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New Staff Spotlight: Ms.Mishell

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As the senior class of 2018 approached their last first day, the talk around the grade was how the well-known and long-time teacher of seniors, Dr. Stacey Smith, was no longer teaching at VHS, having been transferred to the middle school.

Checking Genesis on the daily, the students quickly found out the name of their soon to be teacher, Ms. Caitlin Mishell.

Ms. Mishell attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey . She graduating with a master’s in education, a bachelor’s in English, a double minor in Spanish and cultural anthropology, and a creative writing certificate.

She never imagined pursuing a teaching career before going off to college. She had first gone to Rutgers believing she would be a storyteller and writer because of her strong love for speaking to people. It wasn’t until her third year of college that she had come to realize her love for teaching.

“I could’ve graduated after three years of college, but I needed a plan, not just a certificate,” Ms. Mishell explained.  She decided to continue schooling and go more into the teaching career.

“In a discussion when my counselor asked me what I wanted to do in life, I said teacher within five seconds. I was shocked because it had never really crossed my mind before until then.” Ms. Mishell loves the feeling of knowing she helped someone achieve something that was a goal of theirs, even if it’s just an A on an assignment.

Prior to her college experience Ms.Mishell had extensive experience as a tap dancer.  She was very competitive but many local competitive groups turned her down. She was driven by this rejection to go onto a show we all know, America’s Got Talent.

“The competitive groups just wouldn’t listen,” she says, so she took a train to Chicago. Although she did not get past the first round in front of the judges, she did get through producer round which she considers a huge accomplishment!

“Sharon really loved me,” she recalled of the show’s producer.  “She was the most impressed. They were all shocked that I nailed the ending in my tap shoes, which isn’t very common. Unfortunately, they said I would stand out more if I were to compete with a group.”

Sadly, her tap dancing career ended in high school after an injury that placed her in the position that she would never be able to tap dance competitively again, which led her to where she is today.

Ms.Mishell decided to teach at VHS so that she could stay local to her friends and family, and because of the unique position she was offered teaching part-time for the 12th grade.  Teaching seniors is “a lot like teaching kids at the college level” Ms. Mishell believes due to the stress we are all going through in the college application process. She feels fulfillment through helping us feel better and get us to our college goals.

She was hired relatively close to the beginning of the school year leaving her under a lot of pressure to catch up with everything, but she says it’s working out:

“The staff and the students have really helped me and supported me these first two months. I could not be more thankful and cannot wait for what’s to come!”

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