New Teachers

Lily Shipley, seventh grade math teacher at Jackson Hole Middle School.

Each year the News&Guide profiles the new certified staff members of Teton County School District No. 1. What are the stories behind their smiling faces? New hires come from all around the country, and this year, the world, with varied degrees and areas of expertise. But there is always one constant: These people genuinely care about the students they will teach, day in and day out, and have unique approaches to bolstering student success. As these new teachers, coaches, counselors and psychologists hit the ground running this September, don’t forget to thank them for the effect they’ll have on valley students for years to come. Some answers have been edited for space constraints.

Tess Malone

New position: Teacher, Jackson Elementary School

Education/background: BA Stanford University, human biology; MA Grand Canyon University, Special Education

Teaching/professional experience: I have been a paraprofessional and long-term substitute teacher for TCSD for the past four years.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I hope to foster learning environments where all students feel valued and are challenged to grow to their fullest potential.

Years lived in Jackson: 16 years

David Joyce

New position: Physical education and head football coach

Education/background: BA in psychology, University of Arkansas, master’s in education, master’s in education in positive coaching, University of Missouri

Teaching/professional experience: 11 years of teaching, 11 years of coaching football

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I believe kids learn best when they know that you care about them and their learning.

Years lived in Jackson: Four months

Lauren Lechi

New position: Jackson Elementary School counselor

Education/background: University of West Florida, computer technology; Cappella University, master’s in school counseling.

Teaching/professional experience: I have worn multiple hats for the past 10 years in the district. I look forward to my next journey.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: Every student matters.

Years lived in Jackson: I have lived in Jackson for 12 years.

Robin Soule

New position: Sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Jackson Hole Middle School

Education/background: MA in secondary education, University of Massachusetts, Boston; BA in English, Union College

Teaching/professional experience: I began my career in the field of educational publishing before changing course to pursue a longtime dream of working with students. Over the past year I was lucky to work with a number of amazing educators during my time as a special education paraprofessional at JHMS and a substitute English teacher at JHHS. I am excited to join TCSD as a full-time teacher this fall.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I believe every child deserves the chance at a fulfilling future that quality education can provide. As an educator I recognize that supporting students means more than just developing academic skills. My goal is to nurture students as whole people, and work to support not only their academic success, but also their social and emotional well-being.

Years lived in Jackson: Just over a year.

Sandra Sanderson

New position: Bilingual school psychologist

Education/background: I am licensed as a clinical psychologist in Guatemala, my country of origin. Graduated from Brigham Young University as a Ed.S in school psychology, and I am currently working on my degree as a behavior analyst.

Teaching/professional experience: I worked in Lincoln County for two years as an ELL paraprofessional, then I worked for TCSD supporting the school psychologist with bilingual evaluations. Last year I worked at Sweetwater County School District No. 1 as a school psychologist for K-6.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: My philosophy of learning is based on behavioral therapy: Behaviors that are reinforced will tend to continue, while behaviors that are punished will eventually end.

Years lived in Jackson: I live in Star Valley.

Heidi Ashton

New position: English teacher at Summit High School

Education/background: BA, Utah State University, MA, University of Colorado

Teaching/professional experience: I have been teaching English in Colorado for the past 13 years, 11 years in the Denver Metro area and two years in the mountains of Summit County, Colorado. I have taught grades 7-12 and love them all.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: Each individual student walks into our classrooms with a unique story and an unscripted future. Regardless of what education, training and career paths my students choose, I hope they will continuously cultivate a love of learning and cherish the richness and splendor of language and stories that make us beautifully human. Although empowering students with 21st-century skills and knowledge is something for which I strive, inspiring them to remain curious and become introspective and deeply compassionate adults brings me true fulfillment.

Years lived in Jackson: I moved to Driggs, Idaho, in early June of this year.

Allen Johnson

New position: High school math teacher and assistant football coach

Education/background: BA in secondary math education, University of Northern Colorado; MA in math, University of Northern Colorado

Teaching/professional experience: High school mathematics teacher and head football, head girls basketball coach and junior high boys track coach in Paxton, Nebraska, high school math teacher and math instructor, distance curriculum chair and assistant high school football and assistant high school girls track coach in North Platte, Nebraska, most recently a math teacher, football coach, boys basketball coach at Pinedale High School.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: My passion is helping young men and women develop the mathematical understanding and appreciation each will need to progress in life. I look forward to using nearly 30 years of experience to meet the challenge of helping each individual and am excited to learn and develop even more teaching techniques.

Years lived in Jackson: The last 7 years my family and I have lived in Pinedale.

Dana Larkin

New position: High school math, algebra and geometry

Education/background: BA in sociology, Colorado College; BS in mathematics and education, Western Governors University.

Teaching/professional experience: Four years of outdoor education as an Outward Bound instructor, two years as a wilderness therapy instructor, three years teaching and mentoring at Red Top Meadows, three years as a paraprofessional at Summit High School.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: The new curriculum that encompasses team- and inquiry-based learning aligns with my philosophy of teaching math through problem-based discovery.

Years lived in Jackson: 10 years

Laurel Douglas

New position: English as a Second Language teacher, Jackson Hole High School

Education/background: MA in political science and MA in education, English teaching, University of Montana

Teaching/professional experience: Mostly K-12 ELL, high school Spanish and English

Philosophy about teaching and learning: Growth mindset and grit mean that every obstacle is a detour in the right direction.

Years lived in Jackson: One month — but my family is from here and I grew up spending summers in Jackson.

Lily Shipley

New position: Seventh-grade math teacher at Jackson Hole Middle School

Education/background: BS in health sciences/public health, Northeastern University; MA in science education from Western Governors University, MA in math education, Western Governors University.

Teaching/professional experience: Three years as a special education paraprofessional at JHMS, completed student teaching in a seventh-grade life science classroom, C-Bar-V Ranch, residential staff.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I believe in creating an environment in which students can be the masters of their own learning journey.

Years lived in Jackson: Jackson has been home for the past five years and hopefully many more years to come.

Kjera Griffith

New position: Second-grade dual immersion teacher at Jackson Elementary School

Education/background: Bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish and teaching certification from Utah State University; MA in education with an emphasis in literacy from Lesley University

Teaching/professional experience: After teaching Spanish one year at a rural Wisconsin high school, I followed my heart back to the mountains just in time to help found the Journeys School of Teton Science Schools. Over the past 16 years I have helped build an engaging, integrated, pre-K through 12th-grade program. I bring that experience and enthusiasm to join the TCSD team.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I thrive by building connections. My greatest joy as an educator comes from deep connections with my colleagues, lasting impacts on students’ lives and working toward making the world a better place for all. I find great joy in knowing my students and their families well in order to develop engaging curriculum and differentiate instruction. My pursuits as a parent, improv comedian and event planner have complemented the teaching essentials of humor, problem-solving and quick thinking. I put into practice the curiosity, grit and zest that I cultivate in my students.

Years lived in Jackson: 16 years

Heather Robinson

New position: Instructional technology information specialist at Jackson Hole High School

Education/background: Ph.D. in learning technologies, University of North Texas and M.S. in library and information science, University of North Texas

Teaching/professional experience: I am an adjunct professor for the University of North Texas in learning technologies MS and PhD programs. I write and research on the topics of online and blended learning, professional development programs, and strategies for building learning communities. I taught at Casper College for seven years and also owned a consulting business helping small businesses and nonprofits with their computer, software training and web development needs. I have volunteered and worked in school libraries for 15 years.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I enjoy learning with and from my students and the back-and- forth sharing process that can result in knowledge construction. I hope to be a guide for my students in developing the skills needed for their accomplishments in higher education and their adult life. Mentoring was important in my success as a student, and I understand the value of my job as an academic coach and a mentor to my students. I believe in the power of positive role models and the impact that it can have on the life and success of a person.

Years lived in Jackson: Four years

Sibylle “Bille” Metzger

New position: Third-grade dual immersion teacher at Jackson Elementary School

Education/background: BS in education from University of Education Weingarten, Germany; MS of education from Realschulseminar Reutlingen, Germany

Teaching/professional experience: I have worked as a teacher in educational settings in Germany and the U.S. for the past 13 years. After moving to the U.S. I worked at the Teton Literacy Center as an English as a Second Language teacher and family program director. My desire to work in a public school again grew and I transitioned to TCSD as a special education paraprofessional. Once my daughters were born, I decided to focus on my family and worked only part time as a substitute and long-term substitute for the past five years.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I believe that each child is a unique individual who deserves a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow emotionally, intellectually, culturally and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, allows curiosity to direct learning and teaches respect for all things and people.

Years lived in Jackson: I have lived in Teton County for the past 11 years.

Krista Klemmer

New position: Second-grade teacher at Jackson Elementary School

Education/background: MA teaching, University of the Cumberlands; English as a Second Language endorsement, Western Governors University; BA in Strategic Communications, Crown College.

Teaching/professional experience: I have been employed by the Teton County School District since 2013 in a variety of positions: special education paraprofessional, literacy and Title 1 paraprofessional, and most recently, as a long term substitute teacher in third, fourth and fifth grades.

Philosophy about teaching and learning: I am passionate about reaching the “whole child,” supporting and guiding students not only in their academic growth, but their social and emotional growth as well. This means intentionally getting to know each of my students (interests, background, strengths, needs, etc.) Knowing each student and showing them kindness, respect, and that I care about them is vital to providing each child with the support that they need as individuals in order to learn and grow. Teaching and learning is most effective when it is a team effort between school and home, so making connections with the families of my students is also very important to me.

Years lived in Jackson: My family and I have lived in Jackson for seven years.

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