New to You

Mikayla Havison, Editor-In-Chief

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  • Jackie Brooks (Special Education)

  • James Drake (Spanish) *This is corrected from the print issue

  • Jennifer Edwards (Guidance)

  • Lisa Hoffer (Special Education)

  • Tim Hower (Math)

  • Brady Koehlinger (Physics)

  • Derek Nichols (Special Education)

  • Rebbeca Schaefer (Special Education)

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This year, the school has hired ten new teachers and staff members that will be advising students this year and years to come. Although these staff members are new to Homestead, for many of them, this is not their first experience teaching and helping students. As the school year begins, the new staff is beginning to settle in thanks to help from students and staff; however, due to the school’s size, many students are still unfamiliar with the new additions to the school. Some of these new staff members now share their stories and goals for this new experience:

Brady Koelinger- Physics
One of this year’s new teachers is physics teacher, Brady Koelinger. Despite being new to the district, this is not Koelinger’s first rodeo at teaching.

“I taught for 23 years at Northside High School,” Koelinger said.

Koelinger is also a native to the Fort Wayne area, as he grew up in New Haven and attended New Haven High School.
Although Koelinger has had a long-standing appreciation for the sciences and math, he has not always known that teaching would be his career.
“I went to college to major in engineering and somehow ended up in physics and then ended up with an education endorsement and started teaching,” Koelinger said. “There wasn’t an inspiring moment where I decided to become a teacher.”
Even though teaching was not a childhood dream, Koelinger has come to find it fulfilling and enjoys working with students.
“I really enjoy teaching. When I close my door and teach, I have a really good time” Koelinger said.
One of Koelinger’s favorite parts of teaching physics is that the teaching method differs from the traditional classroom.
“I think physics is a really different class for kids because they are used to just coming in to learn information, where as physics is learning problem solving and critical thinking” Koelinger said. “I try to get students to think about why something is right, as opposed to just remembering things.”
In his first weeks at the school, Koelinger has already noticed some differences between teaching at Homestead and teaching elsewhere.
“I’ve been impressed with the culture here,” Koelinger said. “You can tell that students know what their expectations are and they are willing to do the right thing.”
In his free time, Koelinger enjoys exploring the outdoors and spending time with his wife and four kids.

Tim Hower- Math
Many students have come to know Michael Hower, a chemistry teacher who was new to the school last year. This year, the school welcomes his brother, Tim Hower, who is teaching math. Like many of the new teachers this year, this is not Hower’s first teaching experience and he taught at two other schools before coming to Homestead.
“My brother got a job here last year and he really talked it up,” Hower said. “He talked about how the kids are very respectful and responsible.”
Additionally, this is not the first time the brothers have worked at the same school.
“I never see my brother here,” Hower said. “Our last school we were at, we had rooms right next to each other. We could talk anytime between classes.”
Although it is a change for Hower not see his brother as often at work, he is still enjoying his experience.
“It’s very big,” Hower said. “It’s a lot to get used to. The building is huge, lots of people, but also tons of people to help me out. Everyone is really willing to help.” At the school, Hower is continuing to fulfill his life long dream of being a teacher.
“I was always the kid that got my homework done so I would help everyone else in the room,” Hower  said. “I thought it would be enjoyable to find a job where I can serve others and get paid to do it.”
Additionally, Hower always knew math was the class for him.

“It was never a doubt which subject I wanted to teach,” Hower said.
Now, as a math teacher, Hower is sharing his love of math with students, as well as encouraging them to reach their full potential.
“I know what they could do, I see it, and I want them to do it,” Hower said.
Outside of the classroom, Hower enjoys spending time with his four children, who are all under the age of eight. He is looking forward to teaching students this year.

Jennifer Edwards- Guidance
With the departure of Jason Wilson, a former guidance counselor at the school, the school has hired a new guidance counselor.
This counselor, Jennifer Edwards, already has experience in counseling and is looking forward to getting to know Homestead.
“Prior to coming here I was a counselor at DeKalb High School for two years and then prior to that I was a counselor at Noblesville High School for five years,” Edwards said.
Before Edwards became a counselor, Edwards was also an English teacher in the Indianapolis area.
“I was an English teacher for three years and I really love teaching,” Edwards said.
Although Edwards enjoyed the teaching experience, she feels is passionate about her current career as a school counselor.
“There are parts of teaching that I miss, but if I am going to compare and contrast the two, I’m very much where I feel I am supposed to be as a counselor,” Edwards said. “In a class of thirty it’s a lot harder [to make one-on-one connections].”
Despite the difficulty deciding between teaching and counseling, Edwards has always known she wanted to work with students.
“Aside from when I was a little girl and wanted to be a Broadway dancer, for a long time I have wanted to work in education,” Edwards said.
Now, as a counselor at the school, Edwards looks forward to the positive changes she can make in the lives of students.
“I am really passionate about students getting the opportunity to explore what they want to do with the rest of their lives, so I love the advising side of what counselors get to do,” Edwards said.” I also enjoy that connection I get to make with students. If there is more of a personal or social need, and working together to make it a better experience for them.”
Edwards hopes that students will reach out and take advantage of the guidance department, whether for personal or academic needs.
“I want [students] to know that they can come to me with any type of a question or concern or issue they have,” Edwards said. “I am not here to dole out judgement, I am here to help them.”
So far, Edwards appreciates the supportive environment of the school and the opportunity she has to be apart of it.
“Everyone here has been so helpful and kind as I transition into learning how things are done procedurally here,” Edwards said. “My son goes to school in this district, so I enjoy being a part of the community.”
Edwards is grateful for the chance to work at the school.
“Homestead is a phenomenal school, that’s no secret,” Edwards said.