New School Year, New Teachers

Brooke Kraizer, Editor-in-Chief

New supplies, new clothes, new school year and best yet… new teachers. Parkway Central has welcomed four new teachers in the fall of 2021. All of these teachers are in different parts of the building and help make PCH a better place.

Marissa Thomas is an English teacher and this is her first year teaching. Whether it is hanging out with her friends and family or reading at a park, Thomas always finds time for original STL food. Thomas has had a passion for teaching since she was young. She is the oldest of seven and growing up she was always helping her younger siblings. Thomas makes an effort to make sure that each and every kid is engaged in her lesson.

“I love to be creative when I teach and find new ways for kids to enjoy what they do…I just want them to be confident in reading and writing,” Thomas said.

Thomas has worked at many schools and all different age groups. High school is her favorite age because she can have grown up conversations with her students and it is a much more interesting atmosphere. When Thomas worked at a preschool some of her students, parents had other kids in the Parkway district and after talking with them she knew Parkway is where she wanted to be.

“Parkway is my dream district,” Thomas said.

So far Thomas is loving her time here and enjoying all different opportunities to teach whether it is online or in person.

“The kids are awesome, if i have a virtual class they all have their cameras on and my English department team has been so wonderful checking in on me,” Thomas said.

Haleigh Stiens-Gargas is a new Special Education Teacher here at PCH. Although she is new at the high school, Stiens-Gargas was at Parkway Central Middle School for four years. Her job includes teaching life skills, functional academics and preparing students for post-secondary life. Stiens-Gargas enjoys going to the farmers market, trying new foods and playing with her three dogs.

Stiens-Gargas is no stranger to some of the students here because of her job at the middle school. This excites her as she takes on her new role at PCH.

“I’m excited to work on job skills and life skills with my students to help them be more independent. I’m also very bittersweet that I get to work with students that I’ve previously had at the middle school including my first year of teaching,” Stiens-Gargas said.

Stiens-Gargas has been working with people who have special needs for a long time. Her passion drove her in so many different directions until she decided that she wanted to be a teacher.

“I didn’t decide I wanted to be a teacher until my senior year of college. I had spent the better part of my life working with children and adults who have special needs whether it was through volunteering, being a camp counselor, or being a caregiver. I decided to get my master’s degree in special education once I graduated and the rest is history,” Stiens-Gargas said.

Steven Meizler is a new Social Studies teacher at PCH. He grew up in Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Meizler double- majored in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. Meizler has taught in Arkansas for three years and has now come here to teach American and World History.

Meizler is a “history nerd” but never originally intended to go into teaching. It wasn’t until his masters project that he realized teaching was his passion. Meizler enjoyed working with kids and presenting so once he put those things together it was a no-brainer.

“I also really enjoy watching people understand things,” Meizler said.

Brandon Franck is not new to the Parkway community. He was the Technical Education teacher at the middle school before he transitioned into the Spark! Program. It wasn’t until after he was involved that he missed being part of a community.

“I am very excited to be a part of the PCH family. For me it is important to belong to a community and have that support system,” Franck said.

Since Franck is the only one in his department he has a lot of plans and ideas to create opportunities for his students.

“My hope is that I can bring more industry professionals into the classroom and really focus on possible career opportunities available for students. Helping students discover a passion and helping students find possible career paths that match that passion is my goal as an educator. For high school students, important career decisions are right around the corner and I feel that I can make more of an impact as an educator at the high school level,” Franck said.


Mr. Franck posing with his equipment. (David Smith)


Mr. Meizler in his classroom. (David Smith)
Steins-Gargas smiling for the photo. (Steins-Gargas)