Meet the Teachers: Friendly New Faces

This year at the high school, students will be seeing a few new faces, as well as some unexpectedly familiar ones around the hallways as the year begins.

While some of teachers are brand new, such as business teacher Mrs. Vondrak, other have been in the district for a while, such as Mr. Bachofsky, and Ms. Powers.

“The students in here really are taking care of each other…regulating the classroom…keeping each other on task,” said Bachofsky of the different feel he has gotten since coming to the high school. “Their level of professionalism and the level of musicianship that’s happening up here is super exciting,” he continued.

Mr. Bachofsky is the new choir teacher here at the high school. He previously worked in the music department at Gurney, as well as directing musicals for Chagrin in the past. He is also teaching middle school choir, co-teaching AP music theory, and overseeing drama club and the theater program in general.

Overall, Mr. Bachofsky’s role will quickly become one of the most prevalent in the building, if it hasn’t already. With so many different duties, he interacts with many of our students at some point during the day.

“One of my advantages is that …the 7th and 8th graders in the middle school that I have, I had them at gurney,so it’s kinda cool to see who they’ve become and who they’re becoming,” said Bachofsky, emphasizing his familiarity with Chagrin. “I know a good chunk of the high schoolers already just because of my involvement in the high school musicals,” he continued, but he also highlighted his attempts to expand his connections even further.

While he does know a lot of the students he has from previous classes or groups, he is still working hard to develop other relationships, possibly even with students that are not taking any of his classes.

“I’m just trying to chat with people when they come in, I had them do a little interest survey, just to try to get to know them a little bit better,” he said, emphasizing how welcoming and open he is to meeting new students.

While Mr. Bachofsky works to get used to the high school environment, Ms. Powers works to get used to more classes.

Ms. Powers was a part of the high school staff last school year, but she has an increased role this year, taking on new classes AP US History and AP Economics.

“I know that I have some pretty big shoes to fill,” said Powers, referencing previous APUSH teacher Mr. Brownlow, who retired after last school year. “He definitely was an inspiration to me. Maybe I’ll try to get a yardstick…in memory. Overall, I’m just really excited and grateful to be here.”

Ms. Powers already is familiar with many of the students she has in class, as well as many of the subjects she is teaching, but she is particularly excited about one thing in particular this school.

By taking over an AP Econ course that saw seven students complete it last year, she is looking forward to bringing some more attention to the class.

“This year we have 24 [students], so I really want to try to expand that program and get more students interested…particularly more females,” Powers emphasized. “There’s only 3 [girls] out of the whole group so I definitely want to promote that program to more students next year.”

As Ms. Powers settles into her new role here, she is truly looking forward to her expanded responsibilities and expanding opportunities for her students.

While Ms. Powers and Mr. Bachofsky are already pretty familiar with the Chagrin school district, Mrs. Vondrak is completely new to our area.

“[I’m excited to] continue all the good things the business program had done in the past but also to expand on it and to offer and explore some new opportunities,” Mrs. Vondrak established.

While she is still getting used to things like our more normal schedule in comparison to a block schedule, she feels extremely honored to be in Chagrin.

Her recognition of the great things that have come out of the business program when it was overseen by Mr. Schach has her particularly excited, as she looks to build on that with some new ideas of her own.

“Some of the business field trips that we’ll get involved with…I’m looking forward to,” said Vondrak.

Elaborating, she talked about a new field trip she will be taking students on this year, describing the Young Women’s Day at John Carroll University, which will help young women explore business-based opportunities and jobs.

“I don’t think students from this school have gone to it before, and I haven’t gone to it before,” detailed Vondrak, “and I’m really interested in getting female students more involved in the business world…It’s still and area that’s primarily male.”

Overall, many of the teachers who are experiencing some changes at the high school this year share a general attitude of excitement and gratitude. Whether it be excitement to expand student opportunities, excitement to get to know students better, or gratitude to just be doing what they enjoy, Chagrin’s new and more familiar teachers cannot wait for the year to come.

“My goal is to help my students reach their goals,” said Vondrak, echoing the approach of all the new faces one might see in the halls this year.