The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 17, 2013

New faces seen around Geneva Eagles territory


Star Beacon

GENEVA — This year Geneva High School welcomes five new teachers, each of whom brings a unique background and personality to the classrooms. The teachers – Michelle Rawlins, Marie Skidmore, Douglas Barber, Jeff Hull and James Berei – are all excited to be teaching at Geneva.

Michelle Rawlins teaches English 12 and College Prep English 11. She comes to GHS from Lakeside High School, where she was an intervention specialist tutor. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame College. Mrs. Rawlins said she chose to come to Geneva because she feels that it is one of the best schools in the area and that her strong work ethic and high standards are a good fit here. She enjoys the welcoming atmosphere and the support system that she has found teaching in Geneva, she said.

When asked why she became a teacher, Mrs. Rawlins said, “I wanted to show (the students) that learning the material can be fun and interesting. Students today need to know there is a reason we need to be able to read and write, learn about the history of our language, and also learn about those writers who were important in shaping our country.”

Marie Skidmore, the first and second level Spanish teacher, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her. She studied at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and has earned her dual bachelor of arts in elementary education and world languages and cultures (Spanish) education and a master of science degree in bilingual bicultural special education. In 2012 she was appointed by the Spanish Embassy to teach English in Badajoz, Spain, but economic issues in the area closed the program for that school year. Ms. Skidmore previously taught at St. Gregory’s Parish in North East, Pa., and at St. John School in Ashtabula for two years each.

“This is my first year teaching in a public school and I am enjoying the many opportunities (extracurricular and academic) offered to students and teachers,” said Ms. Skidmore.

She is also the freshman class adviser and plans to stay involved with her students.

The Math Department also gained several wonderful new teachers. Douglas Barber teaches Algebra II and College Prep Algebra II. He said he is thrilled to be working with the students at Geneva High School and wants to be a positive role model for the students. Although he has experience as a long-term substitute at Bedford High School, this is his first permanent teaching position. Mr. Barber earned his degree from Cleveland State University.

“They are great kids who are respectful and hardworking,” said Mr. Barber, who is also the new junior varsity basketball coach. He has experience coaching at Willoughby South and Solon High Schools.

Moving up from Geneva Middle School to the high school for his third year of teaching is Jeff Hull, an intervention specialist in the math department. Mr. Hull works with the students during class to ensure that they are able to understand and apply the information and offers additional assistance outside of the classroom. He earned his first bachelor’s degree in sports management from Kent State University before attending Notre Dame College and earning his bachelor’s degree in education. Mr. Hull said he pursued a career as a teacher because he enjoys working with young people and helping them discover their potential. Mr. Hull is also the Geneva boys’ varsity soccer coach.

James Berei joins Geneva as the geometry and probability and statistics teacher. He earned his bachelor of science in education and his master of science in education with a specialization in teaching middle grades mathematics from Ashland University. Mr. Berei has 14 years of experience teaching in Ashtabula Area City Schools and Lorain City Schools.

“I came to Geneva because I saw all of the wonderful things happening in the district and wanted to be a part of it,” said Mr. Berei. He said he greatly appreciates the students’ sense of community and school spirit. Mr. Berei is also the sophomore class adviser and hopes to get involved in coaching athletics.

Both the students and the staff at Geneva are pleased to welcome these fantastic new teachers into the GHS family, and we are excited to learn with them as we progress through the school year and discover more about their unique experiences, personalities, and teaching styles. Our growing faculty signifies yet another year of growth and progress at Geneva High School as we continue to strive for knowledge and success.