New teachers in the classroom

Over 30 teachers  and staff members joined Clarkston Community Schools this year. Photo by Trevor Keiser.
Over 30 teachers and staff members joined Clarkston Community Schools this year. Photo by Trevor Keiser.

More than 30 teachers and staff members have joined Clarkston Community Schools this fall, including Kathleen Alexander, who will be a counselor at Clarkston High School.
Alexander went to Walled Lake Central. Shge lives in Howell, and graduated from Oakland University 2012, with a Master’s degree, counseling with school specialization.
Previously she worked at Okemos High School from 2013-2016, Brother Rice from 2012-2013. Her hobbies include: Interior design and volunteering animal shelters. She grew up in Commerce where most of my family still lives.
Amanda Snider will be a Special Education Teacher at Sashabaw Middle School.
Snider went to Dakota High School and participated in basketball, softball and the debate team. She was on the honor roll and recieved honorable mention.
She lives in St. Clair Shores. She went to Central Michigan University where she got her , B.S. Ed., May 2014. Triple Major (Special Ed., History, Spanish). Previously she taught at West Intermediate in Mt Pleasant in 2013, Lanse Creuse High School in Lanse Creuse in 2014, and Port Huron High School from 2014-2016.
As for hobbies, her family does sails competitions.
“We spend time on the water. I enjoy collecting scarves (I have over 40!) Slight obsession,” she said. “I enjoy cleaning my house, it calms me down and feels great to come home to. I also love basketball, golf, and traveling.”
Rachel Vickers will be an English Teacher at Clarkston High School.
Vickers went to Dondero High School, was Vice President of student council, and captain of the Varsity Volleyball and Basketball teams. She lives in Royal Oak, went to Western Michigan University, and previously taught at Clarkston High School from Sept. 2011-Dec. 2011, Michigan Technical Academy from Feb 2012 – Aug 2014, and Taylor Exemplar Academy from Aug 2014 – July 2016.
“I interned at Clarkston High School in 2011 and it has been a goal of mine to return to such a tight knit community,” she said.
Her hobbies include reading, running and doing yoga.
“I recently ran a half marathon and am looking forward to more in my future,” she said. “I have a 2- year old daughter who keeps me busy, and I play volleyball.”
Lauren Abel will be a fourth grade teacher at Clarkston Elementary.
She went to Central Bucks High School West where she won the John Philip Sousa Award in band. She then went on to Penn State University (2008), where she played in the Symphonic band and Lion Scouts. She then went to Oakland University (2016), where she was an invited speaker at MI Collegiate Partners of UCS Future Educators Conference.
Previously she taught at Taylor International Academy from Aug 2015-Aug 2016, Southfield Public Schools from March-June 2011, and Commerce Elementary from Sept 2014-June 2015. Her hobbies include running half marathons, biking duathlons, travel to five of seven continents and almost all 50 states. She volunteered taught in Ghana while at PSU.
She has been in Michigan since 2009. Her husband (Graham Abel) is an engineer at GM.
“We completed the zoo-de-mack bike ride this year (2016) and bike 50 plus miles from Boyne to Mackinaw City,” she said.
Stephanie Foreman is a social worker with the district.
Foreman went to Preston High School in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada where she played basketball, volleyball and rugby for fouir years. She lives in White Lake.
She went to Wayne State University and received BA in Dec 2013, MSW in May 2016, Cum Laude. Previously she taught at Knudsen Elementary School in Waterford from Sept 2014 – June 2016, Sashabaw Middle School and Clarkston High School from Sept 2015 – May 2015. Her hobbies include spending time with her family and friends and nieces and nephew and going to the beach, reading, sports, and softball.
“I am from Cambridge – most of my family lives there,” she said.“ I met my fiancé at WSU – Michael Wiseman – he played on the men’s baseball team. He is a Minor League Umpire in Double A.”
Paige Haas will be a basic teacher. She went to Walled Lake Central High School and now lives in Waterford.
She graduated from Grand Valley State University, April 2016, Dean’s list 2012-2016, Phi Mu Sorority. Previously she taught at North Rockford Middle School from Jan-June 2016, and Cridle Park Elementary in Wyoming from Sept-Dec 2015. Her hobbies include: reading, spending time with her family, friends and her dog. She also loves to scrapbook and works on project and crafts around the house.
“My grandma is from Germany and I have been to Germany four times, hoping to go back soon. One thing would like to do before I die is visit all 50 states, I am currently at 19.”
Erica Hubar will be a Language Arts at Clarkston High School.
Hubar went to Rochester High School and participated in Cheerleading (2006 & 2007 State Champ and scholar athlete), Key Club, and Yearbook. She lives in Clawson.
She went to Central Michigan University, Dec 2012, Sigma Sigma Sigma, house manager & alumni relations, Rho Lambda, SMEA. Taught at Utica High School from Sept 2012-Jan 2013, and Academy for Business & Technology High School from Sept 2013-June 2016. Her hobbies include enjoying being with my family and friends, workout classes such as kickboxing and she loves going on vacations and exploring new places. The beach is one of her favorite places to be.
“I love animals and hope to have a golden doodle in the future,” she said. “ My favorite thing this summer was going up north, camping, and being on the lake.”
Heather Jacob will be an art teacher at Andersonville Elementary.
She played in the Avondale High School Concert Band for four years, playing the clarinet. She was also on the honor roll each year. She went to Western Michigan May 2013 BFA
She lives in Clarkston. She previously taught at Sarah J Webber in Pontiac from Sept 2015-July 2016.
“In my free time I love to paint portraits. Oil paint is my favorite medium to work with,” she said. “I also work at Picasso’s Grapevine in downtown Clarkston teaching both kids and adults how to paint.”
Rebecca Kroll will be a science teacher at Clarkston High School.
She went to Farmington High School where she was in color guard and varsity soccer. She then went to Central Michigan University where she was in Marching band., as well as, Eastern Michigan University and Oakland University.
She lives in  Troy. She previously taught at Plymouth High School, Plymouth/Canton School District, Aug-Dec 2008. Her hobbies include playing soccer on rec teams.
“I worked at Woodhaven High School for seven years. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, Emma, and 5 month old son, Jacob.”
Kelly Kujala will be a teacher at Springfield Plains Elementary.
She went to Dow High School in Midland where she was on the varsity soccer team every year, as well as a cheerleader. She went to college at Michigan State University, 1997 (BA) & 2002 (MA), Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and did lots of volunteer work. She also went ot Oakland Univeristy where she studied Special Ed.
She lives inClarkston and previously taught at Cornell (Student teaching) in Okemos from Aug 1998-April 1999, Haviland, Adams, Donelson Hills in Waterford from Aug 1999-Aug 2016. Her hobbies include shopping, travel,  Disney World, watching her kids’ activities and reading.
“I have 3 kids, Maddie (13- 8th grade CJHS), Allie (12- 7th grade SMS), Brady (10-5th grade SPE),” Kujala said. “We love traveling to Disney. Love the Tigers! I went to MSU but my husband went to U of M. House divided.”
Stephanie Natzke will be a Special Education Teacher in the district.
She graduated from Centennial High School (Born in MI, lived in AZ for 15 years and moved back to MI with family). She was President of French Club and NHS, Lettered in academics and newspaper. She lives in Clarkston.
She went to Wayne State, Dec 2008 B.S. Ed in Gen Ed (graduated Cum Laude), and Oakland University Aug 2013 M. Ed in Spec. Ed (graduated Cum Laude). Taught at Jeanette Junior High in Utica (Student Teaching) from Sept-Dec 2008, TRG Schools from Aug 2009-Aug 2013, Tutor time in Farmington Hills from Jan-Aug 2009, and Pierce Middle School in Waterford from Aug 2013-June 2016. Her hobbies include playing the flute and cooking.
“My son has several food allergies and I have Celiac’s,” Natzke explained. “I love trying new allergy friendly recipes.”
She also likes photography, playing chess, traveling, yoga, painting and crafting like making shadow boxes to preserve family memories and mementos.
“Professionally, I began teaching in the gen ed setting and transitioned to special education. I strive to support my teachers and students that I work with to ensure student success. Personally, I have been happily married for six years to my husband (been with him for 10 years),” she said. “We have a beautiful four-year-old son and one adorable, but loud Collie.”
Ashley Venegas will be an elementary Spanish Teacher.
She went to Waterford Kettering High School. She then went to Oakland University 2015, Cum Laude, SMEA Member.
She lives in Rochester. She previously taught at Clarkston Elementary (student teaching internship) from Jan-Dec 2015, North Sashabaw Elementary (instructional aide) from April-June 2016.
Her hobbies include, spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, as well as, baking, traveling, and going to church.
“ We attend Mount Zion church in Clarkston and I teach Sunday school with my husband,” she said. “I love to read and visit new places. I enjoy baking, cooking, and being creative.”
Marissa Webner will be a teacher at Andersonville Elementary.
She went to Rochester College (4-30-16) Summa Cum Laude, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, Outstanding teacher education graduate award.
She lives in Davisburg. She previously taught at Springfiled Plains Elementary (3rd grade) from Sept 2015 – Apr 2016. Her present hometown is Rochester,: Her hobbies include:  reading, swimming, camping, writing short novels.
“ I grew up in White Lake and Davisburg,” she said. “I have 1 sister, three cats, and a dog. I am involved in my church.”
Blair Yaroch will be a teacher at North Sashabaw Elementary.
She went to Haslett High and then to Oakland University where she got her Masters in Education in 2009.
She lives in Rochester and previously taught in Rochester at Musson Elementary, Delta Kelly Elementary and Baldwin Elementary from 2014-2016. Her hobbies include the beach.
“My kids and I visited 15 (beaches) this summer and spent six weeks in Northern Michigan,” she said. I also enjoy these days, exploring Detroit. There is so much to do and see.”
Her two children are – Tessa (4), Kyler (7) and she’s been married to husband Tony for 10 years this December.
See next week’s edition of the Clarkston News as we highlight the new teachers who decided to teach in their hometown.