New Staff, New Energy

Ari Stein and Andrew Johnston

A new school year means new faces on campus. This year, Miramonte welcomes seven new teachers and one new support staff member.

Math Analysis, Algebra II, and Geometry teacher Savannah Heupel came to Miramonte after teaching in Sonoma and Hayward. She has been teaching for four years and is looking forward to teaching at Miramonte.

“I am really excited to be with the kids here,” Heupel said. Her students have been impressing her with their motivation; something she is not used to from the previous schools she taught at.

Alex Hemmerich, the Video Production and Digital Photography teacher, used to work at Acalanes and Berkeley High School. Hemmerich attended California College of the Arts. He mentored in East Oakland for one year, teaching English and math before realizing subjects other than art are not for him.

“The students have been fun to work with so far. It’s been very easy rolling out lesson plans and talking with you guys,” Hemmerich said.

Another new teacher is Meredith Hawkins. She teaches AP Music Theory and all four choirs. In the past 12 years she has taught piano, musical theater, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), and chamber orchestra.

Right away she noticed “everyone’s level of commitment, whether that be in academics, the arts, sports, etc. Everyone seems to be motivated to do well and make success a priority,” Hawkins said. She is excited to grow as a teacher at Miramonte, but getting used to shorter periods, compared to the 80 minute ones at her old school, is a challenge.

World History and Government/Economics teacher Nader Jazayeri is thrilled about a new start at Miramonte. “The spirit at this school is shown more than where I taught in San Francisco and the students are much more extroverted,” Jazayeri said. Jazayeri looks forward to a more technology-oriented school and the new environment.

Katie Watson,  who teaches Algebra II and Algebra A, is having a great start at Miramonte. Watson has been a teacher for three years and says she enjoys Miramonte a lot. Having graduated from Campolindo, being at Miramonte is a familiar environment. Watson taught at Mt. Diablo High School and says all of the students she has taught want to learn.

New support staff member Lisa Bachtold assists and supports teachers, specifically in Special Education. She worked at Northgate High School for one year as a Special Education Instructional Assistant.

Bachtold graduated from Saint Mary’s College where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts and MA in Counseling. After hearing wonderful things about Miramonte, she wanted to come and work at the school. “Miramonte is a great school, in a great school district, and I was excited for the opportunity to work here,” Bachtold said.

Michael Rose, Government/Economics teacher, has been teaching for five years. He previously taught in Woodland and Gilroy. Rose went to Sacramento State for his undergraduate degree, and then earned his Masters degree at Saint Mary’s. In addition to teaching, Rose is a pilot with a multi- engine, commercial, and instrument rating, which means he can fly the aforementioned types of planes.

The students, staff, and administration have welcomed Rose and he feels right at home at Miramonte. “I am looking forward to teaching in general and becoming more involved with the school. My first step is starting Model UN at Miramonte,” Rose said.

Miramonte also gained a new PE teacher this year, Chris Clark. With all the new additions to campus, Miramonte kicks off the year with a new and exciting start.