New R-II teachers ready to learn

District has 15 first-year teachers

By Theo Tate
Posted 8/26/21

Even though she’s a newcomer to the Montgomery County R-II teaching staff for the 2021-22 school year, Samantha White is no stranger to teaching.White worked as a substitute teacher at the …

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New R-II teachers ready to learn

District has 15 first-year teachers

Posted

Even though she’s a newcomer to the Montgomery County R-II teaching staff for the 2021-22 school year, Samantha White is no stranger to teaching.
White worked as a substitute teacher at the Department of Defense schools in Germany in the early 2010s.
“When we moved to Germany, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for military spouses for employment,” said White, whose husband worked in the Army. “So I got the job as a substitute teacher because I had a Bachelor’s degree and it kind of went from there. I moved into the paraprofessional position there. I just really figured out that I had a passion for teaching kids.”
This fall, White will work in the special education department at R-II. Her son, Colin, will be a student in the school district.
“My son will be starting first grade here, so I was on the Montgomery County Facebook pages trying to get myself updated on how the school district works,” White said. “I saw the opportunity for a position and decided to send my resume in.”
White is one of 15 new teachers in the district. The others are Alida Bader, Tina Cay, Taylor Cowden, Skyler Durham, Dustin Figg, Sara Freie, Stacy Godsil, Kaitlin Hall, Kateryna Henness, Vincent Mazzola, Nicole Scheulen, Kristin Scott, Kylee Waite and Madelyn Woods. A Mexican lunch was held for the new teachers on Aug. 12 at the Montgomery County Middle School cafeteria.
“Everyone seems really nice and warm,” White said.
Originally from Winfield, White graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and later lived in St. Louis for 10 years. After working as a St. Louis Metropolitan police officer and a probation parole officer for the state of Missouri, White moved to Germany and stayed there for three years. She lived the next six years in Kansas and Iowa before moving to Montgomery County on July 1.
White said after just a month, she’s already enjoying her new home.
“I’m excited to come back to a small-town atmosphere,” White said.
Scheulen returns to the R-II district this fall after working a year at a Catholic school in St. Louis. She was an employee at the district from 2016-2020. Scheulen will be a math teacher at Montgomery County High School.
“That’s such a good feeling,” Scheulen said. “After going through a full year of just dealing with trying to teach during COVID and not being able to have that community feeling, especially when everyone is social distancing, just being able to come back to the people you know and you love is really uplifting. It really feels like I’m part of something bigger here.”
The first day of class was scheduled to start on Aug. 24. Scheulen said her biggest concern for this school year is dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know there are going to be some challenges,” Scheulen said. “Everyone’s not really sure what to expect with COVID. Will it get better or will it get worse?”
Mazzola is also a new math teacher in the district. Like Scheulen, Mazzola is a graduate from Truman State University.
“I kind of designated myself to be his Truman mentor,” said Scheulen, who earned a Master’s degree in secondary education at the Kirksville school. “I’ll basically be able to say, ‘Hey, I know what you’ve been through and I know what first-year teaching is like.’ I’ll make sure I’ll be able to assist him like other teachers have assisted me when I was there as well. It’s basically paying it forward.”

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