Meet the Teachers
Meet the Teachers
Today, the Hanover Community School Corporation honored its tradition of welcoming new teachers to the corporation. Twenty-four new teachers will now call Hanover their home. Hanover School Superintendent Mary Tracy-MacAulay welcomed the teachers.
“You are officially a Wildcat,” she said. “Thank you for being here. Thank you for the work you will be doing. This is a calling.”
Hanover School Superintendent Mary Tracy-MacAulay addresses the new teachers at orientation.
Mrs. MacAulay stressed to the teachers that it is important to be a champion for the kids.
“I am a champion for the teachers and public education,” Mrs. MacAulay said. “You are supported and valued.”
The new teachers gather for their morning orientation at Hanover Central Middle School.
The superintendent stressed values that the teachers need to embody: relationship building, excellence, expect excellence of children and risks.
“If you have an idea, try it,” she said. “Make sure you build respect and trust because you want the students to be successful.”
Elementary school principals Ryan Eckart and Frank Zaremba listen as the superintendent addresses the new teachers.
Following an introduction of the administrative staff, the new teachers took a bus tour of the Hanover community in a brand new school bus and then received curriculum and instruction with Deb Snedden and troubleshooting technology with John Flanagin.
The new teachers get ready to go on their bus tour of the Cedar Lake community.
New teachers then enjoyed lunch and moved on to their new educational homes for an afternoon with their individual school administrators and time in their classroom.
The new teachers get ready to get on the school bus for their tour.
Here is some fun information about the 24 new teachers at Hanover Community School Corporation.
The new teachers sit on the school bus, awaiting their tour of the Hanover school community.
In alphabetical order:
Carly Bermes, of Portage, will be teaching sixth grade math at Hanover Central Middle School. She previously taught math at Fegely Middle School in Portage.
Bermes has a newborn daughter, Claire, and is engaged to Nathan Gland. She enjoys coaching and exercising and stays active by walking trails and swimming.
“I am very excited to begin teaching under the leadership of Tom Martin,” Ms. Bermes said. “I look forward to working with the students of Hanover.”
Shawna Bookwalter, of Morocco, will be teaching science at Hanover Central High School.
Ms. Bookwalter is a graduate of North Newton High school and Indiana University Northwest. She taught chemistry and ICP at North Newton Jr./Sr. High School.
Ms. Bookwalter will be married this summer to her fiancé Michael and they are buying their first home together this summer.
She enjoys listening to music and singing.
“I am excited to be working in the science department at the high school,” she said. “I am looking forward to teaching alongside great teachers and being a part of a team that strives to give the best to their students.”
Shawn Cockerham is the youngest of five brothers and is excited to start his first year of teaching at Hanover Central High School. He will be teaching United states History, psychology and sociology to juniors. He is the son of Gene and Karen Cockerham, of Saint John.
In his free time he likes to travel.
“This summer I backpacked through five Midwestern states and hope to expand that list every year,” Cockerham said. He also enjoys reading science fiction novels. “Being my first year teaching, I am nothing but thrilled to begin the school year,” Cockerham said. “Student teaching at Hanover Central last year presented me with the ability to meet all the great staff and students I will be working with this year. I am honored and incredibly happy to be part of such a great community.”
Marian Cunningham will be teaching math at Hanover Central High School. She lives in Crown Point with her husband, Mark. They have two daughters, Melanie and Lyndsey, and a grandson, Gage.
Mrs. Cunningham previous taught the past 15 years at Portage High school.
“I am very excited to begin teaching at Hanover High School,” she said. “I am looking forward to opportunities that a school the size of Hanover Central offers and I can’t wait to work more closely with the students and know them better because of the smaller size of HCHS!”
Growing up Mrs. Cunningham would spend time outside running, playing basketball or softball. Now she loves to golf, read suspense novels and spend time with her family. She and her husband also love to travel.
Benjamin Davidson is looking forward to being the new government and Economics teacher at Hanover Central High School.
“Government and Econ were two of my favorite subjects in high school and I cannot wait to share my knowledge of those subjects with young minds,” Mr. Davidson said.
Mr. Davidson is a graduate of Andrean High School and Indiana University Northwest. He did his student teaching at Highland High School and Morton High School. He lives in Cedar Lake with his father, stepmother and younger brother.
He enjoys traveling, playing sports, reading and spending time with his family.
“I am also a big fan of college basketball, the NBA and European soccer,” Mr. Davidson said.
Neylan DeMoss, of Munster, will be teaching eighth grade science at Hanover Central Middle School. She is a graduate of Munster High School and Purdue Calumet.
Mrs. DeMoss is married to Josh and they have two sons, Josh Jr., 4, and Logan, 2. She enjoys reading books from all different genres and is a big fan of all the Marvel movies.
“I am looking forward to building strong relationships at Hanover Central Middle School and in the community as well,” DeMoss said.
Michael Engle will be teaching English and speech at Hanover Central High School. The Highland resident is a graduate of Lake Central High School and most previously taught at Merrillville High School.
He is married to Ally and they have to dogs, Nahla and Ziggy.
He describes himself as adventurous, athletic and creative.
“I work out as often as I can, whether it is in the gym, hiking, biking, frisbee golfing, skateboarding or swimming. Music is a big passion of mine as well,” Engle said. He has been learning the mandolin for a few years and plays the piano.
“To me, the purpose of education is to enhance one’s life,” he said. “The more I learn the more I realize how ignorant I am. Knowing this, I have a voracious appetite for new knowledge and experiences. I hope to share this passion of learning with my students and empower them to make positive change, whether it is for themselves or for the greater good of humanity.”
Dane Glass is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and now resides in Dyer. He is the new construction teacher and supervisor. He will be teaching building trades intro to construction at Hanover Central High School. He was previously a graduate assistant and part of Job Corps at Merrillville High School. In his spare time he likes to golf.
“I am looking forward to developing and teaching the building trades program at Hanover Central,” Glass said.
Caitlyn Gomez, of Dyer, will be teaching general music and choir at Hanover Central Middle School.
Gomez graduated from Carthage College in vocal performance and music education with a minor in Spanish.
She is married to Efren and they have two children, Julian, 5, and Luca, 7 months. Gomez is very proud of her husband who is the proud owner of Gomez Family Eye Care in Whiting.
Mrs. Gomez loves music, especially singing and playing the ukulele.
“I love singing old jazz standards,” Mrs. Gomez said. She also enjoys yoga and going for walks with her family.
“I am so excited to be joining the Hanover School Community,” she said. “I have spent the last few years teaching elementary music and I look forward to new beginnings in middle school. I can’t wait to teach choir every day and help my students develop their best singing voices. I am also excited to teach general music and look forward to incorporating ukulele drum circles and bucket drumming into our curriculum.”
Alex Grezenko, of San Pierre, will be the new physical education teacher at Lincoln Elementary. He is a 2009 graduate of Saint Joseph College. He has been an educator for eight years.
Some of his hobbies include coaching, working out and watching sports. He is a huge Chicago Bears and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fan. He enjoys all types of music but country is his favorite.
“I am truly blessed to start this new professional opportunity in the Hanover Central School Corporation, Grezenko said. “My goal as an educator is to equip my students with the skills necessary to make an elite difference in their own lives.”
Jaclyn Grigutis, of Cedar Lake, will be teaching Digital Citizenship to middle school students this year. She previously taught at Merrillville High School. She is married to Erich and they have four children. Her hobbies include cycling class.
“I am absolutely ecstatic to join the staff at HCMS,” Mrs. Grigutis said. “As a member of the community I look forward to teaching our local youth.“
Brittany Klomp, of Dyer, will be the school counselor for Lincoln Elementary School. Raised in Northwest Indiana she is the oldest of four children and is excited to continue to stay in the area, close to her family. Klomp loves to hike, attend plays, concerts, sporting events and also loves to shop and spend time with her family.
“I am very excited to be serving the Hanover community at Lincoln Elementary and can’t wait to bring Expressive Arts Counseling to the student that might benefit,” Klomp said. “I feel the arts will bring a very therapeutic aspect to my office.”
Jessica Kuechenberg, of Munster, will be teaching ELA at Hanover Central Middle School.
Mrs. Kuechenberg previously taught with Elkhart Community Schools and the School City of Hammond.
Mrs. Kuechenberg and her husband, Brad, have been married for 21 years and moved to Munster, from Elkhart, so that her husband would work with his father in the construction business. They have two children, Ryan and Lauren.
Her favorite activities are running and working outside in the yard.
“I am looking forward to a new position as the seventh grade ELA teacher at Hanover,” Kuechenberg said. “The community reminds me of my hometown and I can’t wait to get involved with extracurricular activities offered to students.”
Citlalli Lindsey is from Guadalajara, Mexico, but she calls Crown Point home now. She is the new music teacher at Lincoln Elementary School. Mrs. Lindsey is not new to Hanover Schools. She was a long-term music sub at Jane Ball Elementary.
She and husband Mike have one son, Mike, 5 and have a German Shepherd named Duke.
Mrs. Lindsey loves all types of music but enjoys singing classical and mariachi music. She loves to travel, read novels and work in her backyard garden.
“I feel that music is a powerful force that can have extraordinary effect upon people,” Mrs. Lindsey said. “From learning the fundamentals to arrangement and composition, each note can further inspire our next generation of music lovers.”
David Null, of Lowell, is the math teacher at Hanover Central High School. He attended Indiana State University for his Bachelors and Masters degree and has done graduate studies. He most recently taught at Griffith High School.
He has been married to his wife Jeanne for 35 years and they have a son and daughter, along with two granddaughters and another grandchild due in January.
He and his wife enjoy vacationing on Daytona Beach, visiting Gatlinburg and Wisconsin Dells. He also enjoys watching high school and college sports.
“I am excited to be part of the Hanover Community School Corporation family,” he said. “I look forward to meeting the students, teachers, support staff and administrators of Hanover Central High School. I enjoy encouraging and challenging students to explore STEM careers and I also love supporting students as they participate in extra-curricular activities.”
Cindy Rosinia is looking forward to teaching reading to all the grade levels at Lincoln Elementary.
The Crown Point resident taught third grade for eight years at Nathan Hale Elementary in Lansing. She is married to her husband Jim for seven years and he also works in education.
“We share a love of learning and really value a strong public school system,” Mrs. Rosinia said. They have two children, James and Kennedy and a family pup, Gizmo.
Mrs. Rosinia loves to work out and loves to travel. This summer the family went to St. Louis, North Carolina, Seattle, Portland and Grand Rapids.
“I am so excited to begin my next chapter at Lincoln,” she said. “Working with the staff and students in an exciting new role will be a wonderful experience.”
A native of Merrillville, Charles Smith still lives in Merrillville with his zany cat, Zelda. He will be teaching English Language Arts at Hanover Central High School. Mr. Smith got a degree in secondary English education from Purdue University Calumet and is working on his Master's of arts in English literature through an online program at Morehead University. Mr. Smith did his student teaching at Hanover Central High school with Crystal Harrigan-Barry and Michelle Duffy as his mentor teachers.
"After completing my student teaching at Hanover Central High School three years ago, I am excited to return to teach English 9 and English 11. I look forward to meeting the students as I think they are some of the best in the area.”
Mr. Smith loves to travel and has been to England, France and Germany to name a few places but he really enjoyed London and Amsterdam. "When I am not traveling I enjoy seeing live events in Chicago, working on my baking skills, reading books and seeing films," he explained
Eric Speer will be teaching Global studies at Hanover Central Middle School. He is also coaching JV boys basketball this year. He is a graduate of Portage High School and Purdue University Calumet. At Portage he played basketball and football. He currently lives in Dyer with his wife, Celeste, and their two dogs, Hooper and Jersey. His parents still live in the house he grew up in Portage and they just celebrated 38 years of marriage.
Mr. Speer loves to play sports, mostly golf and basketball. He also enjoys running and listening to sports podcasts.
Rachel Suits, of Crown Point, will be teaching first grade at Lincoln Elementary School. She is looking forward to this career because she feels she can make a difference in her students’ lives.
“I am looking forward to working with Hanover community, students, and staff,” Ms. Suits said.
A graduate of Crown Point High School she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Purdue University. Ms. Suits is not new to Lincoln because she did her student teaching there and was an instructional assistant with Kelly Ryan in the second grade
Suits is the daughter of Warren and Michelle Suits who still live in Crown Point. Her brother Michael lives in Holland, Michigan.
Ms. Suits loves softball and it all began when she was 8-years-old and got a softball bat and mitt for Christmas. She started playing softball that summer and has never stopped. She was on a number of leagues and teams and made varsity as a freshman at Crown Point High School. Though her baseball career is over, she still plays slow-pitch softball every summer in Crown Point.
Ella Swinney, of Lowell, will be teaching English to juniors and seniors at Hanover Central High School. She has taught English at Griffith High School. She has lived in Cedar Lake for almost 30 years. She has a fluffy feline named Izzy.
“Music, theater, art, food and travel are essential parts of my life,” she said. “I love living so near to Chicago because it brings new cultural experiences within easy reach. Musical theater is one of my passions.”
She has performed in plays throughout her childhood and is excited to decorate her door with the playbills of past shows she has seen. She is obsessed with Shakespeare.
“I am excited to become a part of the Hanover school community,” she said. “I’m bringing my creativity and passion for literature, theater and culture.”
Joseph Synakiewicz, of Schererville, will be teaching global studies to eighth graders at Hanover Central Middle School. He is a graduate of Lake Central High School and Purdue University Calumet. He taught for three years at Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Mr. Synakiewicz is engaged to Amy. He and Amy have a cat, guinea pig and rabbit.
“I am so excited to be a part of the team,” Mr. Synakiewicz said. “I think I will be a good fit.”
Nancy Jo Tilka is the Exploratory Languages and culture, French teacher for Hanover Central eighth graders and Hanover Central High School. She is a graduate of Bishop Noll Institute, Marquette University and Middlebury College. She most recently taught at Lake Central High School.
Mrs. Tilka met her husband, Fred, while completing her master’s degree in France. They moved to Dyer in 1989 and raised their three daughters. They lived in Montreal in 2018 but returned to the region and now reside in Munster. Spending time with her family, friends and large extended family is her favorite pastime. She also enjoys traveling, working in the yard and reading nonfiction and historical books.
“Sharing my passion for world languages and cultures with students is at the heart of my career,” Mrs. Tilka said. “My educational philosophy is that every student speaks, listens, writes and reads in French during every class period with the goal of enjoying the experience.”
At the middle school Mrs. Tilka will have the eighth graders exploring world cultures and languages, establishing a solid foundation for further language study at the high school level and beyond.
Joshua Titus, of Schererville, is the new physical education teacher at Jane Ball Elementary.
He recently moved from Wrigleyville to Schererville where he lives with girlfriend, Paula. Being from Wrigleyville, he loves sports and loves attending Bears, Cubs and Bulls games. He coaches football at Hanover Central High School. He also loves to fish.
“I am really excited to pass along my passion for fitness sports to all my students at Jane Ball,” Titus said excitedly. “I have a lot of fun activities planned and I can’t wait to get started!”
Rachel Willy will be teaching kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary. She is a graduate of Lake Central High school and Purdue University Northwest.
She lives in Schererville and was raised in Lake County. She is engaged to Michael and they are planning a June 2020 wedding.
Ms. Willy’s hobbies include spending time outdoors, hiking, fishing, going t o concerts and reading.
“I am looking forward to teaching at Lincoln Elementary,” Ms. Willy said. “I especially love teaching kindergarten because my passion is helping students feel safe, excited a love for coming to school each day.”
Welcome and have a great year!