School welcomes group of new teachers

Ingrid Chan and Sarah Markiewicz

Though there are new teachers who join the Diamond Bar High School staff every year, this year’s crop is an uncommonly large group, with 11 instructors taking their places in the classroom.

With teachers Courtney Corona and Isabella Chiang in the math department; Nancy Najera, Katy Swetnam, and Caroline Gatlin in the language departments; Jacob Kaitz in drama; Sam Jacoby in woodshop; Isaac Lee and Jon Hurst in the social science department; Adriana Garibay in the special needs department; and Vianney Hwang in art DBHS will soon be accustomed to ten new faces taking charge of its classrooms.

In addition to interacting with students in the classroom, Corona and Chiang are the advisors for the 2019 class committee.

Corona, a 2003 DBHS graduate, now teaches Algebra A and Algebra II, and is able to work with some of her favorite teachers from her school days, including Kent Neal, who also teaches Algebra II.

Students involved in baseball will have a common interest with another new teacher, Jon Hurst, who used to play baseball with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in the minor league system. Hurst teaches both Advanced Placement and regular economics and civics.

Meanwhile, Chiang always intended to return to DBHS and now teaches Algebra B and Geometry in hopes of alleviating the fears many students hold towards math. She finds mathematics to be a very real and important solution to many problems in the world.

“I plan on creating a collaborative environment in my classroom where students feel safe and comfortable enough to voice their minds and discuss mathematics.” Chiang said.

Another teacher,  Lee, plans to become a class advisor as well as advisor for the new DECA club, which focuses on marketing and finance. The 2005 DBHS graduate began teaching at the school last semester, but is still getting accustomed to being back on campus.

“I have seniors and I have freshmen, and they’re very different populations and all fun in their own way,” Lee said. “[The school] has all the familiarities of ten years ago, but at the same time the perspective is so different because I’m on the other side of the classroom.”

As stagecraft and theatre manager, Kaitz, a 2009 alumni, is responsible for all events and shows related to the drama department, providing advice and assistance in areas like live sound, lighting, and staging needs.

For Kaitz, theatre has always been a passion of his, leading to his Bachelor of the Arts degree in Theatre Arts as well as Theatrical Design and Production. One of his goals for this year is to finish building the sets for two theatrical projects.

Another new teacher is an instructor who not only teaches French, but was also born and raised in France as well.  Gatlin came to America with the intention of learning English so she could teach in her home country, but instead of returning, she ended up staying and now teaches French.

Responsible for a class of French I Honors, French II Honors, and French III, Gatlin wants to cultivate a group of students who are fluent communicators and enthusiastic about French culture.

Swetnam, a DBHS alumni has returned where she’ll be educating students in Spanish.  Besides teaching a foreign language, she also coaches volleyball, having played the sport at both DBHS  and  college.

Furthermore, since she spent her time as a student teacher in Diamond Bar High School, and her mother is a DBHS English teacher Shannon Kelly, Swetnam is familiar with campus activities.  She looks forward to watching the volleyball and football games, both of which she had been interested in when in high school.

Adriana Garibay teaches Autism Syndrome Disorder  students.  This year is her first time teaching kids with special needs, and she hopes to successfully lead her class through the school year.