12/16/11 Charlotte Tyree and Jennifer Felke will be forming an integrated class of 21st Century Communication. The class will include writing, technology, presentations, public speaking skills, and the use of different forms of media.
Tyree has taught at Plymouth High School since 1995. Prior to 1995, she taught at Wawasee High School starting in 1984 and moved to the Plymouth Corporation in 1993 as the head of Adult Basic Education.
She currently teaches Acting and Speech and is a varsity coach with the PHS Speech and Debate extra-curricular competitive team.
Joint planning with other teachers is not new to Tyree. She and fellow teacher, Jane Faulstich, have been collaborating for many years. She said, “We each have our own skill set and we have worked together in Acting classes and for stage productions.”
Tyree will continue to teach in the more traditional classroom setting for classes in Acting, Theater Arts, and traditional speech part of the time.
She said, “The School of Inquiry is just an expansion of what we do now. It will open up more opportunities for students.”
She holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in Speech and Theater and a minor in English and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Indiana University.
Tyree has a unique perspective on how the high school experience translates to real-life situations and further educational experiences after graduation. Her daughter Nancy is a senior at Indiana University, son Jon is a sophomore at George Mason University, and step-daughter Katie is now a graduate student at Purdue University.
Felke joined the Plymouth Schools this year after teaching for two years at Oregon-Davis High School. While at Oregon-Davis, Felke was very involved in starting and implementing their New Tech program.
Felke teaches business and coaches the BPA (Business Professionals of America). She will serve as the Director of Professional Development for those who will be involved in the School of Inquiry. She will also continue to teach some “stand alone” classes in Business.
Before entering into education, Felke worked in various businesses in Plymouth,Elkhart, and Chicago. Her background in accounting, sales and marketing, as well as starting her own business, will be valuable in the New Tech setting where students will work on “real-life” projects. In 2000, she joined with a partner in starting Honey Beeders. Honey Beeders is known for their custom designed jewelry.
She is a graduate of DePauw University where she received a degree in Economics. She also completed degrees from Bethel College and Indiana State University.
She said, “I know what the struggles can be for both kids and teachers.” Felke is the mother of three including Patrick, senior PHS; Thomas, sophomore at PHS; and Nick, 7th grader at LJH.
The Global Perspectives portion of the School of Inquiry will combine the skills of Grant Masson and Lisa Mercer. Masson currently teaches history at PHS and Mercer, English.
Mercer said she officially applied to be a facilitator in the School of Inquiry over a month ago, but that she had been exploring and thinking of ways to incorporate what she has been teaching in the Plymouth Schools for the past 23 years. In addition to her experience in the PHS English Department, she taught French at LJH.
Mercer said, “The New Tech idea is about relating to all types of students and pulling them in.” She said her favorite classes are lab classes where she can work one-one with students to help find out what interests them.
Originally from southwest Michigan, Mercer attended St. Mary’s College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in French and then went on to obtain a master’s degree in Secondary Education. She is currently taking masters’ level courses from Performance Learning Systems. She said, “They teach hands-on, useable information.”
Mercer is the mother of one son Mack who is a junior at PHS.
Before completing the requirements for an education degree, he worked for ten years on a cotton farm in North Carolina. He said, “I worked all day and went back to school at night. I just wanted to be a teacher.” He and his wife came to Plymouth to be near her family.
Masson said he is grateful that he was able to student teach under Laura Kryer and then be offered a position to stay on at PHS.He said, “I’m so happy to be a part of a school that cares about kids and is always looking for new opportunities for them.”
Masson grew up in Edinburough, Scotland where he met his future wife when she was an exchange student there. He said, “When I came to the United States, the first thing I wanted to do was to learn everything about the history of the country.”
He became a United States citizen in 2003.
Masson said he believes the way that the School of Inquiry will prompt critical thinking is going to be important in the future. He said, “The way education is going, in five years there will be no multiple choice questions or true/false questions on tests.”
He received his bachelor’s degree from IUSB and Master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan.
He is the father of two sons. Scott is a freshman at PHS and Sean is in the 6th grade at Riverside.
Carol Anders Correspondent