Three New Teachers Join Takoma Academy
Story by Shaun Robinson
This school year, Potomac Conference's Takoma Academy welcomes three new teachers to its team.
New math teacher Mike Harvey brings more than 20 years of classroom experience. A native of Jamaica, he teaches Pre-Calculus, Algebra II and Geometry. He recently completed a six-year stint teaching middle school math at a local public school, which followed four years of teaching math at a local Christian school.
This school year, Harvey is trying to “absorb the way of the school” to better understand its culture. “My mission this year is to understand and not to be understood,” he says. “It’s always been my desire to teach at our schools,” he says of Seventhday Adventist education. Earlier in his life, he was discerning the call to be a pastor, but over time, he has seen that “teaching is in line with my gifts,” he says.
If you enter Orion Hunter’s classroom, be prepared to converse with him and his students in Spanish. After two years teaching Spanish in a local public middle school, he joined TA this school year. In 2020, Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Public Relations, and minored in Spanish from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He became fluent in Spanish while studying the language at Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina) from 2017–18. Taking classes and conversing in Spanish day in and day out helped increase his proficiency to the point that he felt comfortable becoming a Spanish teacher.
“The norm here is excellence,” he shares. He wants his students to take pride in their Spanish skills and to feel comfortable conversing with others using both formal and informal Spanish.
The Fine Arts program welcomes a familiar face! Nina Hale worked at TA for two years as the office manager, planning staff events and assisting visitors, students and administration. Her creativity, organizational and interpersonal skills made her a perfect fit for the transition to art/ drama instructor.
“I was blessed with this opportunity and have always loved working with children,” she says. “Art has always been a huge part of my life, and I feel honored to share my knowledge with these talented young people!”
Enter Hale’s classroom, and you will see numerous sketches, framed artwork, digitally created images, painted canvas art, scripts, screenplays and even clothing for character props. The energy is palpable, the colors are vibrant and the atmosphere encourages imagination and curiosity.
“More than anything, I want my students to understand that spirituality, art and drama are not mutually exclusive ideas,” she says, “and I want to help them find a balance between the three!”
TA staff, faculty and students welcome these new teachers to the 2023–24 school year and are happy to have them as part of the family!