New MSMS teachers reflect on first year


Simon Riggle

At Hooper Science Building, MSMS students learn a variety of academic subjects. This year, MSMS welcomed six new teachers to teach at Hooper Science Building.

Chloe Dobbins, Managing and Lead Copy Editor

This past school year, MSMS welcomed six new teachers: English teacher Theo Hummer, chemistry and biology teacher Joseph Barnard, Spanish teacher Franco Lopes, mathematics and engineering teacher Fatima Hilali, chemistry teacher Charles Nettles and biology teacher Jeff Janovetz.

For some teachers, the transition to working at MSMS was not without its difficulties. Before taking a job at MSMS, Hummer was an adjunct teacher in the liberal arts department at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, as well as a freelance copy editor for a few small presses. According to Hummer, beginning a career at MSMS took a lot of adjusting. 

“This job really takes all of you,” Hummer said. “It’s an adjustment to [move to] a job that’s full time plus.”

Nevertheless, Hummer said she is happy with her choice to work at MSMS.

“The people definitely [are the best part of working at MSMS],” Hummer said. “I love my colleagues and my students.”

Nettles echoed Hummer’s sentiment about the close community at MSMS after working in a larger environment at the chemistry department of Mississippi State University. 

“Students are very involved,” Nettles said. “I get to know [the students at MSMS] a lot better than I did at [MSU].”

Further, Nettles explained how his teaching varied after coming to MSMS.

“I have freedom to choose what I want to teach,” Nettles said. “I can easily move around and adapt based on how [my students] are doing.”

According to junior Ava Grace Noe, Nettles caused her to better appreciate a subject she used to hate.

“[Nettles] is a great teacher. I’m not a big fan of chemistry, but he inspired me to like it more,” Noe said. “He’s genuinely a good person and really understanding if you ever have an issue.”

Like Hummer and Nettles, Lopes expressed appreciation for the student body at MSMS. While working at previous teaching jobs, Lopes said he was in an environment that was less respectful than MSMS.

“I was teaching in an environment that I felt did not value me. I also had to deal with more behavior issues at the last school,” Lopes said. “However, I feel respected [at MSMS]. The students, my co-workers and my leaders are all respectful of me. This made it really easy to accept the job.”

Lopes had a long history of teaching before taking a job at MSMS. He began teaching Japanese in Brazil as a teenager. Upon moving to Japan, he taught Spanish and Portuguese as well as working as a translator. When he first came to the U.S., Lopes worked in elementary and middle schools before later teaching at MSMS. 

One student said they appreciated Lopes’ laidback teaching method and believed he has the potential to become an amazing teacher at MSMS. 

“I admire [Lopes’] dedication and creativity. He’s always dressing up, creating fun worksheets and attempting to make his class fun. During the first semester, he was met with Spanish students of varying [proficiency] levels and is still working on how to help these students,” the students said. “With more time, he will become one of the legends at MSMS.”