Welcoming New Faculty for the 2020-21 School Year

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ENTERING FACULTY 2020-21

RAY BARTON - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL MATHRay Barton2

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I went into teaching because of my father.  He taught mathematics at Olympus HS for 27 years before I took his spot. From an early age I remember his former students getting together to come visit him at Christmas. I loved to see the deep regard he and his students had for each other.  He could tell me what his students were doing professionally many years after they graduated.  Many received Ph.D’s in mathematics. All credited him with igniting their passion for math. John Warnock, founder of Adobe systems gave him a great tribute in a commencement speech for the University of Utah this year. I wanted to try to make a difference in students’ lives the way my father did.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
Biking, running, mountains, astronomy.

What is your favorite dessert?
Pumpkin pie. I have progressed from being a consumer to becoming a producer.  I grow pumpkins and each Thanksgiving I make homemade pies with my grandchildren.

Favorite childhood memory?  
Visiting Johnson Space Center and getting the VIP tour of the original Apollo flight control center.  Okay, I wasn’t a child but the tour took me back to my childhood.

 

 

JILLIANE COOK - LOWER SCHOOL ARTJill Cook

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
The only thing I love more than making art is teaching!  I chose teaching because  I am passionate about helping spark a love for art, encouraging curiosity and helping young artists gain confidence in their skills. I l cannot imagine a more rewarding profession.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
I like mountain biking,  yoga, origami and traveling anywhere with a good art museum.  I also like learning new skills and solving creative problems.

Best book you read this summer?
It’s a tie between: 
The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

How have you been making the most of quarantine?  
I spent a couple of weeks sewing in pursuit of designing to perfect face mask.  I’m not quite there yet.  I also enjoyed creating online lesson plans for my previous teaching position.

 

 

BENJAMIN GOLDSTEIN - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL MATHBenjamin Goldstein

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?
I started to think about teaching during my senior year in high school. I was helping a lot of my friends with their math homework, and I found that I enjoyed that kind of interaction and sharing of what I knew. When I got to college the next year, I decided to enroll in the teaching certification program. I've been a teacher or tutor ever since finishing that program.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​

I practice aikido, a Japanese martial art. With Covid, that's on hold at the moment, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back to it. I like to hike, but I am learning that I am a long way from being "outdoorsy" by Utah standards. I also like to play board games, and I've been getting into that hobby more lately.

Where is your hometown?
I'm from outside Chicago: a small suburb called Glencoe.

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at Waterford School?  
After two years of tutoring, I'm just looking forward to being back in the classroom again.

 

 

REBECCA KATZ - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL LATINRebecca Katz

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I've always enjoyed learning new things and sharing them with others. Classics in particular has been a passion of mine ever since I was kid, when I used to read about the Greek myths and dress up as a Roman for Halloween. Studying Latin is deeply fulfilling on a personal level, but being able to teach it is what I find truly rewarding.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
Outside of the classroom I enjoy traveling, photography, and working on the computer that I built.

Where is your hometown?
I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.

What is your favorite childhood memory?  
My favorite childhood memory is spending time with my grandparents.  

 

 

HEIDI SOMSEN - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL ARTHeidi Somsen

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I always loved doing creative projects with my three children and their friends, but they weren’t always as interested as I was, so I started teaching in different capacities: The Visual Art Institute, Eastmont Middle, and the U.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?
I enjoy mountain biking, road biking, hiking, making healthy food, art, and music.

Do you have a pet? 
Yes, a 10 year old pug named Lola, and we just adopted a new puppy – a husky mix who still needs a name!

How have you been making the most of quarantine?  
I have been throwing pots on the potter’s wheel, spending a lot of time outdoors, reading, and now puppy training!

 

 

KARLA STUCKER - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL SCIENCEKarla Stucker

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
Teaching has always been my passion.  In fact, my first teaching "job" was in third grade, when I asked my school principal if I could be a substitute teacher. She humored me and had me fill out a substitute teaching application and do an interview with her. She then arranged for me to teach a second-grade reading class. I've more or less been teaching ever since! Even during vet school, my graduate research program, and my post-doc, I always found ways to teach, whether it was for undergrads, vet students, high school interns, or colleagues. I made the switch to being a full-time high school science teacher five years ago and love it! 

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
I love being outdoors and spending time with my dog. I also love to travel, to see the natural beauty of our world, to learn about other cultures, and to meet new people and learn about their lives. Although I haven't had time to travel internationally in recent years, I have been to 5 of the continents in the seven-continent model.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?
Probably the biggest draw for me is the fact that some of my family members live in UT. I'm also excited to explore the surrounding national parks and natural areas and to finally have four full seasons again, complete with enough snow for Nordic skiing!

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at Waterford School?  
Moving to a K-12 school and getting to teach in both the middle and upper schools will allow me to get to know students earlier in their grade-school careers and then follow their journey through graduation, hopefully allowing for stronger relationships to be built that can enhance their learning along the way. I'm also excited to learn from and teach using the impressive vertebrate collection in Waterford's Science Department! I was impressed by the members of the Science Department when we met virtually in March, and I look forward to working with all of them. I am eager to meet the rest of the Waterford community soon, and hopefully in person!