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New staff arrives in Galena

Teachers, counselors, administrators ready for new year

The staff at the Hawk Highlights will be interviewing the new staff throughout the first month of school and presenting their biographies to the community.


Kevin Schott

By MORGAN MALEMUTE and CHARLENE REDFOXstaff writers  

Kevin Schott is the new assistant principal for Sidney C. Huntington School (SHS).  

He grew up in northwest Iowa and spent the last 40 years in Colorado. He has one brother and two sisters. His sisters are Karen and Kandy; his brother is Kirk. His wife’s name is Theresa. Mr. Schott also has two daughters, Neelly, and Hilliary. 

Mr. Schott went to school at MOC Floyd Valley High School in Orange City, Iowa, and graduated in 1977. He then attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and graduated in 1981. He also attended University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., and graduated in 1991. 

Mr. Schott said he hopes to be able to help out SHS principal David Casey, as well as helping the students attending both schools in Galena.  

Mr. Schott said he has worked with Mr. Casey and his wife, language arts teacher Sutton Casey. He’s got a chocolate lab and his name is Bear. Mr. Schott says that he’s glad to be working in Galena, and the people and students are really nice. 

Natalie Donaldson

By EMILY HARRYstaff writer  

Natalie Donaldson is a 47 year old who was born and raised in southeast Kansas. She teaches high school language arts at Sidney C. Huntington School.  

She is the daughter of Arma and Randy. Ms. Donaldson’s mother, Arma, is a retired nurse and her father is deceased. She has three sisters, Tina, Jenna, and Erin; two brothers, Marc and Robby; and two stepbrothers, Danny and Darin. Marc and Tina are twins who live in Germany, Jenna lives in Las Vegas, Erin and Robby lives in Oklahoma, and Danny and Darin live in Missouri. 

At the age of 19, Ms. Donaldson joined the military, and she has lived in many places since. She moved back to Kansas when she got out of the military, then moved to Alabama, Pennsylvania, Germany, Florida, Oklahoma, and now here in Galena.  

“I was already nomadic, I like to travel,” she said. She went to school in Kansas and Oklahoma, and is a college graduate from a school in Oklahoma, she said. 

She said that she geeks out on things that students tend to think are not that cool and maybe the students will then decide that learning is cool and not a drag, like a “lifelong adventure.” 

“This sounds kind of cliché but it’s the same thing I hope to accomplish at any job I have and that’s to help young people realize their potential,” said Ms. Donaldson. “I think all the traveling I’ve done and living in different places has really given me a lust for learning and I think that my students generally can see that I like to learn new things and that all or most knowledge is worth having.” 

Heather Stringer

By EMILY HARRY, staff writer

Heather Stringer is the new teacher of fourth and fifth graders at Sidney C. Huntington School. She is from Mandan, North Dakota. She is the daughter of Scott and Marlene. She has one sister and two brothers – Suzanne, Davin, and Levy.

Stringer’s mother, Marlene, is a retired nurse. She worked in a nursing home for many years taking care of many elders. Stringer’s father, Scott, worked different jobs such as construction, pipe fitter, and welder. He is now retired, and he works many projects in his garage. Heather attended Jamestown College of Jamestown, North Dakota after graduating from a high school in Mandate.

Heather teaches fourth and fifth graders. She wanted a different environment to teach in, learn new things like our culture, and know what it is like when the Iditarod passes through every other year. Heather’s beginning years of teaching started at Emmonak for six years.  She then went to Montana because her husband’s sister was being sent off to Afghanistan, who is in the National Guard, where she would be helping with her sister-in-law’s children. She then taught in Pilot Station for four years and three years in Kotlik.

Being organized is an important part of her job in teaching like knowing what you are going to be teaching and when will it will be taught, and knowing when you are ready to teach it, she said. Having some sense of humor when things didn’t go as planned is something she does sometimes to lighten up the day.

Her son, Drew, really enjoys being here as much as his mother. Having a good time, having new experiences and learning about Galena and the friendly people, she said.


Cherika Penrod and Aeryn Zimmerman

By CHARLENE REDFOX, staff writer

Cherika Penrod and Aeryn Zimmerman are the new residential advisors for the Nighthawks group at Ptarmigan Hall for the Galena Interior Learning Academy. 

Ms. Penrod is from Miles City, Mont.  She is the daughter of Shawn and Lori Penrod. She has one brother, Dakota Penrod.

Ms. Penrod’s mother, Lori, works for the state of Montana in job services and has been working there for a year. Ms. Penrod’s father, Shawn, is a ranch owner and takes care of the family ranch. Ms. Penrod’s brother, Dakota, also works for the State of Montana in the road crew and has been working there for a year.

Ms. Penrod attended University of Montana, after graduating high school in Custer County District High School in Miles City, Montana.

Ms. Penrod said she hopes to help students with anything and help them achieve their dreams.

Aeryn Zimmerman is one of the new residential advisors at GILA. She is from Port Alsworth, and lived there for four years. Before that, she spent one to two years in San Diego, five years in Glennallen, and 10 years in Aniak. She is the daughter of Brett and Christy Zimmerman. She has one brother, Daniel, and one sister, Eliana.

Ms. Zimmerman’s mother, Christy, works at the Tanalian Bible Camp as a flight coordinator and trains the new staff. Ms. Zimmerman’s father, Brett, also works at the Tanalian Bible Camp as a maintenance worker, and he is a pilot for the kids to get to and from the bible camp. Ms. Zimmerman’s brother, Daniel, is a tutor and a homeschool teacher for kids. Her sister, Eliana works at Starbucks as a cashier.

Ms. Zimmerman did a one-year college program in South Carolina, after she graduated Tanalian School in 2018. 

She said that she wants to make a difference in this hard school year and make things more enjoyable for the girls in Mountain Hall.

“You just have to go for it and have fun, enjoy life and put yourself out there,” she said. “There’s so many opportunities you have out in the world. Go chase your dreams, and make the best of life while you can.”

Ms. Zimmerman said she loves working with high school students, being outdoors, and stargazing.


Matthew Conlon

By NATHAN MOSES, staff writer

Mathew Conlon is the new counselor for Sidney C. Huntington School.

He is 43 years old from Roaring Spring, Penn. He now lives in Fairbanks.

His parents are Patrice and Jerome Conlon, who are both retired teachers. He has two sisters and one brother. His sisters are Tara and Catherine; his brother is Quinn.

Mr. Conlon went to school at Central High School in Martinsburg, Penn. He then went to college at Penn State University. He then went to Millersville University and got a master’s degree there. He got another master’s degree at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. He is currently working on an additional master’s degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Mr. Conlon said his goal is to get all his students to graduate and have all seniors get into college or training of their choice. He has worked with a lot of diverse students in a lot of different school districts. He said his strength is to learn new things, and he is interested in doing some moose hunting and getting outdoors. He is also interested in riding snowmachines and setting trap lines this coming winter.

He also said that he is interested in sports and would like to be involved in coaching when this pandemic goes away.