Northwest’s new faces

Who are the new staff members, and what’s their story? Check back each weekday for three new profiles of the rookie Husky leaders.

Lauren SimpsonWho: Lauren Simpson (BVNW alumnus)

What: Accounting, Web Design and Computer Applications

Hobbies & Interests: Computers, camping, sports, friends and family

What made you come back to BVNW?

“Because I [attended BVNW] it made me want to be a teacher, especially a high school teacher, so being able to come back to this school where I learned a lot about myself and grew as a person was an experience that I had to take a hold of and not pass up.”

What made you choose the business and computer science department?

“I originally wanted to be a math teacher and when I got to K-State, I realized that it was a lot of math classes and I didn’t know if I was that passionate about math. Then my mom’s friend suggested business and computer education where I could get math, finance, accounting and computers.”

What do you plan to bring to BVNW this year?

“Since I went to school here, I know a lot about the community. I lived and grew up here. I’ve been here all my life so I know the types of families in the community. I have a lot of experience with this area and knowing the types of kids that go here and sharing memories that I’ve had in these hallways.”


HarschWho: Zach Harsch (BVNW alumnus)

What: English Language Arts 3

Hobbies & Interests: Going to concerts, traveling, fishing and visiting family

How are you expecting BVNW to be different as a teacher versus a student?

“I’m really excited to be a part of the traditions at [BVNW]. The school really has special traditions around Spirit Week, athletics and performing arts.”

What are you looking forward to about teaching at Northwest?

“I really look forward to the hard work here. I know the English department is really world-class. They’ve developed this culture of really working hard and doing a great job.”

What would you like students to know about you before having you as a teacher?

“I’m going to push my students really hard, but I’m kind of the teacher that grades based on growth and hard work.”


Alysse TrustyWho: Alysse Trusty

What: Orchestra, Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra

Hobbies & Interests: Playing the violin and piano, hanging out with friends and family, reading and the outdoors

What are your thoughts about BVNW?

“I am very honored to be in this school district. I came from the Blue Springs School District, and as a high school student, I was always kind of jealous of Blue Valley’s facilities, administration and great teachers. I am very lucky and thankful that I get to be a part of that next year.”

Why did you become a music teacher?

“Both of my parents are teachers. My mom is an English teacher and my dad is a history teacher. I wanted to become an orchestra teacher because my orchestra teacher in middle school and high school had a huge impact on me and I realized that I couldn’t be in a better profession. I wanted to continue my passion for music, but also influence other people.”

What do you plan to teach your students this year?

“My students will learn a lot about teamwork and trust. We will have fun as we learn and learn as we have fun. We will play many different types of music. I think the best part will be that my students will be able to trust me. Orchestra won’t just be a class, but it will also be a family.”


EdisonWho: Melodie Edison

What: Registrar

Hobbies and Interests: Swimming, reading, spending time with family and friends

Why did you want to come to BVNW?

“I have heard wonderful things about this school. I have seen the information about how well this school does as far as its records and grades.”

What is something you think people should know about you?

“I am always cold. When somebody comes to shake my hand, it’s freezing.”

What are your thoughts on how you think the school year will be?

“I think its going to be a wonderful year. I will be learning so much. I think the energy at this school is great.”


WesselWho: Adam Wessel

What: Administrative Intern (will be working with mostly sophomores)

Hobbies & Interests: Golf, remodeling, relaxing with friends and family

Why did you decide to come to BVNW?

“Well it’s a great school, has a really good reputation, great staff, great students, and I thought this would be a great learning opportunity for me.”

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

“I got into teaching because I had some really exceptional teachers when I was growing up. I had three or four that I really thought were some of the coolest people I’d ever met and they had a really profound impact on me growing up.”

Why did you decide to work in administration?

“I got into administration because I feel like I can have a little wider influence on more students than if I was just teaching. I also feel like it’s a great way to work closely with the staff and students of a school to help them reach a common goal.”


BuchananWho: Breanne Buchanan

What: French 1, 2, 3 and Honors 4

Hobbies/Interests: Family, friends, camping, traveling

Why did you want to become a teacher?

“I’ve always enjoyed working with students. I feed off the energy that they give me and it’s always a new challenge day after day.”

Why did you decide to work at BVNW?

“I grew up here in Johnson County and I always knew that Blue Valley was a good school district, we always heard good things and in doing a bit of research I learned that Blue Valley is one of the highest achieved districts in the country. So I thought it would be a great place to look, and luckily they had a French position open.”

Is there anything you think your students should know about you?

“I think they should know that I want to make things as fun as they want them to be. I am not the kind of teacher that can stand in front of a class and just talk. You come into my class and we’re all in it together.”


WittyWho: Amanda Witty

What: English Language Arts 11 and AP English Language

Hobbies and Interests: Reading, going on walks, college football

Why did you want to become a teacher?

“I love to read and I like bringing new experiences to students and exposing them to literature.”

Why did you come to BVNW?

“I originally came to work with gifted students. Now I am coming back to teach English. Actually, the real reason I came back was to work with Dr. Murphy. This gives me the chance to work with her again.”

What is something your students should know about you?

“I am teaching part time this year because I had a baby four months ago. That will affect how I am as a teacher. Also, I will try to walk to school as many days as possible this year.”


PollackWho: Brian Pollack

What: Design Fundamentals, Jewelry/Metalsmithing and Digital Imaging

Hobbies and Interests: Cooking, spending time with family

Why did you want to come to NW?

“I am a graduate of this school and Mrs. Sutton was one of my teachers. I also knew how strong the art department is.”

What are you looking forward to about the year?

“I am looking forward to getting integrated into the school with art, sports and other events.”

What are you like in the classroom?

“I am energized, but also calm and cool. I am very passionate about the art I teach.”

What is something your students should know about you?

“I think that they should know I am really easy to talk to. If they have any concerns, I would be happy to talk to them.”


Brian BubaloWho: Brian Bubalo

What: Geometry, Algebra and head girls varsity basketball coach

Hobbies & Interests: Reading, traveling and playing golf

Why did you want to come to BVNW?

“I have heard nothing but great things about the BVNW community. I have heard they are motivated, work together, enthusiastic and positive about coming to school. That is what I am looking for and that is why I want to be here.”

Why do you like coaching basketball and what do you hope to teach your athletes?

“I like the game, the competition and the opportunity to work with student athletes outside the classroom. I will teach my athletes to play hard, play smart and play together. They will have to give 100 percent, learn teamwork and improve their skill.”

Why do you enjoy teaching math?

“Math has always interested me. It is organized and logical, kind of the way I am. You have to pay attention to the details. I like the way it all fits together.”

What are your thoughts about being a Husky?

“I am excited to be at BVNW. There is nothing about this job that I dislike. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and am looking forward to it.”


PothovenWho: Michelle Pothoven

What: Physical Education/Health and freshman girls basketball coach

Hobbies & Interests: Running, coaching, biking and soccer

What are your initial thoughts about BVNW?

“I am very excited to a part of a school that has a lot of school spirit and very talented athletics. I am also looking forward to being a part of a great teaching team.”

Why did you want to become a teacher?

“I have always wanted to become a teacher because I love being around people. I love motivating people and helping them learn that fitness can be fun. It doesn’t have to boring.”

What is your teaching style?

“I plan on being fun – but firm. P.E. should be a very fun class, but there are rules that have to be followed. What we’re doing can be really fun, but if it’s done incorrectly, it can be dangerous.”

How important are health and fitness for students?

“I think health and fitness are very important for students because they are things students will continue to use throughout their lifetime. No matter what profession you go into, you will always be using health and fitness in some part of your life. You are only given one body. How you take care of it now determines how you will live later.”


AskewWho: Chad Askew

What: Gifted Specialist

Hobbies and Interests: Painting, running, teaching, and spending time with his family

Why did you decide to come to BVNW?

“I had been teaching out in Lawrence and heard about this position. It seemed like a good fit for me. BVNW also was highly recommended by my friends in the Blue Valley District.”

What should students expect from you?

“I’m a pretty relaxed guy, and that’s how I like to teach too. I believe in a more one-on-one approach, because no two students are going to be able to learn in the same way.”

Why did you choose to teach gifted?

“I chose to teach gifted because of the effects my teachers had on me, my views on the world and it really fit my personality.”


HodgesWho: Robin Hodges

What: Special Education, Interrelated Resource Teacher

Hobbies/Interests: Family, reading, being active

Why did you want to come to BVNW?

“I have kids who live in the district and they actually go to Blue Valley West high school and I know several people here. The reputation of NW is wonderful and it’s much closer to home.”

Why did you want to teach Special Education?

“I subbed in an interrelated resource room and loved it, so I went back and got my Special Education certification and I’ve been doing that for the past three years.”

Is there anything you think your students should know about you?

“I am, I feel like, very approachable and my job is trying to get the kids to advocate and get themselves where they need to be and I’m their kind of support system and that’s why I really love Special Education, too.”