New teachers share passions

Daniela Anaya, Staff


Welcome our new staff at Puyallup High school, this is Akeson, Katie

This is her first year teaching. The schools she attended as a student were East Valley High in Yakima, WA, Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and Arizona School of Health Sciences in Phoenix, AZ.  Akeson says she had decided that teaching would be the way to go so the youth can learn all the different opportunities in the healthcare field before having to go to college and making an official choice. “Most people like to learn by doing. That’s why I teach CTE courses as it’s a lot of hands-on learning opportunities, after learning the basics, of course.” Akeson said.


Welcome our new Puyallup High School Staff! This is Walsh, Amy.

This is her first year ever teaching. As a student she attended Clover Park High School in Lakewood, WA. Prior to becoming a teacher, she had a lot of supportive roles in other schools. She has worked at Lochburn Middle School, Brookedale Elementary, ReLife Behavior School and Tillicum Elementary. She says she has always been passionate about educating the youth; she’s come from a low-income neighborhood, so she says she understands the struggles the students go through to become successful. Walsh says she wants to help kids become their best selves and have them believe that they can really do whatever they put their minds to.  “We are all deserving of education, love and compassion,” Walsh said. She believes that the best way of learning is having, “a safe, willing, and supportive place.” “Learning can happen anywhere in any setting, as we all learned we can adapt,” Walsh said.  “We are resilient and we are capable.”She says she loves being in a classroom, creating meaningful and trusting relationships with students and letting them know they are valued and welcomed.


Welcome our new Puyallup High school staff, this is Montoya, Erin

Erin Montoya has been in education for about four years. As a high school student, Montoya attended Central Valley High School in Spokane, Washington State University for college and Western Governors University for her master’s degree. She has taught at several high schools in Spokane as a substitute and has even taught for two years at Maui, Hawaii. Montoya says she has always loved going to school and socializing with many different people. A few of her past teachers really impacted her when she was deciding what to do with her professional career, she says she knew she wanted to make a positive impacted on students as well. When it comes to the best way of learning she believes that there are many ways, but the main factor is effort. “Some students learn best by listening to a teacher lecture while taking notes,” Montoya said.  Montoya, Erin


Please welcome our new Puyallup high school staff! This is Wiest, Kelsey

This is Kelsey Wiest’s ninth year of education. She has spent eight years teaching high school science and this her first year as a counselor. She graduated from Emerald Ridge High and started teaching at Keithley Middle School and Washington High School in Parkland. She was at Washington High for three years then taught at Emerald Ridge for five years and now she’s here at PHS. In high school, she took a class called Teaching Academy which is now known as Teaching Careers. Wiest says she loved working with students and teaching lessons and knew that she wanted to be an educator. “Honestly, every student learns differently, but I do believe that students who are engaged in the lesson and feel connected to the class are much more successful.  My own personal teaching style really focuses on collaboration with peers, discussions, activities, and projects.  I think it’s important to teach using different methods so that lessons are always fresh and engaging,” Wiest said.


Please welcome our new Puyallup High School staff! This is Smith, Suzanne

This is Suzanne Smith’s fifth-year teaching. As a student she attended Fife High School. Before this year she taught at Emerald Ridge High School. Smith says she never chose a teaching career but when she left the industry in 2015, she thought she was going to be a farmer.  Then, the district reached out to her and asked her to apply for a position. She says she didn’t know if it was the right choice. But she says that since taking the position she’s learned so much and has really enjoyed learning how to be an effective agriculture teacher and cultivating positive relationships with students. “In my limited experience, I think that all students learn differently. I try to utilize a ‘hands-on’ approach, where students come to learn through activity engagement, asking/answering questions. I tend to provide supplemental resources that benefit other types of learners but find visual/kinesthetic teaching more engaging,” Smith said.


Welcome our new Puyallup High school staff, this is Reynolds, Margaret

This is her first-year teaching.  Reynolds has had some teaching experience in college but this is her first official teaching job. As a high school student, Reynolds attended Pleasant Plains High School in Pleasant Plains, IL.  She also attended college at Southeast Missouri State University where she got her degree in social studies secondary education. Reynolds says her inspiration in being a social studies teacher came from her past teachers and made her consider becoming a teacher. Reynolds says learning to her is “incredibly personal,” and she says her way of learning is to write things down and visually being able to see her thoughts on paper, she thinks a mixture of all kinds of learning is helpful. Reynolds, Margaret


Please welcome our new Puyallup High school staff! This is Gill, Wendy

Wendy Gill has been teaching for 16 years as a High School teacher. She attended Davis High School in Yakima, WA, where she was able to come back to and teach. She’s taught at Eisenhower High School also in Yakima, WA. Last year she was a long-term sub at Bethel High School. “I was originally going to college to be a nurse, but in my freshman year, I discovered that I really enjoyed helping my classmates learn and understand the materials discussed in class”. Gill said, once she started officially teaching, she was deciding between being an English or Science teacher. “There is no one size fits all when it comes to teaching and learning.  Every student has a different learning style and every teacher has their own way of teaching.  It is important for teachers to understand that we need to diversify the way we present information to the students to reach all the students.  It is also important for use to help the students broaden their learning styles.  Learning is a dynamic process incorporating all our senses. Since learning is a dynamic process, it should not be done in a static environment,” Gill said.