New School Year, New Staff

Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Senior Reporter

Some Mustangs might have noticed the several new staff members that have joined Manitou Springs High School this year. There are four new English teachers and two new Counselors. Some of these new staff members include Elizabeth Lockard (Spanish), David Bonogofsky (World Geography), and Robyn Bucher, who has returned to MSHS to teach AMPS (Advanced Mathematical Problem Solving). Some of these teachers have been teaching for years, and some have just started.

This is both a great opportunity for students, and can also lead to a little distress. Some students were sentimental towards some of their teachers, and were disappointed when they did not return for this school year. However, the new staff has received many complements from students. New opportunities were presented along with these teachers, such as the vast variety of new teaching styles. Each student is learning what teacher works best with their learning.

As mentioned, one of these new Mustang teachers is Elizabeth Lockard, who has just graduated from Warburg College in the very same place she grew up. She was born in Texas, then grew up in Iowa, and moved to Colorado just a month ago. Lockard originally studied German, but the language wasn’t offered in her high school, so she transitioned to Spanish. “The classes that you take in college don’t necessarily prepare you for the whole life of the school. It’s all the books and studying the psychology of adolescence and all that boring stuff. So you get to come to school and its this whole colorful world of stuff that’s super exciting. The way teachers are, not necessarily portrayed, but the way they’re taught to be a teacher and the college is definitely different from the experience itself,” she said.

“I didn’t necessarily love high school, but I love high schoolers. They’re so fun. It’s fun to come to work everyday without it feeling like work. I can be sarcastic, and funny, and weird. I mean if students judge me that’s not a huge deal, because we’re all a happy little family here, and it’s really fun,” Lockard said. She enjoys the outdoors, which results in her hiking a lot. She is also a dancer and knows how to say ‘I love you’ in seven languages.

Another new Mustang is Jessica Doudna-Robinson, one of the new English teachers. Even though she is new to Manitou, she is certainly not new to teaching. She has been teaching for 17 years, in elementary, middle, and high school courses. She has a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership, a Master’s Degree in Multicultural Education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, with Concentration in Curriculum Construction and Design. “As a child of my parents, they were not very stable. As caregivers, they often left things kind of neglectful, but school was always that safe place to be. It was consistent, I knew what to expect day by day, your teachers were there for you to talk to, listen to. I think the consistency in general gave me what I needed, as I developed, because my home life wasn’t consistent. I didn’t know what to expect at home, and I wanted to be there for other kids that had an upbringing kind of like mine, but I became very passionate for it. I’ve never wanted to be anything but a teacher,” she said. As well as teaching, she has her own photography business. She enjoys taking scenic photos the most, but also does weddings and portraits. She once was a parade dancer at Disney Land.

One teacher that isn’t entirely new to Manitou is Robyn Bucher. Bucher taught at MSHS for five years, until she was offered a job to teach math at an international school in Nagoya, Japan. She lived there for a year before she returned to Colorado. She taught one year at Rampart High School, and has now joined the Mustangs once again. “Who wouldn’t take a job in Japan? It’s a pretty cool opportunity, and so I figured, I had never been to Asia, I figured I would never go to Asia unless I took this job. It was a good way to get out and kind of experience the world, and also get some pretty awesome teaching experience,” she said.

Along with her experience in Japan, Bucher teaches AMPS here at Manitou. AMPS is different from your typical math class.”I think, in our normal math classes, you kind of go through the motions and you learn the procedures, and you do a bunch of word problems. In reality, you’re not going to encounter word problems in the real world, you’re going to encounter just problems. Like maybe your boss says ‘figure this out for me’ and so the students are learning how to take any sort of situation and figure out how to solve it, and also present it in a way that your boss or whoever you’re trying to present it to would understand what you’re trying to say, and you can persuade someone one way or another if you need to,” said Bucher.

Along with the many core class teachers, there are several other staff members. Two counselors are also joining Manitou, Michele Mandel and Alisha Strupp. Mandel is the counselor for students with last names starting with A through L, and Strupp is the counselor for students with last names starting with M through Z. With the counselors, Jennifer Nagel is teaching the elective Mass Media. She took a yearbook camp in Boulder over the summer, and is excited to bring her knowledge into the class. Nagel has three children attending Manitou currently, and one that just graduated.

During the Welcome Back Pep Assembly, the student council played a game with many of the new staff. The staff thought they were talking about their favorite hobby, while in reality, they were talking about kissing. The game introduced a little bit of the staff’s personalities, and was a good laugh for the students.