Staff changes continue at Brookings Harbor School District as the school board this week hired 10 new teachers — bringing the total number of new hires in recent months to 28.
The board also accepted the resignation of three teachers — bringing the total number of resignations this summer to at least 27. Teachers who resigned were Marci Kime, Eric Sullivan and Michelle Arnold.
School board members were surprised by the calibre of the new teachers and were curious as to what attracted them to a rural area such as Brookings.
“The quality of teachers we’ve found in the last three months has been amazing,” said board member Katherine Johnson.
The public is invited to meet the new teachers during a back-to-school breakfast on Monday (see story on Page 4B).
Many of the new teachers bring with them dual accreditation, which allows them to teach more than just one subject. Several new teachers have experience in Common Core and related teaching methods, Johnson said.
Johnson said attracting such qualified teachers is a pleasant surprise, considering the troubles that have recently plague the district, including the resignations of the district superintendent and several administrators, low employee morale, challenges with a new grading system and transition to Common Core teaching.
“When I asked the new teachers ‘why Brookings?’ they say this is where they want to live with their families,” Johnson said.
She said there are currently at least 1,000 teaching jobs available in Oregon.
“These teachers could work anywhere and, financially, Brookings can’t compete with larger school districts, but they like this area,” Johnson said. “During interviews they said they were impressed with the people they met. They did their research and see positive things about our community.”
For teacher Ibrahim Mesanovic, all it took was one interview with BHHS principal Lisa Dion to convince him to move from Portland to Brookings. Mesanovic will teach chemistry and physics.
“I got such a positive impression from Lisa that I knew it was the right decision,” he said.
He received five more calls for interviews from other schools, but he said he’d already made his decision.
Dion said Mesanovic “was described as a genius in Math and Science from his former principal. He holds degrees in chemistry from Technological Institute Tula in Bosnia. He also holds a masters of science in chemistry from Portland State University.”
The name of Haley Fleshman may sound familiar to some. She is a graduate of Brookings-Harbor High School and spent most of her education at local schools. She has been hired to teach first grade at Kalmiopsis Elementary School.
“It was always part of my plan to come back here and teach,” Fleshman said. “I saw myself teaching in the school where I grew up in and giving something back.”
Haley has a Bachelor of Arts in education and learning from Pacific University, and completed her student teaching at Banks Elementary School. As a youth, she spent summers working with the Curry County Juvenile Department with at-risk teenagers.
She said the recent turmoil in the district was cause for concern.
“It was intimidating. There’s a lot going on, but I think the district is creating a new start,” she said. “Everyone is very hopeful and it looks like we’re going to have a successful year with a new staff.”