Meet GSHS’s New Teachers!

Sunny McClain

Sunny McClain

Brimstone Writing Team

Ms. McClain

Willa Corcoran, Brimstone Reporter

After 19 years of teaching Art at Basalt High School, Ms. McClain finally achieves her dream of returning to Glenwood Springs as a Glenwood Demon. 

Sunny McClain, now the official art teacher at GSHS was born in Louisiana and moved with her family to Glenwood Springs when she was in 4th grade. “I was lucky enough to be raised here,” Ms. McClain wrote in an email to the Brimstone. It has been her dream for a long time to return to Glenwood as a Demon and now she is able to complete that dream. Ms. McClain decided to become a teacher because of the way her high school teacher inspired her. “I hoped that I could make an impression on just one student and I’d be winning,” she said. 

Ms. McClian’s hobbies include creating art, paddleboarding in the summer, and snowboarding in the winter. Her favorite part of living in Colorado is the climate. “I love that we have four seasons,” McClain writes. “Fall is my FAVORITE!!” McClain has a daughter, Parker, who also attends GSHS and is in her sophomore year. 

 

Ms. Brooks

Skarlett Medrano Franco, Brimstone Reporter

Charlotte Brooks is one of our new teachers here at GSHS. She is an ELD teacher, who transferred from Glenwood Springs Middle School and has now decided to work at GSHS.  

She graduated here, went away and moved back to town about 8 years ago. The change of coming into a high school is interesting to her because she’s now working with mature young adults. She has taught in a private school in Boulder and in Quito, Ecuador. 

Ms. Brooks likes Literature and English because those were her favorite subjects in high school and she wants to install that love of reading and writing into students. 

Her favorite part of living here in Colorado is the outdoors. A fun fact about her is that her spirit animal would be an eagle since she says, “It kinda represents nature, the outdoors and I’d love to be able to fly.” 

What she wants her students to take away from their experience in her class is, “Even though I know they are kids who don’t love to read, I’d hope I can inspire them to get a chance to read. For them to try to be open minded about reading and writing. To also understand the importance of that even if it’s not their favorite subject and becoming a lifelong learner wanting to learn all the time.” Ms. Brooks said in an interview. 

 

Mr. Desiderio

Evamarie Dietrich, Brimstone Reporter

Joining us at GSHS this year is Mr. Tom Desiderio. He is an adventurous and creative teacher here at GSHS. He teaches coding, computer maintenance, build and design and he also likes learning/teaching about biology, and environmental sciences

 Mr. Desiderio has lived in Colorado for four years and he was born in Ridgewood, new jersey. He enjoys outdoor stuff such as snowboarding, rafting, hiking, etc. If he had to choose another job other than teaching he would like to become a veterinarian and work with exotic animals and little animals. His favorite restaurant is the Nepalese restaurant and his last meal choice would be meatballs and pasta.

In his 12th year of teaching, Mr. Desiderio would like his students to know that learning can be fun and eventful. 

 

Mrs. Ogonek

Charlie Hippensteel, Brimstone Reporter

Ms. Ogonek, taken by Charlie Hippensteel

Mrs. Ogonek, one of our new teachers this year at GSHS, lived in Cleveland and Chicago before realizing that city life wasn’t for her and settling down here in Glenwood Springs.

Even working in Chicago, she has always been a math teacher. When her students are long gone, she wants them to be capable and unafraid of math. In High School especially, the equations can seem rather useless, and she loves when students ask ‘When am I ever gonna use this?’

“Math is a logical progression of reasoning and weightlifting for your brain,” Ogonek said in an interview. “Just like you go to the gym, just like you eat right, just like you read to expand your vocabulary. Math helps with your logical skills. You don’t have to like math, but you can’t be afraid of it.”

As a favorite local restaurant, Ogonek favors Co Ranch House, despite its tendency to drain one’s wallet.

 

Mrs. Carpenter

Noel Morales Santos, Brimstone Reporter

Kimberly Rose Carpenter, one of our new art  teachers this year at GSHS. When she was a college student, Kimberly Rose Carpenter was hooked on the idea of using her passions to impact young people. Carpenter, born on February 17th, 1989, from Kansas City, moved to Colorado two years ago to pursue her dream of teaching art.

Mrs. Carpenter started off as a counselor at an athletics camp in Southern Missouri called Kanakuk. Mrs.Carpenter had the idea of becoming a teacher for a long time. She knew that art was something she wanted to pursue, but there was a weird stigma for those who can’t teach art. She got to invest a lot of time into high school age students when she was a  camp counselor for all the summers that she was in college. She spent a lot of time mentoring and coaching high school students which got her in the right direction of becoming a teacher. 

Mrs.Carpenter’s favorite part about teaching is the relationships, especially with high schoolers. She loves that she is going to get more class time with her students this year.

This is Mrs. Carpenter’s ninth year teaching. Last year she was at Basalt Middle School and before that she taught at Blue Valley High School in Kansas City. Mrs.Carpenter says that both jobs were pretty different from working at GSHS, but she thinks that  GSHS allows their students much more freedom.

Mrs. Carpenter graduated from Kansas City Christian, a very small school. “I only had 55 people in my graduating class,” says Mrs.Carpenter. Mrs.Carpenter would have loved the opportunity to go to a public school because of the broad access to a wide variety of classes, clubs and sports. 

Mrs.Carpenter used to teach drawing and painting at Blue Valley High School in Kansas city. In fact, she has always taught something relating to art. Her advanced painting students would go through a full commission process to create murals around the school that had meaning to them. 

Mrs.Carpenter has even been the head coach for the boys and girls tennis programs at Basalt Middle School. She really enjoys creating relationships with students and their families. Mrs.Carpenter is a highly competitive person and she says that it was great to have an outlet for that and share in the awesome life lessons that sports provide. 

Mrs.Carpenter has two pets, one dog named Saydee who is an 8 year old “dumpster dog”. Carpenter found the 35-pound black lab/pit last month at her first teaching job in Texas, munching on stale french fries by the dumpsters behind the school that she worked at. Mrs. Carpenter also owns another dog, Theodore Roosevelt, aka, Teddy, a German Shorthair Pointer knock-off. 

Mrs.Carpenter thinks that her zodiac sign technically is a “cusp” which means in between Aquarius and Pisces. She never saw herself much in astrology, but as soon as she was introduced to “cusps” which means between two types and sort of a mix of the two, she thought it fits her a little better.

Mrs.Carpenter has worked her entire life for this moment, working and living in Glenwood Springs. She knew she was supposed to live in Colorado by the time she was in middle school and it has been a long process getting here. Mrs.Carpenter’s favorite part about living in Colorado is the immediate access to nature and outdoors activities. She loves to go offroading, camping, and hiking followed by a plein air painting session, giving herself the opportunity to slow down and appreciate where she is. 

 

Mr. Colt

Lauren Lewis, Brimstone Reporter

After 10 years of living and teaching in Colorado, Robin Colt makes her way into Glenwood Springs High School to open up students’ minds to the world of Biology. 

Originally from Hanover, New Hampshire, Robin has lived in various places, including Vermont, Montana, and India. Before she pursued teaching in 2011, she worked as a wilderness therapy guide, ski patroller, EMT, and Outdoor Educator. When asked about her favorite part of living in Colorado, she responds in an email to The Brimstone “I love living in the mountains while being close to water. Spending time outdoors skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and adventuring is why I live here.” Her reasoning for working at GSHS is “the strong school culture and academics, as well as the supportive administration.”

Robin has many outdoor interests, but when she is not enjoying the fresh air of the Colorado Rockies, she is spending time with her 15-month-old son. Before GSHS, Robin taught at New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado, and Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. If she had not chosen to become a teacher and influence hundreds of students, she would choose to study seals in Monterey Bay, California. To match the outdoors-woman persona, she would pick fresh-caught salmon, wild rice, and lots of veggies as her last meal.