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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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