Excited New Faculty at MJHS Eager to Help; Enjoys the Family Atmosphere


MJHS sixth grade Science and Social Studies teacher Patrick Maschino

Zoe Bullock, Staff Reporter

As a new school year dawns upon us, Madison Junior High School is proud to greet several new teachers for the 2022-2023 school year. MJHS welcomes six new teachers and a new athletic director this year.

Mr. Patrick Maschino has been teaching for seven years and teaches sixth-grade science and social studies. Machino initially taught third grade at Anderson Elementary School, was an assistant varsity football coach, and is the Madison Lady Cubs Track and Field head coach.

“I am excited to take on the new challenge of teaching junior high-aged kids. I’ve never gone above teaching 4th grade, so this is all new for me. So far, I’m loving every second of it,” Maschino stated. He came to MJHS because he was ready for change. He originally left teaching, but upon hearing about a position open at MJHS, he quickly realized that teaching was his calling. He believes the MJHS administration team “had a very similar vision as I do,” which influenced his choice to teach at MJHS. His best advice for new teachers is “to reach out to co-workers and people you trust for help and guidance. I would also advise that building student relationships is the most important thing, first and foremost.”

Ms. Brenda Galliher (not pictured) is originally from Arkansas and is entering her 19th year of teaching. She teaches 8th-grade science and has a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University.

“Teaching found me; it is what makes my heart sing,” Galliher stated.

She originally started as a substitute teacher and classroom aid but soon got her teaching license. She is excited to join MJHS and is already very impressed with its “dedication to innovation and exceptionalism.” She is already very close to faculty and staff and considers some colleagues as family already. She decided to teach junior high school because she knows the difficulties that junior high brings to some students, and she wants to help students transition from elementary to high school in a positive manner. Her best advice to new teachers and students is “to not hold onto negative experiences at school but let each day stand on its own. Each day is a chance to start over and do better. Ask for help when you need it; there is absolutely no shame in needing help. Know that life comes in seasons, so difficult times don’t last forever. You just learn from them and move on. I promise there are always bright days ahead; we just have to be patient sometimes.”

MJHS seventh grade Science teacher Jessica Fennig

Ms. Jessica Fennig is entering her 14th year of teaching and is a seventh-grade science teacher. She has a business degree from Indiana University but realized teaching was her passion after taking education classes with one of her friends. She is excited to teach her favorite subject all day and join MJHS. “Everyone at Madison Junior High has been so friendly, welcoming, and helpful. It’s made me feel like part of the team right away,” Fennig said.

She has taught several different grades and has enjoyed each one of them. She loves teaching science, so she has made her way to teaching middle school because of her ability to teach science all day. Her best advice for new teachers is to always ask for help. Fennig has a positive message for new students. Said Fennig, “Everyone wants to be liked and included. So, put on a smile, say hello, and introduce yourself to someone new every day. Even if one of them doesn’t like you, there will be plenty of other people who do.”

MJHS seventh and eighth grade Math teacher Sarah Hale

Mrs. Sarah Hale is a seventh and eighth-grade math teacher and is entering her fifth year of teaching. She has wanted to teach since the third grade after having a fantastic teacher who cared deeply about her students and helped them succeed. She is moving back to Madison after teaching junior high math elsewhere for four years.

“Switching schools definitely presents a learning curve in figuring out how everything operates. My students have been so great, and I am really glad I made the switch. Also, the atmosphere at the junior high is awesome, Hale stated.

Her favorite subjects in school were Pre-Algebra and Algebra, and she is passionate about teaching math. Her best advice for new teachers is not to be afraid to ask for help and be sure to get to know their students. Her best advice for new students is, “don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions or for help. They care about you and want you to succeed. Also, find out what you can get involved in to help you meet more people.”

Ms. Devin Brierly (not pictured) is the new Athletic Director for MJHS. She is originally from Milton, Kentucky, and attended Butler University in 2008. This is her first year as an athletic director, but she has been an assistant coach for women’s basketball and the head high school girls basketball coach at Southwestern High School.

“My passions are sports and helping young people. Sports are in my blood and have been my life ever since I could walk,” Brierly said.

Brierly chose MJHS because the athletic department at Madison Schools aligns with her values. This year, she is most excited to build connections with students, staff, parents, and the community. Her dream has been to work in athletics, specifically with student-athletes, so MJHS was a perfect fit. Her transition to Madison Schools has been very smooth, and everyone at MJHS has been very helpful to her. Her advice to returning athletes is to remember to be the best teammate possible. Her best advice to new student-athletes is “always work hard, be dedicated and committed to the team and teammates, ask questions, and do everything you can to represent themselves, their team, and their community in a positive manner. Being a student-athlete means more than just participating in events. It means a lot of things, but two very important ones, in my opinion, are setting an example for younger athletes and representing their school.”

Ms. Kelsey Block (not pictured) has not yet started teaching but will be teaching Health. MJHS is very excited to welcome her and wishes her luck for the school year.

Ms. Gretchen Harsin (not pictured) is also a new teacher this year and is teaching 5th grade. Due to her hectic schedule and the excitement of the new school year, she could not be interviewed.