By TOBEY SCHMIDT
Two new teachers are ready and eager to start at the Skagway School in August. Misty McNellis and Jessica Ward were hired on this year when the school had two openings for teachers.
McNellis, who has never been to Skagway before, just finished her student teaching in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. This will be her first year teaching.
“I’m just really excited about starting a new adventure. Like I said, I’ve never been to Skagway before, so it will be fun to move to somewhere different and work at a school that is so small,” McNellis said.
Working with both the middle school and high school students, McNellis will be teaching classes like middle school science, health, S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), biology, chemistry and physics.
“I think it will be different, but mainly in that when you’re at a big school typically you teach one or two subjects and so by switching to a smaller school I’ll be able to cover more subjects and that will be interesting and fun for me.”
Ward, who taught high school math at a large school in Virginia for nine years, is also excited to be teaching at a smaller school.
“I definitely think it’s going to be a lot of work to individualize the lessons specifically to the kids’ needs, but the payoff is so much more significant,” Ward said. “The benefits to the students of the small class sizes is tremendous.”
Ward, originally from Alaska, moved out east for college and lived there until she moved to Skagway in 2014. She’ll be teaching eighth grade and above math classes such as algebra, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus and calculus.
“I’m just really excited because of the size of the school and the involvement of the parents with the students,” Ward said. “And the smaller class sizes so I can do more one-on-one individualized instruction.”
At the Skagway School Board meeting on Tuesday, July 18, board members also approved the hiring of seven more positions at the school for the new year.
Nick Ackerman, Kristen Moore, Sydney O’Daniel and Jillian Skinner were hired on as special education aides. Mark Desmond was approved to be hired as a lunch aide.
Kenton Gilmartin will be the new cross-country coach. Southeast Cleaning & Maintenance was hired as the new custodial service for the school. School starts for students on Aug. 16.