McLeod Joins Pueblo Faculty, Shares Love Of Worldly Cultures

By Anyssa Fimbres & Jessica Tarango

After 10 years of teaching anthropology at the University of Arizona—and after many “worldly” experiences”—Mr. Jonathan McLeod has ventured to Pueblo High School to teach English.

McLeod teaches four classes of freshman English; one sophomore English class; and this second semester he will teach an ACT Prep class to juniors.

“In the first semester at Pueblo, I have enjoyed developing student-teacher relationships,” McLeod said. “I’m just now really started to feel comfortable with those students in my classrooms.”

McLeod has been friends with PHS nurse Ms. Kate Straub, and she convinced him to apply for teaching positions at Pueblo. He was a frequent substitute-teacher last school year, and he jumped at the chance to become an “official” teacher for 2023-24.

“What I’ve really enjoyed most as a high school teacher is seeing improvement in my students’ work,” said McLeod. “I gain a lot of satisfaction from their academic success.”

Originally from Chicago, McLeod has lived and worked in many places around the world. He attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and lived in several American cities—most recently in San Francisco, Calif., before moving to Tucson.

However, McLeod’s early life reads like a global map. He attended many years of school in Singapore and Indonesia, which he said influenced his decision to become an anthropologist because of his fascination with many cultures. McLeod has even lived in Alaska for a few years.

He said, “I worked in the New Guinea jungles as an anthropologist from 2014 to 2019 conducting research with indigenous people because I wanted to know how these people live in the rain forest and how they were adapting to development.”

McLeod defines “anthropology” as the study and research of how people live and adapt to their environments, and although he would like to someday return to teaching college anthropology, he is happy right where he is now.

“I hope that my love of different cultures is contagious to my students,” McLeod said. “I have a lot to share with my students.”

Mr. Carpenter: ‘Building’ Relationships, Chiseling Character

By Esmeralda Almazan & Iraith Arce

For the past month, Mr. Mike Carpenter has been Pueblo’s newest campus monitor, replacing Ms. Vickie Bellay who retired at the end of August.

If he looks familiar to some students, he should—as Carpenter has been coaching Pueblo’s junior varsity football team for the past three years, although he boasts 29 years of football and baseball coaching experience. He can also boast about his JV football Warriors experiencing a very successful (6-2) season.

“I’ve been building relationships with students for a long time as a coach,” Carpenter said, “so my approach to being a security monitor is the same—we’re all like one, big team.”

He said that interacts with students to guide them to create a safer place. By focusing on an inclusive environment, Carpenter said that he can easily connect with students.

“I don’t want to blow my whistle in students’ faces,” he said. “I don’t want to interact negatively with students, and I’ve found that using words works better to motivate them to get to class.”

Carpenter said that he uses the skills he learned during his 24-year military career to become a better coach and now a monitor.

“I was a Resource Protection Officer in the military as well as a security police officer for the Arizona National Guard—and this has made me alert and observant,” he said. “I’m here [at Pueblo] to protect people and to keep everybody safe.”

He added, “My favorite part of being a monitor at Pueblo is being able to interact with students. I can easily make their days better with a simple, ‘Hey, how are you?’”

Although Carpenter did not graduate from PHS, he has family connections to Pueblo. His father graduated from PHS in 1969, and his wife was a Class of 1998 Warrior.

French Returns To Pueblo

By Saul Arias & Aubrey Garcia

Pueblo High School welcomes recent University of Arizona graduate Mr. Oliver Yizukoni as the new French teacher for the 2023-24 school year.

Yizukoni was born in Ghana, Africa, and graduated from Bolgatanga (aka “Big Boss Senior High School”). After 30 years in his native country, he came to the United States to complete his master’s degree in French and to begin a teaching career soon thereafter.

“Growing up in Ghana, I was able to learn multiple languages such as English, French, Twi, Talen, Dagbani and Grune,” said Yizukoni.

He first taught French to adults for nine years at the U of A before deciding to teach at the high school level. After four months into the school year, Yizukoni said that he loves his job, his students and has already made a commitment to stay as long as possible.

“I learned early on how much I loved teaching,” Yizukoni said. “When I was in the seventh and eighth grades, I really enjoyed helping my classmates with their work. I think I knew then how much I loved teaching.”

After several years of not having more than Spanish as a foreign language choice at Pueblo, Yizukoni said that he is glad to fill the “void”.

“I want my students to write and eventually speak fluent French,” Yizukoni said. “I wish my students the best as they learn a new language because I know how difficult it can be.”

Mrs. Herrera: Back ‘Home’ To Teach

By Briana Barreda

“It feels really good to be back at Pueblo,” said Ms. Estefania Herrera, a 2011 Pueblo graduate who has returned to her alma mater to teach ELD (Levels 3 & 5) after teaching junior English at Desert View for five years.

Although she misses her Desert View students, Herrera said that she was ready for a change.

“I always planned to return to Pueblo,” she said. “My high school years at Pueblo were the best, and every time I walk down the halls, I am flooded with nothing but awesome, fun memories.”

Herrera said that Pueblo life was much different a dozen years ago.

“I’m disappointed that so many high school students live on their phones,” she said. “Few students even had phones when I attended Pueblo, and we [students] communicated better with one another. I have definitely seen a decline in adolescent social skills, and that’s sad to me.”

One of Herrera’s objectives is to instill in her students that education is the key to success.

“The more you learn, the better you understand the world around you,” she said. “Today, college is no longer an option—it’s a necessity to make a living. Students need to be mindful of their teachers and learn as much as they can from them.”

Last month, Herrera married Leonardo, her fiancé of several years.

“I’m happily married, I’m back at Pueblo, and I have the best students ever,” she said. “So, yeah, I’m very happy, and I hope that is contagious to my students. I can only hope that they have as much fun as I did during high school.”

Although Herrera plans to be a teacher for several more years, she would like to earn a master’s degree—perhaps in education or another field.

“I think we need younger principals,” she said. “I think students are able to connect with younger administrators better than older ones who might be slightly out of touch with this generation.”

For now, however, Herrera is still elated to be back home and in her own classroom.

“It’s [my classroom] really all mine,” she said. “And this Class of ’11 Warrior is teaching future graduating Warriors. What could be better and more fulfilling?”

Mr. McCauley Joins Pueblo Math Department

By Jenna Twaje

Among the nearly two dozen new teachers and staff members joining the Pueblo High School family this year, math teacher Mr. Collin McCauley is enthusiastic about sharing his love of his subject to students.

“I’ve always been good at math—ever since I can remember,” McCauley said. “As a first-year teacher, I’m hoping to help my students reach their full potential.”

Even after just a few months at Pueblo, McCauley said that being a part of the Warrior community makes him feel at home.

“This is definitely a school with a lot of culture,” he said.

McCauley said that he was influenced by his own math teachers growing up.

“These [math] teachers were true role models in my life,” he said.

McCauley said that he is looking forward to being the head coach of Pueblo’s JV basketball team.

“With my love of sports, I want to create an environment that is safe and fun and help the team reach their full potential,” McCauley said.

He added, “I want to feel like everything I do at Pueblo is important to my students and team members.”

Dr. Avila: Preparing Students For The ‘Real World’

By Ariana Garcia & Leia Ortega

For the past year, Dr. Manuel Avila, Pueblo’s College and Career Readiness Coordinator, helps to ensure that students have the necessary tools to succeed after high school, no matter how grand or how modest their goals.

Coming to the U.S. from Mexico about 20 years ago, Avila decided to become a classroom teacher. After 18 years in the classroom, Avila pursued and completed a degree in law at the James E. Rogers College of Law, graduating in May 2022.

He decided to return to education and to use his training in law to make a difference in students’ lives.

“I always thought that education is the foundation of any society in all aspects,” Avila said.

One of his primary objectives is to help students properly complete their college applications and their financial aid information. He is also instrumental in helping students attend workshops and college and career fairs.

“I encourage and invite all students to visit me if they don’t have plans for their post-high school lives,” Avila said. “I would be glad to help them explore their future careers together.”

He added that students can schedule an appointment to see him on the Pueblo website—on the same page as students would schedule an appointment with their counselors. They can also view scholarships and dates/locations for college and career fairs.

Avila said, “I want to build trust first with students and to let them know that there is, indeed, a College and Career Center at Pueblo—to advocate for themselves in order to help them with successful futures.”