Aileen Wakefield (D2)
Why did you decide to come to PHS?
I was very excited that an opportunity arose to join the SOCC [South County Consortium] team here on this campus. In addition, prior to joining PHS, I taught in Sonoma for 10 years. The commute was long and since I have two young children, it felt like it was time to move my career closer to Petaluma in order to be closer to home and to my children's schools.
Aliah Singh (Counseling)
What are you looking forward to this year, both in and out of school?
I'm most looking forward to getting to know the students on my caseload, because that allows me to be a better counselor for them. It's also neat to experience all of the fun parts of high school through student's eyes – rallies, dances, sports games, performances. Outside of school, I am excited for Halloween. My kids love to dress up and are starting to understand the holiday more, which is fun to watch. And of course, Halloween candy.
Ashley Harrison (F2/F8)
Is there any goal that you hope to achieve this school year?
A goal of mine would be in my math class: trying to encourage people to learn things even when they do not know how to do them.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
For my normal answer I would go with vanilla, but my go-to is one that no one has heard of. It’s called goody goody gumdrop. It’s a type of ice cream in New Zealand; it’s green ice cream with candy inside of it.
Becca Cronin (Admin)
Do you have any outside of school activities that you really enjoy?
I really love to read; I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I love sports. I just joined my very first fantasy football team and I’m winning. My dad’s a hunter and he hunts back in the hills in Petaluma, so sometimes I go up there and visit the sights. And I just like being outdoors and going on hikes with my family. I also play video games. I feel like a lot of students don’t think an assistant principal plays Fortnite and video games, but yes I do.”
What inspired you to go into education?
I was a very successful advertising executive in my 20s. But the more promotions I got, the more I realized that I really was not making a difference in this life. My coworker kept talking about how great it would be to teach at a high school; we talked about it quite a bit. So, one day I quit and applied to graduate school to get my credential. My father always said, "Do something you love and you won't work a day in your life." His job was a vocation to serve others, and now I feel that that is what I am doing. I love coming to see my students every day.
Erin Brickner (A1)
What inspired you to choose this as a career?
I always played school as a child and am from a long ancestral line of educators.
What was the most nerve-racking part of starting at PHS?
“This is my first time teaching at such a large school. I am very sensitive and pick up all the energy of the people surrounding me. So it's a lot to process. Luckily, my classes are great. We understand each other!”
Kate Tenorio (C1)
What do you like to do outside of school?
Every Saturday I take a lesson from my Russian teacher in the Russian language. She lives in St. Petersburg, in Russia.
What changes would you like to make?
I would like to change their levels of confidence, because it’s hard to write when you don’t feel that confident. So I would like to show students that they can, in fact, achieve things that are difficult and in doing so, they can increase their confidence.
Kathy Fagundes (SAC)
Why did you choose to work at PHS?
I love PHS. Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to come to PHS, but I lived in Rohnert Park. The reason why is because Petaluma has my favorite color: purple.
What is the scariest part of your job here?
When a fight breaks out because kids are angry and you don’t know where things are going to go. Part of my job is to calm them down and get them to listen.
Payton Walker (Counseling)
What inspired you to go into counseling?
I have always loved connecting with people and working in a collaborative setting. When I was in high school I had a challenging time navigating peer difficulties and social pressures. I was disconnected from school and felt lost throughout my teenage years. Looking back at that time I realize now how I needed support from my school counselors which was not provided. As an adult this has driven me to pursue this career, particularly as a high school counselor to be that support for students.
Scott Williams (SAC)
Is your work here a lot different from what you used to do?
It’s not even close to what I used to do. I used to be a full time photographer, and now I’m taking care of kids.
Did you enjoy being in the navy?
It was great! In the four years I was there, I managed to go around the world; I hit Egypt, going west and then east. It was really cool.
Terri Filippo (Admin)
What do you like to do outside of school?
I like to read, practice jiu jitsu, and spend time with my family and friends. I have two kids, Owen and Zoe, who are in fourth and first grades.
Have there been any challenges you have faced so far?
Oh, yeah. Every day is a new learning experience. My biggest challenge is learning to slow down, rather than trying to solve every problem immediately.
Wendy Gentile (SAC)
What was the funniest excuse for absences you’ve heard?
They always blame it on someone else! Either they couldn’t get their brother out of their bed [or that] their parents didn’t wake them up. "My mom forgot to wake me up." Come on, you're in high school!
Is there anything in particular you want the readers to know?
“I have a famous nephew, he plays for the Giants: Joc Pederson. I always have candy at my desk for [anybody]! One piece though. They are always welcome to say hello and grab a piece.