Dora School starts new year with new teachers, coach
Dora R-III School District will begin its 2020-2021 year Aug. 24 with three new teachers: Sheree Nold will teach high school math, Kristen Cross will teach middle school social studies and Caleb Reynolds will coach the boys basketball and baseball teams and teach physical education and health classes.
The new teachers replace these faculty members who left at the end of the 2019-2020 school year: Josh Strong, high school math; Beth Strong, middle school social studies; Jaysa Jenkins, physical education and English; and Rick Luna, the high school principal and basketball and baseball coach.
Elementary principal Brett Mitchell will now serve as K-12 principal, said superintendent Dr. Allen Woods.
Sheree Nold, high school math
Sheree Nold, the new high school math teacher, has lived in the Dora area since moving to Rainbow Spring, south of Dora, in 2015 with her husband, Shelby. Their lease agreement has them managing the property and preserving its history while also using it as a base for the faith-based nonprofit service ministry they founded, Majestic Outdoor Adventures.
The ministry’s focus is to “use the outdoors to help bring life, adventure, direction and purpose into people’s lives,” according to the majesticoutdoors.com website.
“For the last 20 years, we have run an after-school youth mentoring program that uses outdoor recreational skills to help kids break down barriers so we can help guide and steer them in better choices and behavior,” Nold told the Times earlier this month.
The Nolds sometimes work with students or young adults “in a low-key relational way in the outdoors to help them build relationships with parents or guardians,” she said.
Shelby Nold also works as a hunting and fishing guide in the area.
Sheree taught high school math and science at Faith Christian Academy in West Plains from 2015 through 2018, and most recently has worked with the Missouri University Extension Service in Howell County teaching health and nutrition in the family nutrition program.
Nold grew up in northwest Missouri and graduated in 1997 from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture science and a minor in agronomy. She’s currently completing an accelerated program to earn alternative teacher credentials known as the American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence.
The Nolds’ work with their nonprofit ministry has been in the rebuilding stage since May 2017.
They moved to Rainbow Spring, on the North Fork of the White River, five years ago with their four children: a son, Gunnison, 18; daughter Autumn, 15; and twin 13-year-old boys Cade and Joshua. The family “put two years into developing the land,” Sheree said, “and then the flood came.”
The historic spring 2017 flood ravaged dozens of properties along the North Fork, destroying homes, roads and major bridges in the area. “We exited our home that night out the back windows that face uphill because the water was coming up on the deck around both exits of the house,” she said. “We stayed until 11 p.m. that night before we left. Now you can see the water line where the debris mark was on the last planks of wood before it would have crossed over the threshold of the house.”
Their strong faith tells them the “hand of God” protected them,” she said. “Our garage got flooded, and things in there were destroyed, but the flood line came right up to our wellhouse and then receded, so it never got into the well water. We did have forms of loss, and so much work ahead of us, but that next night, when we crawled into our own dry beds, it was the most humbling thing. We knew all of those who didn’t have a dry bed to get into. We were humbled and thankful that the house was kept standing.”
Since the disaster, “we’ve been able to work through it, taking steps of restoration we never dreamed we would have to take. And now, three years later, we’re just stepping back into our outreach work,” Nold said.
Their experience in surviving and recovering from the flood was “sometimes overwhelming,” she said. “But overall, even with the hardship and struggles we’ve had, we still wake up every day so thankful to be here in this area and to live where we live. We’re very thankful to be part of the Dora and Ozark County communities.”
Kristan Cross, social studies
Dora’s new middle school social studies teacher, Kristan Cross, grew up in Houston and graduated from Houston High School in 2012. She earned an associate’s degree and then a bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri State University in 2018.
Although she’s a new teacher at Dora, she’s not a newcomer to the faculty. She worked at Dora as a paraprofessional in the elementary and middle school while she was still finishing her degree.
She lives in West Plains with her cat, Hibby, and fiancé, Roman Young, who has a son, Gaston, 5.
Cross says she’s looking forward to teaching social studies to Dora’s middle schoolers. “The kids there are super-exciting,” she said.
And she knows this is an exceptional time to be teaching social studies – in the middle of a pandemic, a presidential election year and a time when American culture seems to be making a shift.
“Also, I just really like working in smaller areas,” she said. “The Dora School environment is a good place to work.”
In her spare time, Cross enjoys creating art. “I love drawing, and I have pictures everywhere. There’s so much you can do with art,” she said, adding that she’ll probably find ways to work it into her social studies classroom teaching.
Caleb Reynolds, boys basketball and baseball coach, health, PE teacher
Dora’s new high school coach is the grandson of Ozark County native Charles Reynolds, who died last fall. Caleb Reynolds settled on the Reynolds farm near Gainesville earlier this month after accepting the Dora teaching and coaching job.
Born in Farmington, he is the son of Don and Karen Reynolds and grew up in several southern Missouri communities where his dad served as high school principal and superintendent before 2006, when the family moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where Caleb graduated from Alabama Christian School.
He attended Crowley’s Ridge Col-lege in Paragould, Arkansas, on a basketball scholarship and then transferred to Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He returned to Crowley’s Ridge to coach basketball for two years before moving to Silver City, New Mexico, to coach basketball at Western New Mexico University while also working on a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Next, he coached a year at Silver City High School.
Reynolds said he was glad to be “back in the hills and hollers” and looks forward to joining the Dora Falcons, who won the 2020 Missouri Class 1 basketball championship in March. That basketball team’s coach, Rick Luna, who was also Dora’s high school principal, has now moved to Viola, Arkansas, after his contract as principal was not renewed by the Dora School Board. The school board did not publicly give a reason for its decision, citing confidential personnel matters.
Luna and his wife, Alicia, are the parents of triplet sons who were DHS juniors and starters on the state champion team; the triplets have transferred to Viola. A fourth starter, rising senior Isaac Haney, has transferred to Kickapoo High School in Springfield after his family moved there.
Despite the loss of four starters, Reynolds said Dora “still has a fair amount of talent. There are a lot of seniors and freshmen on the team.”
He said despite the controversy surrounding the departure of the state champion team’s former coach and four of its starters, he knows Dora has “a good basketball tradition and great community support.” After speaking with school superintendent Allen Woods and principal Brett Mitchell, he’s confident of their support as well, he said.