New Teachers at EHS

A little inside on some of the new staff at EHS

Ellie Chappuis, Aidan Chappuis, and Alice Wanamaker

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This year we have welcomed many new staff members in the EHS community! We wanted to let people know a little more about all these new faces in the halls so we interviewed some of the new staff:

Mr. Kranich

Mr. Kranich is currently a student teacher with Ms. Macdonald, and is very passionate about math. He described how you can talk for a very long time about one equation or problem, and interpret it in many different ways, but you can still prove if they are correct or incorrect. He grew up in Sterling Massachusetts, where he had a brother and a gerbil named Franky. As a child, he collected Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and enjoyed the Geronimo Stilton books. In college, he double majored in computer science and math. He has always enjoyed helping people learn, but only last year decided to be a teacher. He has so far enjoyed being able to “see the student and not be the student.” He has many athletic hobbies, including water skiing, paddle boarding, and rock climbing, which may be why he can climb rope with only his hands! The future is very open for Mr. Kranich, who has not yet decided if he wants to teach in this region, or closer to where he grew up in Sterling, although he does know that he wants a dog someday. 

-Ellie Chapuis


Erik Lokensgard

Mr. Lokensgard is a new math teacher, who will be standing in for Ms. Checa while she takes a sabbatical. After working in several outdoor camps, and doing fieldwork on sculpin, a type of fish, in Alaska, he got a degree in biology from the University of Chicago. He then did more fieldwork on bay scallops, brook trout, and work that involved climbing tall trees to study acrobat ants in Madagascar. He then taught PE at a small independent school, and subbed teaching math and science while a teacher was on maternity leave, before taking a position at Smith Vocational. This is his first full year of teaching. He became interested in statistics when the study he was doing on scallops had flaws that made the data less useful. He said, “So that got me curious about stats — how to better design a study and how to communicate your findings to people. So I guess you could say I came to stats through scallops.”

-Aidan Chappuis


Ms. Madera

Ms. Madera is teaching English 9 and English 12. In the past, she worked at EHS as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. She then taught English and Social Studies at White Brook, and this year is back teaching at EHS. She says that it’s “going great, although it’s only been three weeks.”


Ms. Madera studied Spanish in college and became fluent. She studied abroad in Spain, where she discovered her love of teaching.

“I started out teaching English in Spain; that was my first teaching job. I taught Spanish kids who lived in my apartment complex….

“I knew I wanted to become a teacher; I hadn’t known that in college. I came back thinking “I want to work with people, I want to keep speaking Spanish, and I’m good at getting people going,” so I became a teacher.”

Because she was fluent in Spanish, Ms. Madera was able to teach ESL, and there were “a ton of ESL jobs in this country.” She first taught in Holyoke, but then got a job teaching ESL at both EHS and White Brook.

She loved that job, but found that her favorite part of it was “working with high school kids and helping them become fluent… I got to read all of my favorite stuff.”

In order to do more of that part, she decided to become a high school English teacher. She went back to school and got certified to teach middle and high school English. Once she became certified, the first job she found was teaching English and Social Studies at White Brook. She got that job, then applied for the job at EHS once it became available. She is enjoying being back at EHS after leaving: “I’m working with people I’ve worked with before, just in a different capacity.”


Ms. Madera thinks her biggest strengths as a teacher are “energy, passion, and creativity…. I have a lot of passion and drive to engage my students, and I have passion for the content; I love literature, I love history. So my passion is selling that to other people, and helping them find what’s interesting….  My lessons tend to be a little think-outside-the-box. I like to bring the community into the classroom and bring my classroom into the community as much as possible.”

She thinks that teaching ESL has had a significant impact on the way she teaches English as a first language. “I would emphasize interaction, making things comprehensible, and getting people to use multiple modes of communication…. I used a lot of multimedia, visuals; I emphasized the key vocabulary. I’d always try to make things interactive, because that helps people learn any language, just using the language. Also keeping the learning environment positive and low-anxiety, but at the same time taking risks.”

One thing that ESL has taught Ms. Madera to strongly value is multiculturalism in learning. When she was teaching ESL, she absorbed a wealth of knowledge about different cultures from her students. After seeing how valuable that information was, she now tries to include information about the culture of the author or setting of any writing her class studies.


She loves being outside and enjoys hobbies like hiking and kayaking. She also loves to garden: “I wouldn’t consider myself an avid gardener because I don’t have the time, but when I’ve had time I’ve planted a bunch of stuff. Probably when I retire I’ll get really into gardening.”

Ms. Madera is married; she has a seven-year-old son. “He keeps me busy, and that’s the most important job I have, is being a parent.

“We have dance parties at home; we play music really loud and just dance around. I’ve done that with him ever since he was old enough to walk. I should bring him to prom!”



-Alice Wanamaker