Doretha Bighems is not only a substitute teacher with MHED, she is also a veteran.

For 23 years, Doretha served our country in the United States Army, Active Army National Guard, and United States Army reserve.

“I am a graduate of Officer Candidate School (OCS) and various Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Schools,” Doretha said. “Other highlights of my military career included: served tours in support of Desert Shield, Desert Storm and served during Iraqi Freedom.”

Not only did she serve overseas, Doretha has helped American citizens when they needed it most.

“I was also deployed to Louisiana and provided humanitarian support for Hurricane Katrina victims.”

The military was also where Doretha’s teaching career began.

“I worked 10 years for the National Guard Armory’s state-sponsored program called StarBase where I assisted with teaching math, science and goal setting to youth in the 4th and 5th grade,” she said. “During my service in the military, I also served 10 years as a Drug Educator and Prevention Specialist where I taught drug prevention to youth, between the ages of 5 and 18 in various schools throughout Kansas.”

After serving our county for 23 years, Doretha Bighems wanted to put her skills, experience, and education to good use — so she became a substitute teacher.

“I always had a strong passion to serve the community, in which I live, work and play in,” Doretha said. “Substitute teaching affords the opportunity to directly assist the school district within the community allowing me to fill in wherever there is a need. Substituting provides instances which enables me to actively be involved with youth in my community. Moreover, it provides me unlimited possibilities to be a positive role model and to make an effective impact on students I interact with.”

Doretha loves substitute teaching because it allows her to make a positive difference in a child’s life, teach various grade levels, and experience several different schools.

Doretha has always had a passion for education, and her own pursuit of higher education is a testament.

“I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Math and Communications from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas.  I have a Master of Science degree in Administration graduating with magna cum laude from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.  I also completed a Masters’ Degree in Adult and Continuous Education graduating cum laude from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.”

In her spare time, Doretha enjoys traveling, reading, playing bingo and spending time with her husband of 30 years, Lance, and the rest of her family. Her son Sean is currently following in his mother’s footsteps, serving in the military in Iraq on his second war tour.

She worries about Sean, but says substitute teaching has allowed her to take her focus off Sean and put her focus on her students.


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