by Kara Thompson ’20 and Kat Mahoney ’20
For most high school students, the last time they step into their school is at the end of their senior year; however, if you look closely at Sherwood’s staff directory, you’ll notice a trend: many of the teachers here are Sherwood alumni. Mostly found in the social studies department, these educators have all decided to return to their high school to start inspiring a new generation of Sherwood students.
“There are so many of us here, and I think that says a lot about the school, that so many educators want to come back and be a part of Sherwood again. But it also means that we have a vested interest in the school’s success and future,” said Ryan Burnsky, a Sherwood alumni class of 2005 and new teacher here at Sherwood
Burnsky, who teaches US History and Honors Government in the social studies department, says being a Sherwood graduate does affect his teaching experience here. “It’s definitely a little strange and a little nostalgic [to be back] … it’s weird to be on the other side of things now. It’s kind of like if you move away from your childhood home and a new family moves in. Then 10 years later you go back to visit it and it’s the same, but also totally different.”
Burnsky’s previous seven years of teaching were at Kennedy High School, where he also helped coach the swim team. He is familiar with Sherwood more recently too, as he has been the JV lacrosse coach here for the past couple years. Although he enjoyed working at Kennedy, Burnsky has been keeping on eye on Sherwood openings to lessen his commute and maximize his time with his two children. This accessibility and convenience is crucial, “and this is a great school with awesome students and community.”
Hailey Banda, class of 2011 and Sherwood’s new ceramics teacher, walked the halls of this school just a few years ago. She says working at her old high school feels “weird, but awesome at the same time.” This is Banda’s first year teaching, but she has previously taught ceramics workshops and student-taught in Baltimore. Banda was looking for a job in Montgomery County, and the position at Sherwood just happened to open up. “I think knowing the Sherwood community and even my way around the building is very helpful,” said Banda. She also notes that her Sherwood ceramics teacher, Angela Praisner, who inspired her to pursue her passion, and she hopes to be that mentor to some of her current and future students.
Both teachers discussed their opinions on working alongside some of their old instructors. Although it sometimes is weird, they say it is interesting to get to know their ex-teachers in a different light–now as their colleagues. “All my teachers inspired me in one way or another. But it’s pretty cool to see them them day to day … I still see them as my teacher and I am sure they still see me as their student,” stated Burnsky.
Banda and Burnsky are not the only Sherwood graduates who have returned to teach. In the social studies department alone there are several more alumi, including Thomas Nakamura and Matthew Schneider.
“Who wouldn’t want to be a part of Sherwood in some way?” asked Burnsky, speaking for himself and fellow Sherwood alums … and now teachers.