Out With the Old and in With the New: GS and its Staff Changes

by Mia Saraceni

While all the previous teachers at GS were loved, the time for change has come and newcomers have filled in and taken their place.

          There are changes in almost every department, with the exception of the science department. New teachers have appeared in the Foreign Language, Math and Business departments, which certainly warrants an introduction.

          Starting with the math department, there are two new faces: Mr. Scott Shirey and Mr. Luke Ewing. Mr. Shirey teaches both geometry and math for the trades. While originally from Hempfield Area, he worked at a middle school in Manassas, Virginia for eight years before returning to this area.

Mr. Shirey works on an equation on his white board. Photo by Ari Case.

          “It feels great to be home again, not just visiting,” Mr. Shirey said.

          Besides being excited to come back home, Shirey was finished working with middle school students and was ready to start teaching more mature students.

          “Middle school was fun, but I’ve been ready to move on to more mature students for a while now,” he said. “I really enjoy the students I’ve met so far. I’m really excited to work with them this year.”

          The other newcomer, Mr. Ewing, is technically in the learning support department but helps out mainly with math. He teaches two math classes but focuses on floating around to different rooms and helping students. He is a proud GS Lion and attended Seton Hill University for education. Teaching isn’t his only passion, though, as he wrestled both in high school and at the collegiate level.

Mr. Ewing poses for a quick pic at his desk. Photo by Ari Case.

          Ewing views his new position as a career opportunity and is very excited for all future prospects.

          “This is where I want to be, Greensburg is home,” he said. “I just want to continue to grow as a colleague, be the best teacher and the best mentor that I can be.”

          Although he wants to be an academic mentor, he hopes to also be a mentor to all of the wrestlers at GS and work on getting into coaching.

          “I do want to get involved in coaching as well,” Ewing said. “Whether that’s taking baby steps and starting as a volunteer, but I do love wrestling.”

          The business department has also seen a shift, welcoming Mr. Tyler Brinton and Mr. Lou Downey. Mr. Brinton is also a graduate of GS and went to Saint Vincent College. He teaches digital and financial literacy as well as advertising and business/personal finance.

Mr. Brinton talks to his advisory class about future plans. Photo by Ari Case.

“I always saw myself coming back here after I graduated, it just took a couple of years,” Brinton said.

He previously taught at the Valley School of Ligonier, a private K-8 school, but always wanted to teach higher grades in the public sector. When it comes to what he hopes to achieve as a teacher, he has a few goals.

“Hopefully, I just want to shake things up, you know?” Brinton said. “Bring some more offerings to students and hopefully bring some fresh blood to the computer science department. Just see what I can do.”

Mr. Downey teaches a few of the same classes as well as freshman seminar, but his specialty is with accounting. He attended Saint Vincent College before going on to work in the business world for 20+ years. He later returned to his alma mater to receive a teaching certificate and education degree.

Mr. Downey poses with his balance sheet. Photo by Ari Case.

“I’m really excited to be here, I really enjoyed the people a lot,” Downey said.

          He was a long-term sub at GS, Metzgar, Nicely and Latrobe for years before getting a permanent position in the business wing. He knows the people well and feels at home at GS. His business degree and experience give him a major leg-up.

          “I really hope to bring my experience in business and help students see what it takes to become successful,” Downey said. “I don’t want them to be afraid to ask me questions; I want to help them any way I can.”

          The fifth and final new teacher, for now, is Ms. Laura Hoffer, a French teacher at both the middle and high school. She, like some of her other new colleagues, graduated from GS. She attended Duquesne University and received a bachelor’s degree in foreign language, but she didn’t stop there. She went on to Pitt and earned her master’s degree in foreign language education. She taught for two years at Jeanette High School before coming to GS.

Ms. Hoffer shows off her skirt. Photo by Ari Case.

          She fits right in with the other language teachers, as her passion for French is astronomical.

          “I want to help regrow student interest in the French program and help create a new generation of bilingual adults in our town,” Ms. Hoffer said. “The world is coming to Greensburg sooner or later.”

          While the departure of the old teachers may be upsetting, the new staff has great goals to make GS a better school.

          “Everybody has just been great and welcoming with open arms,” Ewing said. “It’s just great to be back.”

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