Who are the new teachers at PHS this year?

Who are the new teachers at PHS this year?

Addison Pyun, Staff

Spanish I and II (9th-12th grade): Tyler Merrell

New to PHS this year is Spanish I and II teacher Tyler Merrell. Merrell came to PHS after teaching at Stahl Junior High. According to Merrell, his favorite part of being at the high school is all the activities with the student body.

“That’s really fun; a lot of creative things. Students really get into it,” Merrell said.

Merrell grew up in Detroit and moved to Washington when he was a senior. He graduated from South Kitsap High School. After graduation, he decided to move to South America for a period of time.

“I lived in South America for two years; that’s where I learned Spanish,” Merrell said. “When I was in high school, I didn’t like [Spanish]. But now I’m hoping to make it interesting and help other kids get better at it.”

Merrell enjoys a good joke and likes to share them with students.

“They laugh at my dumb jokes. I have a board out there in the front of my room, which has a new joke on it every day,” Merrell said.

Merrell also loves fun activities outside of teaching, such as video and board games.

“Well, I’m a huge nerd. I’ve started up the D&D Club. Every Thursday we meet in my room, after school. I love doing all kinds of geeky stuff like playing board games and video games and all that kind of stuff, fantasy, sci fi and anime. I love all that stuff,” Merrell said.





Sophomore English II, Senior English: Brody Howe


Also joining the Viking staff this year is Brody Howe, who teaches sophomore and senior English. Previously, he worked as a paraeducator, substitute and student teacher at PHS, but is now officially a teacher here. Howe feels that he’s been given a warm welcome and hopes to continue his work here for a long time.

“My favorite part about teaching here so far has been being able to learn from the super experienced staff. There are so many people here who’ve been at PHS for a long time and they’ve really taken me under their wing and shown me the ropes,” Howe said.

Howe says that not only have the teachers been welcoming to him but students as well.

“The student body has been super kind to me, which I know for other teachers that’s not always the reception for new teachers,” Howe said.

Howe says he prefers an exciting and stimulating classroom environment.

“My students are crazy, in a good way. All of my classes so far have their own personality as a group, and that personality tends to be very lively, which is something that I’m grateful for because it’s honestly harder for me to teach to a group that is quiet and doesn’t want to participate,” Howe said.

Howe went to Southern Oregon University before dropping out and working at several jobs he didn’t enjoy. This led him to discover that he needed to go back to school and pursue what he was passionate about. He has also taken on many jobs before ending up at PHS and each one has taught him something new.

“I went back to school at the University of Washington in Tacoma, where I split time between there and the Seattle campus. During that I worked as a line cook and worked in kitchens for the majority of my 20s, and then I was a rowing coach and worked as a freelance writer and content creator for various companies around the Puget Sound area,” Howe said.

Howe says his love for teaching formed after he began working with kids.

“I got a lot of experience working in the craft of writing, but also working with kids as a [rowing] coach. I also worked for a skate company, working with kids a lot, and that led me into the idea of working with students,” Howe said.

In his spare time, Howe has two collections he enjoys adding to, consisting of records and hats.

“I have a growing collection of vinyl records. At this point, I think I have 227 records, and a growing hat collection. I have about 30-40 hats that I have collected over the years,” Howe said.





Sophomore and Junior English, 11th AP Language and Composition: Lindsy Pratt

Lindsy Pratt is also new to the school and teaches sophomore and junior English, along with 11th grade AP Language and Composition. Pratt worked at Sequoyah Middle School in Federal Way for a time and is proud to serve her own community. She loves the kindness and understanding she receives from her students. Pratt also puts a big emphasis on the importance of education and how going to college changed her life and career.

“I was only going to apply to one college, or I wasn’t going to apply at all, and I was encouraged to just shoot it out there. I ended up going, and it just completely changed my life,” Pratt said.

Pratt says the influence of her past teachers also inspired her to take on that field of work as well.

“I feel like if it wasn’t for the impact of those teachers, then I might not have been able to reach my goals,” Pratt said.

Pratt’s favorite thing about her students is their fun personalities and likes connecting with them through that. She is also a firm believer in being in control of your own life and making goals that will push you toward success.

“I guess just like being in the driver’s seat of your own life, that’s what I’m trying to convey. Not necessarily the push to go to college like it was for me, but be intentional. Make goals and work toward reaching those goals. I think that’s important,” Pratt said.





Geometry, Math in Society (10th-12th grade): Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips joins PHS this year as a teacher of Geometry and Math in Society. He came from Mason Middle School in Tacoma.

Phillips expressed the appreciation he has for the bonds he builds with his students as his favorite part of teaching.

“I love positive relationships with kids,” Phillips said.

Phillips has a unique experience with PHS, as this isn’t the first time he’s taught here.

“I taught here at PHS 15 years ago, and then I left to become an administrator,” Phillips said. “That work was fine, but I really missed the classroom and having those positive relationships with kids, so I decided to come back and be a teacher. And the funniest thing of all is that I came back to the exact same school and the exact same classroom [from] fifteen years ago.”

Phillips explained that the idea of becoming a teacher didn’t occur to him until late into his college years.

“I actually didn’t know I was going to become a teacher until deep into my college career. I started as a physics major, and with a math minor. I actually finished my entire physics degree before I decided to become a teacher,” Phillips said.

Phillips says he is happy to be back in the classroom, feeling that it was “meant to be” for him to end back up where he started 15 years ago.





Drawing I and II: Melanie Muller


Melanie Muller teaches Drawing I and II and is new to PHS this year. She also teaches art for the first three periods of the day at Aylen Junior High, then comes here for fourth and fifth period.

Muller says her favorite part of working at PHS is the students and is excited to teach them her favorite subject.

“I like working with students. Art is my favorite subject, so I really like to do art the most,” Muller said.

Muller also notes that her students are all at different levels in art and is fond of their differing personalities.

“Different personalities, different abilities,” Muller said.

Muller is very familiar and comfortable with the teaching environment in general and has taught in several different states.

“This is my 20th year teaching; I’ve been teaching art for three years. Before that, I taught special education and [at] elementary schools. I’ve been in Washington for twelve years, so I’m a native Washingtonian but lived in Nevada and Utah for some years and taught there as well,” Muller said.

Muller has many lively interests that she participates in outside of teaching.

“I love the outdoors, I’m an avid roller skater, and I love animals, travelling, art and music,” Muller said.

Muller also appreciates the experience of teaching the high school age group for the first time.

“I’m having fun teaching high school this year,” said Muller. “I mean, I’ve been teaching for a long time, but never taught high school before, so I’m enjoying it.”





Physical Education (all grades): Mikayla Tanis


New to the P.E. staff this year is Mikayla Tanis, who teaches all grades. This is Tanis’s first-year teaching, and she’s thrilled about her experience so far.

“I got into [teaching] because I was coaching track and field and I just genuinely loved being a positive impact on kids’ lives, and hopefully instilling some healthy habits that they’ll take forever,” Tanis said.

She aims to change the stigma around P.E., and the stereotypes people associate with it.

“Some people don’t like P.E.; they think it’s scary or intimidating or it’s just not their favorite class. Maybe they’re not an athlete, and they think it’s not for them. I’m trying to change that. I want everybody to see the value of physical education, for their lifelong benefit,” Tanis said.

Tanis has many personal connections to PHS, which contributes to her experience so far.

“I graduated from here in 2012, so I am a product of the school. I’m also working alongside my former teachers. Mr. Price, my track coach, he made a huge impact on me. So, when I heard there was an opening, I jumped on it,” Tanis said.

Tanis has a background in exercise science, which aided her in her teaching career.

“After [high] school, I went on to run at Western for a brief period. I was a hurdler and that’s where I got my degree in kinesiology, which is a fancy word for exercise science. I have my Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and worked as a personal trainer for a while,” Tanis said.





Automotive Technology I, II, and III: Christian Tamiesie

Christian Tamiesie is new to PHS this year as the teacher for Automotive Technology I, II and III. He originally hails from Portland. He described his new experience of being a teacher, comparing it to his previous work.

“I’m really fresh to [teaching]. But before I was a shop foreman, and so I got to help a lot of younger technicians. And I just enjoyed the challenge of trying to find the language that they understood and could grasp the concept because we all kind of learn in a different manner,” Tamiesie said.

Tamiesie sympathizes with kids in this age group, as he’s dealt with grown adults who act the same way.

“In my previous job, I was dealing with grown men that could be very temperamental, catty even, with each other. And a lot of times it was frustrating to deal with adults who acted like children. Students for me, when they act immature, it’s like ‘Yeah that makes sense, you’re a teenager.’ I like that. Most students live up to my expectation,” Tamiesie said.

Tamiesie has carried a lesson he learned from a professor years ago with him throughout his career.

“I was originally going to college for political science of all things. I went to UPS for a year. And then I had a really good personal finance teacher who just kind of influenced me to realize that it was like, ‘Hey, you’re gonna have multiple careers in your life, you’re 20 years old’. Right now, you don’t need to know what you’re gonna do for the rest of your life,” Tamiesie said.

Tamiesie believes diversity is important, especially in the field of automotive.

“I would really love for students who are interested in automotive as a possible career, or just they’ve always loved automotive. It is a very male driven role. And so, if more female students wanted to come in, that would be awesome. I fully believe that in order for an industry to basically survive, you need all hands, so it’s just one of those things like if you just keep pulling from the same pool, it’s gonna die. But I think that there is some intimidation factor there. And so, if we can remove that barrier, it’d be kind of cool,” said Tamiesie.