CHS Grads Return as Faculty

Coronado is a small town. I felt that most when in my junior year of high school my history teacher was elected mayor. Another common occurrence reflective of a small town is the number of teachers in our schools who were once students here themselves. So, what’s it like going back? What qualities of the teachers that they had do they emulate? What have they seen that is most changed? And, out of all the schools in the world, why did they choose to come back to Coronado to teach?

Here are just a few stories of some legendary Coronado teachers and some newbies just starting out.

New School

Brooke Bernardy

Subject: CHS Integrated 1 Math

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CHS Graduation Year: 2011

Why is Brooke Returning: When I decided to become a teacher I always knew I would want to teach in Coronado. Coronado Unified prepared me for my college career at Cal Poly SLO and my time at Cal Poly prepared me for teaching at Coronado High School.

How She Feels About Returning: I am thrilled to come back as a staff member. I have the honor or working beside teachers that have been an integral part of my journey to becoming a teacher.

Who She Looks Up To: I am excited to work alongside my brother, Luke Bernardy, who is a physics teacher at CHS. He cares so much about his students and works endlessly to provide an interesting and challenging class.

Colleen Keith

Subject: CoSA’s Theatre Production & Design Department (The class is open to all high school students so 9th through 12th grade students work together in the class.)

CoSA Graduation Year: 2011

Why Colleen Returned: I was a CoSA student myself. It really gave me a solid education for technical theater when I went out and started working in that field. I loved the program and appreciate it now even more because the arts are so important. When I heard there was a job opening, I immediately applied.

How She Felt About Returning: I was excited to return to Coronado, but I did wonder if it would feel strange. The only strange thing I’ve experienced so far is the parents and teachers thinking I’m a student and trying to send me to class…

Who She Looks Up To: I’m lucky to have had so many good teachers over the years. I try to emulate the patience, understanding and creativity they all had to encourage an environment where the students can learn new skills, work together, and express themselves creatively.

Veterans

Ramona Loiselle

Subject: English to 7th and 8th graders, introduction to coding to 6th graders.

CHS Graduation Year: 1994

Why Ramona Returned: I had a teacher in 10th grade named Mr. Adair for English. We read A Tale of Two Cities, which quickly became my favorite book of all time. Mr. Adair inspired me to go into education and I wanted to come back and teach in Coronado.

How She Felt About Returning: When I had my interview, many of my high school teachers were on the panel. I remember hoping that they had remembered me fondly, and had forgotten about what a chatterbox I had been in class as a student. It was great to be on the same campus as my mentors. Mr. Adair opened up his file cabinets full of curriculum and told me, “What’s mine is yours!” They were supportive and kind, just as they had been as my teachers. There were also a few other of my classmates teaching their first years on campus which was also fun! Casey Tanaka and I graduated high school together and started teaching at CHS the same year.

Who She Looks Up To: I continued to look up to Robin Adair. I also worked with Kris McClung and Linda Benning, who ran the theatre and then CoSA programs at the time. I sat in on both Davin Heaphy and Ferguson’s history classes during my free periods to see what they were teaching the students so I could incorporate that into my English novel lessons.

What has Changed the Most From When She Was a Student: The instruction has changed from how it was when I went to school. Less lecturing and more doing. I have also learned how different each school site is and yet how they are all connected by curriculum that helps students grow each year.

Advice She Gives New Coronado Students Turned Faculty: To be themselves and enjoy their time with the students. It’s easy to get caught up in the difficulties of the teaching profession…always remember what you started for.

Brad Couture with wife Kathy who teaches 1st Grade at Village.

Brad Couture

Subject: Biology to 9th and 10th

CHS Graduation Year: 1978

Why Brad Returned: I came back to CHS to teach because I had a good experience as a student with some caring and excellent teachers.
How He Felt About Returning: I was excited to teach in Coronado but very anxious as a first year teacher to do a good job. I listened to many teachers’ classroom management style, academic delivery, and ways to connect to students.
Who He Looked up to: I looked up to Bill Seager. He was my Algebra 1 teacher. I enjoyed his personable style and as I learned later, his work ethic to prepare for his classes. Larry Cartwright helped me with the academic delivery and knowledge to be an effective teacher. I will always be indebted to him. George Arnall was my biology teacher and guided me at the beginning of my teaching career.
What has Changed the Most From When He Was a Student: The change in our facilities and technology have been tremendous over the years. Our students continue to be top quality!
Advice He Gives New Coronado Students Turned Faculty: My advice to new faculty is to always connect with a mentor. In the long run you will become a better teacher.

Jenny Moore

Subject: Principal of Silver Strand Elementary School.

Former Positions Include: Teaching at CMS, CHS, Palm Academy and assistant principal and then principal at CHS.

CHS Graduation Year: 1989
Also attended Central Elementary (before it was Village), CMS, and CHS. Her husband, Jon Rogers, attended Silver Strand, CMS, and also graduated from CHS.

Why Jenny Returned: I came back to Coronado to teach in part because as the oldest of five children and after graduating from college on the east coast and teaching there and abroad, I still had a sister in middle school and a brother in high school in Coronado and wanted to reconnect with them and give back to the town that raised and inspired me. I was SO NERVOUS. I felt like I had been successful in school, but going back there to WORK might be an opportunity to fail in front of people I so wanted to serve and impress. I have felt that little fear of failure each time I have changed jobs, by the way.

Who She Looked up to: My first job was at CMS, working alongside many teachers who had taught me. It felt really weird to call them by their first names! At CMS and CHS I was fortunate to work alongside so many teachers who had been my teachers. Mr. Bud Mayfield, my former English teacher, and I both taught AP English at CHS, and what was pretty funny about that was that I used my notes from when I was in high school as my teaching guides! I felt so connected with my teachers when I was in school that the quality I most wanted to emulate was the close relationships and mentoring I received over the years. I remember Sandy Ferguson consoling me after I scraped my parents’ car against a pole in the parking lot before setting up for an ASB dance. I remember Mr. Seager expressing concern about my relationship with a boy I was dating. I remember Ms. Hurt at CMS listening to me and treating me like I was an adult instead of an annoying middle schooler. I knew my teachers cared about ME, not just my work and behavior in class.

What has Changed the Most From When She Was a Student: I think what seems to have changed is the sense of pressure and comparison students experience. I think some of it is societal, some of it is propagated by fears of not getting in college or succeeding in life, and some of it is about limited perspective on what will really matter down the line; I think teachers can continue to help their students understand that mistakes and bad things happen (like scraping up your parents’ car), but they are only moments in a larger, longer life, and moments that can help us gain resiliency and problem-solving strategies.

Advice She Gives New Coronado Students Turned Faculty: I have had the distinct pleasure now to work alongside and hire former students as staff members, and the advice I’d give a CHS grad is to experience some places outside Coronado before “coming back” because those journeys are important to provide perspective on our unique hometown, and also to help your own students understand there’s a rich and varied and amazing world out there to try out one day too. It can also be important to keep trying if you’re not hired the first time, and use subsequent experiences to grow and learn. I am so grateful that young people continue to choose this challenging, rewarding, and SO VERY important profession.  It makes me so proud and emotional to learn former students are becoming teachers or educators/school staff!

 

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Alyssa is a graduate of Coronado High School and was in the founding broadcast journalism class at CHS. She earned her BA in Communication from CSU East Bay and completed her MBA from CSU San Marcos. Her passion for writing and interest in the behind the scenes of business, leads her to write frequently about Coronado businesses. You can find Alyssa walking around the ferry landing with her shih-tzu terrier or enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Coronado's favorite cafes.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: manager@coronadotimes.com