Fresh faces in Steamboat schools


New students aren't the only fresh faces at Steamboat Springs School District schools this fall. Here's a quick glance at some of the new teachers hired by the school district.

Soda Creek Elementary

Elena Birchby

Subject/grade level: Fifth grade

Prior experience: Taught eight years in Jefferson County

Teaching philosophy: "I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to be independent thinkers and I hope to encourage life-long learning."

Hobbies/interests: Fly fishing, skiing, reading

Lisa Hogue

Subject/grade level: Second grade

Prior experience: One year of teaching third grade in the Mesa County School District in Grand Junction; also has worked as an occupational therapist

What brought you to Steamboat Springs? "Routt County is my hometown. I missed the mountains, and my fiancee, Lonn Clementson, teaches at the high school."

Hobbies/interests: Outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family

Susanmarie Oddo

Subject/grade level: Art; grades one through five

Prior experience: Taught art at a Westchester, N.Y., elementary school the past five years

Teaching philosophy: "Picasso felt that 'every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain one as they grow up.' It is my job to spark their curiosity at a young age, inspiring their exploration, creation and imagination through art. I believe that in a safe and encouraging environment, all children can discover they are artists."

Hobbies/interests: Hiking, backpacking, canoeing, photography, creating and viewing art

Brent Fullerton

Subject/grade level: Fifth grade

Prior experience: Spent the past six years teaching fifth grade at the American Community School in Amman, Jordan, where his wife also taught.

What brought you to Steamboat Springs? "For the past two years my family has been planning to come back to the United States to become reacclimated to American culture and be closer to our son Maxim's grandparents. We liked the prospect of living in Colorado because of our outdoor interests."

Hobbies/interests: Skiing, rock climbing, softball, ultimate Frisbee and traveling

Strawberry Park Elementary

Heather Overstake is a new kindergarten teacher.

Barb Paulekas

Subject/grade level: Fifth grade

Prior experience: Started teaching in public schools in Laramie, Wyo., in 1989; spent the past two years teaching second grade in Hayden

Teaching philosophy: "I am a devoted educator who has a vision of an educational community where all members demonstrate caring and respect; differences are honored and strengths are built upon. My students are viewed as learners who work together toward a shared definition of excellence."

Hobbies/interests: Pottery, trail running, skate skiing

Steamboat Springs

Middle School

Amy Piva

Subject/grade level: American history; eighth grade

Prior experience: Has taught English and history in Texas, North Carolina and Hayden for a total of 11 years

Teaching philosophy: "I hope to make students more curious about the world around them so that they will pursue knowledge on their own."

Hobbies/interests: Skiing, hiking, antiques and playing with her dog

Andrhea Collins-Erikson

Subject/grade level: French; grades six through eight

Prior experience: Taught elementary and middle school English for the French Ministry of Education in Montluçon, France

What brought you to Steamboat Springs? "After having visited Steamboat Springs Middle School at the end of last year, the cohesiveness and optimism of the faculty, the enthusiasm and energy of the students, the mountains -- I'm from the Black Hills of South Dakota -- and the beauty of the community."

Hobbies/interests: Traveling, in-line skating, mountain biking, volleyball, reading and relaxing

Steamboat Springs

High School

Kim Mayer

Subject/grade level: Careers program teacher/coordinator for seniors

Prior experience: Ten years at Arapahoe High School in Littleton teaching business and marketing with an emphasis in computer technology, personal finance and career education

Teaching philosophy: "Teaching our children is a team effort; students, teachers, school staff, the community and parents all working together to provide a relevant and rigorous educational experience to prepare students for their futures."

Hobbies/interests: Traveling, building a house in Clark with her husband, watching movies, reading, hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing

Donna Caldwell

Subject/grade level: Severe needs special education teacher; grades nine through 12

Prior experience: Twenty-two years of experience, with the past 18 years at The Academy for Academics and Arts in Huntsville, Ala.

Teaching philosophy: "All students can learn. Each student is unique and has his/her own special gifts and abilities. My goal as an educator is to help students overcome difficulties while encouraging their special talents."

Hobbies/interests: Reading, quilting and hiking. She loves the ocean but is looking forward to lots of snow

Meghan Hanson

Subject/grade level: Ninth-grade geo-civics and 11th- and 12th-grade psychology

Prior experience: Student taught for 10 weeks at Boltz Junior High and 10 weeks at Fort Collins High School after completing a one-year teaching master's program at Colorado State University.

Teaching philosophy: "It is my duty to help my students learn to make good decisions now, so that they can make better decisions later. It is necessary to provide students with choices and teach them how to analyze and evaluate those choices before they rush into a decision."

Hobbies/interests: Running, snowboarding, baking and biking

Chad Bowdre

Subject/grade level: Math

Prior experience: Taught at Legacy High School in Broomfield for one year; spent two years as the youth coordinator for Stratford Schools in Connecticut.

Teaching philosophy: "My philosophy toward teaching is best stated by John Dewey: 'To be playful and serious at the same time is possible, and it defines the ideal mental condition.' I hope to uphold the ideal that math is serious and fun at the same time. I also believe that teachers are positive role models for young people."

Hobbies/interests: Kayaking, skiing, trail running -- all with his wife and dog

Jill Pierson

Subject/grade level: English; grades nine and 11

Prior experience: Student taught last summer at Valley High School in Gilcrest after completing a two-year teacher certification program at the University of Northern Colorado

Why did you come to Steamboat Springs? "I've been visiting Steamboat since I was 10 years old and never thought I would be able to live here. When the job came up, it just felt right. I guess you could say the job brought me to Steamboat, but the mountains and the small-town atmosphere brought me to the job. I've lived here almost four weeks and have really loved it."

Hobbies/interests: Reading, writing, skiing, hiking, camping and knitting

Karla Setter

Subject/grade level: Language arts; grades 10 and 11

Prior experience: Taught language arts for two years at the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, Minn.

Teaching philosophy: "Teaching is about helping to develop confident, aware and active citizens."

Hobbies/interests: Reading, backpacking and mountain biking

Anne Lushine

Subject/grade level: Spanish

Prior experience: Has taught English language learners, bilingual education and Spanish in St. Paul, Minn. Teaches evening English as a Second Language classes at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus

What brought you to Steamboat Springs? "The champagne powder!"

Hobbies/interests: Many outdoor activities, traveling, learning and spending time with her husband, Josh, and her dog, Winnie

Gerry Sutton

Subject/grade level: Instrumental music, jazz ensemble and concert band; grades six through 12

Prior experience: Thirteen years experience teaching music in public schools and at the college level.

Teaching philosophy: "Every student should be involved in music. It improves reading and math scores. It teaches discipline. It's great fun!"

Hobbies/interests: Playing jazz and bluegrass, fly fishing, hockey and horses

Julie Brownell

Subject/grade level: Business-microcomputers; grades nine through 12

Prior experience: Taught business classes in Michigan before moving to Colorado in 1991, when she began work in the Boulder Valley School District and at Eldora Mountain.

Teaching philosophy: "My philosophy is to bring my business experience into the classroom and teach young people skills they can use to further their education and/or enter the work force. These skills include problem solving, technical reading, following instructions, planning and time management and decision-making."

Hobbies/interests: Skiing, snowshoeing, reading a good book in front of the fireplace, working in the garden, hiking and biking.

Christa Pearson

Subject/grade level: Algebra, sports injuries; grades 10 through 12; sports trainer

Prior experience: Taught high school pre-calculus and sports medicine

Teaching philosophy: "There is a way to reach everyone."

What brought you to Steamboat Springs? "I was born and raised here."


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