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New Teachers at BCS

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Six new teachers were employed for the 2018-19 school year at Berea Community Middle and High School.

The two new high school teachers are Mrs. Danielle Lillie (high school special education) and Mrs. Emily Vanwinkle (English), while the four new middle school teachers are Mr. Doug Chaney (middle school special education), Mrs. Rebekah Durham (science), Mr. Eric Fields (social studies), and Mr. Matthew Miller (social studies).

While most of these new teachers on the middle school/high school side are new to Berea Community as a whole, Mr. Doug Chaney—who works in special education—recently switched from the elementary side. Mr. Chaney’s inspiration for being an educator and striving for student success was something that he developed in his college years, along with his passion for music (his first college/career pathway). He currently plays in a band which primarily goes by Eastern View. After a while, Mr. Chaney realized that he ultimately wanted to go into education (originally as a P.E. teacher), and eventually he found joy in “teaching students and seeing them develop as quality members of society.”

A teacher with similar drive and passion, but on a different level, is Mrs. Emily VanWinkle, who currently teaches high school English. Similar to Mr. Chaney, she described her primary objective for her first year as being “to help students succeed and to find my place in this wonderful community and district.” This assimilation has been challenging for her, as there are many things that are different from what she had been used to at other schools. “Getting used to working in an open, shared balcony room,” VanWinkle explained, “has been the hardest part for me; lots of steps, no door, no lightswitch, and kids come in and out all day. It’s different.”

Mrs. Rebekah Durham was a high school teacher for twelve years before she became a middle school teacher. About the transition, she stated, “I’m having to learn how to make those lessons successful and appropriate… I want the kids to have fun, I want them to be excited about science.” She realized that she wanted to be a teacher when she began to be a substitute for middle school teachers, despite initially going to pharmacy school.

Mrs. Danielle Lillie is the new high school special education teacher. She is starting a Special Olympics team for those who have special needs, and she wants to get a large program going. She told us that one of her primary goals was “getting that up and running.” She enjoys coaching the Special Olympics team and also helps to coach the volleyball team. “Berea feels absolutely amazing,” Lillie explained about the school. “It’s an absolutely welcoming community and accepting. It feels like a close-knit family.”

Mr. Eric Fields—one of the new middle school social studies teachers—also commented on the closeness of the community, adding that “it’s a very friendly place, a very positive place, a very caring place, a place where there’s a lot of support and a lot of helpful people.” His approach to teaching was adopted from his own teachers, whose goals were always to “help people learn every day and help kids get better every day… and that’s what my teachers did for me so that’s what I try to do for my students.”

Another new middle school social studies teacher is Mr. Matthew Miller, whose parents were educators where he went to school: Madison Southern. Teaching at a school that rivals the one he grew up at has given him a different perspective of Berea: “It is, for sure, a family oriented school… Even if [the students] fail, there’s safety in that failure here,” said Miller. His family’s history with education was one of the reasons that he was inspired to become an educator. “There’s something to be said for role models that make a difference in kids’ lives,” he explained, “and I think that seeing my parents doing that growing up is really why I got into education.”

The students and staff at Berea Community are eager to welcome the six new teachers and look forward to the new learning opportunities that await them in the 2018-19 school year.

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The Student News Site of Berea Community High School
New Teachers at BCS