New YHS teachers

Yosemite High School welcomed six new teachers to its campus as classes began last week. Five of them are brand new to the campus and the sixth, Dave Maynez, is already a familiar face. Last year, he took on the responsibility of Director of Campus Safety but this year, he will also be teaching a class, ROP Criminal Investigation.

An injury forced Maynez to take a medical retirement from his job as a training officer at the Fresno Police Department where he served for 22 years. He brings that background to the ROP criminal investigation class. He has also coached youth softball at the competitive level and taught workshops for athletes preparing for college-level play.

In the classroom, Maynez wants to “to bring (students) knowledge of law enforcement careers in all aspects.” He wants to teach them what skills are needed on the street, for interviewing during an investigation, and about laws of evidence. Students will also learn about the follow-up processes including prosecution and preparation for the courtroom. Maynez and his wife, Katie, have three college-age daughters.

* JD Burnett has coached football for 15 years and taught for 11 years with the last two years as head football coach and PE teacher at Kerman High School. He earned a kinesiology degree from California State University, Fresno and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Fresno Pacific. He will teach strength and conditioning at YHS and is the head football coach. He is looking forward to providing direction to Mountain Area youth. His wife, Jody, is a sixth-grade teacher at Coarsegold Elementary School and their daughters both attend Rivergold Elementary School.

* Gina Hansen-Sedor graduated as a Badger from YHS, married a Badger, and has children who were and are Badgers. Daughter Ashley and son Nick both graduated from YHS and youngest son, Josh, will be a senior at YHS this year.

“I had the opportunity to teach English in summer school at YHS a few times and absolutely loved it. I feel that after 16 years in middle school (Rivergold Elementary School) this would be a great switch.”

She is teaching freshman and senior English and world history this year. She began her teaching career at Norseman Elementary School in Fresno.

* New art teacher, Evan Higgins, is instructing classes in art 1, art 2, studio art, AP studio art 2-D and International Baccalaureate (IB) visual art. His teaching career began at Gardena High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He earned his BA and teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach. Higgins was attracted to YHS because of the school’s focus on academics, rigor, community involvement and general pride in excellence.

“Aside from being surrounded by natural beauty, I am looking forward to helping to ensure that the students of YHS receive the highest quality education.”

He and his wife, Kelly, now make their home in the area.

* Vanessa Mello joins the mathematics department where she is teaching IB math studies, algebra 2 and math 1. Her son, Alex, is a 2013 YHS graduate. She earned her BA in mathematics from Western Governors University and studied biology/physical oceanography at George Washington University. She previously taught at Minarets High School. She looks forward to working in the community in which she lives and to working with the boys’ soccer program at YHS.

“I love the game of futbol. I do not mean American football. I am referring to the ‘lovely game’ - that is what we commonly refer to as soccer,” she said.

* Eric McLane joins the social studies department and will be teaching government/economics, introduction to psychology and IB psychology 1 and 2. He looks forward to (hopefully) becoming involved as a baseball coach once he settles in. His younger sister is a YHS graduate and his parents live in Yosemite Lakes Park. He previously taught in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles and Modesto.

“The scenery (here) is much better than the streets of Los Angeles,” McLane said. “I have always enjoyed coming to visit the area and now look forward to my daughters being closer to their grandparents.”

He and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters, Madeline and Maya.