7 teachers welcomed to schools

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— With shiny new paint, tile and carpet, Hayden schools are clean and ready for another school year.

But even more important is the crop of new teachers ready to greet students and inspire young minds.

"We're very excited about the staff we've hired," superintendent Mike Luppes said.

There are seven new teachers -- four at Hayden Middle School, two at Hayden High School and a band director who will serve both schools.

Though the middle school needed more new teachers than usual, overall the teacher turnover this summer was about average, Luppes said.

This was the first summer in about 10 years that Luppes did not have to hire new staff at Hayden Valley Elementary School, he said.

The new teachers provide a diversity of teaching backgrounds and experience. Four of the new teachers recently have moved to Hayden while three others are from other areas in Routt County.

This will be the first teaching job for one new teacher, while others have 16 to 25 years of teaching experience.

"We look for that ability to make connections with kids," said Luppes, who interviewed about two-thirds of the candidates. "That's one of the biggest things necessary for academic achievement."

Ted Moss

Ted Moss, 38, will teach math at the middle school. He has lived in Northwest Colorado for two years. He is married to Danica Moss and has a 1-year-old daughter, Hailey, as well as a dog named Buddy. When he's not teaching, he enjoys fishing, golfing, skiing and biking. This is the first teaching job for Moss, who used to work in sales.

He describes his teaching style as down-to-business. Though he enjoys having fun with students, ultimately they are there to learn, he said.

Moss decided to become a teacher because he saw it as a rewarding way to be involved in the community. His wife, Danica, is his role model because she is an exceptional educator, he said. He looks forward to being a part of students' lives, he said.

Don Cherni

Don Cherni, 54, is on board as the new band teacher for the middle and high schools. He also will teach choir at the high school. He recently moved to Hayden from Sheridan, Wyo., with his wife, Liana, and their cocker spaniel. They have two daughters.

In his spare time, Cherni enjoys biking, water skiing, cross-country skiing, walking and doing yard work. He was previously the band director at Riverside High School in Basin, Wyo., for 25 years.

Cherni teaches with positive reinforcement one on one and in groups, he said.

"I believe in challenging students to achieve their highest level in the time they are with me," he said.

He became a teacher because he loves music and working with students. His role models are his college instructors. He's looking forward to the challenge of developing a quality concert band program in Hayden.

Ken Neis

Ken Neis, 25, will be the new cyberschool coordinator at the high school. He lives in Steamboat and enjoys playing tennis, skiing, snowshoeing, biking and fishing when he's not in the classroom.

His teaching career includes work in alternative education and adult education in Minnesota. Neis, who became a teacher because he likes working with young adults, approaches teaching as a coaching process.

He looks forward to helping students achieve their goals for the year, he said.

Marin Campbell

Marin Campbell, 24, of Steamboat, will teach English and speech at the high school. Her pastimes include mountain biking, swimming and triathlons.

This is the first teaching position for Campbell, who has coached the Craig swim team for two years and also worked as a physical therapist aide in Steamboat.

Respect in the classroom -- between peers and between students and teacher -- is an important aspect of her teaching style.

"It's important to make English relevant to the students. Why should they be interested? What can they get out of school? These are questions that teachers must answer," Campbell said.

She became a teacher because she wanted to be like the several high school and college instructors who made an impression on her. Her role models include several college professors, a fellow swim coach, Socrates and common sense. She's looking forward to meeting the students, she said.

Lars Jacobsen

Lars Jacobsen, 25, will teach math at the middle school and will be the assistant football coach at the high school. He recently moved to the area from Miami, Ariz. He is married with three boys and enjoys outdoor activities when he's not in the classroom. Previously, he taught high school biology in Arizona and middle school science in North Dakota.

He describes his teaching style as boisterous with individual instruction and student-centered lessons. His role model is Vince Lombardi because he taught his players to be winners and earned their respect to the utmost degree, Jacobsen said.

He looks forward to changing common misconceptions of school and learning processes.

Bret Hoover

Bret Hoover, 23, will teach literacy at the middle school where he will be the assistant football coach. He moved to Hayden from West Wendover, Nev., where he taught fifth grade. When he's not teaching, Hoover spends time with friends and family. He describes himself as easygoing and his teaching style as relaxed. He became a teacher because he enjoys being around students and watching them grow, he said. He's looking forward to working with a new staff and group of students.

Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis, 39, will teach middle school literacy and resource. She moved to Hayden from Grand Junction. She is married with four children ages 17 to 20. She also has two dogs and two cats. When she's not teaching, Davis loves to travel and enjoys golfing, water skiing and playing softball and volleyball. She has worked with children of various ages for the past 16 years in Mesa County schools.

In the classroom, Davis strives to provide students a cooperative learning environment where they all belong and perform to the best of their abilities, she said.

She became a teacher because she loves children and is still a "learner" herself, Davis said. She's looking forward to becoming a member of the Hayden community.

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