When school bells ushered in the 2019-20 school year in Washington, students found eight new faces among the familiar faculty.
Joining the district were Alicia Blackburn, Lauren Bone, Brandi Castle, Chris Giltner, Janet McPherson, Jonathan Pearson, Diane Portillo and Allen Reynolds.
Blackburn is teaching sixth grade math and reading, as well as career exploration at the middle school.
She graduated from Wayne High School and East Central University and previously taught at Ninnekah Public School.
“I love this community and wanted to get back into teaching now that my children are in school,” she said.
She and her husband, Nick, have four children – Payton, 8; Easton, 7, and Austin and Braxton, 6.
Bone is teaching seventh grade English and reading at the middle school.
She is a graduate of Dewey High School and the University of Central Oklahoma. She previously taught 7th and 8th grade language arts at Washington.
She and her husband, Jeremy, have two children, Layton and Wyatt.
“After resigning to stay home with Wyatt, I am excited to be back in the classroom,” she said.
Castle is teaching English I and II at the high school.
She graduated from Blanchard High School and University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. She also graduated from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City with a degree in nursing.
Her previous teaching experience was at the elementary and middle schools here and Oklahoma City Public Schools.
“I completed nursing school, but found that I missed being in a classroom and with my children,” she said.
She and her husband, Jeremy, have five children – Josie, Rhett, Rheve, Nella and Hathe.
Giltner is teaching third grade at the elementary school.
He is a graduate of Washington High School and Oklahoma Christian University. He previously taught sixth grade science and social studies at Moore.
“I grew up in this community and I wanted to come back and be a part of it again,” he said, adding he also enjoys being a part of his church in Norman and helping with activities there.
McPherson is teaching second grade at the elementary school.
She graduated from McAlester High School and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Her previous teaching assignments were at elementary schools at Lexington, Washington and Plainview.
She and her husband, Stuart, have two children, Lyndsey and Kelsey.
“We wanted to be back home and near our family,” she said.
Pearson is teaching seventh grade social studies and sixth grade keyboarding at the middle school.
He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and previous experience was teaching physical education at Macomb Public Schools.
He is married to Haley.
“I love Washington Public Schools,” he said. “It’s closer to home for my wife and a better opportunity.”
Portillo is teaching sixth grade Spanish at the middle school and Spanish I at the high school.
She is a graduate of Washington High School, Concordia University in Austin, Texas, and Southern Nazarene University. She previously taught Spanish at Highland West Junior High School in Moore.
In 2013. Portillo was named Teacher of the Year by the Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers Association.
“I came back home to give back to and make a difference in the community that gave me so much when I was growing up,” she said.
She has two children, Isabela, 16, and Alexander, 12.
Reynolds is teaching computers, yearbook and newspaper.
He is a graduate of Washington High School and Cameron University and is working on a master’s degree at SEOSU. He previously taught computers at Wanette High School.
“I wanted to go back to the school system I grew up in,” he said.
He and his wife, Sarah, have six children – Coleman Reynolds, Kennedy Reynolds, Sydney Reynolds, Tera Thomas, Becca Thomas and Rachel Long.