New faculty additions include both new, familiar faces

Sophia Spinella, Staff Writer

The school’s faculty continues to grow with six new members joining it this year. Of the six, four have previously taught at the school.

Connor Butler and John Pouchot are new to the school. Butler was hired to teach new class offerings while Pouchot filled a new opening in the history department.

This will be Butler’s third year teaching, and he will be teaching game art and design, Adobe visual and Drafting II. He attended James Madison University and grew up in King George, Virginia.

Butler didn’t always want to be a teacher. Instead, he wanted to focus on sports and recreation management. Butler coached girls basketball in Virginia, and he will take over the girls basketball program here when it begins in November.

“Coaching plays a huge part in my educational experience,” Butler said.

This will be Pouchot’s first year in the classroom. He grew up in Poquoson, Virginia, and graduated from Christopher Newport University. His schedule includes AP U.S. History, Civics and American History I and II. Pouchot is also getting involved with the school by helping coach the cross country team.

“I am excited to play my part in shaping the future by expanding the young minds of today,” he said.

Both Ralph Cleaver and Melissa Hand taught here last year in interim positions. Over the summer, the two were hired as full time teachers at the school.

Cleaver teaches AVID 9, 10 and 11. He taught these same classes in the spring of 2016 after Alfie Wheeler left his AVID position to be the school’s athletic director. Cleaver has been a substitute in the county for the last five years, and he is excited to have a permanent position.

“I know where I’m going each day, and I can plan ahead and build upon the curriculum,” he said.

Hand joins the staff with three years of teaching experience. Last year, she served in an interim position after exceptional children’s teacher Toni Ann Rasch passed away in November.

”I am super excited to be full time now,” she said. “I love the staff, students and the entire atmosphere here.”

Neither Mary Jo Smith nor Jan Gorham are strangers to the school. Both of them taught here before the opening of First Flight High School in August 2004.

Smith has been with Dare County Schools for 22 years. She taught at MHS for 10 years, and she currently teaches marketing at FFHS and fashion merchandising at MHS.

“What has been really nice is so many of the familiar faces that were here so many years ago,” Smith said.  “It has been nice to catch up with old friends and colleagues.”

Jan Gorham has been teaching for over 25 years. She started as a homebound teacher with special needs students in 1992. After that, she then began teaching allied health sciences, health team relations, and early childhood development. Gorham now teaches at all three of the county’s high schools.

“Each day I come to MHS, I am so glad to come to such a brightly colored, friendly and evenly paced environment,” she said.

These six new faculty members arrived in August excited to begin a new school year.

“We have hired a group of excellent new teachers and they bring with them enthusiasm and positivity,” assistant principal Meldine Lee said.