April 26, 2018

A New Math Teacher for Friends Middle School

I am happy to announce to our community that we have hired Michelle Merz Hoffmeister as the newest member of our middle school faculty.  Michelle will teach math and homeroom at our North Campus next year.

Michelle is currently a teacher of math, science, engineering and AP Chemistry at Basis International School in Shenzhen, China. She has been a middle school math and science teacher since 2010.  In addition to her time in China, Michelle has taught in the Roaring Fork School District in Colorado and in Hawaii.

Michelle’s deep experience in teaching middle school math and beyond, as well as her obvious passion for inspiring middle schoolers, impressed our hiring committee. Michelle understands how to connect with kids aged 11-14.  We feel confident that our middle school students will be more than ready for high school math classes under Michelle’s guidance. She has a delightful sense of humor and she is excited to teach in a small school where every child is known and honored.

Michelle has a B.A. in Zoology from Michigan State University, an M.Ed. in Math & Environmental Science from Concordia University, and a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University. As a private tutor, she has provided support in all science and math subjects including AP Physics, AP Chemistry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, SAT, ACT, LSAT, and GMAT test prep. 

Her references describe her as an outstanding educator who finds the best in every individual student.  She is 100% committed and takes the time to explain difficult concepts in ways that all students can understand.  She is a wonderful motivator.

A huge thank you to our middle school hiring committee of Middle School Director Shelby Pawlina, teachers Erika Norman, Kevin Nugent and Diane Bramble, and parents Dawn Brady and Carol Hoeffler, as well as Honor Taft who was involved in the final decision process. We interviewed many candidates, brought four finalists on campus to observe, and feel excited to have found such a passionate and experienced new member of our team.  Thank you also to Jana Bledsoe who does so much to support all of our applicants and our hiring committees.

Erika Norman, who has taught both elementary and middle school math since we opened our middle school two years ago, will focus all of her time next year in our elementary program, K-5. Michelle will teach all 6-8 math classes.

Please take a moment to read Michelle’s letter to our community:

Hello Everyone!!!

My name is Michelle Merz Hoffmeister and I am beyond excited to be joining the staff at Friends School in the fall.  My desire to be back with my family in  Colorado led to  a lot of research about the kind of school where I wanted to work.  I found Friends School, and your mission and values statements really spoke to me.

I am a sometimes overly enthusiastic educator who firmly believes in lifelong learning.  My teaching philosophy is to help all students to achieve and succeed and to have fun while doing it.  I try to make my lessons very hands-on, cross-curricular, project-based, and tailored to individuals as much as possible.  Every student is unique and I need to be flexible as an educator to reach all of my students.  The more I read, the more I knew that Friends School was the place where I wanted to teach.  After each interview and step in the selection process, it just cemented that belief.

A little about me: I am a proud self-proclaimed nerd.  I hold three college degrees and want a fourth. My five-year plan includes starting on a Ph.D. in Environmental Biology.  I have my thesis already picked out (see - overly enthusiastic!)  My road to teaching has been a journey, but oh the places I have gone!  I have taught on two continents in three states.  I get really excited about doing math for fun although my major in college was science.  I can talk for hours about either subject.  

I am a wife and mother of four kids ranging in age from 12 to almost 21 years old.  They are my joy!  For fun, I LOVE to ski, and I am a ski instructor when I am somewhere with snow.  I can't wait to get back on the slopes.  I also like to coach soccer, gymnastics and All Star Cheerleading.  I am a HUGE Star Wars and Disney fan, and I have even worked for Disneyland in California for a year. It was an amazing experience.  

I am so looking forward to meeting you all and bringing my love of math to your students.

Michelle 

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