MHS welcomes new staff members

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Bridget Erickson

Q&A with Bridget Erickson

 

Although Bridget Erickson previously taught at Regina Dominican High School and Elk Grove High School, she is new to the Wellness Department at MHS where she teaches freshman health, P.E. and P.E. Strength. She is also a weight room supervisor. Erickson has several degrees, including a bachelors in kinesiology from the University of Illinois, where she also earned her teaching certificate in physical education and health in 2009.  Additionally, she has a masters in special education from National Louis University. At MHS, she is a FAM advisor, will be the assistant girls gymnastics coach and will help out with boys gymnastics as well as with the wellness club. She is looking to get involved in a few fall sports, such as volleyball and cross country, so you’ll most likely see her around campus and involved in extracurricular activities.

 

What makes MHS stand out or different from other high schools?

“It stands out in that it’s the only school in the district, and you can definitely tell from a teacher’s perspective, and with strictly P.E., the facilities are amazing, and the classes that we offer are great and different than anywhere else.”

 

What are you most excited about for this school year, and why?

“I’m most excited to start the gymnastics season, and I’m excited to be here because everyone is so supportive, and you know, the opportunities.”

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?

“I would say Mexico because I love the beach, and I love the sun. I just love that atmosphere, but I would have to have my family go with me.”

 

Why did you choose to teach high school as opposed to another grade?

“I like high school because they’re almost adults, and they’re easier to have conversations with…. They’re more mature.”

 

What extracurricular activities were your favorite when you were in high school, and why?

“I played volleyball, gymnastics and soccer, so sports. I did gymnastics outside of school. They were my favorite because I was active.”

Brandon Dart

 

 

Q&A with Brandon Dart

 

A graduate from Trinity College, Brandon Dart has a bachelors in Sport and Wellness. This year he teaches sport and fitness as well as freshman P.E. while also coaching varsity football and wrestling. Leaning back in his wheeled chair with coffee in hand, he shared a little bit about himself and what he enjoys about MHS.

 

What makes MHS stand out or different from other high schools?

I think one of the biggest things is our family atmosphere. I think that we really focus on that as a staff. I think that it’s different than other places I’ve been [because] I feel more connected with some of the people I work with, and having friendships in school and out of school just makes it a really easy work environment. On top of that, I think our kids are great. I love the diversity that we have. I think that really makes our school valuable and makes it pretty fun to be around.

 

What are you most excited about for this school year, and why?

“One of the things I’m most excited about other than coaching and sports is the possibility of us creating this new Adventure Education class, which is outdoor education, climbing, team building and ropes course type stuff. And that’s been in the works now for about a year, and we’re moving forward this year, so I’m really excited, hoping that I will still be able to be around next year, and we’re able to implement that class on schedule. I look forward to being able to teach that. It’s an exciting time for our P.E. program and our school.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?

I don’t know if Illinois would be my number one, but definitely somewhere in the U.S just because of the diversity and the freedoms that we possess here that are different than most other places in the world. The opportunity and access we have to things is second to none, and…the diversity specifically gives my kids the chance to grow up with so many different experiences and the chance to learn about a whole bunch of different stuff.

 

Why did you choose to teach high school as opposed to another grade?

I chose to teach high school because I enjoy building relationships with kids, and high school kids are developed and mature enough that you can build lasting relationships with them, and I really relish the opportunity to be a positive influence– however that may be, whether that be as a coach, as a mentor, as a teacher, you know, or just somebody to give advice to or even listen. Any of those roles I really enjoy. My goal is always if I can make an impact in just one kid in a year, then I feel like I’m doing my job. It’s really rewarding when later on in life there’s kids contacting you on social media or asking you to come to their college contests, or telling you about their kids, or their job or when they move into the teaching force.”

 

What was your favorite class when you were in school, and why?

“My favorite class in school was usually P.E. I needed the movement as a kid; I needed the release, the running around, the competitiveness I always enjoyed. Academically, I would say that growing up my favorite class was math. I enjoyed numbers. I got them more; they meant more to me.

 

What extracurricular activities were your favorite when you were in high school, and why?

“When I was in high school, pretty much everything revolved around sports, so I was a three- sport athlete. I played football, basketball and baseball…. I also ran track [one] year, and wrestled [one] year, and so everything I ever did revolved around working out, getting better and playing sports, and then in the summertime we would go up into the mountains and go cliff diving. That was probably the thing we had the most fun doing– enjoying the outdoors.”

Eric Billittier

 

 

Q&A with Eric Billittier

 

After attending Columbia University for his bachelor’s degree in Instrumental and Special Education, Eric Billittier received his masters at Roosevelt University. Although he has worked at other schools before, this will be his first year as a teacher at MHS. While he is not currently involved in any extracurricular activities at the school, he is interested in sponsoring clubs, coaching sports and creating an MHS Special Olympics team in the near future.

 

What makes MHS stand out or different from other high schools?

To me, the biggest thing that makes MHS stand out is the sense of community that we have here– both in the building [and] in the Mundelein community as well. Everybody is very supportive of each other, and it really feels like a family here.

 

What are you most excited about for this school year, and why?

I’m really excited to watch our new transition center grow and develop; it’s a brand new program at this school, and I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with my colleagues here and make it a successful transition center for everybody.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?

I think I’m going to have to say Chicago. It’s my favorite city. I just moved back to Mundelein after living in the city for 12 years. I love where I live now in Mundelein, but Chicago’s like the greatest city ever. You can do anything in it.

 

Why did you choose to teach high school as opposed to any other grade?

The reason I am so interested in [the transition program] is because it’s a very important time of life for students with special needs as well as their families. Typically, the students and their families are supported throughout their whole education career through their IEPs, and then once high school is over, that’s when a lot of our students and our families struggle with finding resources and staying active participants in their lives, so I really wanted to help with this area of education because I think it’s an area of need. I really want to help the students and their families to be able to stay actively involved in their lives.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

My favorite class in school was any of my art classes. For me, learning was always a hands-on, concrete thing where I needed to be able to see it and touch it to be able to make sense of it, so I loved any of the art classes I got to take– specifically photography and 3D design.

 

What extracurricular activities were your favorite when you were in high school, and why?

When I was in high school, I was in the Students for Justice club, I played club soccer, I was on the gymnastics team, and that was really it; I wasn’t that involved when I was a high school student. It took me a little while to find the value in my education. [Being involved in high school] is important for college applications [and] resumes, but it’s also important to build connections with your peers and learn how to collaborate with other people.

Jenna Lumsden

 

 

 

Q&A with Jenna Lumsden

 

After graduating from Northern Illinois University and then going to Concordia University for graduate school, Jenna Lumsden worked at a middle school, but she knew she wanted to be in a high school. After seeing a Spanish teacher opening at MHS, she applied for the job. Now she is a new staff member in the World Language Department.

 

What do you think makes MHS stand out compared to other schools?

When I saw there was a job opening here, one of the reasons I applied was because the population here is so diverse, and I wanted the opportunity to be able to work with a more diverse population. I also think that it’s a very high-performing school, especially considering the diversity that we have here. That makes it really special.

 

What are you most excited for this year?

Just getting to know the students, the school and the other staff members [and] being able to teach Spanish and get students excited about Spanish.

 

Why did you choose to teach high school?

Before starting here, I taught for six years at a middle school, so most of my teaching experience so far has been at a middle school. I knew that I wanted to teach high school. I knew that was what I wanted to do, but I took the job at the middle school for more experience, and it was a good place to start, but I wanted to get back into the high school environment.

 

What was your favorite class in high school, and why?

Spanish and French were my favorites because I was good at them, but I also loved my teachers, and I had the opportunity to do something that I really enjoyed.

 

Were you in any extracurricular activities in high school?

Yes, oh gosh, it’s been a while. I was in French club, National Honors Society, and I played softball.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?

I would live somewhere in the mountains, so either Colorado or Montana– somewhere out West because I love to be outside. I love to hike. The weather here isn’t as great for that because it gets super humid and gross.

Patrick Hennelly

 

 

Q&A with Patrick Hennelly

 

As a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Patrick Hennelly is new to the math department, where he teaches Academic Support, geometry and Honors Algebra 1. Besides teaching math, he helps coach the girls volleyball team, working mainly with the varsity and sophomore teams.

 

What are you most excited about for the 2018-19 school year?

I am super excited to meet all the students here and just be a part of the community because everyone talks about the family aspect here, and I feel like that is an awesome thing.

 

What makes MHS stand out compared to other high schools in your opinion?

Just that it’s so diverse. There are so many kids from so many different backgrounds. Seeing them interact with each other is just so awesome.

 

Why did you start teaching high school as opposed to another grade?

I think that you can have a level of respect and hold higher expectations for high schoolers in terms of the interactions. I feel like when I was in high school, my teachers were so influential to me becoming the person I am today, so I want to be that for other students now.

 

What was your favorite class in high school?

That’s a tough one. I loved Spanish and struggled with math, but I guess I did like [Math] in the end.

 

Were you involved in any extracurricular activities when you were in high school?

Yes, I was involved in Student Council and NHS. I also played volleyball.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?

I would go back to Spain. I studied abroad there when I was in college, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

 

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MHS welcomes new staff members