School district welcomes 16 new teachers

Students aren't the only new faces to Sequim classrooms.

The school district has 16 new teachers roaming school halls this year.

Here is a brief introduction to a dozen of them:

Vicki Lemke

Now teaching: Fourth grade at Greywolf Elementary

Background: Went through the Sequim School District, moved to California and taught fourth grade, decided to move back last year

Hobbies: Bike riding, reading and swimming

Quote: "The community here is wonderful, I already know that. I can't wait to start teaching in my hometown!"

Tracy Williams

Now teaching: World literature at Sequim High School

Background: Has lived in Sequim since 1991, has taught part-time at Olympic Peninsula Academy

Hobbies: photography and acting with Olympic Theatre Arts

Quote: The administrative staff in this district is just fabulous. I'm so excited to work for the kids."

Tracy Barnes

Now teaching: Ninth and 10th grade history at Sequim High School

Background: From Westport, where half of her family still resides. Currently rooming with her oldest daughter, who is enrolled at Peninsula College. Barnes decided to do a career change and is a brand-new teacher

Hobbies: Reading, skiing

Quote: "I am looking forward to the ability to be with students for the first time."

Bryan Smelcer

Now teaching: Science at

Sequim Middle School

Background: Graduated in December from Eastern Washington University, worked briefly as a substitute teacher in Spokane. This is his first "real" job after college.

Hobbies: Scuba diving, camping, hiking, saltwater fishing

Quote: "I think the biggest thing (about teaching) is helping the kids to excel the best I can and giving them a good foundation."

Joy Karsgaard

Now teaching: Math at Sequim High School

Background: Grew up in southern British Columbia, taught math in Southern California for seven years

Hobbies: Renovating the house she and her husband just bought in Sequim

Quote: "I just love teaching and I am so excited to meet my students."

Maribeth Stewart

Now teaching: Librarian at Greywolf Elementary

Background: Grew up just outside Chicago, where she taught middle school for two years, then relocated to southern Arizona, where she taught fourth grade for five years

Hobbies: Spending time with her 2-year-old, decorating her new Sequim home

Quote: "I've never been a librarian, so I'm looking forward to the change and challenge of a new position."

Diana Piersoll

Now teaching: Math at Sequim Middle School

Background: Taught for nine years in small-town Casa Grande, Ariz.

Hobbies: Biking, kayaking

Quote: "I'm looking forward to the small-town feel; I got used to that in Casa Grande."

Susan Heyer

Now teaching: Title I math and special education at Greywolf Elementary

Background: Taught gifted education and home economics for 20 years in Alabama, Alaska and Montana

Hobbies: Skiing, horseback riding, biking, cooking

Quote: "I'm very excited about working with children with special needs and helping them reach their potential."

Stephani Thompson

Now teaching: U.S. history and social studies at Sequim High School

Background: Taught middle and high school for seven years in Oklahoma and Texas

Hobbies: Backcountry camping, hiking, kayaking and reading

Quote: "I'm looking forward to the smaller community, I'm used to teaching in large city schools."

Colleen Harker

Now teaching: Counselor at Sequim High School

Background: Worked as a counselor in Long Beach, Calif., worked as the part-time drug and alcohol counselor at SHS last year

Hobbies: Spending time with family, walking with dogs

Quote: "Just being in the school, I experienced the energy ... I'm thrilled."

James Shingleton

Now teaching: Math at Sequim Middle School

Background: Raised in Clallam Bay, taught in Longview for 10 years

Hobbies: Running, biking, spending time with his three children with fellow new teacher Bridget Shingleton

Quote: "I'm looking forward to being in this area again."

Bridget Shingleton

Now teaching: Physical education at Sequim Middle School

Background: Taught P.E., health and technology in Longview.

Hobbies: Enjoying the outdoors, spending time with her three children

Quote: "This seems like a beautiful community ... I can't wait to start."

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