New OHS staff strengthen community


Photo by Victoria Kirova

Julia Spurgeon, assistant principal, plays an important role as part of the OHS Administration.

Victoria Kirova, Copy Chief

Teachers are essential leaders that shape and inspire today’s youth. They push students to persevere through challenges and work hard towards their greatest ambitions. Due to the colossal impact that teachers have on the lives of their students, they need to have the proper mindsets to educate future generations. 

Thankfully, at OHS, some recent additions to the teaching staff have significantly impacted the school environment for the better. These individuals appreciate what OHS has to offer, and have brought along with them a new, inspiring energy that greatly influences the students and staff. 

Bradley Meese, history teacher:

“First impressions, I love O’Connor’s spirit. I like the unity and the culture that I feel here at O’Connor. The focus on extracurricular development is so important, and I think sometimes schools can become a little hyper focused on academics, obviously that’s primarily why we’re here, but recognizing that there is real development that occurs outside the classroom is just as important as what goes on inside,” said Bradley Meese, history teacher.

New teachers have also implemented lessons that they have accumulated through their life experiences into their classroom. 

“I love a good teasing. I let my students tease me and sometimes I’ll tease them, but I’m always very honest about ‘let me know if I ever say something that’s hurtful.’ I always tell my students that you never know when someone’s had a particularly rough day, and it’s important that my students have a place where they feel safe and loved. I just generally want my class to be a place where they genuinely want to be,” Meese said.      

Julia Spurgeon, assistant principal:

New members of OHS’s administration also strive to positively impact the students and staff on campus by getting a feel for the ways of the school. 

“One of the first things I do, in the first year, is I look, listen, and learn. It’s something my mom always taught me to do so that I’m not just jumping in and pretending I know the environment. I feel like I’m just blessed with being able to promote academics, or strengthen teachers through professional development, or work with kids and help students grow,” said Julia Spurgeon, assistant principal. 

Overall, the environment of OHS is contagious and creates an overall sense of pride as new staff members step onto campus. 

“When I walk into the school and I hear the band playing, it’s incredible. And when I see performances or just see students doing nice things. The impact that I can have on the age group is tremendous, which is why I love high school kids,” Spurgeon said. 

Laura Bitler, English teacher:

Even for individuals that have been exposed to the world of teaching for years, there are still challenges that can arise.

“Being a new teacher is totally different. I thought that I kind of knew what I was doing and then when I came here learning Canvas was totally different, and the little things that make this school work. So it’s been kinda overwhelming here and there,” said Laura Bitler, English teacher. 

Thankfully, other pre-existing staff members are recognizing these potential struggles, and are offering their assistance to ease any confusion.

“I can’t believe how helpful people are. I’ve never had to start over before because I was with the same district for so long, so starting over kind of makes me feel like a new teacher again, even though I’ve been teaching for quite a while. But any time I have a question there are several people that will drop anything to answer them for me,” Bitler said.