GHS is an ever expanding place in which new faces are popping up constantly, whether that be teachers or students.
The band program’s newly-hired teacher, Mr. Joel Matthews, has always been a fan of music, and he has a record to attest to that.
“The band department at Greenwood is definitely steeped in tradition, and it has a pride to that. It’s been a fun process getting to learn about the school and all the rich history in this school. My mom is a piano teacher and an orchestra teacher, so I grew up around it which definitely solidified my love for music at an early age. In high school I was involved heavily in both band and choir. I did everything music-related I could; I was involved in theater and played in bands when I could,” Mr. Matthews said.
Some people working at GHS come for other jobs. That is exactly what happened to the new guidance counselor, Mr. Ben Sutton.
“When I came to Greenwood as a teacher, I realized that I much more enjoyed the personal one-on-one conversations with kids that led to changes in their lives, and guidance counselors get that privilege much more often,” Mr. Sutton said.
Having a guidance counselor who truly cares and wants to help can make a difference in any kid’s life.
“At Greenwood, I feel like the guidance counselor program is solution-focused with a personal touch which I like. My favorite part of helping kids is just to be able to say that I made that kid feel better and or fix something for them whether that be academically, mentally, or socially,” Mr. Sutton said.
Working with special needs children is definitely hard work, but GHS has an excellent group of teachers, and two new shining stars in the special education program are Ms. Vanessa Garcia and Mr. Tim Grimes.
“I came from Warren Central before this, and that school was just awful. The kids there never seemed to want to learn, and the environment I was put in made it very hard for me to be able to succeed and for the children to be enabled to succeed. When I came to Greenwood, it was unbelievable the amount of support I received. Greenwood really has become a second family to me, and I plan to be here for many years. After being at Warren for so many years, it’s refreshing to be able to have this support now.” Ms. Garcia said.
Mr. Grimes has a personal connection with the children.
“I just want the kids to feel like someone’s in their corner and can understand how frustrating and difficult it can be. It especially makes it easy when every teacher here is so accommodating, making it possible for me to have the kids achieve the best learning experience,” Mr. Grimes said.
While most teachers usually have to come into a new classroom alone, working in special education allows them to work with other teachers; which makes it so teachers like Mr. Grimes can learn from the best.
“At my old school, I worked with an amazing teacher who would always be on the kids’ side and support them. Ever since then, I wanted to be just like that and allow the kids to know I’m there for them no matter what,” he said.
GHS already had a fantastic World Languages Department, and the addition of Mrs. Melyssa Starks, only added to that already extensive repertoire of teachers.
“The department here is exciting to work in because I like working with the other teachers, and they have all welcomed me with open arms and set me up with the best chance for success,” Mrs. Starks said. “I’ve always liked the idea of learning a new language. Throughout school I followed that passion, and it led me to teaching, so now I hope I can have that passion follow through on someone else.”
Sometimes, opportunities come unexpectedly, and often these opportunities come from having “friends in the business.”
“I was the Athletic Director at a school in Fort Wayne. Mr. Irwin was the varsity men’s basketball coach and later became the assistant athletic director. Eventually he became the athletic director here at Greenwood high School. When Mr. Garrison retired, Mr. Irwin told me to go for the job and I got it.” Mr. Michael Gasaway, principal, said.
Greenwood’s students, staff, and overall atmosphere is impressive amongst their peers. This did not go unnoticed by Mr. Gasaway.
“My favorite thing about this school is how cool the kids are and the diversity this school has. The staff has also been very accepting of me and everyone has welcomed me like I was family,” Mr. Gasaway said.
GHS sets up teachers with the best situation for them to be able to succeed, and for many teachers, that is what keeps them teaching here for many years.
“I love it here. The teachers are incredibly supportive of me, and I feel like they want me to make myself into a better teacher and person. With all of the support, it makes me feel at home and feel comfortable teaching,” Mr. Jeremiah Bonner, science, said.
Most teachers have always had a passion for learning and teaching and that creates an excellent pathway for them to inspire the next generation.
“In high school, I fell in love with science, and that led me to study it in college which then after many other steps led me to Greenwood, where I plan to be for a while,” Mr. Bonner said.
Being a new teacher, forming relationships with peers is important.
“It’s been really good to get to know them, and they have been very helpful. I’ve taught before, but things vary from school to school, and it’s nice to have people to tell you what’s expected and guide you in the right direction,” Mr. Polston, said.
Teachers have different backgrounds, but some deal with more change than others. For Mr. Jake Rockey, FACS and business teacher, this was going from teaching 6-year-olds to teaching 16-year-olds.
“There are definitely some pretty big changes between the elementary school and the high school. I think high schoolers are much more independent and responsible for their own work. At the elementary school I had 20 students that I got to be with all day. Now, I have over 120 students; developing relationships with high school students is a lot harder,” Mr. Rockey, said.
Every person has their own reasons for why they do what they do. Mr. Rockey wished he had the opportunity to take the classes he teaches.
“The classes I teach are all career expiration classes. I think these are very important because If I can give people an idea of what they want to do I think that’s a very good thing because that’s something I wish I had in high school,” Mr. Rockey, said.
Most teachers come into the same classroom, see the same students, and work with the same teachers and staff, that could not be any more different for GHS’s new IMC worker, Mrs. Annie Rhinehart; she switches schools every day and is constantly adjusting to new environments.
“With change, there is always a bit of anxiety, but I was given this position with the ability to craft the specifics of the role as it unfolds over the coming year, and that provides a sense of excitement as well. While I am a new staff member at GHS, I have worked for the corporation for 17 years. I was an ELA teacher at GMS for 10 years and then a librarian at GMS for seven years prior to taking on the new role of Media Services Coordinator. As the Media Services Coordinator for the corporation, my primary focus is to serve the libraries at GMS and GHS on a daily basis but to always provide support as needed at the elementary levels as well,” Mrs. Rhinehart said.