New faces on campus
September 9, 2021
With the new school year underway, the kids of Sundance will be welcoming some familiar and not-so-familiar faces to their faculty. Three new members of teaching staff will be joining Sundance High School, while the elementary campus is welcoming two.
Sundance Elementary School
Alex Johnson, Counselor
Alex Johnson has been a school counselor for six years, first serving elementary students and most recently kids in grades 7 through 12 in Perkins County, Nebraska.
"I'm so excited to be in Sundance and help students navigate life's ups and downs," she says.
Having earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska, Johnson has worked in education for 11 years, teaching family and consumer science before pursuing her master's degree in school counseling from Chadron State College.
"It was a natural progression for me to transition to school counseling," she says. My teaching focused on equipping students with life skills and I liked the idea of doing that on a deeper, more personal level."
Johnson is married to her high school sweetheart, with whom she has two kids. They cherish time as a family exploring the area, while Johnson also says she enjoys baking, reading, sewing and "the occasional DIY project."
Johnson and her family are excited to be part of the Sundance community.
Amanda Speidel, Librarian
Amanda Speidel has called Sundance home for 23 years and has been working at the elementary for the last decade, starting out as the kitchen/office aid and running daily meal reports.
"Over time, the position turned into the administrative para position and I spent more of my time in the office. It was a job that enabled me to meet many of the community members and form many friendships with the students and staff," she says.
"When the opportunity became available to work in the library I decided to jump at the chance. I am excited to help build the kid's love of reading while in the library." What excited Speidel about the job, she says, is to watch kids, "Discover what it is that they might want to read and to learn new things. To be a part of that process. The kids' enthusiasm and joy for life at school are what bring us all to work every day."
Speidel has been married to her husband, Rusty, for 19 years and together they have three children, Parker, Silas and Adalynn. As a military kid herself, she loves knowing that her kids have their roots in Sundance.
"I can't imagine a better place to grow up!" she says.
Sundance High School
Heidi Edmonds, Counselor
Heidi Edmonds has joined SHS as the new school counselor. Originally from the west coast, time spent in this region led her to seek a new home in Crook County.
"I was born and raised in Washington, and decided to move to Montana to pursue my Master's degree at Montana State University," Edmonds said.
"I fell in love with the Rocky Mountain Region and the rolling hills of Eastern Wyoming, and I am grateful to have found a position with such a great staff and community."
Among her interests, Edmonds lists the Seattle Seahawks, concerts, antiques and cooking.
"As the school counselor, I am here to serve students with academic, personal, social, and career endeavors. Let's have a great year!" she says.
Benjamin Finch, Math
A recent graduate, Benjamin Finch is no stranger to SHS and is enjoying his return to the familiar halls.
"For the past five years I was at Black Hills State University earning a bachelor's degree in education," he explains.
"I was lucky enough to be able to complete my student teaching under Skylar Carsrud and Sheryl O'Connor, and am very happy to be back in Sundance High School."
Finch is a Wyoming native, born and raised in Glenrock, which makes him even happier to be back in his home state.
"Both of my parents are teachers and it is exciting to follow in their footsteps," he says.
"The students, parents, and the staff have all made me feel welcomed here and I am excited to become a member of the community. Here's to a great year!"
Casey Harmon, Library Para
Casey Harmon is another familiar face at SHS, having regularly subbed both at the high school and in the elementary over the last five years. Born and raised in Whitewood, South Dakota, she moved to Sundance 12 years ago and now lives here with her three kids, Jesse, Hal and Annie, and a cat named Bullet.
"I enjoy watching my kids play sports, dinner dates with my husband, camping and lounging around with Bullet," she says.
"Over the summer we took a family trip to Lake Tahoe and someday, I'd like to travel all over Europe. I'm excited to be a part of Sundance Secondary and I hope to be a good addition to the team. Come visit me at the library (just make sure you're fingerprinted)!"