The first of the five new members of our staff is Ms. Kelly Drew, our new librarian.

She attended the University of Pittsburgh for nursing, Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. She has taught at Shannock Valley Elementary and West Hills Intermediate, both in Armstrong School District, and she attended Kittanning High School.

Her favorite part about teaching is getting to know the students and the people she works with. She loves to see a student’s face smile with pride. Her family was full of educators and she always loved school; this is what drove her to the path of teaching.

She loves to spend time outdoors and with her friends, family and pets. She also enjoys DIY house projects and traveling as she has visited places such as France and Switzerland. Another interesting fact is that Ms. Drew has Cherokee and Choctaw heritage.

The next of the new faces at West Shamokin this year is Mr. Nick Dunmire. He attended Pitt Johnstown and received a bachelor’s degree in English, then attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a Master of Arts in teaching English. He has been a substitute teacher for the Armstrong School District for several years; last year he taught reading at Armstrong Junior/Senior High School. He attended Ford City High School.

When asked what his favorite part of teaching is, he said: “I believe in the power of education, so my favorite part about teaching is that I get to be a part of the education process for my students.”

A few of his former teachers are who inspired him to become one himself. He loves to spend his free time with his family and also hunting and fishing. An interesting fact about Mr. Dunmire is that he has two kids ages 4 and 1.

Mr. Jeffrey Hankey is a graduate of Kittanning High School Class of 2001; he then went to college at Penn State University, Mercyhurst University and Western Governors University. He recently taught at Our Lady’s Christian School in Erie and at Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) High School.

Hankey taught various science courses at both schools, but here at West Shamokin he teaches General Science 8 and 9 and Biology I.

His favorite part about teaching is his “strengthened immune system from working in a sea of teenager germs all day.” When asked about why he wanted to become a teacher, Hankey said that his “career as an NFL Pro Bowler and Calvin Klein spokesperson was wearing on me, so I thought I would go into something more prestigious and less stressful like teaching.” His responses show his sense of humor, and aside from being funny, Mr. Hankey enjoys “writing lesson plans, grading, self-reflection and crying ... in that order.” He used to be a zookeeper working in the reptile exhibits before becoming a teacher, and we are fairly certain that he is not joking about that!

New to the music department is chorus teacher Mrs. Emily King. She graduated from Kittanning High School and went to college at Ashland University where she obtained a bachelor’s in music education and attended Gannon University, receiving a master’s degree in education.

Mrs. King taught at Leechburg High school for 11 years and at Shannock Valley Elementary for a year. Her favorite part about teaching is “watching my students connect with different types of music that they wouldn’t normally listen to. I love having students come to love a great piece of music like I do and find a personal connection with it.”

She wanted to be a teacher because of the influence of other teachers and “share that same passion with others.” In her free time Mrs. King enjoys reading and spending time with her family. An interesting fact: She has traveled to 49 out of 50 states.

The final new teacher to the building is not very new in that she belongs to West Shamokin’s 2007 graduating class: Mrs. Julie Parks.

She graduated from Clarion University where she went on to teach an English class at Agora Charter Cyber School and most recently taught Spanish at Union High School in Rimersburg.

Mrs. Parks strives to make a difference in the lives of her students whether she is teaching, holding one-on-one instruction or tutoring. Out of high school Mrs. Parks wanted to be a doctor; if anyone would have said she was going to be a teacher she would have laughed in their face because she hated high school! She wanted to help people and save lives but quickly realized after shadowing that looking at needles made her physically ill.

After going back to square one she asked herself what she was good at in high school and that was English and Spanish, which led her into studying abroad in Chile and becoming a teacher.

In her free time Mrs. Parks enjoys coaching and playing volleyball, traveling, spending time at her camp, reading and continuing her education.

She also enjoys spending quality time with her husband, family, friends and dog. Mrs. Parks goes to Guatemala every year and she plans to travel to Spain and Italy next summer.

West Shamokin High School wishes all the teachers good luck as they embark on a new chapter as a West Shamokin Wolf.

Some news to look forward to here at West Shamokin will include our update about the powder-puff game held Wednesday night, the upcoming Halloween Carnival sponsored by the seniors, musical auditions for “The Music Man” and much more.

Stay tuned.