Warriors Welcome New Staff On Campus

New teachers from various disciplines share their passion for teaching and express their positive outlook for the 2022-2023 school year

Melanie Clark:

Melanie Clark smiles for the camera being a new math teacher at Woodbridge High (Kailah Cortez)

With over 20 years of teaching experience, Math teacher Melanie Clarke has taught high school Math in both Utah and Nevada.

In the beginning, teaching students who were just four years older than her felt nerve wrecking. Yet it was the notion of improving those students’ lives and helping them grow as a person that kept Clarke motivated. 

“The things that have been the most rewarding are the students who told me that because I was their teacher, it helped them become a better person or to change their mind about something,” Clarke said. “The hard days are sometimes hard, but just trying to keep making that difference is what makes me keep going.”

As the years began to multiply, Clarke approached her students with a deeper sense of connection that laid the foundation of her teaching career. 

“Instead of thinking of them as my job [or] somebody I had to teach, I began thinking of the students as more like my kids,” Clarke said. “Like how can I help this person learn more or become more successful?”

Jessica Shipma:

Jessica Shipma grins as she is the new yoga and health teacher here at Woodbridge High. (Kailah Cortez)

For her first year at Woodbridge High, Yoga & Health teacher Jessica Shipma hopes to provide students with an opportunity to build personal connections and carry forth a positive message through Yoga.

Furthermore, Shipma encourages those who are interested in Yoga to explore their self-identity with determination and resilience.

“Not everything works for everybody, but finding what does work for you is gonna determine your success when you try anything new,” Shipma said. “Yoga for me has been a great community to meet friends and meet new people… I was hoping I could provide that as well for the students.”

Aside from the physical benefits, Shipma also brought up the spiritual comforts she was able to gain from Yoga.

“I try to provide my students with a space where they can leave my class feeling like they accomplished something for the day,” Shipma said, “sometimes you have a hard day in your other classes and coming into yoga and having a more relaxed environment can sometimes be that little turning point that changes your day around.”

Alyssa Hernandez: 

Alyssa Hernandez gives a smile while being photographed as a new education specialist here at Woodbridge High. (Kailah Cortez)

Having served in the Irvine Unified School District for five years as an Instructional Assistant and Behavior Interventionist, Alyssa Hernandez joined the Woodbridge community as a Special Educationalist.

For Hernandez, the first year came with immense responsibilities for the whole student body. She tries to maintain a welcoming atmosphere in her classroom where all students could feel included.

I would say the biggest thing that I hope to accomplish this year is just creating a fun and safe classroom environment for the students,” Hernandez said. “So my goal is to make sure that this is a classroom and a place that staff and students want to be in and want to be a part of.”

When asked what her biggest motivator is, Hernandez openly shared her faith as her biggest motivation in her journey pursuing the field of education.

“I am Christian, so that’s a huge part of what motivates me,” Hernandez said. “Also the kids, I guess just getting to know the kids and the little victories—a student doing something on their own for the first time and things like that.”