After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia, Amanda Ellis (she/her) started out as a dietician before switching careers during the pandemic. Now, after getting her teaching certificate from the University of Washington-Bothell, Ellis started her first year teaching Inglemoor’s Finance, Family Consumer Science and Interior Design.
“I always missed working with students as I had volunteered in my college years,” said Ellis. “I love seeing teens find their direction and interests in life.”
Ellis enjoys a multitude of activities in her free time, such as running, equestrian sports, baking and designing cakes. Some of these hobbies stem from Ellis’ past jobs.
“I’ve had so many random jobs,” said Ellis “I’ve worked as a horse exerciser, barn manager, horse show photographer, announcer, retail, dishwasher, and server.”
Ellis’ advice is to explore as many interests as they possibly can during high school.
“Often we get it in our heads that we are going one direction in life and miss out on exploring a number of other different paths,” said Ellis. “So always be open and willing to try new things.”
Kentucky native Gage Hopkins (he/him) is starting his first year as the school’s newest art and ceramics teacher. Hopkins attended Eastern Kentucky University in his home state and spent four years teaching art in Kentucky before coming to Inglemoor. His first art teaching experience was as being the art director at his hometown’s Boy’s and Girl’s club when he was fourteen. He said it ignited a love of teaching the arts in him. Because of these early experiences and inspiration from his mother, who’s also a teacher, he decided to pursue education.
“I started out teaching English,” said Hopkins. “And then I was like, ‘man, this is not as fun as I thought it’d be I’m
going to go back to teaching art’.”
In his free time, Hopkins enjoys playing video games, hanging out with friends, and, of course, art.
“I’ve recently been adopted/abducted into a D&D group,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins advises students to keep on creating, even if they’re not great at something on the first try.
“I always like to tell newcomers who want to do art that not being good at it is the first step to being really good at it,” he said. “Just making something is great because you made it. It’s yours.”
After earning his master’s degree in education from Northwest University, Jordan Chong (he/him) is starting his first year as the newest PE teacher. Growing up in Ocean Shores, Chong played a lot of sports.
“I came from a very small high school, so you didn’t need to try out for a sports team. I got to try a lot of different sports growing up. I got to play football, basketball, baseball, golf, and track and field,” said Chong.
After high school, Chong went to the University of Washington-Seattle and graduated with a degree in communications. After graduation, Chong worked as a credit analyst at a bank before quitting because he hated the job. Chong said that after quitting his job, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next, but then his cousin reached out.
“She was like, ‘You’re good with younger people and you love sports. Why don’t you try to be a PE teacher?’ and I was like, ‘You know what, that’s an idea. Let’s go for it,’” said Chong.
Following his cousin’s advice, Chong went back to college for a masters in education, and said he’s been loving his new job as a teacher so far. Chong’s favorite part of teaching is building relationships with his students. He encourages students to put their full effort into everything they do while having fun and being respectful.
“I think it’s always fun to interact with them. There are students who make your day, and I think that’s what makes it worth it,” said Chong.
The music building was where Zaldy Rogero (he/him) felt at home when he was in high school. He hoped that one day, he’d be able to make a new generation of music students feel the same. This year, Rogero started his first year teaching choir, guitar and music production. His favorite things about teaching are connecting with students and making them laugh.
“There are times in rehearsal where we’ll be going through a section of a song and someone goofs up, or I’m making a goof or I make a face at someone and then the class just kind of breaks down and laughs,” said Rogero.
Currently, Rogero teaches both choir classes offered and said that he’s looking forward to expanding the program.
“I would like to have a couple more choir classes in my schedule. I’d like to see more people—more students here being involved in the music program, because I think we’re doing something really special here. You’re building on skills that enrich you as an individual.”
Rogero’s love for music doesn’t end at 3:15. In addition to the music he makes with his students, Rogero also likes to record music and sing for choirs in his free time.
“As a musician that teaches music for a living, I feel like it’s really important to find a balance where I’m making music for myself, too,” said Rogero.
Rogero advises his students to find a good balance in life and do what makes them happy.
“I think it’s really important to remember that life is long enough for us to do everything that we love for the rest of our lives. We have time.”