from Simpson College.

Haning previously taught fifth grade in the Melcher-Dallas School District for the past seven years. She served as a teacher mentor for two of those years. She has a daughter who will be in sixth grade this year. In her free time, Haning enjoys reading, attending sporting events and going to the lake with her Labrador Retriever, Kennedy.

Haning says she is looking forward to the opportunity to continue her career in the very elementary school she attended as a child.

Knoxville Middle School welcomed four new teachers this year: Kaylee Forst, Mary Oldham, Grant Pearson and Heather Smith.

Kaylee Forst teaches special education. She graduated from Central College in 2014, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with endorsements in special education and reading.

Forst spent her first two years of teaching at Columbus Elementary in Chariton. She spent her third and fourth years of teaching at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Newton, where she taught special education.

Forst lives in Knoxville with her husband and four kids. She enjoys playing outside with her family, watching movies and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes. She says she could not be more excited to work for the Knoxville Community School District and to be a part of the KMS staff.

Mary Oldham, a Knoxville native, teaches science. She moved back to Iowa from Arizona four years ago, then graduated from William Penn University.

Oldham lives with her boyfriend and their five children, along with two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys watching softball and baseball, as well as playing slow pitch softball. She says she is excited to begin her teaching career in her hometown and is thrilled to teach students the subject she is passionate about.

Grant Pearson teaches middle school math. He graduated from high school in Knoxville and went on to attend Central College. Pearson previously taught fifth grade in the Southeast Warren Community School District, where he was an assistant high school basketball coach.

Pearson says he is looking forward to joining the KCSD team and becoming a Panther once again.

Heather Smith teaches half special education and half English language arts. Smith graduated high school in Oskaloosa and went on to attend William Penn University, where she received her undergraduate degree in sociology. She later received her teaching license in K-6 elementary education with endorsements in K-8 reading, K-12 special education and K-8 social studies. Smith is currently work towards her Master’s degree at Drake University.

Smith previously taught first grade and has been an at-risk teacher for K-6 students. She welcomed a baby girl to her family in December, saying her daughter and three dogs keep her on her toes. In her spare time, Smith enjoys hiking, kayaking and camping.

Smith is looking forward to a great fist year at Knoxville Middle School. She says she is excited to focus on language arts and special education throughout the school year.

Knoxville High School welcomed social studies teacher Camille Crossett. Crossett graduated from Iowa City West High School in 2015 and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2019 with a degree in teaching history.

In her spare time, Crossett likes to read, bake, knit, embroider, bike and to do outdoor activities with friends. She is excited to join the Knoxville district not only because she has heard good things about it, but also because her mother graduated from Knoxville. Crossett says she visited the town many times throughout her childhood and loved the people and town.

Emma Skahill can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-842-2155.

Recommended for you