Karen Keys


I began teaching in March 1993 after graduating from the College of Idaho in December 1992. My entire teaching career has been in Marsing. I taught K-12 music for one year and then moved to Second Grade. In 1995 I was privileged to receive Reading Recovery training and at that point moved to First Grade. I have been in First Grade ever since except for teaching a combination First/Second grade classroom in SY 2013-2014. I always makes me appreciate Marsing and the closeness of the community when I go to graduation in the spring. One can watch First Graders develop into successful young adults and what a joy it is when they come back to visit and share their successes and future plans!

I completed my MA in Reading Education from BSU in 2000. Early literacy is my expertise and educational passion which is why I truly love teaching first graders.

My husband, Steve, and I have been married 41 years. We have 5 adult children and 4 adorable grandchildren. We enjoy our season tickets to BSU football games and traveling to visit family and friends. Most recently we spent our 40th anniversary sailing in the San Juan Islands with our daughter and visited British Columbia as well. This past summer we took a jet boat trip through Hell’s Canyon. Of course it’s always fun to hang out with the grand-kids.

Piano is a personal passion for me and in fact I was a Piano Performance Major in the 70’s at BSC. I love accompanying choirs and musicians at Marsing. I also play the piano for my church choir which keeps me pretty busy.

I plan on teaching for a few more years and then who knows? Maybe I will give some piano lessons and travel around with my husband.


Macha Thoene

My name is Macha Thoene and I have been married to my amazing husband for 16 wonderful years. We have 3 beautiful daughters who are currently attending Marsing Schools. Originally from Oklahoma, we made Idaho our home August 2016. I did my student teaching in kindergarten and third grade and received my degree in Education, with an emphasis in Early Childhood, in December 2015.

Not only will this be my first year with Marsing Schools but also my first year as a classroom teacher. I honestly did not realize how much I enjoyed working with children until I had children of my own. I want each student to realize his or her potential and know that I will do anything I possibly can to help him or her reach and go beyond that potential.

As a student, I enjoyed the atmosphere of a smaller school because it felt more like a family. That is why I am very happy that I was chosen to be a part of an amazing school and staff. I look forward to teaching first grade and getting to know each and everyone of my students as well as each student’s family. We are going to have an amazing year!

When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, watching Oklahoma Sooners football and softball, and scrap-booking. 


Amber O'Brien


I earned my bachelors degree in Fine Art from California State University of Sacramento, and my teaching credential/ Masters Degree in Education from University of Phoenix. This year will be my first at Marsing Elementary but my third year of teaching. 


My husband and I live in Homedale with our fur babies. We enjoy watching Friends and love animated movies. A few hobbies of mine include cooking organic meals, yoga and all kinds of art. I love to draw and paint animals in a happy and colorful style. 


I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful and compassionate team of teachers at Marsing. The staff here genuinely cares about students and their learning progress. I am proud to work for a school in such a friendly community.


Throughout the year, I love watching my students grow in so many ways. It is quite a gift to be a part of their journey.  As a creative artist on the side, I also enjoy the imagination my students possess. One of my favorite quotes is from Pablo Picasso: 


"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."