New Houston Teachers

Emma Coons, Substitute Teacher

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Vanessa Stephenson:

 

1) Where did you grow up?

I grew up right outside NYC, on Long Island, New York until I
was 13. Then my family moved to Camden, Tennessee where we lived on a farm.

2) Where did you go to High School?

Camden Central High School in Camden,
Tennessee.

3) What did you enjoy studying in High School?

I loved to be in the band, and then my
favorite class was Biology.

4) What extracurricular activities did you participate in in High School?

Band. I was color
guard captain for 3 years. I loved the band!!!

5) Where did you go to college?

I started at University of Tennessee, Martin, then
transferred to University of Tennessee at Knoxville where I received my bachelors and
masters degrees. I also started my Ph.D studies in soil science at the University of
Maryland. I have a second masters degree from Colorado State University in
Educational Leadership.

6) What did you study/participate in in college?

Soil! I was the top 8 soil judger in the
country and the only female in the top 10. I also loved any class I could take on
Environmental Management and Animal Science.

7) What class(es) do you teach here at Houston?

I teach Physical Science, Ecology and
Environmental Science.

8) What prompted you to study to teach this subject?

I have a passion for science and I
want me students to also! I began teaching soils classes to undergraduate students
when I was in graduate school and realized my love for teaching.

9) Have you ever taught before?

If so, where and for how long? Yes! This is my 14 th year.
Most of my experience was in Colorado where I taught at 2 different high schools and
one alternative school.

10) What prompted you to apply at Houston?

I have heard wonderful things about Houston.
Also, I get to teach freshman and my favorite class- Environmental Science.

11) How are you enjoying the school so far?

I love it!!!

12) What’s your favorite part about Houston High?

The students! They are so eager to
learn and fun to teach!

13) What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?

I love to bring what I have done as a
scientist before I became a teacher into my classroom. I love making science relevant. I
love getting students excited about science.

14) How is working at Houston different from what you’ve done before?

The school is really
big. Also, there are so many more opportunities for students here.

15) Is there any extra information you’d like for us to share about you or your class in the
paper?

Yes, I love rocks. Also, I will be helping to start back recycling at Houston with
the Environmental Club!!!

Catherine Livesay:

1) Where did you grow up?

Germantown, TN

2) Where did you go to High School?

Houston High School in 9 th grade and then I went to
Baylor in Chattanooga, TN 10 th -12 th grade

3) What did you enjoy studying in High School?

Believe it or not…. Algebra! (I really don’t
like math now, though)

4) What extracurricular activities did you participate in in High School?

Cheerleading and
Cross Country

5) Where did you go to college?

Mississippi State University

6) What did you study/participate in in college?

Education

7) What class(es) do you teach here at Houston?

I have two ninth grade co-teach English
classes w/ Mrs. Cole, a Focus Literacy class, & a few learning labs

8) What prompted you to study to teach this subject?

My love for helping children grow to
their fullest potential!

9) Have you ever taught before?

If so, where and for how long? Yes, I came from Houston
Middle School where I taught 6 th grade Language Arts for the last 4 years. (Before that, I
had a Social Studies interim position @ HMS)

10) What prompted you to apply at Houston?

I wanted to teach my HMS students again!

11) How are you enjoying the school so far?

LOVE IT!

12) What’s your favorite part about Houston High?

Seeing & teaching my former students
again …. It definitely comes full circle that’s for sure!

13) What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?

Making a difference in children’s lives

14) How is working at Houston different from what you’ve done before?

I enjoy being back at
HHS….. it’s been a while since 9 th grade! But, Houston is home. Once a mustang,
always a mustang

15) Is there any extra information you’d like for us to share about you or your class in the
paper? It’s great to be back at HHS…. On a different side of things now!

Shawn Abel:

1) Where did you grow up?

Hot Springs, AR

2) Where did you go to High School?

Hot Springs High

3) What did you enjoy studying in High School?

Math, Chemistry, Biology

4) What extracurricular activities did you participate in in High School?

Football,
Track, Speech/Debate

5) Where did you go to college?

Rhodes

6) What did you study/participate in in college?

Mathematics (BA), Varsity Football,
Rugby, College Bowl

7) What class(es) do you teach here at Houston?

Honors Algebra 1, Algebra 1

8) What prompted you to study to teach this subject?

A vacant position

9) Have you ever taught before? If so, where and for how long?

This is my 32nd year.
I’ve taught Prealgebra, Math Foundations, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Precalculus, and
Calc/Stat.

10) What prompted you to apply at Houston?

I was teaching at the middle school and
coaching football. The move enables me to help Coach Thomas more effectively.

11) How are you enjoying the school so far?

It is outstanding. We are blessed with the
best!

12) What’s your favorite part about Houston High?

The A building is great. It’s a fine
facility and it’s close to the athletic department.

13) What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?

Seeing young students and athletes
develop and eventually surpass me in skill and performance.

14) How is working at Houston different from what you’ve done before?

There is a
unique relationship between administration and faculty. It’s a more personalized
atmosphere than most. We feel comfortable taking concerns to our superiors.

Nicole Chrestman:

 

1) Where did you grow up?

I was born in Arlington, Texas where I lived for two years. Then I moved to Atlanta,
Georgia where I lived for thirteen years. I then moved back to Ft. Worth, Texas and
stayed there for 3 years. Finally, I moved to Memphis, Tennessee where I have
lived for the past twenty years.

2) Where did you go to High School?

Well, I went to three high schools in four years. My freshman year was in Georgia.
My sophomore and junior years were in Texas. My senior year I went to
Evangelical Christian School, where I graduated.

3) What did you enjoy studying in High School?

History

4) What extracurricular activities did you participate in in High School?

I was president of FCA, secretary of SGA, and I played sports year-round
including volleyball, basketball, soccer, and softball.

5) Where did you go to college?

I went to Oklahoma Baptist University my freshman year. Then I transferred to
University of Memphis my sophomore year, from which I went on to graduate. I
then attended Union University for my graduate degree, from which I went on to
graduate.

6) What did you study/participate in in college?

I studied History and Psychology.

7) What class(es) do you teach here at Houston?

I teach World History and Psychology.

8) What prompted you to study to teach this subject?

I LOVE studying human behavior and trying to understand why people think and
act the way that they do.

9) Have you ever taught before? If so, where and for how long?

Yes, this is my fourteenth-year teaching. I taught for thirteen years at St. Benedict
High School in Cordova.

10) What prompted you to apply at Houston?

I was ready for a change in my teaching career. I had been at a private for over a
decade and I wanted to try public school and had heard GREAT things about
Houston High School!!!

11) How are you enjoying the school so far?

I LOVE IT!! The students are awesome and the faculty, staff, and administration are
easy to work with.

12) What’s your favorite part about Houston High?

How easy it is to work with everyone at the school. We are all in this together!!

13) What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?

Connecting with all types of students. I always trying to find common ground or
something I can relate to with each of my students so they will feel more comfortable
in my class. I love to laugh and the one of the best feelings in the world is to see my
students laughing and having fun, but learning at the same time. I am a firm believer
that you can have FUN and LEARN at the same time.

14) How is working at Houston different from what you’ve done before?

Well, I came from a private school…. need I say more?????? Two totally different
worlds.

15) Is there any extra information you’d like for us to share about you or your class in the
paper?

I am married and have three awesome children who are 9, 5, and 2. I live in Olive
Branch and am a huge Florida Gators fan!! As far as my classes are concerned, right
now there are only standard Psychology classes, but next year I will be starting up AP
Psychology classes so make sure you look for it in the curriculum guide!!!!!!!

Christina Sicilia:

1)    Where did you grow up?

We moved around a lot when I was young, I spend most of my childhood in Livonia, Michigan.

2)    Where did you go to High School?

I went to Churchill High School in Livonia, Michigan.

3)    What did you enjoy studying in High School?

Psychology was probably my favorite class in high school.

4)    What extracurricular activities did you participate in in High School?

Freshman year I played flute in the marching band, the rest of high school I was a cheerleader.

5)    Where did you go to college?

I was barely in the physical classroom for college. That was hard for me because learning comes more easily to me in the classroom.  I started off attending Schoolcraft College. During my first or second year at Schoolcraft I had a major disagreement with my parents. I wanted to attend church and they were not supportive of that idea. So I put college on hold and moved out on my own at age 19 to follow my heart and pursue my faith. I had to work to survive, but I promised myself I would go back to school when I could. Years later, I was married and staying home to raise our four children. I decided while I was staying home to be a mom, I would earn my college degrees online through the University of Phoenix. I loved that I was able to take classes from home, but field experience was incorporated into my programs so I was able to visit many schools for hands on learning with other teachers as well. To me, online learning was much more challenging than being in the classroom. It took a lot of discipline, but I did it.

6)    What did you study/participate in in college?

I got my associates degree in human services management, my bachelors in psychology … I wanted to work with women, children, and families. Then after my brother passed away, I decided I needed to get my masters in special education. During the short time I was at Schoolcraft College I was on the cheer team.

7)    What class(es) do you teach here at Houston?

          I Coteach Focus Math with Mrs. Gilbert, English 10 with Mrs. McKinney and Ms. Norwood                and I work with students in learning labs.

8)    What prompted you to study to teach this subject?

It was after my little brother passed away, he was learning disabled. I felt called to special education. I promised myself that no student would ever believe that they cannot learn on my watch!

9)    Have you ever taught before? If so, where and for how long?

I Cotaught English, Georgia History, Math, and Science at a K8 school in Savannah, Georgia. One year I taught 7th and the next year I taught 8th. I also taught, FLEX which was kind of what learning labs are here at HHS. I followed my caseload of 15 kids all day, every day. It was wonderful.

10) What prompted you to apply at Houston?

            I had just moved here so our family was starting over. I had taught middle school before                   and I always wondered what teaching at the high school level was like. During my years of               field experience in college I spent time in K-8 grade levels, but never made it to check out                 the high schools before completing my program.

11) How are you enjoying the school so far?

It can be overwhelming to start over and relearn many aspects of your job … but I absolutely LOVE IT!!!

12) What’s your favorite part about Houston High?

           The school culture is awesome.

13) What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?

           The fact that I teach so much more than the curriculum. I have daily opportunities to let kids             know they matter, guide them through tough situations that life might throw at them, set a                 good example and strong work ethic for them, build their confidence, help them figure out                 who they are and what they are truly capable of. I am so fulfilled by daily opportunities to                   genuinely pour my heart and soul into students.

14) How is working at Houston different from what you’ve done before?

           Everyone seems to enjoy coming to work every day. Teachers are valued and well                            supported. The kids are very respectful. I love it here.

15) Is there any extra information you’d like for us to share about you or your class in the paper?

Mrs Gilbert, Mrs. McKinney, and Ms. Norwood are AMAZING!! I am so blessed to team up with such awesome women who want to pour their hearts into HHS students as much as I do.

Also, I have an 11th grade son here at HHS. I have never had one of our four kids under the same school roof as me. I love seeing Skylar every day. Sharing a school, knowing the same fabulous teachers/staff, and awesome students has made me feel even more connected to my son. I am so grateful.

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