A new year brings new teachers

After a few years filled with COVID-19 restrictions in the teaching industry, teaching jobs across the country need to be filled. Here’s a look at some new extracurricular related staff members who joined over the summer.

Color Guard Director Chris Josey

Color guard director Chris Josey laughs at a joke before color guard practice begins. The team practices after school every day besides Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Krista Fleming)

After 18 years teaching color guard, seven of those at Westwood High School in Austin, Chris Josey joined the Hebron staff. The band’s reputation stretches across the state, and though Josey had taught at Westwood for a while, the program piques his interests.

“[The band] has been very cool to be a part of so far,” Josey said. That’s one of the reasons why I chose to apply — the history and experience of the band. It’s something I take seriously and hope to continue to uphold.” 

Josey has expressed interest in creating more outreach within the community by being involved with events color guard hasn’t been a part of in the past, such as pep rallies. His plans also include going to winter guard competitions in the spring and starting a program within the feeder schools. 

“I hope that [color guard] can [go] to state and be state champions,” Josey said. “It’ll be a cool experience for those kids and one they deserve.”

Though the program has an influence throughout Texas, Josey knew some of the old staff members. It was a mix of familiarity and interest that drove him to teach here.

“I had already seen [color guard] perform and I was in awe about what [the previous instructor] could do with these kids,” Josey said. “I’m very excited for the coming years and want to make [color] guard a home for these kids.”

Librarian Jordan Johnson

Librarian Jordan Johnson teaches the science fiction class in the Bright Room. The students were participating in a “speed date” activity with a book to find one to use for an upcoming project. (Krista Fleming)

After seven years in education at the small school she graduated from, Jordan Johnson decided she wanted something different. Her perfect opportunity for something new came with a larger student body, with almost 1,900 more kids enrolled at Hebron than her previous school. 

“[My experiences] have differed quite a bit [since coming here],” Johnson said. “This is a much larger school than the ones I’ve been at before, but I like this library because of how much [of a] difference there is and how many students come in. It’s been a little bit of a culture shock for me as well, just because of the nature of such a huge school.”

Johnson has tried to give the library more variation from previous years; she has worked toward making the library a place for students to hang out by adding a check-out station for games and changing the process of finding books.

“There’s a lot of changes I would really like to make, most of which focus on building our reading culture at Hebron,” Johnson said. “I know we’ve already made some strides toward that, but I’d love to do even more.” 

Though she wants to make a change within the library, Johnson has also expressed a desire to return to what made her a librarian in the first place. 

“I [love reading] because it’s a place for me to quiet my mind,” Johnson said. “I constantly operate a million miles a minute, but when I’m reading, I can focus on that one thing and get out of my own head for a bit. My biggest hope for this year is to go back to that being why I do what I do.”

Percussion Director Ben Koch

Percussion director Ben Koch demonstrates to juniors Sam Sierra (left) and Arnold Tran (right) what to do during a drumline practice. They practice every morning from 7 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. during the school year. (Krista Fleming)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the year of precautions that followed, the band program took no breaks. While this was mainly due to the persistence of the students and their director, a large part of the help came from Ben Koch, the then unofficial director responsible for a plethora of duties ranging from helping with the middle school bands to private lessons. Now formally hired as the percussion teacher, Koch is looking to turn his familiarity with the program into a stronger drive within the students.

“Coming back here was definitely a little easier because the kids were familiar with my mode of operations and I was familiar with theirs,” Koch said. “[This] was much better compared to last year when I went to a brand new school and there had to be a grace period where we were learning who each other were.”

Before working with Hebron, Koch taught at a smaller high school in Pflugerville called Weiss. There, Koch had to focus on building the band, whereas his main focus at Hebron, he said, was to make what was an already great sound into something greater. 

“The kind of things we were doing to prepare [the Weiss] kids were very different from what we’re doing here,” Koch said. “These kids have been doing this [for] five or six years, so every time they’re playing, we want it buttoned up, polished and sounding great.”

Koch has said he fell in love with band because of the motivating culture that surrounded the music and the consistency of wanting to get better.

“Instilling that in these kids, making them invested in making the best sounds that they can so they can take the lessons they’re learning here and apply it to other places, is what drove me to take this job in the first place,” Koch said. “For me, [the] band was it, but for those kids, they’re going to go out and change the world.”