When You "Add" Them All Up, the Maranatha High School Math Department "Equals" a Great Team

Published : Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | 1:20 PM

L-R: Sandy Pelletier, Kimi Nahigian, Keyera Albright, Jerica Banares, Monica Chan, and Shawn Harris

Each week the Maranatha Minutegram will be introducing one of its hardworking and dedicated faculty and staff departments. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talented people the God has brought to our school, and to give readers a little insight into each department, its members, and the calling the Lord has placed on their lives. We hope these articles give you an even greater appreciation for our staff and the ways they enrich our students’ lives and help make Maranatha High School a Christ-centered and welcoming community.

This week’s introduction: The Math Department

Sandy Pelletier, Department Chair

Sandy has been teaching in the math department since 1992 and became Chair of the department in 1993. “We’re a group that’s very passionate about our field. We know how to collaborate well each other. We’re all on board and following the same direction, and that makes it a very nice environment to work in. I appreciate my team’s work ethic and individual strengths. I work with a stellar team of math teachers that are like-minded in their enthusiasm for this most beautiful of subjects and in their commitment to serve the Lord. My goals and prayers for this department would be to seek present lessons with a high degree of clarity and care deeply for the individuals in our classes, inspiring them and connecting with each one of them during the year. For some of my students, I hope to proffer the delicious hook that captures their fancy and attracts them to a major in mathematics, the study of pure abstract truth. But for all, I hope they will grow in confidence and ability as we conquer the challenges ahead.”
Quirky Fact: “At home, I designed and had our bathroom shower constructed with the numbers from the Fibonacci Sequence.”

Keyera Albright

Keyera came to Maranatha High School because she wanted to be able to integrate her faith into the math that she teaches, and of course, she also heard that Marantha was a great school. “This is my fourth year at Maranatha, and the math department is amazing! We are all math nerds who bring different strengths to the department to make it a great unit. We support each other wholeheartedly, and that is a wonderful thing to be able to say.”

Quirky Fact: You will find Keyera’s “math brain” clearly visible in her closet. “I have my closet organized by type of clothing (shirts, pants, dresses, etc.), then by style (long sleeve, short sleeve, etc.), and then by color.”

Jerica Banares

Jerica was led to Maranatha because this school offered her the opportunity to teach math, a subject she is passionate about, in a setting that encourages a Biblical worldview. “I’ve always thought math teachers were the best kind of teachers, and my fellow math teachers have continued my belief in that. I’m so thankful for their love and care for me as a new teacher here. Everyone has been very helpful, teaching me the in’s and out’s of Maranatha and the math department.”

Quirky Fact: “I play Dungeons and Dragons with my fiance and our friends. It’s pretty fun.”

Monica Chan

Monica is currently in her fifth year of teaching at Maranatha and believes that Christ led her here. “I travel everyday from Riverside, which is about 85 miles away, but God gives me the strength and a patient heart to educate my students. I love how I can pray and talk about Our God with my students and colleagues here at Maranatha. The support that I get from administration, colleagues, parents, and students means a lot to me as an educator. We really are one big family.” Monica also loves being a part of the dynamic math department. “We work cohesively under the leadership of our dedicated Department Chair, Sandy Pelletier. She is always there whenever we need any math resources or personal advice. Sandy has helped me tremendously, and has even given me the opportunity to grow as a math teacher.”

Quirky Fact: “I consider myself a world traveler. I will travel somewhere that is beyond my comfort zone. My biggest accomplishment for traveling was when I was 19 years old. I backpacked through Europe all by myself starting in Hungary and all the way up to Finland, completing all the countries in the Scandinavia Continent.”

Shawn Harris ‘00

Shawn is a Maranatha Class of 2000 graduate who is currently in his fourth year of teaching. “I knew that once I started to pursue teaching as a career, that Maranatha was the place in which I wanted to begin my career. I wanted to be able to give back to the community that gave so much to me. I enjoy teaching in the math department because of the range of diversity that we have. Each of our staff members have unique talents and gifts that they bring to teaching and beyond.”

Quirky Fact: “I love games and puzzles. Recently, I have gotten into the hobby of modern board games and completing puzzles. My collection of games is reaching into the dozens and my fiance and I have completed several 1,000 and 2,000 puzzle pieces over the last year. We recently assembled a 1,000 piece puzzle in roughly 6 hours.”

Kimi Nahigian ’08

Kimi, also an alum, has been working at Maranatha High School for five years, and the best and most enjoyable part about working for MHS is she gets to bring God into the math classroom on a daily basis. “Mathematics is an amazing representation and showmanship of who God is, and I love having the opportunity to share that with students. And the entire math department is amazing! We are all so unique and yet our passion for math draws us together. The head of our department, Sandy, is a diligent and consistent leader who challenges us to be the very best teachers we can be while sharing our own love of the subject.”

Quirky Fact: “I am a complete Disney nerd and love everything about Disney. I collect seasonal Mickey and Minnie stuffed characters. It’s not uncommon for my students to hear Disney music coming out of my classroom during break or lunch.”

Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.





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