The Lion's Roar

Menchville welcomes new teachers

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Mrs. Njiba Tirado

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“I love to teach at Menchville because I actually went here. I’m an Alumni, and I graduated in 2008. I enjoyed being here, it felt like the culture is like family. Mr. Surry, Mr. Edwards, and Coach Henderson have been kind of my mentors throughout, so it felt like it was meant to be.”

Beth Ellis
Njiba Tirado, a new Biology teacher.

What schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“My first couple years in teaching were at Richneck Elementary School, and then I also taught at Passage Middle. At Richneck I taught 5th grade, and at Passage I taught French.”

What expectations do you have for your students?

“My biggest expectation for my students is to be respectful, to be prepared, and to put in their best effort.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family. I’m married, and we have three kids. I enjoy working out, and I am in the process of writing a book. I love writing. And eating, I have to put eating in there because I love food.”

Where did you go to high school?

“Here at Menchville.”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“I really enjoyed most of my classes, but I would say that the one class where, even though it was work, it was just a joy to be in was chorus. I enjoyed chorus.”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“One of the things I love to tell my students is I am originally from the Congo. I was born in Ivory Coast, from the Congo. I want my students to know that the world is bigger than the four walls of these classrooms, and I’m always eager to bring a world perspective because I believe it’s important for us to have a bigger lenses than our self centered world.”

 

Mrs. Cateena Clark

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“I was here as a long term support person in the office for a few months while I was a substitute teacher, and it just felt like home when I was here. I loved the energy, I loved the students, it was just a good environment. I worked at approximately 17 different schools before I chose Menchville as a substitute teacher, so I really carefully made sure that I would be in a good place before I decided.”

Which schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“I’ve been to Gildersleeve, Passage, Crittenden, Huntington, Saunders, McIntosh, Carter, Watkins Early Childhood Center, Jenkins, and of course here at Menchville, but I didn’t teach here I was a substitute admin person, or receptionist. Most of them I’ve been to a lot of different times.”

Beth Ellis
Cateena Clark, a new Earth Science teacher.

What expectations do you have for your students?

“I expect them to excel. I want them to do well, learn the material, and of course pass their SOLs, but I want them to have an appreciation for science and know that science is all around us and that it affects our every day lives. Of course I expect them all to get As.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“I love exercising, and spending time with my family. When I’m not reading science books I like pleasure reading, and I really like to be outside a lot. I like fishing, doing long walks, and I just try to stay very active.”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“My favorite class in high school actually was my business class. It wasn’t even my science class. Science was fun, and I love science, but I loved my business class more because to me it was more practical. I really could apply it to life and working, so I didn’t see science as a future in the beginning, but now I do, so I’m able to bring that to the students.”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“I always think about the students first, and I work with a spirit of excellence to make sure that they understand the concepts. I want them to know that I care about them and I want them to be successful, not just in school but in life.”

 

Mrs. Sara Clapper

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“So that I could teach the AP and honors art class and move up with my middle schoolers from Gildersleeve.”

Which schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“I was there (Gildersleeve) for five years and I was at Denbigh High School for five years.”

What expectations do you have for your students?

Kelly Ritenour
Mrs. Klapper helps students work on their art projects.

“At the high school level I have pretty high expectations.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“I enjoy brewery hopping, beach combing, and hanging out with my friends and family.”

Where did you go to high school?

“I went to Denbigh. It was weird (to teach at her old school) and then it was fine. It was just being at work.”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“Art.”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“I will advocate for them if I need to but I will also push them to learn and excel at art.”

 

Mrs. Elizabeth Koutsigiannis

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“It’s one of the best schools in Newport News”

Alondra Rivera-Pena
Elizabeth Koutsigiannis, a new English teacher.

Which schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“Woodside”

What expectations do you have for your students?

“To be good people”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“Reading and writing, I’m an english teacher so you know”

Where did you go to high school?

“Woodside High School”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“English”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“Whenever I’m in the building, I am always available to have someone come and talk to me if they need me”

 

Kara Michaelian

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“Well I did my student teaching last year with Mr. Zoby and originally I had no intention of applying for NNPS, but coming to Menchville I really connected well with the students and with the faculty and the staff…The students here are unlike anything else, they make me laugh, smile, jump for joy with my job, and I don’t know what it is, I don’t know what y’all do. I don’t know if it’s your personalities or just how much you want to test my nerves, I just love it all. I love the work that I put in to my student teaching at Menchville and I thought ‘I don’t want to teach anywhere else.’”

Laura Madler
Kara Michaelian, a new Geometry and Prob and Stats teacher.

Which schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“I’ve been a substitute teacher for the past 3-4 years. I would substitute a lot where I’m from in Lauden County…When I was down here at Christopher Newport, I got to substitute at Warwick, Denbigh, and I got to see some of the middle schools like Dozier and Crittenden, but since day one I knew I wanted to go into high school.”

What expectations do you have for your students?

“I have my three bees at the front of the board and I always tell my students to “bee” respectful, “bee” present, and “bee” ready. My biggest thing is that they have respect amongst each other because math is all about making mistakes and I don’t want anybody to feel as if they can’t shout out an answer because it might be incorrect.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“Netflix is something I like to do. It just kind of keeps me focused because I can have something to listen to while I’m working. I like laying back and relaxing- I try to keep my work here, so if that means I have to stay here until 5 o clock, I’ll do that because when I’m at home I just want to be at home relaxing. I’m just chilling while I can because my job is pretty busy.”

Where did you go to high school?

“I went to Briar Woods High School, graduated in 2013. While I was there I was a cheerleader (won states 4 years in a row), I was involved in theater (I played Scuttle in the Little Mermaid- highlight of my high school time), and I did NHS and tutoring.”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“Math! It will always be math! It was just something that I really liked because it tested my nerves and my patience in a way of ‘I don’t know how to do this. I need to figure out how to do it.’ I wasn’t always like that with history because dead people bored me, and when science threw in all those little symbols for chemistry, I just lost my marbles.”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“I’m a very loud person, I have a very loud personality, and I’m very loud in the classroom, but it’s because I really believe that all my students have a really big purpose in my classroom…Already they know I’m a loud person because it’s fall and we’ve been talking about football nonstop, but they haven’t seen me in my hockey mindset yet- so they have another thing coming!”

 

Coach Epps

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

Jay Mendez
Coach Epps warms up with his first period class

“I’ve been wanting to join the Menchville HS community for several years now. Since moving to Newport News four years ago, I’ve never heard anything but good things about the faculty, staff and administrators at Menchville High School and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Which schools, if any, did you teach at before Menchville?

“During my ten years as an educator and coach, I’ve been at four schools prior to coming to MHS. I started as a substitute teacher at Surry Middle and High School, student taught at Isle of Wight Academy, accepted my first full time teaching job at Southampton High School, spent five years teaching at Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News and then finally made my way to MHS where I plan to stay until I retire.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“I love doing anything active, especially learning new things and starting new things that I can work at to become better at over time. Things like golf, water skiing and wakeboarding, snow skiing and snowboarding. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done is to go hang gliding after being pulled up ½ a mile by a small one seater airplane and hang gliding down to a landing strip. I eventually want to go ski diving and get my pilot’s license to be able to fly airplanes.”

Where did you attend high school and college?

“I played football at Randolph-Macon College before getting injured and transferring to Old Dominion University where I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.”

What were your favorite classes in high school?

“Obviously, Physical Education but I also had some really good teachers for subjects like English and History.”

 

Mrs. Jennifer Gosselin

Why did you want to come to Menchville?

“I started off at Menchville as a student teacher last spring, and I just loved the atmosphere! Walking in the hallways, everyone from Mr. Surry to the students always has a smile for you. Plus, the Social Studies department is the best.”

Beth Ellis
Jennifer Gosselin, a new Social Studies teacher

Which schools, if any did you teach at before Menchville?

“This is my first year teaching, so I have not taught at other schools. However, I did some substituting in York County, mostly at York High School.”

What expectations do you have for your students?

“Expectations that I have for my students is to come to class with an open mind. I know that history isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite, but I do think that there is something interesting any student can find.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

“I am a self-proclaimed ‘I have no life’ kind of person. I do escape rooms any time I meet up with my best friend. I also like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and I am an aspiring writer. Currently, I have over 20,000 words for a novel that I hope to finish by the end of the year.”

Where did you go to high school?

“I actually went to high school locally at York High in York County. Go Falcons!”

Is there anything the students should know about you?

“I’m a giant dork that makes a whole lot of pop culture references that people don’t always catch. I think I’m hilarious and laugh at my own jokes. Just like the ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus, I will probably die laughing at my own joke.”

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About the Photographers
Laura Madler, Editor-in-Chief

Committed to graduate in 2020, Laura Madler is Editor-in-Chief and third year staff writer for The Lion's Roar. She is a member of the Menchville Marching...

Beth Ellis, Staff Writer

Committed to graduate in 2021, Beth Ellis is a staff writer for the Menchville Lion's Roar. She is also a member of Menchville's archery team. In her spare...

Jay Mendez, Sports Editor

Committed to graduate in 2019. Jay Mendez is a former Varsity field hockey player. She loves playing, watching, and photographing sports. She spends her...

Alondra Rivera-Pena, Staff Writer

Committed to graduate in 2020, Alondra Rivera wants to make these last two years at Menchville better in terms of grades and involvement within the school....

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