Seventeen faculty faces will be new ones for Purcell Public Schools during the 2014-15 academic year.
The faculty newcomers are Marcela Auz, Matthew Baker, Cynthia Burger, Robby Carriger, Stacie Clark, Heather Graham, Loraine Jenkins, Sarah Jones, Kase Mathis, Byron Mooney, Kim Mueller, Maggie Mullenix, Hailey Odell, Colin Tapp, Liz Tate, K. Noel Thrasher and Aimee Walkup.
Auz is a special needs assistant at the elementary school. She wanted to work for Purcell Public Schools and attended one year of community college at Nogales, Ariz.
She and her husband, Fernando, have three children: Natalie, Fernando Jr., and Izak.
Baker teaches English to grades six, seven, eight and nine at Purcell Junior High School. He also teaches creative writing.
“I grew up in Wayne and have lived in Purcell for the past 15 years,” he said. “I know the teachers, parents and students of Purcell and this is my way of giving back to my community.”
Baker graduated from Wayne High School and the University of Oklahoma. He has a master’s degree in education and is pursuing a doctorate.
He served in the Navy aboard the USS Ronald Reagan from 2002-2006 and worked for The Purcell Register from 2006-2011. He previously taught at Macomb Middle School and Alcott Middle School in Norman.
Burger is teaching third grade at the intermediate school. She previously taught pre-kindergarten at Norman.
She is a graduate of Blanchard High School and Cameron University.
She has two children: Bethany, 13, and Samuel, 9.
Carriger is teaching Oklahoma history, government and geography, in addition to serving as head baseball and assistant football coach.
Before coming to Purcell, he taught world history at Norman High School.
Carriger graduated from Plainfield (Ill.,) Central High School and Harding University at Searcy, Ark.
He described himself as a “avid” fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks, as well as the Houston Astros.
Clarke is teaching first grade at the elementary school.
“I have taught 21 years in many districts all over the state,” she said, describing it as the “perks of being married to a coach.”
Before coming to Purcell, she taught second grade at Norman. She chose to come here to be closer to home. She went to high school at Union and graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Clarke and her husband, Kelly, have two children: Kelsey and Jamie.
Graham is teaching special education at the junior high school, as well as working as head coach for girls basketball.
“I was intrigued with the opportunity to grow as an educator and coach,” she said. “There is no place I’d rather excel in my career than Purcell Public Schools.”
Before coming here, she was a resource teacher at Irving Middle School in Norman. She is a graduate of Wayne High School and has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s from OU.
Graham is married to Tyler Schardt.
Jenkins is teaching first grade at the elementary school. She previously taught fifth grade at Alva and has 12 years classroom experience in various grades.
She is a graduate of Chisholm High School and Southwestern Assemblies of God University. She came to Purcell because her family relocated here.
She and her husband, Will, have three children: A.J., T.J., and Hannah.
Jones is teaching at the junior high school.
“Once I heard Purcell had an opening, it was the only position I applied for,” she said. “Once a Dragon, always a Dragon. It feels good to be home.”
The Purcell High School graduate has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and is presently studying for a master’s degree at OU. She previously was a special education teacher and coach at Norman High School.
She has a son, Collier, who will be 4 in September.
Mathis is teaching world history and geography at the high school, as well as coaching junior high baseball and working as assistant football and basketball coach.
“Purcell was a great opportunity for my son and myself,” he said. “I believe Purcell will be great academically for my son.”
Mathis is a graduate of Sulphur High School and East Central University. He and his wife, Genda, have four children: Karsten, Addison, Morgan and Spencer.
Mooney is the new principal at the junior high school.
“I wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and community,” he said. “I am excited and blessed to be back in Purcell.
He previously was an assistant principal, teacher and coach at Newcastle.
He is a graduate of Purcell High School, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Mooney and his wife, Savanna, have two children: Cache, 6, and Paxtyn, 2.
Mueller is teaching special education at the junior high. She previously taught third, fourth and fifth grade special education and has during her career taught all elementary grades.
A graduate of Pauls Valley High School and UCO, Mueller came to Purcell to be closer to home.
She and her husband, Stephen, have two sons: Eric Holland and Ryan Holland.
Mullenix is the speech language pathologist at the junior high and for Head Start.
This is her first teaching assignment. She previously worked for Valir Rehab in Oklahoma City.
She graduated from Elgin High School. She attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University where she played college basketball before transferring to USAO where she completed her bachelor’s degree. She also has a master’s degree from UCO.
“I chose to take my new position because I felt this was the best choice for me in this season of my life,” she said. “I’m from a small town and Purcell has a comparable feel of community and togetherness.”
She is married to Keaton Mullinex.
Odell is teaching fourth grade at the intermediate school.
“I grew up in a small town in Louisiana and Purcell reminds me so much of home,” she said. “I am beyond excited to be a Dragon!”
A new teacher, she graduated from Benton High School and USAO.
She is engaged and will marry David Ruggia in January.
Tapp is teaching band and music theory at the junior high and high schools.
He is a first-year teacher and graduated from Prague High School and Oklahoma State University.
“I’ve always had a passion for teaching music,” he said. “I was very eager to be part of a school district with a reputation for having a strong music program.
“I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, 80’s music, bad action movies and pictures of mountains.”
Tate is teaching English, pre-AP English and reading at the junior high school.
“After a long journey seeking what I’m ‘supposed to do with my life,’ I discovered it’s teaching,” she said. “To be able to teach in my hometown makes it even better.
“I like kids, I like books and I like to have fun. I believe nothing is more important than a good education and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
She previously taught English and language arts at Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City.
Tate is a graduate of Purcell High School and attended East Central University, Oklahoma City University School of Law and Phillips Theological Seminary.
She and her husband, Richard, have three children and six grandchildren.
Thrasher is teaching sixth through eighth grade family and consumer science at the junior high.
“Family and consumer science is a wonderful class that I’m excited to teach to Purcell youth. I’m looking forward to teaching young adults life skills that will help them for years to come,” she said.
She added she’s also excited to be teaching in the community where she lives.
She previously taught computer technology in the Oklahoma City Public Schools.
She is a graduate of Midwest City High School and UCO.
Walkup is teaching kindergarten at the elementary school.
She is another Purcell High School graduate and also graduated from USAO.
“I am very excited to be back in the community and school district my kids attend and also back in my hometown,” she said.
She and her husband, Roger, have two sons: Brody, 6, and Bryce, 3.