Pirates welcome new staff to campus

Hannah Levenson, Editor-In-Chief

Lani Bass: Welness Center


What inspired you to do what you do?

When I was a teenager, I struggled a lot with depression and low self-esteem. When I got into my early 20s and thought about what career I wanted to pursue, I decided to go into counselling so that I could help younger people who felt like I had and give back and help others.

Interesting fact?

I was raised by hippie parents. They would teach meditation and natural cooking, and they also made cookies with honey instead of sugar, which wasn’t common at that time and kind of different

Jenny Brown: Science

What drew you to teaching?

I love science and I dabbled in various jobs in the science field enjoyed the idea of science, but it wasn’t interactive enough for me. When I was in college, I was asked to teach in a physiology class and that’s what started it all. I get to keep learning, I get to keep being a science nerd, and I get to interact with people all day long.

Why do you enjoy teaching science?

I love to figure out how things work especially, the body works and I like to learn how to fix it.

Charley Ehmann: Special Ed.

What drew you to teaching what you teach?

I have an older sister who has Down syndrome, and when I was in college I worked with developmentally disabled adults, so I has some experience working with people with disabilities, probably that’s the main reason.

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m an aquarist; I take care of tropical fish. The most fish tanks that I have had is four, but right now I only have one.

Kathleen Brennan: Paraeducator

How did you get into being a paraeducator?

I volunteered at a school in Oakland, the Oakland International School, which is a school set up for recent immigrants and refugees. The whole school is English learners. I worked in a classroom there and I really liked the high school kids and the work, so I applied for the job here.

What were you like in high school?

I was not nearly as diligent as a lot of the students here. I would probably consider myself an underachiever. But I achieved later on.

Liz Chacon: Assistant Principal

What was the transition from being a teacher to being an administrator?

Not having my own students to be with every day was difficult. Going into administration, there was so many more names and faces without necessarily that personal, teaching connection. I’ve just have to find connections with students in other ways.

What are your hobbies?

Right now I’m working on my dissertation in Education Leadership at UC Davis. When I am not in school, I am doing school, so that’s my hobby.

Karen Gladysz: Math

What drew you to teaching mathematics?

Some think that Math is one of those subjects where people get it or don’t get it. They are wrong. I have the mindset that we all can learn in our individual ways, and I like to bring that to the math world.

Any advice for your students?

You get out what you put into it. Keep persevering even if you’re not getting the results you want.

What were you like in high school?

I went to Drake. I was similar to how I am now, but not as outgoing.

David Gutfeld: Social Studies

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had a friend who was a teacher who taught Israeli youth who were very poor, and I could see how meaningful his life was. He was always really stressed and tired, but he really enjoyed his job.

What is your impression of Drake so far?

The teachers are great. I really like working with them. The students are chill and relaxed, but that might just be because it’s still September. Ask me in March.

Patrick Lynch: Paraeducator

How did you get into doing what you do?

I used to run a group home for violent and developmentally disabled adults. I got into a car wreck, and that put me out for about four years. I had to learn to walk again. I still wanted to work with special needs kids, so I started to work in grade school.

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

I used to do gymnastics in high school.

What is your advice to students?

Enjoy your experience, and really hold onto it.

Allison Sherman: Science

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I transitioned from a biologist to teacher. The thing that really inspired me was when I would see students at Cal State East Bay struggle, and I was successful helping them when a lot of the professors weren’t.

What were you like as a high school student?

I definitely got in trouble from time to time. But, I got good grades.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Caramel balsamic ice cream. It’s weird, but it’s really good.

Natasha Krick: Math

How did you get into teaching?

I always wanted to be a teacher. I studied mathematics and economics because I thought that I would want to work in business. Then I got an internship and hated it, so I decided to become a teacher.

What were you like in high school?

It was the 80s, so I had really big hair. I was conscientious and I liked school, so I think that was also why I became a teacher. I played a sport called netball because I was in South Africa. It’s kind of like basketball but outside.

Mark Machado: Attendance

What do you think about Drake so far?

Drake’s great. That’s why I came back. I have two kids who went to Drake, and I coached baseball here so I’m a Drake guy.

Do you have any advice for students?

Come to school on time.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In the summer I do boating and other stuff up at Lake Almanor since we have a house up there. That’s the main perk of working here: I have the summer off to go away.

Julia Vander Vennet: School Psychologist







What do you like about working in a high school?

High school is a really hard time because developmentally, there’s a lot going on. And then you throw in someone with a learning disability or an emotional disability to various other things and it makes it that much harder. If I can have any part in making that even a tiny bit easier for somebody, that’s what I’m here for.

What is an interesting fact about you?

I delivered my own baby in a car. In the front seat of my car, while my husband was driving us to the hospital.