Can they understand our students? Can they connect with students and bond with them over shared experiences?
These are questions Principal Bob Sinclair had to answer when hiring teachers to accommodate Blake’s growing student population and fill positions that retirements and transfers left open. Mr. Sinclair found 19 people that he, administrators, and department heads felt fit the bill. Teachers have been added to the English, Math, Science, History, Special Education, Language, and ESOL departments as well as the Connections program.
“As we’ve hired, we’ve looked for people who not only know their content, but can bring positivity to the school and connect with students,” says Mr. Sinclair. This year, Mr. Sinclair is emphasizing the creation of a constructive, supportive, and optimistic school environment.
The new staff members are already expressing their fondness for Blake’s environment and their excitement for this year. Spanish teacher Kristin Bornscheuer says, “I am very excited about coming to Blake. The positivity is infectious. [The Blake community is] warm, open, down to Earth, [and] they ‘keep it real.’”
This positivity is what inspired Blake alum, Darius Oxley (CO ‘13), to return as a math teacher. “[The environment is] fun, easy-going, and light-hearted,” he says. “I’m excited to be in the community as well as serve the community here.”
Mr. Oxley remarks that he is having a vastly different experience as a member of the faculty than he had as a member of the student body. “Right now, the main difference is how I’m learning to interact with the teachers,” he says. “[There is] some familiarity [with] teachers I had, or had my brothers, or had my sisters, so it’s different to come in in a different role.”
While teachers may have varying philosophies, the common thread amongst them is that they want the best for their students. ESOL teacher Erin Hodgson says, “My students know that I am there for them and have described me as an unwavering encourager. Sometimes it takes another person to show you the gems you have hidden inside.”
English and theatre teacher Michael Arden, who replaced long-time English and theatre teacher Michael D’Anna, shares words of wisdom for this year. “Clarity comes when you realize that learning is an investment you make in yourself that can never be taken away, no matter how far you travel or how many new people you meet.”