We have some new staff members in our Scottie Family!
Some of our newcomers actually taught here previously or are Helix alumni and we’re glad to have them back. Our returning teachers are Ms. Heath, Mr. Waller, Ms. Vozely, and Ms. Gianas. The newcomers to Helix are Dr. Mitchell, Ms. Ramirez, Ms. Duncan, and Mrs. Crim.
Ms. Heath, a returning Scottie, is back to teach Algebra 1. “I taught here for six years; 2015 is when I left. I taught up in Ramona, then decided that I love it here so now I’m back!”, says Heath. She tells, The Fling that the reason she became a math teacher is because she felt like teachers in the past were boring, so now she hopes to make math interesting and fun for her students. Ms. Heath says the culture of the Scottie family is one of the things she missed while away. When asked what do you hope to achieve as a teacher, she responded, “I want to see kids be successful, not just in my classroom but in life also.” Heath may teach math, but she also hopes to teach her students how to be [decent] human beings.
Mr. Waller has returned to Helix to teach Honors Pre-Calculus and Algebra 2C. He tells, The Fling that he received his Bachelor’s in Math at UC Irvine and his teaching credential at San Diego State University. Being an alumni of Helix, he is a true example of the saying, Once a Scottie, always a Scottie. Waller says he became a teacher because he’s always loved math and would help the students around him while in high school. “It was kind of a natural thing to do it as a job,” says Waller. While he is not a new member, Waller says it’s a world of a difference between Helix and other schools. As a teacher, all he hopes is that his students do their best. His favorite part of teaching is the ‘aha moment’ in his students’ eyes.
Ms. Vozely is the new Journalism and English 5C/6C teacher. She was born and raised in La Mesa, and has been a long time friend of Helix starting back in the 90’s, working out on the track as a kid with the San Diego Trailblazers, coached by Helix legends, Jennifer and Brian Barmer. When asked how she got into teaching, she thanks Helix for opening the door back in 2012 and taking her on as an Academic Coach following her work in recreation and after school programs. Since then, she has enjoyed utilizing her creativity and passion for writing to make English not-so-scary for the next generation. She says being a Scottie, “feels like home.”
Ms. Gianas, a Sophomore English teacher, has worked at Helix for five years but it’s her first time teaching here. Gianas says school was a safe place for her as a child and decided she wanted to become a teacher in the seventh grade. While she is a Grossmont graduate, she identifies herself as more of a Scottie than a Foothiller, “Technically I’ve been at Helix for five years which is longer than high school.” As a teacher, she hopes her students learn how to share their story. Teaching has always been her first choice and says she wanted to stay with high schoolers. Her favorite part of her job is hanging out with teenagers. According to Gianas, “They teach me what’s cool, what’s not cool. I learn as much from them as they learn from me.” She describes it as a give-and-take situation between teacher and student.
Dr. Mitchell, a new Chemistry teacher, got her Doctorate in Chemistry at UCSD. Before coming to Helix, she taught at San Diego High School. “When I was finishing up my Doctorate, I was part of a program called Socrates where graduate students brought in their current research… I just kind of found that I liked it,” admits Mitchell. Mitchell says it’s good being a part of Helix, but she’s nervous. As a teacher, she hopes that her students have learned concepts like making arguments and being able to notice ‘good’ science versus bad science. Teaching was not her first choice, “I thought I was going to be a chemist for a company.” She tells the Fling that her favorite part of her job is getting to know the students, and helping them realize the potential they didn’t know they had.
Ms. Ramirez, the new Class of 2020 counselor, has been a counselor for ten years. Ramirez shares, “I started at another charter school for seven years. I was a counselor for three years and a college counselor for another three years.” After being a college counselor, she moved on to a project special to her, where she was the counselor at El Cajon Valley High School for their English learners. When asked how she became a counselor, she responded, “It was by accident. In college, I really wanted to be a physical therapist. While I was at UCSD, I was a mentor for a Trio Program, a program for first generation college students. As a mentor, I did a lot of counseling tasks.” Ramirez tells, The Fling that she feels very excited to be at Helix and she was involved in the social aspect of the school prior to working here. Her goal as a tenth grade counselor is to make students feel that, “…college is not an option but a next step.” Her favorite part of her job is bonding with students, watching them grow and graduate onto better things.
Ms. Duncan, a new Earth Science teacher, is also a Geologist. Duncan tells, The Fling, “I’m still doing research on volcanoes, and I also teach over at Grossmont College.” As a kid, she enjoyed teaching and camped, picking up rocks so teaching science occurred naturally for her. Duncan explains that she doesn’t feel completely new to the Scottie family because she taught previously at La Mesa Middle but thinks it’s a lot of fun to be here at Helix. As a teacher, she hopes to help prepare her students for graduation and college. Teaching has always been Duncan’s first career choice but if she could, she would like to be an Astronaut. Her favorite part of being a teacher is interacting with her students while they’re working on projects.
Mrs. Crim, a new Algebra 1 teacher, has been teaching Algebra for eight years. She got into teaching Algebra through a teaching program called Teach for America. The goal is to close the achievement gap; she has always loved math because of its different patterns. Crim tells us that she loves being at Helix, sharing, “I love the four classes a day and the longer class periods. It seems more manageable for students. The staff is awesome, everyone’s here to help students, and the students are great as well.” Before teaching, she got her accounting degree but hated it because she felt that it is boring and was also working at a travel company before pursuing teaching. As a teacher, she hopes her students grow and progress their math skills. Crim says her favorite part of teaching is planning the lessons and interacting with her students.