GRANGER - For the past several years, the Granger Chamber of Commerce has made welcome baskets for newly hired Granger School District certified staff members. The Chamber does this as a way to welcome new teachers to the area and show that they are appreciated by the Granger business community.
In the past, the baskets have included discount coupons for goods or services and small items that include the business's name and contact information. Also included is information for church and service clubs in the area. The goal of the project is to include anything in the baskets that will make a new member of the community feel welcome and get settled.
The welcome baskets will be given to the 12 new staff members and delivered during the new staff orientation meeting on Aug. 22.
The new staff members include:
• Tracie Merrill was hired to teach math at the high school. She earned her B.A. in education with a math major from Eastern Washington University in 2000.
• Teri Michael will be the high school business education teacher. Michael earned her B.A. with a major in politics and a minor in biology from the University of Puget Sound in 1990. She earned a Master's degree in business and organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix, a teaching certification in business education and administrative credentials to be a superintendent from Washington State University.
• The new seventh grade reading and social studies teacher is Christina Alaniz, a graduate of Brigham Young University in 1994. There, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She received her Master of Education degree from Central Washington University in 1999.
• Michael Gonzales has been hired on as the new seventh grade math and science teacher. He received a B.A. in elementary education form Central Washington University in 2003.
• The new sixth grade social studies and reading teacher, Kathryn Slade, earned a B.A. in education with a minor in language arts from Heritage University. She is currently working toward her Master in Education degree from Grand Canyon University.
• The new curriculum and assessment coordinator, Shawn Thurman, earned his B.A. in elementary education from WSU in 1999 and a Master in Education degree for school administration from Heritage University in 2004.
• Laurel Carpino has been hired on as the math coach. She earned her Associate degree in business and accounting from YVCC in 1986 and received a B.A. in education with endorsements in elementary education, math 4-12, and business education 4-12 from Heritage University in 1995. Carpino earned a Master of Education degree in educational administration K-12 from Heritage University in 2003.
• High school art teacher Joanne Ayres earned her B.A. in visual arts education with a minor in Japanese from Central Washington University in 2005.
• Alejandro Oritz, the new elementary school counselor, received a B.A. in social work from Heritage University in 2001 and a Master's degree in social work from the University of Washington in 2002.
• The new middle school counselor is Cheryl Myers, who earned a B.A. in psychology from Central Washington University in 1990 and a Master of Education degree in counseling from Heritage University in 2003.
• Fifth grade teacher Jessica Higginbotham earned her B.A. in elementary education from Heritage University in 2005.
• Lynn Thompson will be covering for third grade teacher Joann Salazar, who is taking a one-year leave of absence. Thompson earned a B.A. in elementary education from Heritage University in 1994.