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Carla Aannerud: Paraprofessional

Hi! I grew up on the west side of Washington, graduating from Peninsula High School in 1987. Not long after I moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where I spent 26 exciting years. At the University of Alaska, I earned my Bachelor of Art majoring in English and minoring in Fine Art. My husband and I moved to Newport in 2015 to be closer to my family! I started as a paraeducator working at Sadie Halstead Middle School. Since that first year, I have worked in the special education department at Stratton Elementary and here at Newport High School. Recently, I began working on my Masters in teaching, secondary English and will be student teaching with Mrs. Burnham in the 2nd trimester of this year! I LOVE being a GRIZ and hope to continue teaching and inspiring our great students in the years to come! In my free time, I love to travel, pursue my love of creating art, and play with my six dogs. Woof!

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Susan Baker: Counselor

Hi! I am Susan Baker, the school counselor! I have been a counselor for 13 years and I am in my 6th year at Newport High School.  I enjoy building relationships with students and having the opportunity to empower them to be strong, resilient young people who know their value and worth. I support or lead the Youth 2 Youth Club, Link Crew,  homeless (McKinney Vento), Connection Center (clothes, toiletries, showers, snacks, school supplies and prom dresses), 504 coordination, district mentoring program and Girl Power. I also provide counseling in the areas of mental health, academics, stressful events, etc.  I love our Griz community and the Northwest and spend a ton of my time outdoors; kayaking, jet skiing, bike riding, hiking, camping, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. 

"Don't wait until everything is perfect, because it never will be.  There will always be challenges, obstacles, and uncomfortable conditions. So what?  With each step you take, you will grow stronger, have more grit, and gain more self-confidence. Just start!”

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Karen Behrend: Math & French

I went to college at the University of Washington and Central Washington University for degrees in math and French. I was a nanny in France for a year when I was young and my first year of teaching was on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.  I love foreign travel but I love having my home in Newport too. I always say my two favorite cities are Paris and Newport!  I love to ski, bike, paddle board and cook with family. And luckily, I still love to teach!

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Doug Best: English 10 & 11, Psychology & Strength & Conditioning

Doug is an alumnus of Newport High School, Class of 1984. Go Griz! Doug moved to Seattle where he attended the University of Washington and received a BA in History and his 4-12 teaching credentials. Go Dawgs! Doug met Susan while teaching at Lynnwood High School and later started a family in western Washington, raising their two sons, Ryan and Kyle. Most of Doug's career was at Enumclaw High School which afforded him dozens of hikes just a short drive into Mount Rainier NP. Doug has coached high school and AAU boys' basketball, served at his local church and volunteered countless hours to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. In 2018 Doug and Susan bought their home on Diamond Lake and are enjoying new challenges and a simpler, slower pace of life. One challenge is their chocolate lab puppy, Maisie :-). Doug's love of travel and culture has been inspired by chaperoning several student trips to Europe. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." RW Emerson 

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Jessi Blackburn: BTC English, Drama & Drawing

I grew up moving all around the world as an Air Force brat, and when my father retired, I graduated from Mt. Spokane High School. I then worked my way through college while attending Whitworth University and graduating with a bachelor's degree in English Language Arts. I worked at Moses Lake High School as an English and drama teacher before moving closer to home and beginning my work as an English teacher at Newport High School. I attended Southern New Hampshire University and earned my master's degree in fine arts with a concentration in fiction writing. Over the years here at NHS, I have since restarted a drama program as well as begun teaching drawing alongside the senior Bridge to College English class. My husband and I have settled in Spokane with our little family, and I look forward to continuing to work in the Newport community.

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Lisa Bradbury: English 9, Academic Prep & Intervention

I am proud to say that I am a Grizzly through and through. I graduated from Newport in 1995 and I have lived in Newport most of my life. I went to college to earn my teaching certificate at Eastern Washington University (EWU) and two years later went back to EWU to earn my masters degree.  This is the start of my 21st year of teaching and I truly love working with my students. I learn something new from them everyday. I teach Freshman English and Academic Prep and the Intervention Specialist. I want my students to see value in themselves and believe that they can accomplish what they start. I also believe that the best way for me to help my students realize this is through servant leadership. Go Griz!

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Rhonda Burnham: English, World History, Financial Literacy & Leadership

In 8th grade,  I knew my career pathway was to go to Eastern Washington University and become a high school teacher.  What I didn't know was that I would get to teach in this amazing Newport community!  The Grizzly family has blessed me beyond words, I love my Griz Ohana!  I teach Honors English and several Business CTE courses, but the job duty I most enjoy is serving our student body as one of the ASB Advisors for NHS.  

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Jessica "J" Curtis: Band & Choir

Hello! I'm J Curtis. I knew I wanted to be in a music related profession since I was in 7th/8th grade. I was determined to get a college degree in music, and I did so at Whitworth University (S'go Bucs!!!). There, I received my Bachelors in Music, and I also received my Masters in music education from their Master in Teaching (MIT) program. Throughout my musical studies, I had many opportunities to perform all over the world, including many countries in Europe and in Thailand. In college, both the Orchestra and Wind Symphony I was a member of had the opportunity to play at Washington Music Education conferences in Yakima and Bellevue. While I'm not making music, I enjoy crocheting, cross stitching, and gaming. I currently live in Spokane down the hill from Whitworth with all of my 8 (and counting) house plants. While it is a long drive up to Newport every morning, I really love getting to view the scenery! It's made even more spectacular knowing that I get to see my amazing groups of students that I'm thankful to have the opportunity to teach. Go griz!!!

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Jannell Earle: Science

I joined the Newport Griz Family in 2014 as a Science/Math teacher.  I received both my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Eastern Washington University majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Ecology. I am certified in Science, Biology, Mathematics and Career and Technical Education (CTE).  I have always enjoyed the learning environment and now I have the dream job full of curiosity and discovery each day!

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Angie Grant: Special Education

I was born in Spokane and graduated from Ferris High School. I received my Associates Arts Degree from Spokane Falls Community College, my Bachelors in Special Education from Eastern Washington University, and my Masters in Special Education from Grand Canyon University.  I moved to Diamond Lake 15 years ago with my husband Alex, and I am in my 11th year of teaching Special Education in the Newport School District. There is nowhere else I would rather teach! Go Griz!!

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Kati Henshaw: Health, HBS, Med.Assisting & Fire Science

I am proud to say that I attended K-12 here! I worked for the US Forest Service as a wildland firefighter for eight years. When I was ready for a new career, I became a Medical Assistant where I worked in Community Health for ten years. I still carry a certification in Medical Assisting and recently completed classes to become an EMT. I am also a CPR/First Aid Instructor. The technical skills, human connection, and compassion in Healthcare make it a very rewarding career, and I love opening that door for our students! After living in other parts of the country for most of my adulthood, I am so happy to be back in beautiful Newport. I love my dogs, riding my motorcycle, and teaching at NHS!

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Marie Hughes: Science

I grew up in Burbank, Washington. I attended Eastern Washington University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2002.  My husband and I moved to Newport in the fall of 1999, and I commuted to Cheney for three years to finish my degree.  I substitute taught in the Newport School District for many years before taking a full-time science position at NHS in 2013. I have taught Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, and Biomedical innovations. My family and I have been in Newport for over 22 years, and we feel fortunate to have raised our two children, Lillian and Berg, in this community. We love it here!

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Debbie Huling: Credit Recovery Paraprofessional

I am fortunate to be starting my 32nd year with the Newport School District. In these years I have now worked with all grade levels. Beginning in Pre-school then moving into kindergarten, then first grade and then into Behavior Intervention, where I have spent the majority of my years with the district. I took a short break in January 2020 to move to the High School where I worked in the Grad-Point Program when Mrs. Tate retired. In this program I worked with students needing credit recovery, students who were working with BYU, and students who just needed elbow room in their schedules. With the start of the 2022-2023 school year I have returned to behavior intervention with the High Schools new In-School Intervention room. I am looking forward to my new adventure. In my free time I enjoy time with family and friends, gardening, landscaping, quilting, and reading.

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Hannah Keinert: Paraprofessional

I have lived in the area for over 20 years and am so proud to be a Grizzly! I earned my B.A. in Human Resources from the University of Idaho. I have an undying passion for learning and joined the Newport School District family in January 2022. As a paraeducator, I am helpful wherever I am needed! I love to see students learn and succeed. I plan to earn my certification in teaching in the next couple of years so I can continue to teach and inspire the next generation.

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Mr. Levi Litowitz: Media & Sports Broadcasting

I graduated from Newport in 2016 and went on to earn my bachelors of Science at Washington State University, Go Cougs! Here at Newport we have a fully functioning radio and tv station, as well as an online streaming service, this is a very unique program, one of three in Washington State. Students are responsible for all aspects of these three services. And I am responsible for making sure they know what they are doing, so I teach sports and media broadcasting. I am also the head track and field coach and this is my 3rd year coaching here.

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Brett Mackey: Assistant Principal/Athletic Director

I graduated High School in Lind, Washington in 1993.  Attended Big Bend Community College and received an Associate in Art's Degree in 1995.  In 2000 I graduated Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor's of Science and received my teaching degree.  My wife, newborn son and I moved to Ocean Shores, Washington where we grew our family and love for the outdoors over the next 17 years.  Professionally I was able to gain experience in many aspects of education.  Those experiences included teaching k-12 health and physical education and middle school math, all while gaining experience in coaching football, basketball and baseball.  In 2012, I attended Seattle Pacific University where I completed my master's degree in Educational Leadership allowing me to further my experience as an administrator.  There I was able to act as an assistant principal/athletic director and eventually the principal at North Beach Jr./Sr. High School.  In 2017 I was hired here to become a Grizzly.  My wife and three kids have loved being a part of this special community and Griz Ohana.  Go Griz!! 

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Todd Matthews: Honors English, Art & Yearbook

I graduated from Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, Washington in 1986. I then worked as a car salesman and a warehouse worker until I attended Central Washington University earning a degree in Fine Arts and English. I then attended University of Puget Sound and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. I started teaching Art and Yearbook at Enumclaw High School and then White River High School. Following my wife's career path, my family and I moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where I owned an Art Gallery. My wife’s career then took us to Phoenix, AZ and then on to Los Angeles where I taught in an inner city high school for another 8 years before taking a job as an assistant principal in Watts. We then decided to move back home to Washington and I found the position I currently hold, teaching Eastern Washington University English 101 and 201, Honor English 9, and the drawing, painting, and ceramics classes at Newport High School. I have coached soccer for eight years, and football for eight. I love this town, community, and school. Go Griz!

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Brandon McDaniel: Auto Tech

My name is Brandon McDaniel. I started coaching for Newport about 6 years ago as an assistant football coach and have been involved with Newport Schools ever since. I am currently a Career and Technical Educational (CTE) teacher for computer science at Sadie Halstead Middle School and automotive technology for the high school. I am the head wrestling and tennis coach as well as the offensive coordinator for our football team. Coaching and teaching is my passion and I love being a part of growing our students and athletes into confident young men and women. I truly value the relationships that continue to grow with both the staff and the students here at Newport.

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Kati Moser: Special Ed. & Life Skills

I grew up in Friday Harbor, Washington and graduated from high school there in 2006. After graduation, I attended Washington State University and completed my bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. I have taught almost all ages of students in the special education programs. I began teaching at Forks High School on the coast for 3 years. Then moved to Spokane where I taught in the Mead School District in an elementary resource room. When moving to Newport in 2017, I landed a job at Stratton Elementary for 3 years then moved to the high school in 2020 to teach in the Life Skills Program. I absolutely love teaching at Newport High School. The students and staff make coming to work everyday so rewarding. I am proud to work and raise my family in such an amazing community and school district! Go Grizzlies!

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Sarah Noble: Math

I graduated from high school just down the road at Riverside.  I then went on to earn a Bachelor's of Mathematics from Western Governors University  and a Master's of Counseling and Psychology from the University of West Alabama.  Both of those degrees were earned through distance learning online.  I have taught nearly all math classes from 7th grade through precalculus.  I am a self-proclaimed math nerd, and proud of it.  Math is my favorite! :) 

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Saraya Pierce: College & Career Resource Specialist, CTE Director & Much More!

I love my job!  I am Newport High School’s College and Career Resource Specialist and the district's Special Programs Director (Career and Technical Ed. (CTE) Director, Testing Coordinator, and Professional Development Coordinator).  I love being a part of the growth in our district; supporting students, staff, and programs.  I grew up on a ranch outside of Oroville WA and after graduating in 1990, I went directly to Washington State University where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology.  After working as a Medical Lab Tech.  for several years in Colville I returned to college, but this time at Eastern Washington University for my Master’s in Teaching and was hired at Newport High School.  Over the years I coached volleyball, softball, and basketball and have taught a variety of traditional Science and Math classes and all 4 courses of the PLTW Biomedical Science Program.  In 2017, I left the classroom to join our District’s Administrative Team, earning my Administrator/Principal certification from WSU and my Career and Technical Education Director Certification through the state of Washington.   My husband and I have genuinely loved our 23 years in the Newport community and the opportunities our two children, Tessa and Nolan have been able to pursue.  I look forward to helping all our young Grizzlies find their path.

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Dave Pomante: PE and Strength & Conditioning

I have forty years of teaching and coaching experience at the high school and college level. I received my bachelor and master's degree from Whitworth University.

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Honey Smith, RN

Hi! I'm Honey. I've been a Registered Nurse for 10 years. I worked in Seattle Children's Cardiac and Transplant Unit for most of my career before moving to Newport to live a simpler life. My family and I own a large farm in the area. We are passionate about knowing where our food comes from and giving animals a life of respect. My husband is a firefighter and we have two kids together. We love this small and tight knit community we are raising our kids in. I love working in the Newport School District because of the amazing students, staff and families I see on a daily basis. Go griz! 

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Melissa Smith: Spanish, Financial Literacy & Leadership

I was born and raised in Southern California. Upon graduation from high school, I attended both Vanderbilt University and the University of Madrid. I majored in Spanish and minored in Mathematics. My teaching experience spans three decades and three states: North Carolina, California, and Washington. I have taught Spanish, Washington State History, Algebra, Geometry, Financial Literacy, and Leadership. I have been in Newport since 2013 and have no intention of moving away. I love this school district and this community! Go Grizzlies!

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Peggy Wells: Algebra, Geometry & Financial Literacy

I am a graduate of Eastern Washington University.  I have taught all levels of math in the thirty three years I have been in education. Math is the vehicle I use to get to know students and help them develop tools for learning.  Watching kids grow into adults and seeing them continue to be complex thinkers, effective communicators, and self-directed, life-long learners after they leave high school is what keeps me coming back year after year. Please know I will always have your kid’s best interests in mind. Our partnerships are crucial in fostering their success.  Please feel free to reach out any time. I am anxious to familiarize myself with the “Grizzly Way”.  Always remember, “ A Day Without Math Is Like A Day Without Sunshine”.

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Amy Whitney: US History, US Government & CWP

Why I Am A Teacher: Students are the future leaders of our nation and world.  Learning about the history of our great nation, the foundations of our government, and our responsibilities to our cities, our countries, and the world helps ensure a brighter future for all of us. I received my Bachelor's in Arts, from BYU, and my Master's in Teaching, from Whitworth. I have lived in 10 states and countries, learning to appreciate many different cultural aspects from the wonderful variety of people I was privileged to live around. I love learning other languages and cultures. 

In addition to teaching social studies, I have also taught: Ballet, Boy Scouts, Choir, English, German, Seminary, Violin, and Zumba. 

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Kelli Youk: Communications Disorders Specialist

I was raised on a farm in rural Montana, graduating high school from Conrad, MT.  I attended Montana State University before transferring to Washington State University, where I received my BA in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2002.  I completed my MA from Washington State University in 2004.  I worked for 5 years at Spokane Ear Nose and Throat Clinic as a Speech Language Pathologist with focus on Auditory-Verbal therapy for children and adults with cochlear implants.  I then worked for Infant Toddler Network in Kootenai County for 3 years doing birth to three intervention.  After that, I worked for 7 years as the SLP for the West Bonner County School District before coming to land here with the Newport Griz family!  My husband and I have lived here for over 20 years, and feel truly blessed to raise our three children here.  I love serving the community doing something I truly enjoy!