Welcome to the green and gold

Poleena Kovalaske, Reporter

U-High is now home to five new faculty members including a new superintendent, three teachers and a new librarian.

With a degree in accounting and history education, former intern Megan Fleri-Somers never expected to find herself taking over as the school librarian.

“Students [at U-High] are super unique.They are super involved and want to be here, which is just like contagious to be around,” Fleri-Somers said.

Spending time as a school librarian is a “cool experience” according to Fleri-Somers, but it isn’t where she wants to end up. Hoping her librarian position will lead her back to the classroom, Fleri-Somers is already teaching a Consumer Economics class this spring semester.

Prior to joining the laboratory schools, orchestra teacher Grant Souder worked internationally at places like Indonesia, Germany, China, and Morocco. He brings 13 years of experience to the classroom.

“It wasn’t ‘til I moved overseas that I got to see what education was really about,” Souder said. “That really sparked the part of me that loved rock and roll by making me see that we can really be creative while helping kids grow and understand the world better.” A master of the bass himself, this well-rounded musician is always open to new opportunities.

Growing up, David Harnish and Katherine Smith knew that teaching was their calling. Harnish decided to study social sciences based and Smith studied mathematics.

“[I want my students to] be able to have critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze different perspectives and see where other people are coming from,” freshman world history teacher Harnish said.

Smith was already familiar with the lab schools, having completed her TCH clinical experiences here as an undergraduate student. Within her time spent here, Smith has observed that teachers here are always trying to improve their quality of work through collaborations with fellow colleagues and student input.

“The relationship between colleagues is pretty different because I feel like we are all the best in our field and so we respect each other’s opinion,” Smith said. “It’s ok if they [opinions] differ but the point is we can discuss a concept and talk about it and learn from each other.”

Dr. Dana Kinley arrived to fill a newly created role, one that merges the superintendency of the laboratory schools with the assistant dean position of the College of Education.

Knley said her position functions much like a business manager of a school district managing budgeting, finance applications and policies.

She brings to this role experience from many different areas of education, including being a coordinator for early childhood programs, teacher of multiple grades and subjects, and division administrator, to name a few.

Kinley said she wants to branch out and start teaching pre-service teachers and administrators.

“I really want to move into higher ed and share what I’ve learned as a practicing teacher and administrator with those who are now coming into the programs,” Kinley said.

Kinley said she respects the work being done at the laboratory schools.

“My goal would not be to come in and changes things but instead to respect and honor the work that [the teachers and administrators are] doing and look at how we can continue to build upon that work,” Kinley said.