With every new school year comes new teachers, but this year there are more new faces than usual.
Twenty-five teachers started at HHS this school year, about double the number from last year.
Principal Bob Cotter said there is no single reason for the spike. “There are new teachers each year because people retire, choose to pursue other professions,” he said.
“And quite frankly,” he added, “some are not rehired because they turned out to not be a good fit for HHS.”
There are so many new teachers that it wasn’t uncommon the first weeks of school for a student to drop by a classroom expecting to see one teacher only to find he or she gone and a new teacher occupying the room.
The Ville News recently spoke to a few of the newcomers about their early impressions of HHS.
- In Room 234, Jeffrey Wilkins is teaching physical science, computer science foundations, and robotics for skinny block. An Indiana native, he taught at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind., for 16 years. There he taught chemistry, physics, and worked an engineering program called Project Lead the Way. “I felt very welcomed when I first came,” Wilkins said of HHS. “The people here are very nice.” Asked for his least favorite thing about his new workplace, he said, “I guess the thing that bothers me is that there isn’t a cohesiveness in the appearance of the school.” He thinks a little paint in the section of the school he’s in would make a big difference.
- At the end of the English hall, Dr. Rebecca Bene is in Room 206. As many know, Dr. Bene is home recuperating from an auto accident and is expected to return next month. She spoke to The Ville News before the accident. Like Wilkins, she said her favorite thing about HHS is the welcome she received from everyone. Her least favorite? “It’s just bigger than the other schools I’ve worked at, so it’s definitely been kind of trying at times trying to remember how to get certain places, or if I’ve never been down a certain hallway trying to get there in a timely fashion.” Dr. Bene has been teaching for more than 15 years in grades ranging from elementary to high school. She has taught in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and done small English clinics in Nicaragua, Haiti, and Japan.
- In Room 222, Alicia Farrar teaches physical science, chemistry, and ACT science prep. She taught Honors and AP Chemistry at West Creek High School in Clarksville for two years, then taught as an interim at HHS last school year. Farrar said her favorite thing about her new school is the students and the support she feels from faculty and administration. “There are not a lot of schools that allow you to have as many copies as you need for the day. At my last school we only got 1,000 copies for a semester.” Asked for her least favorite thing about HHS, she said, “I am new to the school, so I don’t know all the traditions yet.” But she said she is working on that by learning the pep rally cheers recently handed out to teachers.
Following is a list of other teachers new to HHS along with their room numbers and subjects:
- Julia MacFarland, Room 149 (Health)
- Ralph Gabriel, Room 225 (Science)
- Tracy Dove, CDC
- Emily Barker, CDC
- Kathy Parry, CDC
- Harlie Fuqua, Room 116 (Resource)
- Sarah Wolf, Room 127 (Foreign Language)
- Chris Imber, Room 244 (Math)
- Kelsey Tatum, SLP (Speech)
- Taylor Coleman, Room 204 (English)
- Andrew Martin, Room 201 (English)
- Zina Crowder, CTE (Secretary)
- Ashton Street, Room 139 (Agriculture)
- Donna Curry, Room 119 (WWTP)
- Brandon Averitte, Room 114 (Resource)
- Mary Beth Racine, CDC
- Stephanie Highsmith, Room 112 (CDC)
- Lt. Col. Jeffrey Stone, ROTC
- Chris Pokracki, WWTP (Aide)
- Deborah Conn, Room 118 (Deaf Ed Teacher)
- Jennifer Hunsucker, Room 105
- Kim Gregory, Room 109 (Government)
Article by Staff Writer Kelsey Dotson