September 6, 2012 in Washington Voices

East Valley’s newest educators get to know district

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

East Valley School District new employee orientation featured a bus tour of the schools, including Trent School, Aug. 30.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

New employees

East Valley School District

 Nicholas Antich, kindergarten teacher, Trentwood

 Staci Aschinger, first-grade teacher, Continuous Curriculum School

 Michelle Brenner, special education teacher, East Valley Middle School

 Michael Cusick, sixth-grade teacher, Otis Orchards

 Tristan Fitzgerald, district psychologist

 Jody Garcia, kindergarten teacher, Trentwood

 Benjamin Gilsdorf, third- and fourth-grade combination teacher, CCS

 Jasmine Hall, district speech language pathologist

 Adam Hancock, district music teacher

 Michelle Jones, Homelink North teacher, Washington Academy of Arts and Technology

 Robert Kirkpatrick, chemistry and biology, East Valley High School

 Mary McManus, special education, WAAT

 Amanda Mead, librarian, Trentwood

 Stacey Robinson, district registered nurse, health clinician

 Sondra Taylor, kindergarten teacher, Trent

 Roni Turner, district registered nurse, health clinician

 Kevin Weberg, vice principal, East Valley High School

 Damon Wolf, sixth-grade teacher, Trent

 Tom Gresch, director of human resources

They are getting to know their new buildings, getting to know the teachers, filling out the necessary paperwork and checking to see if they have all of their school supplies.

The first day of school can be exciting and full of anticipation and nervousness. Even for the teachers.

To welcome the new employees, East Valley School District held an orientation day last week that included a tour of the district on a school bus.

Director of Human Resources Tom Gresch is also a new employee this year, but he attended East Valley schools while growing up.

“It’s nice to be home,” Gresch said.

The day started with a welcome from Superintendent John Glenewinkel and Kerri Lunstroth, school board president. After getting some business out of the way, the employees enjoyed pizza while getting to know each other before hopping on the bus.

Gresch gave the employees information about each school while traveling on the bus, and even sharing his own memories growing up in the district.

“I remember when it was horse trails on the south side of the river,” he told them as they rode along Trent Avenue to Trentwood Elementary School.

Gresch said he thought the tour would be helpful to the new employees, since it would help them understand the East Valley community as a whole.

The teachers started at Trent School and made their way to visit all the buildings, ending up at East Farms Elementary School.

Jasmine Hall, a speech and language pathologist, is new to the district this year after spending three years working at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. She said she is looking forward to the change from the medical profession to the education profession and appreciated the tour of the district.

“I like the idea of knowing the whole school district,” she said. “(You) get a sense of the community.”

At Trent, Gresch told the teachers about the school’s auditorium, which gets a lot of use by the community. He added the school has a population that moves around quite a bit, as many students live in the apartment complexes that surround it. He said this changes how teachers work with students.

“Transitions for kids are tough,” he said.

While traveling between the middle school and the high school, Gresch pointed out the district’s community garden and the new press box at the football field, which was built by the school’s construction class.

Each school had its own special detail during the tour.

It was obvious the teachers were excited to start their new school year in East Valley. They chatted freely with each other and started forming professional relationships.

For Gresch, he was excited to have them on board.

“Remember,” he told them, “you are our future. We expect the very best from you.”

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