By Maureen Robertson
Kindergartners, seventh-graders and high school freshmen weren’t the only ones with the jitters Monday, the first day of the 2011-12 school year.
“It’s a little bit terrifying,” Jamie Wheeler admitted during New Teacher Orientation last Wednesday.
Wheeler is one of four teachers new to the Ramona Unified School District. A graduate of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, she is the healthcare essentials teacher at Ramona High School. This is her first teaching job, and her class in Room G4 is a career technical course.
Students in Wheeler’s class will learn to be first responders. They’ll study subjects such as anatomy, and, among other skills, they’ll be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Wheeler, an Escondido resident, has three children, ages 9, 7 and 6. Based on enrollment, her teaching job is a 60 percent assignment.
Also at Ramona High School is Vanessa Tobin, the school’s new agriculture teacher. Because of low enrollment in the RHS ag program, she will only be teaching two periods a day four days a week, she has plans to change that.
RHS Principal Tony Newman told her he was 100 percent behind her and “the sky’s the limit” with increased enrollment. She said she’s hopefully here to stay and she has plans for gardening and farm animals on the farm.
An Orange County resident and California Polytechnic State University Pomona graduate, Tobin is teaching students in grades 9 to 12 in Room J57.
Janessa Anderson will split her time between Ramona High School, where she is the choir teacher for grades 9 through 12, and Mount Woodson Elementary School, where she is the music teacher for kindergarten through grade 6.
A graduate of Arizona State University, she was a choir teacher in Phoenix for five years, earned her master’s degree in Oklahoma, where she taught the women’s choir at the university, and she worked on her doctorate at the University of Washington.
Dan Langhoff, a University of Oregon graduate, will job share kindergarten through grade 3 special education classes at James Dukes Elementary School with teacher Melinda Linder. A Ramona resident for eight years, he has two children in the district, one attending Ramona Elementary School and one at Olive Peirce Middle School.
Langhoff previously worked in the science field in genetic engineering for 16 years for various corporations. He was a stay-at-home dad for six years and worked in the Ramona school district as an instructional aide for three years while earning his credential to teach. On days he isn’t in his classroom, look for him substituting in other teachers’ classes or working on his organic farm, Harmony Valley Farms.