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Art teacher volunteers to add on theater responsibilities as teacher shortage squeezes Galt district

Joshua Cullters
Galt High art teacher Corryn Hafner took on extra responsibilities as the Galt district’s theater teacher

Galt High School recently welcomed its very own art teacher, Corryn Hafner, as its new theater teacher, as ongoing enrollment and employment issues throw curveballs at the administration.

After getting zero applications for a new art teacher, the administration first turned to the English department for potential volunteers. After no one from the English department took the opportunity, art teacher Corryn Hafner enthusiastically volunteered and ultimately was chosen for the role, said GHS principal Kellie Beck.

“She just has her heart and soul into everything (and) asked if she could pick up the theater class,” Beck said. 

After the previous theater teacher, Sonja Brown, retired, GHS officials had to look for her replacement in an environment of declining enrollment, said Beck.

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“So last year, Miss Brown, she retired,” Beck said. “We’re in a declining enrollment for numbers and so we had to right-size the school and the number of teachers for the number of students. There (weren’t) enough students to warrant a full-time teacher. There’s only one section of theater here, and one section of theater over at Liberty Ranch High School, so that’s not enough to make it … full time.”

And when Hafner took on the theater assignment, another teacher had to share the load by taking over some of the art classes she taught, art teacher Dare Mitchell said.

“I’m excited to share that I’ll be teaching Art 1, Art 2 and Art 3 classes this year,” Mitchell said. “After a break last year, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with intermediate- and upper-level classes, which I genuinely enjoy. I appreciate students’ enthusiasm and freedom in creating original artworks. Additionally, I’m eager to teach a digital photography class, allowing students to delve into Digital SLR cameras and Photoshop tools. I can’t wait to embark on this exciting journey!”

Despite Hafner’s busy schedule, she is doing a great job at keeping the theater department organized, senior Matia Brunson said.

“I think it’s actually a lot more organized than it was last year,” Brunson said. “Hafner makes sure everybody’s participating – and if they don’t, we have to restart whatever we were doing.”

On top of that, Hafner already has made some significant plans for the rest of the year, Brunson said.

“She has a game plan for the rest of the year and it sounds really good,” Brunson said. “And I’ve been going through her binders about it, and it just seems a lot more organized.”

Overall, the administration feels confident about its recent staffing decisions, Beck said.

“I feel confident in the people that are in place right now,” Beck said. “That will keep the program really up and running to the best of their ability because they have a deep love for it. You know, they wanted it. It wasn’t like it was assigned to somebody, so I feel pretty confident about all of that.”

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Josh Cullers
Josh Cullers, Reporter
I am a senior at Galt High School.
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