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Welcome, New Teachers!

MCAS Welcomes New Teachers


Michigan City Area Schools welcomed several new and returning teachers and other certified staff this school year. We asked them to share a bit about their background and asked them to answer the question, “Why did you become an educator?” Their answers are below!

Nicole Amodei
Krueger Middle School, 7th Grade ELA Teacher
Experience: Library Assistant, 4th and 6th Grade ELA
Education: Purdue University North Central
“I have always enjoyed learning and found great joy in sharing knowledge with my peers. As I grew older, I realized that teaching allowed me to make a positive impact on the lives of students and contribute to their growth and development”


Alyssa Argyle
Barker Middle School, 7th/8th Grade Physical Education & Health Teacher

Experience: 1st Year Teaching

Education: Trine University


Breanna Biggs
Edgewood Elementary School, 3rd Grade Teacher

Experience: Student taught in 3rd grade in the spring of 2023 at Union Center, spent 4 days teaching at a private school in Managua, Nicaragua

Education: Valparaiso University

“Growing up I was always inspired by my teachers. That’s encouraged me to inspire others and I feel like I can do that through teaching.”


Dayilynn Briggs
Joy Elementary School, Kindergarten Teacher

Experience: 1st Year Teaching

Education: Ball State University

“I became an educator because I have a passion for children’s development and learning growth. Seeing my students blossom and reach their goals brings joy to my heart. I’ve always noticed as a young girl, there weren’t many teachers who looked like me. I want to make it my mission to be the representation that I wish I had as an elementary student.”


Laura Childers
Michigan City High School, Special Education (9th - 12th Grade) Teacher

Experience: Paraprofessional

Education: Indiana University Northwest

“I am passionate about helping students learn and grow, academically and personally for the future.”


Cali Christopherson
Joy Elementary School, 1st Grade Teacher

Experience: I completed my Student Teaching this past spring at Hailmann Elementary School in LaPorte.

Education: Purdue University Northwest

“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in the first grade. I have been inspired by many amazing educators in Michigan City to pursue my passion of teaching the youth in my community.”


Kristen Crawford
Joy Elementary School, 4th Grade Teacher

Experience: Technology Teacher and 4th Grade Teacher at Andrew J Brown Academy, 1st Grade at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School

Education: IUPUI


Larry Crisler
Knapp Elementary School, Physical Education Teacher

Experience: 5 years as physical education teacher

Education: Indiana University/Purdue Northwest

“I’ve had the pleasure of running sports camps with younger kids at an early age. As my playing days ended, I saw an opportunity in physical education to continue working with kids through sports.”


Mary DeBaggis
Springfield Elementary School, 5th Grade Teacher


Andrew Eubank
Barker Middle School, Social Studies Teacher

Experience: 11 years in education (7 years at Michigan City High School)

Education: Purdue University

“I became a teacher in hopes of having the same positive impact on the lives of students that my teachers had on me throughout my academic and athletic involvements.”


Stasia Forsythe Siena
Michigan City High School, German Teacher

Experience: 20+ years of experience as an educator (mainly university level and 7 years at Next Generation School in Champaign, IL.)

Education: Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University, Master of Arts in Germanic Literature & Culture Studies from Indiana University

“I was inspired to share my love of learning. I’m particularly committed to helping young people broaden their perspective of the world through language and culture study, along with international travel.”


Kayla Greene-Ivory
Michigan City High School, 9th Grade ELA Teacher

Experience: RTI Interventions at Pierce Middle School, Reading/Math Interventions/MTSS at Belzer Middle School, 5th Grade ELA/MTSS at Charter School of the Dunes

Education: Calumet College of St. Joseph, Valparaiso University

“I became an educator because I wanted to make an impact in today’s youth. I had some great teachers growing up, and I wanted to get the chance to be that for someone else.”


Andrea Jones
Joy Elementary School, 4th Grade Teacher


Benjamin Kelly
Michigan City High School, Math Teacher

Experience: Purdue Northwest, Ivy Tech Community College, Henry Ford College

Education: Purdue University Northwest

“To witness and have those “AH-HA” moments, the moments of consciousness expansion, I am an educator and student.”


Kinsley Krachinski
Barker Middle School, 8th Grade ELA Teacher

Experience: 2 semesters of Field Observation experiences at Michigan City High School and Barker Middle School, Student Teaching at Krueger Middle School

Education: Purdue University Northwest

“I became an educator due to having had a wonderful experience with a teacher in elementary school. This person went above and beyond in understanding and helping me flourish through social, emotional, and educational settings. As I started tutoring students while I was just in middle school, I found the beauty in making a difference in students' lives every day, big or small. I felt like I understood Social and Emotional Literacy before it became an integral part of curriculum planning because I was making those connections with different perspectives and experiences from my own through teaching. Learning on a consistent basis made me realize the relatability and relevance that leadership has to a community, and this is only part of the commitment that I have made to education.”

Laura Kras
Pine Elementary School, 3rd Grade Teacher

Experience: 18 years

Education: Purdue Calumet and American College of Education

“I chose to become an educator because I wanted to make a difference, not only in the lives of young learners but in the communities I have worked in. I firmly believe in giving back and paying it forward. Teaching allows me to do exactly these two things.”


Herman Lawrence
Michigan City High School, 9th Grade Math Teacher


Autumn Lewis
Knapp Elementary School, Special Education GOALS Program (Grades 3-5)

Experience: 2 years

Education: Indiana University

“I became an educator because educators had a major impact on my life. Educators play a major role in their students' lives each day. Educators can make a difference and provide the tools or the safe space for a student to learn to think critically for themselves to make healthy choices in life.”


Elizabeth Maher
Springfield Elementary School, Student Success Coach

Experience: Mental Health Counseling

Education: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

“I became a counselor to provide a service that was not as previously attainable within the schools. I wanted to be a part of bridging the gap between students in need of services and receiving those services to create a better life and hope for the future.”


Cameron Mcfarrin
Krueger Middle School, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Football Coach, After School Tutor, Track and Field Coach

Experience: 3 years

Education: Purdue Northwest

“I became an educator to help young people grow and develop to enhance our society. I became an educator because the accounting occupation did not work out for me. Upon my mother's suggestion, she recommended that I got into teaching. After I began teaching in South Bend, I felt a sense of fulfillment watching students grow and mature, both academically and personally, and I enjoyed the process of developing students into better and more productive human beings. I found that I really enjoy teaching and guiding young adults, and I aim to set my students up for success post high school.”


Erin Mooneyhan
Lake Hills Elementary School, Special Education Teacher

Experience: Healthy Families, First Steps, Pre-K Teacher

Education: Purdue Northwest

“I find child development fascinating. My passion for working with children, assisting them in building their confidence, and reach their goals is what brought me back to the education field.”


Kate Mullen
Michigan City High School, Physical Education Teacher, Swimming Coach


Education: University of Texas Arlington, Illinois State University

“I enjoy working with kids.”


Teresa Neubert
Joy Elementary School, 2nd Grade Teacher

Experience: Student Teaching at Kouts Elementary School

Education: Valparaiso University

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs

“I love the difference I can make as a teacher. I want to walk into a classroom every day and cherish the lightbulb moments, the giggles, the "I am/I can" affirmations, and the growth that occurs as learners and as people. I can't see myself doing anything else, and when you can't see yourself doing ANYTHING else, you have to pursue your passion.”


Angela Nipple
A.K. Smith Career Center, Culinary Sciences Teacher

Education: Purdue University and Ivy Tech

“I want to bring my passion and love for the hospitality industry to our new and upcoming industry leaders.”


Anna Piesyk
Coolspring Elementary School, 3rd Grade Teacher

Experience: Instructional Aide, Student Teaching, Long Term-Maternity Leave Substitute

Education: IUSB, Bethel University

“For the kids. I want to be the person who is there for them. I love seeing them grow as individuals and as learners. It is so fulfilling helping others.”


Anna Pyke
Edgewood Elementary School, 4th Grade Teacher

Experience: 2 years Special Education Teacher

Education: Purdue Northwest

“I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school!.”


Summer Ray
Pine Elementary School, Special Education (Grades K-3) Teacher

Experience: 5 years at a private Montessori School

Education: Grand Canyon University

“I have always loved to teach anyone. I used to be a coach for my old job and I coached my agents through their calls and found a work around for them. I taught my daughter until seventh grade at home due to medical issues. I love teaching children and believe they all have a will to learn even if its different than their peers. I also enjoyed working with special needs over the years and have a soft spot for them as I know they need someone to believe and help them learn at their capacity.”


Ron Shiels
Michigan City High School, Health Teacher

Jacen Smith
Barker Middle School and Michigan City High School Band Teacher, Marching Band and Pep-Band

Experience: Student Teaching at Greenfield-Central High School, Marching Band Programs at Greenfield-Central and Marion Harding High School

Education: Indiana University

“The experience of a high school band was so foundational to who I am as a person and I can't think of a better thing than to provide that positive musical experience to students.”


Ian Smith-Garcia
Barker Middle School, 8th Grade Math Teacher

Experience: Substitute Teaching, Tutoring

Education: University of Southern California

“I enjoy teaching.”


Christina Stavropoulos
Springfield Elementary School, Special Education Teacher

Experience: Student Teaching in Westville

Education: Valparaiso University

“I wanted to be an educator that can have a positive impact on the lives of students”


Martha Swanson
Pine Elementary School, 5th Grade/ELA Teacher

Experience: 10 years as educator working at grade levels from Pre-School to 12th Grade, Instructional Assistant, Paraprofessional

Education: Purdue Northwest and Indiana Wesleyan

“It’s a gift from God. And it gives me gratification knowing I can help students succeed and I feel compelled to do so.”


Vicki Thompson
Springfield Elementary School, Art Teacher

Experience: Over 10 years in numerous educational environments including public, charter, sylvan, and Montessori

Education: DePaul University, Purdue Northwest, Ball State

“To be the change I hope to see in the world.”


Sam Trout
A.K. Smith Career Center, Welding Tech


Morgan Ward
Michigan City High School, 9th Grade World History and Geography Teacher

Experience: 2 years at Willowcreek Middle School, Interim Teacher at LaPorte County Juvenille Service Center

Education: Saint Mary’s College, Valparaiso University

“I became an educator because I genuinely enjoy working with middle / early high school students. I enjoy watching them mature through the year and develop into young adults by the end of the year.”