By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

The Morgan County School System hosted a Teacher Induction on July 24 for the newly hired teachers and school staff starting this year, 32 in all. According to Sarah Burbach, assistant superintendent, representatives from each school delivered presentations on “what makes us special,” to the new teachers. “We had a great orientation for our 32 new teachers,” said Burbach. “These newly hired teachers are so excited to begin working with our students.  We are all impressed with the skills and professionalism they bring to us. ” Some of the new teachers shared with the Citizen a little about themselves and their vision for the students of Moragan County. Jessica Steele, the new ninth grade math teacher and volleyball coach, said she hopes to impart upon her students that they “all have chances to be successful.” “Something I already love about Morgan County is that I meet people who are genuinely interested in knowing me everywhere I go.

I have met so many families who are excited to welcome me to the county, shared Steele. “I am excited about working with the upcoming ninth graders, the class of 2018!” For teachers like Brett Bell, a coach at MCHS, the main goal is to develop “the individual student to be the best they can be.” “The thing I look forward to most about teaching in Morgan County is being able to give back to a community and school system that gave so much to me growing up,” said Bell. “My goal for my students is for them to be successful in whatever they choose to do after high school.” Travis Rice, an economics teacher, moved to Madison four years ago with his wife and two sons and plans to use his teaching career to further enrich the community. “Teaching at Morgan County High School will allow me to fully participate in small-town life and the One Morgan experience,” said Rice.” I want students to think. Modern life is constantly presenting us with challenges and opportunities. In every aspect of life, we are better prepared for these challenges and opportunities if we are willing and able to think.” Allen Kent, the new Spanish Connections teacher at MCHS, is looking forward to his teaching gig.

“I am thrilled to work with high-quality teachers and students. I am also happy to help students learn a new language at the formative stage of middle school,” said Kent. “I am enthusiastic about seeing young people succeed in school. I feel that learning Spanish as a second language is a vital skill that can be an asset to any student’s education.” Ashley Potter, a returning MCMS, left teaching for a year to work as a school improvement specialist, but missed being with the students of Morgan County. “Guiding students and helping them to learn are what make teaching such a wonderful profession.  We are blessed in Morgan County to have such great teachers who do this everyday. I am glad to be a part of them again!” Erin Spinks, a new teacher at the alternative school, hopes to inspire her students to make wise decisions to become more mature, different, and to find new ways to enjoy learning. “I enjoy using hands on style of learning.  My students are very important to me and I love to encourage them to be their very best!  My goal is that my students will use the Alternative School as a second chance and only return to visit,” said Spinks. Robert Brutz, the new French teacher at MCHS, raise awareness among his students about the global society in which they live and believes it’s imperative to be a contributing member of the community in Madison. “Because my wife and I live in Athens, I was concerned at first that I wouldn’t feel like part of the community here in Madison.  As we all know, Madison, and Morgan County Schools in particular, prides itself on its strong community (One Morgan!),” explained Brutz.

“Since arriving at the high school for the the first time last week, I couldn’t feel more at home.  My welcome to the school and to Madison has given me no doubt that even though I go home to Athens, I will be an integral part of the community here in Morgan County.” Joshua Coleman, the new special education teacher at MCHS, is looking forward to getting to know his students and community members. “So far, everyone has been very helpful and inviting and it seems to be a great fit for me,” said Coleman Julue Mayzurk, the new kindergarten teacher at the primary school, felt welcomed to Morgan County almost instantly. “I have heard how wonderful Morgan County is. In just the few days that I have been a part of it, there has been an abundant amount of support from parents, other teachers, and community members,” said Mayzurk. “My name is Luke McFarland. I’ll be teaching Gifted ELA to 6, 7, and 8, and I’ll be also teaching gifted 1st and 2nd graders. Luke McFarland, a teacher for gifted students, has lived around Morgan County for 20 years and is looking forward to educating his students. “I intend to show them the world through language arts, as well as value in their creativity. I am a reader, a thinker, and a writer, and I will help mold Morgan’s students to also be such,” said McFarland.

Barry Haines, an Air Force JROTC instructor at MCHS, is proud to be joining a school with such “high expectation for the students and teachers.” “I look forward to teaching in Morgan County, mostly because of the small ‘hometown’ feel that Madison has. This is the kind of community I want to be from…I look forward to working with the students, helping and inspiring them to become better citizens for their community and America. I want them to accomplish their goals and dreams,” said Haines. New teachers at the Primary School include: Amy Anderson, Jennifer Haynes, Julie Mayzurk, Stephanie Rhodes, and Joanne Roberts. New teachers at the Elementary School include: Jodi Bailey and Shonda Summers. New teachers at the Middle School include: Alex Cooper, Carisa Elam, Terry Hawkins, Allen Kent, Amber Keim, Luke McFarland, Ashley Potter, and Darrell Stephens. New teachers at the high school include: Brett Bell, Robert Brutz, Joshua Coleman, Barry Haines, Aaron Paul, Rita Preuss-McGill, Travis Rice, Ryan Rickard, Jamond Sims, and Jessica Steele.