With the first few days of school running smoothly, Superintendent Walt Hackford stated that the attendance levels are coming in as strong as ever, as well as the positive outlook on accomplishing good things within the school commitments this year. Adding to the positive steps being taken, there are six new teachers to introduce – two at each school location.
Jo Ellen Barrett comes to Mineral County High School to teach English. She majored in English at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, stating “It’s the subject that came easiest to me. I love literature and it can help you through life.”
Coming from the Yerington area, she is already adapted to the area and looking forward to challenging her students in creative ways. Also added to the high school level is Diane Rodriguez who was once a certified public accountant. She has an office management background and will be concentrating on computers, business and job skills.
“I’m excited to see students like Kylie Bergnnis make progress through the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program that is available. I will be teaching everything from job skills to full accounting, to all areas of computer. This course includes professional behavior in a job setting so they can market their skills. The student’s abilities will extend into establishing careers way beyond high school.”
Over at the elementary school, Tara Tilley who is now with the Pre-Kindergarten kids relocated the farthest.
“I had family here, so moving from Lovell, Wyo. was not as hard as it sounds. I graduated in elementary education from the University of Wyoming and was glad to find a new start here in a smaller town environment.”
Also joining the elementary school level is Connie Stinson, a special needs teacher who came from teaching in Gabbs for 16 years. “I’m originally from Chicago but I’ve lived in other places as a teacher. I’ve taught over 22 years, including in adult facilities and juvenile detention and am a certified EMT.”
At the same location, Sandra Essenpreis has come back to teach third graders. “I have been in this school district since 1969, teaching in Schurz and wherever needed, even substitute teaching. Currently I’ll be filling a critical shortage position, but right now I’m a long-term substitute.”
The Schurz Elementary School is happy to have Jennifer Smith joining the team as the special education teacher. “I started in 1988 as a pre-school teacher and then began credentialing with a degree in English literature. I’ve worked with high school and junior high students, but this opportunity is wonderful.” She’ll be working on completing a counseling degree, and in the past she developed a successful academic support program, which can be a benefit to the school district, as well as utilizing her well-rounded background.
Rounding out the new addition to Schurz is Elizabeth Vessels as the seventh and eighth grade teacher, who was born and raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York. “This is my 11th year teaching, and I’m excited to become a part of this local community. I love animals – dogs, cats, sheep, cows, turtles and of course horses, as I was a horseshoer and livestock vet assistant. This year we’ll explore some new ideas together .”