Justin Bledsaw

Justin Bledsaw ~ Math, Science, Social Studies

My name is Mr. Bledsaw, and this will be my 11th year at Jefferson. Prior to teaching at Jefferson, I taught 3rd grade at Carl Sandburg before coming over to teach 5th grade where I have been ever since. Before coming to Charleston, I worked as a one-on-one aide in Clinton, where I also coached basketball. I attended school in a small school district near Decatur where my entire high school was not much larger than one grade level here in Charleston. I then first attended college at Richland Community College for 2 years, where I graduated with my Associate's in Science degree, before transferring to Millikin University, where I graduated with my Bachelor's of Science degree in 2011. While there, I worked in both the Admissions and Registrar's Offices. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, as well as cheering on the Chicago Cubs! I am currently working on my Master's Degree through Eastern Illinois University. I am currently one of our pilot teachers for Competency-Based Education. I also help referee basketball games for the Jefferson Intramural Basketball Program. I assist with the Jefferson Talent Show at the end of the year. In the past, I have also served as an advisor for Student Council, although this is now our Student Lighthouse Team as part of our Leader in Me initiative. I am also currently serving as a Virtual Instructional Coach for new teachers across the state. I look forward to working with your student this year!

Brianna Gaston

Brianna Gaston ~ Math, Science, Social Studies

Hello! I am originally from Shelbyville, IL, and gradated in 2017. From there, I attended North Central College, but transferred to EIU in 2018. I studied elementary education and graduated in 2021. I student taught with Mrs. Richeson, and I loved it so much that now I am her switch teacher. If I am not at school, you can find me coaching the EIU cheer team or hammocking at Lake Charleston. I have one cat; her name is Nala. She is very spunky and very spoiled. Always feel like you can reach out to me at any time. I am super excited for the year, and I hope you are, too.

Yvonne Larson

Yvonne Larson ~ ELA

Tim McGinness

Tim McGinness ~ ELA

I am from Charleston, IL and I have been teaching in Charleston since 2018. I am currently teaching English Language Arts, in the 5th grade.

Kyleigh Odle

Kyleigh Odle ~ ELA

Oh, hey 5th grade! I grew up in Mount Vernon, IL and recently relocated to this area. This will be my first-year teaching and I couldn't be more thrilled to be in 5th grade! I recently graduated from SIU-C with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I am currently working towards completing my ELA endorsement and my Masters in Education with an emphasis in Reading through Mckendree University. My passion for learning and education is ongoing! I welcome and value parent communication, so feel free to contact me at any time!

Tara Richeson

Tara Richeson ~ ELA

Hello, families! My name is Tara Richeson. I am a 5th grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary. I grew up and graduated high school in Kankakee County (Bourbonnais/Herscher area). Shortly after high school, I moved to Charleston to attend Eastern Illinois University. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2005, completing my student teaching in Manteno, Illinois. I've been a teacher here in the Charleston school district since 2008. I spent one year in the library, one year in 6th grade, and this will be my 13th year in 5th grade. I completed by master's degree in Elementary Education in 2018. I teach ELA (reading, writing, and word study). My partner teacher, Brianna Gaston, teaches math, science, and social studies. I come from a large family, and I have 6 siblings. My family still lives in northern Illinois. I try to go there often to visit. In 2011, I married my husband, Brant Richeson. He works in a factory an hour outside of Charleston. We have two children, Lainey and Nolan. Lainey will be a 5th grader here at Jefferson. Nolan is a 1st grader at Carl Sandburg. We love to watch Lainey and Nolan play softball, t-ball, and soccer. We also enjoy traveling. I look forward to meeting and getting to know our 5th grade students and families!

Krista Snider

Krista Snider ~ Math, Science, Social Studies

My name is Krista Snider. I am a Fifth Grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School. I was hired by Charleston in 2021! I'm very excited to be working for the district! I graduated from EIU in 1997 with my Bachelor's degree in Education with a minor in Psychology. I did my student teaching in 1997 in Oakland in first grade. After graduation, I worked in retail and substitute taught for 2 years. In 1999, I became a preschool teacher at a center in Mattoon ,where I taught 3 year olds. I was hired by Mattoon in 2000 to teach third grade for part of the year under a class size reduction grant. In 2001, I was hired by the Regional Office of Education as an Attendance Specialist and part time substitute for the Bridges Alternative Program. I spent 4 years working to improve student attendance in Mattoon and Moultrie County. In 2005, I was offered a full time position as a teacher for the Bridges program. I taught all subjects at Bridges and worked with students in grades 6 to 12. In 2021, after over 20 years working for the Regional Office and 16 years of teaching at the Bridges Program, I accepted my current position. I have always loved working with children and decided to become a teacher at the age of 15, after an amazing experience working as a camp counselor. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have three children, 1 girl and 2 boys. We also have a red doberman named K.C. Lynn. Outside of school I enjoy swimming, crafting, painting, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Kim Spanhook

Kim Spanhook ~ Math, Science, Social Studies

This is my 18th years teaching at Jefferson. I currently teach 5th grade Math, Science, Social Studies. My teaching partner is Ms. Odle. I am originally from the south side of Chicago, moved here to attend EIU and eventually made Charleston my home. I reside in Charleston with my husband and out two dogs. I sharpen my saw by spending time with my friends and family! Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns!

Jodi Cline

Jodi Cline ~ Gifted & Talented Education

Mrs. Cline has been a teacher for the Charleston Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program since 2014. Prior to this, she taught as a substitute for six years in Charleston and Mattoon. She earned her first B.S. in Management at Purdue University in 1990 and later, a second B.S. in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University. Between earning those two degrees, she stayed at home to care for her 3 children as her husband was in the Navy. Her family moved states 7 times in their 11 years in the Navy. Mrs. Cline's family moved to Charleston in 2004 and all of her children have graduated from Charleston High School. Her oldest daughter is now a nurse in North Carolina. Her youngest daughter is a marketing accounts manager and lives in Georgia. Her youngest son is a tax accountant in Chicago. In her free time, Mrs. Cline likes to travel and eat (taking food-on-foot tours is one of her favorite vacation activities.) She loves reading (especially historical fiction) and singing and is a member of a few choral groups and barbershop quartets. Mrs. Cline enjoys working with students in robotics and sharing logic puzzles and especially enjoys teaching Math.

Devon Aranda

Devon Aranda ~ LBS1

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Upon graduating high school, I came to Charleston, Illinois to attend Eastern Illinois University for my Bachelors in Special Education and Art Education. I have also received my Masters in Special Education from EIU. I started in the Charleston School District in January of 2019 as a Special Education teacher and have been here ever since. I live in Charleston with my husband, son and dog. I enjoy soccer and bowling. I am also a huge coffee and dog lover.

Lindsay Babcock

Lindsay Babcock ~ LBS1

Mrs. Babcock grew up in Vandalia, Illinois and then moved to Charleston to attend Eastern Illinois University. While at EIU, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She later earned her teacher's certification in Special Education through the Golden Apple Accelerators program. In her free time, Mrs. Babcock enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her dog Daisy. She also enjoys camping, reading, listening to music, riding her bike, and hiking in the woods.

Becky Hayes

Becky Hayes ~ LBS1

My name is Becky Hayes and I have had the privilege of being part of the Jefferson Elementary community since the 2017-2018 school year, after spending 15 years at alternative schools. Jefferson Elementary has given me the opportunity to expand my skills and grow right along with the students. I have 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren. I love helping and watching my students learn and grow into young adults. Thank you for sharing your child with me.

Michelle King

Michelle King ~ LBS1

Hello! My name is Michelle King, and this is my 2nd year as a LBS 1 teacher at Jefferson Elementary. I have received my bachelor's degree and master's from EIU. This year will be my 12th year teaching special education and my 2nd year in the Charleston school district. I am looking forward to this new school year adventure and to continue to be able to work with some amazing staff and students.

Kim Shambo

Kim Shambo ~ LBS1

Hello! Mrs. Shambo has been teaching Special Education at Jefferson Elementary School since 2016! She was born in Shelbyville IL, lived in Ashmore IL and has lived in Charleston since 2nd grade. Mrs. Shambo earned her bachelor's degree in early childhood and Standard Special Education in 2015. Mrs. Shambo lives in Charleston with her husband, and they have 2 children, Brayden- 26 and Madison-21. She enjoys spending time with friends, gardening, traveling and coffee! Feel free to contact Mrs. Shambo anytime!