Fresh faces in Eagle County’s classrooms |

Fresh faces in Eagle County’s classrooms

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Eagle County School District teachers will return to readying their classrooms today after a two-day training conference in Lionshead.

Some of those teachers are fresh faces at the Eagle County School District. About 50 of the district’s 480 teachers are new to the district this year. Although the district cut 50 positions for this school year, some of the remaining jobs opened up through natural attrition.

Middle and high schools start on Aug. 30, while elementary schools start Sept. 1.

Read on a for a few fun facts about the district’s new hires.

Name: Abbey Sonnenberg

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School: Eagle Valley Middle School

Subject: Seventh-grade reading

Hometown: Two Rivers, Wis.

College: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, working on a master’s degree in reading education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Years teaching: Going into second year.

Tell us something unique about your classroom: Lots of books!

Secret to grading papers: Showing where the student was successful and where they can improve using Post-it notes.

Teaching style: Student-centered and high energy!

After school hobbies: Hiking, camping and skiing.

Tell us about a special lesson you put together: Reading workshop and creating portfolios.

Classroom rule: Have fun.

Name: Jessica Stiles

School: Avon Elementary.

Grade: Permanent substitute for first grade.

Hometown: Eagle.

College: University of Northern Colorado in Greeley

Tell us something unique about your classroom: It is bilingual.

Secret to grading papers: I like to put a positive feedback comment and a sticker.

After school hobbies: I like to take a short hike with my dog, Maggie.

Trick to get kids to pay attention: I use hand signals that the children also have to do to show they are paying attention.

Unique lesson plan: I had students create a map of their ideal classroom.

Classroom rule: Ask three before me, meaning ask three students before the teacher.

Name: Matt Ferger

School: Battle Mountain High School.

Subject: Special education.

Extracurriculars: Boys’ and girls’ soccer.

Hometown: Wauwatosa, Wis.

Previous experience: Taught special education at Tosa East High School in Tosa, Wisconsin for 2 1/2 years.

College: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Tell us something unique about your classroom: It is very outgoing.

Secret to grading papers: Stating comments that are focused on the good things they have done.

After school hobbies: Bike, hike and ski.

Name: Allison O’Neill

School: Battle Mountain High School.

Subject: Special education.

Extracurriculars: Boys’ and girls’ soccer, student council.

Previous experience: Worked in the district as a paraprofessional for one year.

Hometown: Vail.

College: Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

After school hobbies: Play soccer, hike, run, cook.

Secret to grading papers: Writing comments on their papers directly relating to their work.

Trick to get kids to pay attention: Having a bell, whistle, music. Turning the lights on and off.

Special lesson plan: When studying William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” having students create a skit to go along with Taylor Swift’s song.

Classroom rule: “I can’t” is not in our vocabulary.

Born and raised in the valley: “I received a great education from the Eagle County School District. I want to work with people like the teachers who taught and cared so much about me. The school community embodies the lifestyle I want to live.”

Name: Brent McConaghy

School: Eagle Valley High School.

Subject: Permanent substitute.

Extracurricular: Head boys’ basketball coach.

Hometown: Seal Beach, Calif.

College: University of Colorado at Boulder.

Previous experience: Taught freshman government and senior economics for a year at Arvada High School.

After school hobbies: Weight lifting, coaching basketball, sleeping.

Secret to grading papers: Different pens means more for students’ performance. Compliments on every third correct answer.

Teaching style: Question and answer with interactive lessons meant to emphasize real world materials.

Special lesson: Creating political candidates in an American government class and engaging in a political campaign they run for a two-week simulation.

Classroom rule: If a homework assignment is missed and receives a 0 on the work, they must complete the work anyway.

New this year in your classroom: Creating new simulations relating to American history.

School: Red Hill Elementary.

Grade: Student teacher for fourth grade.

Hometown: Denver.

College: Currently a senior at the University of Northern Colorado.

After school hobbies: Walking my dog.

Secret to grading papers: Positive feedback and stickers or stamps.

Teaching style: “I’m still working on mine!”

Trick to get kids to pay attention: Using a musical instrument.

Classroom rule: No interrupting.

What do you want to do when you graduate college: Teach!

What brought you to the Eagle County School District? “I love the mountain lifestyle.”

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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