Meet the new staff members of Pinedale Middle School


PINEDALE – Six faculty and staff members joined Pinedale Middle School for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Roundup submitted five questions to allow the community to get to know each of them a little better.

 

Kristel Levitt, special education pro

Q: What attracted you to a position in education?

A: I was inspired by my own kids and their educational experiences.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

I really enjoy the middle school age group, and the middle school has a great staff and some really phenomenal teachers.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

They have great energy and they are so much fun.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Making a difference to someone, somehow, and learning new things.

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

I was born and raised in Wyoming. I’m always ready for winter!

 

Marya Repko, math intervention pro

What attracted you to a position in education?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work in education. My mom taught high school English for 38 years – it was just always something I wanted to do. I studied elementary education at the University of Montana Western before life took me in another direction when my husband joined the Air Force, we moved to Kansas and started our family.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

Definitely the kids. Working with students has always been my dream. I also had the opportunity to meet a staff member of the middle school this summer who spoke of the camaraderie, support and overall positive atmosphere at the school, and it has not disappointed.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

My favorite thing is the connections you make. Life can be fun and wonderful, but also confusing and hard, at this age. Being able to help them navigate those feelings and experiences is a gift. My approach toward education is balancing the social emotional with the educational. They’re equally important and I’m blessed to be a small part in the journey.

What are you looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to all the amazing experiences with students as well as the joys of small-town life. I grew up in rural Montana and Pinedale quickly felt like home.

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

Being ready for winter is probably the area I am least prepared for! It’s been a few years since being in a place that gets this cold so it’ll definitely be an adjustment for a while. However, we’ve got all our snow gear and my girls are ready for some sledding.

 

Anthony Rigo, STEM teacher

What attracted you to a position in education?

I have always been drawn to sharing information with others, and worked in some aspect of education most of my adult life. I was an instructor and intelligence sergeant in the Army for seven of my nine years of active service. I served as an emergency medical science instructor at Durham Technical Community College in North Carolina after my military service. I spent several years working for 911 advanced life support ambulance services. As an EMS instructor, I found I belonged at the head of a classroom and began a biological sciences teaching program through Western Governors University.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

My family has been a part of the Pinedale community for six years. My wife teaches at Pinedale Elementary School and I have worked in the district as a substitute teacher and special education paraprofessional at Pinedale High School. I also coached youth football at the PAC and seventh and eighth grade football. My two youngest children came up through PMS. I enjoy serving our community and teaching the same kids I coached in football. I also really enjoy working with middle school students where the wonder of learning can still be seen on a daily basis and their contributions to academic discussion is blossoming.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

I love seeing the look of wonder on their faces when they are learning something new and cool.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Teaching PMS students valuable problem-solving and teamwork skills, through engineering, that they will use to be successful in every stage of their lives.

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

Patiently waiting for the snow so I can get out on the skis again!

 

Laura Schaefer, attendance and activities office pro 

What attracted you to a position in education?

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to work with children. I love watching them grow into who they are going to be and it is an extremely rewarding experience helping them.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

Pinedale Middle School has an amazing staff that treats you like family, the students are eager to learn and it is a positive work environment.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

My favorite thing is getting to know them and their personalities. They are always so honest and every day is different and exciting.

What are you looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to getting to know the students more and building positive relationships with them, their families and the staff at PMS.

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

I will be pulling out my cross-country skis and making a Costco run before the weather hits!

 

Lisa Vlastos, secretary

What attracted you to a position in education?

Education is where it all begins. It’s dynamic and challenging. I enjoy being a part of that process.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

The staff at Pinedale Middle School – they’re incredible. They’re dedicated to creating a positive environment and culture that supports learning at every level. And the students make it all worthwhile.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

There’s never a dull moment! I enjoy their energy, resilience and unique personalities.

What are looking forward to this year?

So many things – getting to know all the students better, having a successful school year, spending the holidays with family, springtime...

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

I’m getting prepared for winter – finding my snow gear, dusting off the boots, turning on the furnace. But I don’t really know how to be ready for winter. Any suggestions?

 

Rosi Williams, custodian

What attracted you to a position in education?

I am not directly in education. However, even as a custodian, I am able to make a positive impact on the young adults in our community.

What attracted you to working at Pinedale Middle School?

I was told the administration treated the staff like family and that was appealing to me. I also have a daughter in middle school, so it’s fun to see her every day in the halls.

What is your favorite thing about working with young people?

Their limitless energy and excitement. There is never a dull moment!

What are you looking forward to this year?

Getting to know the students and staff members better.

What are you doing to get ready for winter in Pinedale?

The usual – getting my yard in order, stocking our freezers and doing as much as I can outdoors to soak up the last days of sunny weather.

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© 2021-Pinedale Roundup

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