Hoonah School Welcomes New Teachers

Welcome New Teachers
New Teachers Welcome

Welcome to Hoonah City Schools. We are very excited to have you aboard with us this year. We are pleased with the quality teachers we have been able to add to our staff for the 2019-2020 school year. We know that you are excited to make a positive difference in the lives of our Hoonah youth. Please join me in welcoming our new staff.

 Natalia Bucher~ School Counselor

Natalia Bucher grew up in Colorado and loves the outdoors.  She attended West Texas A&M University for her Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture Education. Natalia then attended Liberty University for her Master's in Education in School Counseling.  She loves working with students and their families.  She enjoys science, welding, fishing, camping, hiking, and laughing with the people around her.  Natalia is excited to be joining Hoonah City Schools and looks forward to helping students, families, and staff achieve their greatest potential.  

Joan Martin~ Elementary Special Education Teacher

Joan Martin was born island hopping in San Juan, Puerto Rico with her military family. Criss-crossing Pacific Islands, she taught her first class at age 12, on Okinawa. Her family then moved to Adak, where she taught swimming and water safety to people of all ages in high school, then through college at Fairbanks and Ketchikan while also commercial fishing. Armed with a bachelor’s degree from UAF, she taught  K-8 and special education around Alaska while pursuing her love of travel. At one point she and her husband took a leave of absence. They sailed their boat from Sitka to New Zealand, spending five years exploring the South Pacific which included a short stint teaching special education at Majuro, an atoll in the Marshall Islands. She also tutored other sailing children along the way.

Missing the classroom, Joan returned to Alaska. She taught school and worked as a district librarian. She completed her masters degree in creative writing in 2017. The district cut their library staff, so Joan took a year to regroup, take care of a family crisis, and pursue her other passion - writing. She wrote two books, and returned to the ocean sailing 2000 miles from Southern California back to Alaska. Joan is excited to be back, teaching and sailing around her home waters of Southeast Alaska.

Rachel Priser~ 2/3 Teacher

My name is Rachel Priser and I’m originally from Texas.  I spent 6 years in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany and California.  I have a Master’s in Education from California State University.  I love the outdoors and to travel!  The last couple of years I was teaching in a bush village in the Arctic of Alaska.  I am very excited to now experience what Southeast Alaska has to offer!  I look forward to working with my new community!  

Ben Mettling~ 4/5 Teacher

My name is Ben Mettling and I’m from East Central Minnesota.  I spent the first 7 years of my career teaching in elementary classrooms and coaching sports in small communities in Minnesota.  I moved to the Northwest Arctic village of Selawik as an Elementary Teacher and Physical Education Teacher.  My love for the outdoors is what initially motivated me to seek employment in Alaska.  I love the Alaskan Arctic, but I’m excited to trade in my snowmobiles for a boat and see what the beautiful Southeast has to offer!  I look forward to meeting my students and their parents and having a great school year!

Elena Swenson ~ Middle School Math/Family & Consumer Science

My name is Elena Swenson and I’m from San Jose, California. I received my bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in Family and Consumer Science from Idaho State University. I started teaching in Alaska last year on the Aleutian Peninsula and love the people, scenery, and the experiences I’ve had here so far. I look forward to new experiences as a teacher in Hoonah. I am excited to start teaching in Hoonah.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  Don’t settle. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Steve Jobs


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