New Viking Staff

Katie Keller, Staff

Alongside changes in the education system to work around the novel coronavirus, PHS is welcoming 12 new staff members this year, ranging from a new librarian to two new principals. 

Bonnie Shelley is one of the new staff to be welcomed into the PHS community. She attended Pierce College and Central Washington University, where she got her degree in teaching English and will be filling the post of librarian while she works on her librarian degree. 

A couple years ago, I had talked to [Jason] Smith, the principal over at Rogers, and I just told him that I could see myself maybe one day wanting to move into a librarian role,” Shelley said. “I’ve always known I wanted to work in education, and you don’t always have to be a classroom teacher to be impactful in the educational field.” 

Shelley was offered the position after hearing PHS’s former librarian, Heidi Hall, had retired, following the 2019-20 school year.  

“I want everyone at PHS, students and staff included, to know that I am brand new to this job, but I am still willing to learn and still willing to be helpful, and if you have a question, even if I don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to come and ask me,” Shelley said.  

In her spare time Shelley says she enjoys reading, crafting and spending time with her cats. She is also Harry Potter fan and has met seven of the actors from the films. When school resumes on the PHS campus, Shelley will be in the library on Mondays and Tuesdays. She will spend the remainder of the week at Rogers.  

Also joining the Viking staff is new assistant principal, Mark Barnes. After getting his degree from Seattle Pacific University, he spent 13 years teaching English to mainly middle schoolers. This will be his 13th year as an administrator. 

“I moved up to get some experience at the high school level and I really enjoyed the older students and a lot of the cool classes and activities and sports and music at the high school level,” Barnes stated. 

Distance learning is having an impact on teachers, but the effects can be seen at the administration level as well.  

“If we were in person and school was normal, I’d be seeing kids every day and passing in the hallways. Even in that setting, it’s harder to get to know kids compared to a classroom teacher that’s with you for an hour every day,” Barnes said.  

Barnes won’t be the only new staff member who isn’t in the classroom all the time. Coming to PHS from Baltimore, MD is new part-time English teacher Sarah Ravindranath. She studied theology, religion and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University and at Princeton Theological Seminary. She spent two years in Baltimore where she taught sophomore English and AP Psychology.  

“Principal Sunich was my second-grade teacher, so when I found out he was principal at a school I would like to work at, I connected with him and applied for positions as they opened,” Ravindranath said.  

In an interesting twist, Ravindranath is excited for the distance learning and is not as derailed by it as other teachers. She is open to helping her students if they have any questions or concerns. 

“I want my students to know that I want them to ask questions. I myself am a very curious person and I value asking questions to fully understand a situation or concept,” Ravindranath said. “There is no shame in not knowing or in being confused, and I will always be patient and open to their questions and concerns.