Chawanakee Unified School students will spot a few new teachers on area campuses this school year, including:
☆ Jessica Sweet was born and raised on a small cattle ranch in Livermore, where she fell in love with agriculture. Growing up she was involved in both 4-H and FFA, which motivated her to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. She graduated in 2015 from Fresno State, earning a B.S. in Agriculture Education; Teacher Prep and completed the teaching credential program at the same institution in the spring of 2016. She is very excited for her first teaching assignment at Minarets High School as an ag teacher, and looks forward to getting to know the students and community better throughout the year.
☆ Cord Moon was born in Southern California but he has been in the Yosemite Area for more than a decade. He attended Oak Creek Intermediate and Yosemite High School, before pursuing a degree in United States History at the University of California, Merced. He has worked as a substitute teacher, sports coach, and instructional aide at North Fork Elementary School, and is now the fourth grade teacher there. He expressed his gratitude for his family: Rich, Denette, Cyle, Callen, and Clayton who have all been incredibly helpful and supportive.
☆ Melissa Cottington grew up in Tollhouse, graduated from Sierra High school, and then went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts degree along with two teaching credentials from Fresno State. She has spent the last five years teaching at McCardle Elementary School in Fresno. There she was recognized as the Central Valley’s Educator of the Week. She is nearing completion of a Masters of Science in School Administration. “I feels as though my professional dreams have come true as I have not able to teach in the community where I live,” Cottington said. “I’m very excited to be a part of the North Fork Elementary teaching staff and in meeting my class of fifth graders in August.” Cottington, her husband Jon, and their 7-month-old daughter Eleanor live on an organic family homestead in North Fork.
☆ Mary Otterson grew up in Bass Lake, attended Bass Lake Elementary School, and graduated from Yosemite High in 2006. After a semester abroad, two years of community college, and a long summer of world travels, she attended Humboldt State University to obtain her bachelors degree in liberal studies elementary education. She went through the credential program at HSU, graduating with a multiple subject and single subject in English. To be closer to family, she and her fiance moved to the Oakhurst area. From 2014-2016, she taught eighth grade English in Chowchilla. She said she’s excited to be teaching North Fork Elementary School sixth graders in an area that she loves.
☆ Karen Urrutia loves being a Minarets Mustang. She was born in Oakland and moved to Coarsegold when she was 12. She considers the mountain community home and enjoys teaching students she has known since they were in kindergarten or even younger. A UCSB graduate who studied Spanish and playwriting, she enjoys the performing arts and can often be seen onstage at the Golden Chain Theatre. She is thrilled to be part of the Minarets teaching team and looks forward to seeing her students improve their Spanish skills with increased classroom communication and exciting new projects. Be on the lookout for the first Minarets Spanish Theater Night.
☆ Jenny Sultana will be teaching information technology at Minarets High School starting this fall. She is originally from Michigan where she worked more than 10 years managing projects in residential construction and real estate sales. After moving to California in 2006, she completed a B.S. in Technical Management and a MS in Information Systems Management. She worked for three years at Decade Software in Fresno as a client support specialist. Her professional interests include project management, database design, systems analysis and implementation. She and her husband Simon have three children: Brittany, 14, Nicholas, 12, and Natalie, 5. She is a coach and advocate for youth soccer in the Mountain Area.
☆ Keely Hall, a Sierra High graduate, joins Minarets High School staff this year as an ag teacher. She taught at Ridgeview High School last year, and is completing her Masters degree in ag at Cal Poly.