The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Classroom time shapes pedagogy

Introducing some of SPA’s new teachers
McKinley Garner
LIGHT LESSON. Photography and video arts teacher Kate Clark preps the darkroom for an upcoming class. “I have students in the darkroom working with film,” she said. “It’s been interesting, because I’ve never had to manage a darkroom before. I’m feeling pretty comfortable about mixing chemistry myself.” Clark noted how supportive the environment has been whole also giving her autonomy with her classes.

New faces are everywhere this fall, and among them are SPA’s six new teachers: Kate Clark, Tam Chau Duong, Meghan Joyce, Nicole Koenig, Laura Pejsa, and Josie Zuniga.

Moving from the greater Chicago area to Minneapolis, Zuniga is the ninth and eleventh-grade counselor. She has been interested in helping people overcome problems since high school, where she would help her friends with their problems. After an interlude in her counseling career in which she worked in California’s film industry, Zuniga came back to her passion for education and psychology.

“My goal is to help break the stigma around mental health at SPA,” Zuniga said, “I think that in the past ten years … we’ve made a lot of progress towards breaking that stigma and it’s more openly talked about, but still the counselor coming in is something that I feel like is intimidating for a lot of students, or they feel like they’re going to be judged for coming in here, when, in all actuality, I just want to have a conversation – I just want to get to know my students.”

After working in Minneapolis Public Schools, Pejsa is at SPA as a Learning Specialist. Pejsa said she has wanted to be a teacher since childhood. She became an English teacher right after college, then moved on to a consulting career, where she stayed for twenty years. When she came back to teaching, she was a school counselor.

Moving from Bloomington’s John F. Kennedy High School to here, Koenig teaches Honors Precalculus and Calculus 1 and 2. Being a teacher felt natural for Koenig since her mother had also been a teacher. Her experience so far at SPA has been warm and welcoming. Koenig says she enjoys the abundant art displayed around the school in particular.

“I hope to just continue to develop relationships with students and teachers and also to continue to develop my own understanding of the profession and get better at what I’m doing every day,” Koenig said.

Returning to SPA, and this time, not as a student, Joyce is a SPA alum. She teaches English 9 and two electives: literature of migration and visual narrative. While in college, Joyce taught environmental science and French part-time at the elementary school level in California. Though she’s been working at SPA for three years as a teaching assistant and substitute teacher, this is her first year as a full teacher.

I find the work to be deeply rewarding. That’s why I keep doing it. I pour all of myself into this job and into getting to know the students and providing the best education I can for them.

— Meghan Joyce

Joyce said, “I really enjoy the classes that I teach. I find the work to be deeply rewarding. That’s why I keep doing it. I pour all of myself into this job and into getting to know the students and providing the best education I can for them.”

Duong teaches World History 1 to four ninth-grade classes, her first full-time teaching job. Her interest in teaching arose in her junior year of college, 2021, when she taught law to rising eighth graders through the Generation Teach program. Duong likes to embroider and bullet journal in her free time.

“There’s not a day that goes by since I started at SPA that I haven’t learned something. If it’s not from the teaching team I work with, then it’s from colleagues from other departments,” Duong said, “But most important are the students. I learn from my students every day.”

Coming from Michigan, Clark teaches Photography I and II and Video Arts I, along with the advanced seminar. Clark’s interest in teaching developed over time, and she taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, at the same time as she went to Grad school. She wants to teach her students to gain a deeper understanding of the art they make, along with how to use the technology.

One may wonder how to make our six new faculty feel welcome. A couple of student suggestions are to help them find their way around the school, be respectful during class, and just say hi when you see them.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Aldegundo Brenneman
Aldegundo Brenneman, Staff Writer
My name is Aldegundo Brenneman, he/him/his. I work as a Staff Writer for The Rubicon, RubicOnline and Ibid yearbook. At school, I’m involved in the Intercultural Club and Latinos Unidos, and I participate in cross-country running, nordic skiing, and track. I love to bake in my free time, and I like to go birdwatching in the summer. I can be reached at [email protected].
McKinley Garner
McKinley Garner, A&E Editor, Service Journalism
My name is McKinley Garner (He/Him). I work as the Arts and Entertainment editor for The Rubicon. At school I am involved in a wide array of activities like Science Alliance, Ultimate Frisbee, and the Alpine ski team. I can be reached at [email protected].

Comments (0)

Comments are welcomed on most stories at The Rubicon online. The Rubicon hopes this promotes thoughtful and meaningful discussion. We do not permit or publish libel or defamatory statements; comments that advertise or try to sell to the community; any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others; the use of profanity. Comments will be moderated, but not edited, and will post after they are approved by the Director of RubicOnline.  It is at the discretion of the staff to close the comments option on stories.
All The Rubicon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.