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Coupeville School District welcomes six new middle school and high school teachers

With the retirement and relocation of several teachers at the end of last school year, the Coupeville School District welcomes six new middle school and high school teachers and two new elementary school teachers. From left are the new middle school and high school teachers Sarah Wilson, Megan Austin, Alex Heilig, Brett Smedley, Ted Matts and Iryna Johnson. - Elisabeth Murray
With the retirement and relocation of several teachers at the end of last school year, the Coupeville School District welcomes six new middle school and high school teachers and two new elementary school teachers. From left are the new middle school and high school teachers Sarah Wilson, Megan Austin, Alex Heilig, Brett Smedley, Ted Matts and Iryna Johnson.
— image credit: Elisabeth Murray

With the retirement and relocation of several teachers at the end of last school year, the Coupeville School District welcomed six new middle school and high school teachers.

Sarah Wilson is teaching Resource Math in grades 6-12 as well as an advisory class.

Hometown: Snohomish, Wash.

Education: B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Washington, a M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Washington and a teaching certificate from Central Washington University with endorsements in math and special education.

Teaching experience: I have had my teaching certificate for 4 years. I spent most of that time substitute teaching and driving school buses for Snohomish School District while going to school to get my M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis on severe/profound disabilities.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? Math. Most of the lessons that I do are in small groups, and I am working on individualizing the education for each of my kids, since they all have Individualized Education Programs. Lately, I have been getting a fairly high level of engagement by having the students use dry erase markers on the back of their IEP binders to answer questions in small groups. It helps both them and me to get immediate feedback so that I can catch gaps in background knowledge. The kids really enjoy the Candy Challenges at the end of the period too.

Any connection to Coupeville? I'm working on it.

Is there something unique or unusual that most people might not know about you? I was a church pianist for three years.

What is your favorite place that you have visited? Will I gain favor by saying Coupeville?


Megan Austin is teaching teaching 6th and 7th grade social studies, a 6th grade elective (Art Through the Ages) and will also be working as the High School Associated Student Body Advisor.

Hometown: I consider my “hometown” to be Evans, Wash.

Education: Two Bachelor of Arts – one in International Relations and another in History and Literature from Franklin College Switzerland. Also a Masters in Teaching – Secondary from Western Washington University.

Teaching experience: This will be my second year teaching.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? I have a World War I trench warfare simulation that is BY FAR my favorite lesson to do when I am teaching high school students. That said, I am still in the market for a new favorite simulation to use with my 6th and 7th grade students.

Do you have any connection to Coupeville? I am brand new to Coupeville and couldn’t be more excited to be here.

Is there something unique or unusual that most people might not know about you? I work as a Volunteer Public Relations editor for the Sainam Foundation in Thailand and have also volunteered as an English teacher for this organization. I completed my student teaching at Hutt International Boys’ School in New Zealand.

What is your favorite place that you have visited? Evans, Wash.

 

Alex Heilig is teaching 8th grade US & Washington State History, 7th grade US History and will be the Varsity & JV assistant football coach.

Hometown: I have lived all over the West. Born in Montana, lived in California, high school in Nevada, lived and went to school for the last 8 years in Arizona.

Education: BA in political science from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix.

Teaching experience: This is my first teaching job. I was a student teacher last spring for Mr. King's 10th grade World History & 8th grade US History.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? I have got to say that I love all my lessons. Everyday I start off with a 'Today in History.' The students really seem to enjoy this everyday fun routine, and it gets both the students and my brains thinking about history.

Any connection to Coupeville? Student teaching here last spring really excited me about Coupeville and the whole area. Plus it doesn't hurt that I am dating a former Coupeville grad that I met in Arizona.

Is there something unique or unusual that most people might not know about you? Before I became a teacher I was a Cowboy. I operated a family cattle ranch in southern Arizona for the past three years.

What is your favorite place that you have visited? Locally, I have to say the mountains here in the Northwest. I am an avid backcountry skier, so I love the opportunity to get out and explore. Overall, I have to say Italy. The opportunity to explore a historically rich culture with a good friend and my family is something I will never forget.

 

Brett Smedley is teaching three Physical Education/Health classes, one fitness/conditioning class, and one weight training class.

Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.

Education: B.S. in Physical Education from Linfield College, in McMinnville, Ore. I also played football at Linfield.

Teaching experience: This will be my third year as a full-time teacher. I substitute taught for a year in the Vancouver area before being full time.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? My favorite lesson to teach is a tricky question. I love teaching lessons where all kids are engaged, learning, moving, and working together!

What is your favorite place that you have visited? The coast would be my favorite place to visit.

 

Edward “Ted” Matts is teaching 9th grade Integrated Science and a Marine Biology course. He will also be helping with academic support classes and leading the 10th grade Associated Student Body.

Hometown: I have lived in Bellingham for the last 25 years.

Education: B.S. in Environmental Science from Huxley College at Western Washington University with a minor in Chemistry. Teaching certificate as a secondary science teacher from WWU.

Teaching experience: I'm in my 6th year of teaching in Washington State public schools.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? Whenever its hands-on and connects with students and their prior experiences. I love science lessons that create more questions then we started with.

Any connection to Coupeville? I do not, although I've already met some really nice people.

Is there something unique or unusual that most people might not know about you? I'm pretty open about myself, so I'm sure people will get to know much about me, unique and unusual.

What is your favorite place that you have visited? I love the variety of landscapes around mid-Whidbey Island. I have traveled all the states and can find beauty in many different settings and people, but few match here.

 

Iryna Johnson is teaching Math 6 and Math 7.

Hometown: Originally I am from the Ukraine. I moved to the US in 2006.

Education: Master's in electrical engineering and Master's in economics.

Teaching experience: This is my 4th year. I taught Algebra 1 in Virginia for the past 3 years.

What is your favorite lesson to teach? Game of Life where students are assigned a job, buy a house, pay the mortgage and have to figure out a budget, etc.

Is there something unique or unusual that most people might not know about you? I speak Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian.

What is your favorite place that you have visited? The Roman and Greek ruins in Siracusa, Sicily.

 

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