Every year, Leesville adds new teachers to the mix. This year, the science, math and language departments each increased respectively.
Robert Thornhill, the only new science teacher, knew Leesville was an excellent school as soon as he walked through the doors.
“[My first thought was,] ‘Wow, what a nice place,’” said Thornhill in an email interview.
Before coming to Leesville, Thornhill taught for two years then entered the masters program at NC State for plant biology, where he studied the plants that grow in longleaf pine savannas in North Carolina. Thornhill says he loves teaching science because of his passion for the subject itself.
“I may be biased, but I dare say that science is an inherently fascinating field. Who doesn’t want to learn about how the body works, or what lies beyond our planet, or, for that matter, what lies within our planet?” Thornhill said via email.
Thornhill says the transition into Leesville is ongoing, but going well. He looks forward to teaching a diverse student body.
Lorene Rodriguez, the new Spanish teacher, came to Leesville from teaching at North Raleigh Christian Academy and says her first impression of Leesville was its size, beauty and nice staff and students.
“You get the feeling that this is a real tight community,” said Rodriguez in an email interview.
Rodriguez’s love for teaching Spanish stems from fond memories of her life in Spain.
“I enjoy teaching about my language and culture,” Rodriguez said via email.
Though Rodriguez was not born in Spain, her father is of Spanish descent, and she spent 14 years of her life in Sevilla (some during her adolescence). Rodriguez loved Spain’s food and says Spain is more laidback and happier than the US.
At Leesville, Rodriguez is excited to work with her new colleagues and students.
The math department opened its doors to two new teachers: Sean Russom and Mary Greiner.
Russom, who teaches Common Core, remarked on how large the school seemed when he first arrived.
“I felt like a freshman getting lost in the building,” said Russom via email.
Russom taught math at Overhills Middle School and coached baseball at Overhills High School in Harnett County before moving to Leesville. Russom looks forward to working with the great staff and baseball team.
Mary Greiner, another math teacher, says teaching at Leesville will be a fresh start.
“I live in Durham, so it’s pretty exciting to be in a new place,” said Greiner.
Greiner was a Teaching Fellow at UNC Chapel Hill undergraduate, majoring in math, and later attended Duke for her masters. Greiner says she really enjoyed math in high school when she applied for the Teaching Fellowship her senior year, and she has stuck with it since.
“I committed to teaching when I was 18 and haven’t looked back since,” said Greiner.
Greiner became a part of Leesville’s community very easily, crediting her fellow staff for the successful transition.
“The staff here does a really good job of, like, giving you a lot of support,” said Greiner.
Overall, the consensus among the science, language and math departments’ new teachers was how well Leesville welcomed them — whether the staff or the students. Hopefully, as their transition continues, all will remain well for Leesville’s bright, new teachers.