Gateway: Living

It’s a small world in the Peninsula School District — especially at Vaughn

Susan O’Leary, left, stands with former student and now teacher Kasey O’Brien. Kathy Weymiller, right, is a former principal of Artondale, where O’Leary taught and O’Brien was a student.
Susan O’Leary, left, stands with former student and now teacher Kasey O’Brien. Kathy Weymiller, right, is a former principal of Artondale, where O’Leary taught and O’Brien was a student. Courtesy

Vaughn Elementary School Principal Susan O’Leary was excited to see the name Kasey O’Brien cross her desk while she was looking to hire a teacher.

O’Brien had been a student of O’Leary at Artondale, when O’Leary taught fifth grade. O’Leary was the assistant principal at Kopachuck Middle School when O’Brien was a student. Now, O’Leary is O’Brien’s coworker and boss.

“That was a career first, hiring a former student,” she said.

Still, the connection is just a coincidence. O’Leary knew O’Brien was the perfect fit for Vaughn.

“It’s rewarding to see a former student in a teaching position that suits her so well,” O’Leary said. “She’s a born teacher.”

O’Leary really gets a kick out of walking into O’Brien’s classroom and seeing teaching tactics that she used when in the classroom.

O’Brien is a product of the district, going from Artondale to Kopachuck and graduating from Gig Harbor High School. When it came time to look for jobs, O’Brien knew she wanted to be in her home district.

She chose the Peninsula School District because she knows there’s a sense of community. As a teacher here she feels supportive, she said.

“Teaching in the Peninsula School District feels like I’m part of a family,” she said.

O’Brien said her favorite part of teaching is watching the development of her students as they go from September to June. O’Leary agrees that it’s rewarding to see students go through the school from kindergarten to fifth grade, always growing.

Maybe, someday, O’Brien or O’Leary will hire one of those students.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155

karen.miller@gateline.com

@gateway_karen

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