Dean Compton has taught for 5 years, all of them at Brown Intermediate Center, focusing on eighth grade math. Mr. Compton came to John Adams when the school closed due to Focus 2018. He began to entertain the idea of becoming a teacher in early high school, and the feeling gradually grew throughout his high school career. “I entered college as a teaching major, and never looked back,” Compton said when asked about his career choice. He enjoys helping students make connections with mathematics and see how math can connect to everyday situations. A fun fact about Mr. Compton is that he likes to play a large variety of board games such as Settlers of Catan and 7 Wonders. He also has two children; Addie and Cole, with his wife Michelle.
Grace Ishikawa is starting her teaching career here at Adams as a band teacher. She is a Capital University graduate, and was searching and applying for jobs in both Indiana and Ohio. Her sister was finishing her residency for family medicine in South Bend, and saw the opening at Adams. Before coming to Adams, she worked as a music technician and assistant for the Ben Davis High School marching band. She wanted to study music in college, but did not know what specifically to focus on. Ishikawa said that, “In the first year of college, after thinking about past experiences of teaching music, I discovered it was my vocation”.
Some of her favorite aspects of teaching is getting to know the students and being able to use that positive student-teacher relationship to develop the most effective teaching strategies to help them learn. One thing that most do not know about Grace is that she has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and enjoys playing the piano and saxophone.
Brianna Stines, the newest edition to the foreign language program, has been teaching for four years now. “I started my teaching career in a high school, but last year, I taught at a middle school. I missed teaching high school and was eager to join some awesome teachers whom I had known previously,” Miss Stines said. Before teaching, she worked in cosmetics and even for a few prestigious companies, including Chanel. She did not always want to be a teacher. She thought about becoming a teacher in high school, but quickly dismissed it. She changed her major in college a few times before coming back to the idea of teaching. Now she cannot imagine doing anything else. I asked Stines what her favorite aspects of teaching were. She responded
“Everyday, every period I have a chance to change a life, one mind at a time. Cliche, I know, but you never know how the things you say and do will affect someone. I also love that students, from every walk of life, have taught me so much over the past few years”.
In high school, Miss Stines played rugby, but unfortunately ended that in double knee surgery for ACL reconstruction. She was the president of her sorority in college, and loves candy and Dairy Queen blizzards. Although Stines has little free time, she loves to workout and stay at home with her dogs and fiancé.
Kimberly Lander is teaching for her sixth year in the South Bend Community School Corporation. Before teaching here, she taught three years at Notre Dame, one year in Fort Worth, Texas, and 5 years in New York City. Lander also taught English as a second language for a year in Athens, Greece. She has had various interesting jobs. Throughout high school and after she graduated, she worked on large sailboats as a deckhand cook, and sailed up and down both coasts of the US, Canada, and Mexico. During grad-school, she worked as a production editor at Teachers College Press, in New York City. The year Mrs. Lander went to Greece and started teaching kids English she knew she was meant to be a teacher. When she came back, Landers went to graduate school for teaching. In her free time Mrs. Lander likes to garden, cook, and read. Mrs. Landers also went to high school with Steve Carell.
Jacob Timmons is a proud Adams Alumnus who “felt the want and desire to give back to the educational community which set him towards his path to success”. Mr. Timmons graduated from Lewis University. Ever since he was young, he wanted to be a teacher. Inspired by one of his own teachers, he wanted to help and encourage others the way his teacher encouraged and aided him. “My favorite aspect of teaching is the moment a student’s mind sort of ‘clicks’ with understanding for a concept or situation, as well as just getting the opportunity to interact and get to know the students a little better,” Mr. Timmons said. He enjoys both coaching and running, as well as preparing for the next day´s classes.
Dawn Huff is a teacher and the head girls’ basketball coach. She is also an Adams Alumna, and is very excited to be back at John Adams. She attended Earlham College, IUSB for her undergrad, and Michigan University for her masters. While in college, Huff played both volleyball and basketball. This is her eleventh year as a teacher, and has previously taught physical education and health, along with Language Arts. Mrs. Huff also has a social work background. “I knew I wanted to teach after I started coaching. I loved working with young adults and watching them progress, meet goals, and learn,” Huff said when I asked her what inspired her to start teaching. Her favorite aspects of teaching are the students, and being able to watch them improve and excel in the classroom and in their everyday lives. She enjoys being able to spend time with her two boys and husband in her freetime.
Debra Neumann first came to Adams in 2013, when her son was a freshman, and started helping with the Science Olympiad team. She has been working with schools since 1998. After college, she worked at Fernwood Botanical Garden, and later at The History Museum in South Bend. In both of these jobs, Neumann taught programs to school groups that came on field trips and ran summer camp programs. For the last year and a half she has been a substitute at Adams. “I love all of the extra curricular opportunities available to students at Adams. There is something for everyone. When I was in high school, I was very involved, from Science Olympiad, to competitive cheerleading, drama, and student government. I think that being involved makes your high school experience even better,” Neumann said about her favorite aspects of John Adams. She went to Michigan State University, and majored in Botany and Plant Pathology. Mrs. Neumann has never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and no, she does not have an allergy. She enjoys reading mysteries and biographies, creating art, and taking ceramics classes. Her goal for this year is to attend at least one game for every sports team.