The focus for this week is on three of those teachers: Carla McMurry-Kozak, Cyndie Madsen and Trisha Fisher. These teachers have taken over open positions left by Betsy Simons (former English I teacher), who changed positions within the school, Kristin Iverson (former choir teacher), who resigned at the end of the last school year and Diane Williams (former guidance secretary), who retired after many helpful years in the guidance department.
Carla Kozak is the newest addition to the English department at VHS this year. She currently teaches two English I classes in the morning along with a study hall. Kozak is also filling in for Sharla Krell's British Literature class while she is away on maternity leave.
In the afternoons, she works at USD as a supervisor of student teachers.
Her family includes her husband, Doug, and her two children, Sarah (a freshman) and Ben (an eighth-grader). The family also has a new puppy named Lucy Lou. The Kozaks reside in Canton, where Kozak grew up.
Kozak decided to become a teacher because she likes to see the "sparkle in their (the students') eyes when they get something," and "seeing kids grow to be seniors."
Teaching also runs in her family as her mother and grandmother were both teachers.
Although Kozak is a new addition to the staff, she seems happy in her new position. "I've been welcomed," she said with a smile.
Cyndie Madsen is also a new face at VHS this year. She took over the duties of the secretary of the guidance office after Mrs. Williams retired last year. As the secretary, she answers the phone, distributes handouts and works with testing. She explains that there is so much to do, she probably won't know all that the job entails for at least the first year.
Madsen lives with her husband of 38 years, Larry, who is retired from the post office. They have two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer, who both graduated from VHS and USD.
Before working here, Madsen had been an employee at USD for 33 years. She worked in Information Technology Services until she retired last year. She then decided that she was too young to do nothing and applied at VHS where she was "lucky enough to get hired here."
She seems to also enjoy her new job in the school district. In her words, it entails "a fun job with great people."
Trisha Fisher is the new choir teacher at VHS this year, taking over the position of Mrs. Iverson. Before she became the 8-12 vocal music director at VHS, she taught 4-7 vocal music at Jolley and VMS.
She grew up in Mitchell, and graduated from Mitchell High School. She attended USD where she earned her bachelor's of music education degree.
She chose teaching as a career because other family members enjoy being educators, and she loves music. Along with teaching classes, Fisher also coaches Rhythm in Red (show choir), All-State Choir, Jazz Choir and color guard for the marching band.
She currently lives in Vermillion with her husband, Andy, and her dog, Sugar.
This story is published thanks to a joint agreement between the Plain Talk and the Vermillion High School journalism class.