By Zachary Daum
As the new school year approaches, Mascoutah High School (MHS) is preparing to welcome a new group of educators who are excited to join the school’s community and make a positive impact on the students. The first day of the new school year was August 16, and the incoming teachers were eager to get started, making statements on their feelings, going into the new school year.
Becky Musso, a seasoned educator with 15 years of experience, shared her feelings about transitioning to MHS, “MHS has been very welcoming and supportive in my transition this school year. After 15 years, changing school districts was scary at times, but the administrative team, fellow peers, and community members have welcomed me with open arms, and I am excited to get started in my hometown district.”
Ross Jones brings a unique international perspective to the school. “My transition to Mascoutah has been phenomenal so far. I am returning to the US after having taught English in Spain with a Fulbright grant from the State Department for the past two years. From the moment I accepted the position, everyone in the community has been so welcoming to me. Everyone from the building administration to my departmental colleagues, and even teachers down the hall from other departments have gone above and beyond in making me feel supported and like a member of the team. I am so glad to have found such a tight-knit community to mark my transition back to living in the US and continue my career in education.”
Retired CMSgt Bryan Shipman, another new addition, expressed his gratitude for the warm reception, “The Mascoutah welcome has been amazing. I’m coming from another district and truly appreciate the first-class professionalism displayed by the district since my arrival. From start to finish, Mrs. Kelly Johnson and her team have been outstanding. The district’s reputation is outstanding in the educational community, and my family and I are very blessed to be joining the Mascoutah Tribe.”
For Gracie Wetherington, a first-year teacher, the experience has been nothing short of welcoming, “As a first-year teacher, I have felt more than welcome at MHS. From the beginning, all of the staff have been incredibly welcoming and eager to help. The environment in this district is nothing like I have seen before. I am excited to work in such a positive and collaborative environment!”
Brett Kolweier expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “(I’m) very excited to be working in such an amazing district, go Indians!”
Janelle Kozsdiy highlighted the exceptional nature of her transition, “I’ve had an absolutely fantastic experience transitioning to Mascoutah High School. The welcoming staff and administration, seamless process, and overall impressive atmosphere have made this journey exceptional. The genuine spirit and excitement among the staff reuniting have been captivating. I’m truly honored to be a part of such a strong and vibrant school and community. I look forward to contributing and helping our students in every way possible.”
Eliot Deters, bringing real-world experience to the classroom, shared his perspective, “My name is Eliot Deters. I will be teaching business as part of the CTE department at Mascoutah High School. I am transitioning on a slightly different path than most teachers. I am coming from the corporate world of both the profit and nonprofit sectors. I would say one of the most exciting things that I am able to be part of this year is the ability to bring real-world experience and knowledge into the classroom. As a business owner for over 20 years, almost every day there are lessons learned, I can’t wait to be able to enhance the curriculum through real-world experience. I truly believe this experience will allow MHS students advantages when thinking about and deciding on their future. I have never had the opportunity to work for MSD 19. However, the past week and a half has been an absolute whirlwind of quality education, comprehensive learning, and in-depth knowledge that has been shared with all of us from the administrative staff from the district and the individual schools.”
Erik Schneider, a seasoned educator with 18 years of experience, expressed his confidence in joining MHS, “The MHS staff and administration have been absolutely excellent. This is the beginning of my 18th year in education and my fourth school district. Everyone at MHS has been extremely professional, but at the same time, they clearly put forth efforts to make the first few days of training enjoyable. I came into the first two weeks before students arrive with ‘rookie nervousness;’ now, I am confident that I have the tools to make this year a success.”
Carolina Morado shared her decision to join MHS for personal reasons and her positive impressions, “I made the decision to join the Mascoutah District to have the opportunity to be closer to my children. The huge welcoming environment has reassured me that I have made the correct choice. Everyone has just been super inviting and ready to help and offer assistance when needed. I am very excited to start and continue my journey being a part of the Mascoutah family.”
Ashley Wombacher, a proud MHS graduate, is excited to return to the school she herself attended, now as an educator, “As a new staff member of Mascoutah High School, the transition has been wonderful. The administration and staff have welcomed all of us here to the building with open arms and with eagerness to help us learn. I am a Mascoutah High School graduate, and it is amazing to come back over ten years later with the same wonderful atmosphere to help students have an amazing four years here at MHS, just as I did. Student Services is a busy place in our building and I will have the joy of getting to meet nearly every student that comes through our building. I hope I get to continue to do this for years to come. I truly believe whether you are a faculty/staff member, administrator, or student Mascoutah is One Team, One Tribe, One Family. I am glad to be back and can’t wait for our students to arrive on the first day!”
As Mascoutah High School opens its doors for another academic year, the new teachers are eager to contribute to the school’s tradition of excellence, collaboration, and community spirit. With their diverse backgrounds and experiences, these educators are poised to make a lasting impact on the students and continue the school’s legacy of fostering growth and success.
A complete list of new MHS teachers are as follows: Morio Montgomery (Assistant Principal), Julie Hazzard (Assistant Principal), Gracie Wetherington (English Teacher), Erik Schneider (English Teacher), David Niemann (Science Teacher), Ross Jones (Spanish Teacher), Allie Roehrig (Art Teacher), Allie Riddle (Social Studies Teacher), Ryan Boone (CTE Teacher), Becky Musso (PE/Health/Drivers Ed), Bryan Shipman (AFJROTC Instructor), Nikki Stanford (ELL Teacher), Janelle Kozsdiy (Guidance Counciler), Brett Kolweier (Guidance Counciler), Elio Deters (CTE Teacher), Carolina Morado (Attendance Secretary), Ashley Wombacher (Guidance Secretary), Stephanie Swalls (Front Office Secretary).