September 27, 2022

Clarke welcomes new teachers

Clarke Community Schools has several new teachers from elementary to high school. This is part one of two introducing the new teaching staff; part two to be available next week.


Regina Haltom is one of Clarke’s new kindergarten teachers.

This is Haltom’s first year teaching, but she has worked on and off at Clarke Elementary for the past 16 years. She worked as a para for two years, during which time she knew that teaching was what she wanted to do. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Buena Vista University.

For Haltom, Clarke has always been “home.” It was where she was raised and raised her own children, and Clarke is where “I want to make a positive difference for our students.”

Haltom, who has lived in Osceola almost her entire life, is married with four children and two grandchildren.


Breana Lowry has accepted the position of first grade teacher at Clarke.

Lowry was born and raised in Osceola, and graduated from Clarke before going on to Graceland University where she earned a degree in elementary education. This will be her first year teaching.

Lowry says she went into education to make an impact on the kids, not just as an educator, but as a person. Lowry wants kids to love coming to school, and hopes to have a positive impact on them.

Applying at Clarke seemed like the thing to do, as Lowry wanted to return to her hometown to teach; she will also be coaching the JV volleyball team.

“I cannot wait for my first year of teaching,” said Lowry. “This is going to be a great, fun year.”


Jessica Speake is a second grade teacher this year.

Originally from Hampton, Speake graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a major in elementary education, and a minor in literacy and language arts. This will be her second year in education.

Speake chose to pursue education as a profession because she wanted to share her love of learning and her passion for reading with students. She also wants to help kids feel valued, confident, and loved. She chose to come to Clarke because of the staff, who she says have been positive, inviting and supporting.

“I am so excited to get to know the people and community of Clarke,” said Speake. “I look forward to an amazing year.”


Alaira Tyus is a fourth grade teacher this year at Clarke.

Tyus grew up in Bethalto, Illinois, and attended Simpson College, where she received her bachelor’s in elementary education with endorsements in math and reading. This is her first year teaching, though she had several in classroom experiences while at Simpson.

Tyus decided to go into education after recognizing the impact a few of her teachers had in her life. She hopes to be a role model for students, helping them to reach their highest potential both inside and outside of the classroom. She chose to come to Clarke as she is from a small town herself, and loves the sense of community.

“I am excited to start getting to know my students, their families, and other members of the district and community,” said Tyus.


Kayci Mongar is the newest fifth grade teacher.

Originally from Osceola, Mongar attended Clarke schools. After graduation, she went to the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary education and a minor in middle school level education - mathematics.

She student taught in a fifth grade class at Whittier Elementary in Indianola, and sixth grade math and science at Interstate 35 Middle School.

Mongar spent the last eight months as County Youth Coordinator at the Clarke County Extension Office. This is her first year teaching on her own.

Since a young age, Mongar has had a passion for learning, and would teach to imaginary classrooms at home. Once she started working with students, making connections and watching them grow, she knew teaching was what she was meant to do.

“I want to be like the teachers I had in school who inspired me to be who I am today,” said Mongar.

She is likewise excited to return to the teach in the place where she fell in love with education.

Mongar said even though faces have changed over the years, the feeling she has at Clarke is still the same one she once had.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.