Morenci teachers join Morenci staff 9.4

Written by David Green.

Five new teachers join the Morenci school staff for the 2008-09 year.

Brandi Boswell

Brandi Boswell’s face will be familiar to many Morenci Area High School students since she was a student teacher here last year, working with Char-Lene Wilkins. Brandi takes over her classes since Ms. Wilkins retired.

The Taylor, Mich., native attended Adrian College. She had already moved to North Carolina when she received a call about the opening in Morenci.

She really enjoyed the community when she was here earlier, so she jumped at the opportunity to take the job.

She’s also chosen to live in Morenci, saying that she thinks it’s important to show loyalty to the community and give back to the community where she’s employed.

Brandi will teach 10th and 12th grade English, along with a writing-intensive career communications course. She will also serve as a freshman class advisor and the Students Against Drunk Driving club advisor.

She’s a sports fan, with a special interest in the Red Sox and the Red Wings. Her new love is playing tennis. She lists poetry and music as her creative outlets.

Jason Austgen

Morenci’s new mathematics and science teacher at the high school grew up in Minnesota, but his high school years were in spent Tecumseh.

After earning a teaching degree from Eastern Michigan University, he taught in Stevensville, Mich., and he’s pleased to be back in Lenawee County where he has a lot of family and friends.

Algebra II, chemistry and physical science are a few of the courses he’ll be teaching here.

Running is Jason’s primary interest outside of work. He started running cross country in high school and he’s now competed in seven marathons, including the Boston Marathon.

He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys being outside in general.

Jason has already started work on a master’s degree and he’s living in Morenci.

Barb Bernath

The new part-time high school English and social studies teacher Barb Bernath was born in Morenci, but she grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. She came back to Lenawee County to attend Adrian College and has since earned a masters degree in social studies from Eastern Michigan University.

She taught in Waldron for eight years before taking a job at Quincy. Cutbacks there resulted in a layoff, but the part-time job here fits in well since she’s busy raising three children.

She’ll teach freshman English in Morenci, along with a course called global issues. She’s had a lot of experience in both English and social studies and enjoys teaching each one.

Barb lives in the Addison school district and enjoys reading and spending time with her children. She also has a love for volleyball.

Keith Filipek

Morenci Elementary School’s new music teacher has spent most of his life in Lenawee County, but Morenci is new territory for the Ogden Center native.

Keith Filipek graduated from Blissfield High School and attended college at Florida’s Pensacola Christian.

He taught school in Florida before returning to Michigan where he has taught at Lenawee Christian School and a charter school in Monroe.

He was pleased to see the job opening in Morenci, due to the retirement of KC Carter, because he now has a 13-minute drive to work.

Keith lives on a small farm east of Clayton with his wife and four children, aged 12, 10, 7 and 5.

The family has a variety of animals they care for, including ponies, chickens, goats and rabbits.

Keith looks forward to introducing Morenci students to musical theory, composition and instruments, with a focus on singing.

“We’ll have a lot of fun and play a lot of musical games,” he said.

Parents should expect to hear more about a holiday program and another in the spring.

Paula Grieder

Paula Grieder feels like she’s right at home and in the right place.

Her career goal was to teach in Morenci and she was hired late last month to serve as the developmental kindergarten teacher after an unexpected resignation.

The Morenci graduate earned a teaching certificate at Siena Heights College and worked with kindergarten teacher Brigelle Bovee-Vernier in her student teaching.

Since then, she’s served as a substitute teacher around the county.

Tuesday was her first day on the job with 18 youngsters in her own room—a little hectic but also really good.

“Everyone was so helpful and welcoming,” she said. “I feel like I have a lot of support. It’s a really good feeling.”

Paula and her husband, David, are the parents of two boys, Luke in third grade and Griffin in fourth.

Aside from taking care of her children and helping her husband with his small engine repair service, she tries to fit in some time for reading and scrapbooking.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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