New Birds in the Nest


Azhiya Davis

Ashley Dailey smiles from her new desk. Dailey was hired to be the new GEAR UP instructor.

Ashley Dailey

How many degrees do you have, and what are they?

“I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, Education, and Psychology .”


What do you do at West?

“I provide career exploration, academic and transition advising, and other academic and personal support. Mostly towards the current senior and sophomore classes. It’s Called GEAR UP.”


What are some things you did workwise before West?

“I was in the Military Police National Guard, and then I went to Northern and Western Illinois. I got my bachelor’s from Western.”


What are some hobbies you do outside of school?

“So we golf, do anything outdoors, meditation, prayer, going to concerts, and listening to music.”


What are some goals you have for this school year?

“Honestly, to help my sophomores achieve whatever they desire … I’m essentially here to help my sophomore’s achieve whatever dreams they have.”




Allie Meyer

“I always wanted to be a high school teacher. I thought about being a theater teacher first, and then switched over to math.” said Meyer. (Makenna Burt) 

How long have you been teaching?

“6 years; started at North for student teaching, then William’s, and now West.”


Where did you get your degree and in what?

“St. Ambrose, and double majored in secondary math education and theater.”


Why did you pick math?

“I felt a calling to math because I think math is a tough subject for most and I wanted to help with that.” 


What made you want to teach high school students?

“I feel like its easier to connect with them than younger students, and its just fun getting to know them and watching them grow up a little bit.”




Christina Kelly

Ms. Kelly has a Bachelor’s Degree in history and a Master’s in social work. She went to the University of Iowa for both degrees. (Morgan Ware) 

Where did you work before West?

“I actually worked for two years at a psych facility in the Quad Cities. And then, before that, I was a school based therapist.”


Why did you choose to come to West?

“I’ve done a lot of other social work jobs here in the last, like, fifteen to twenty years. I just really believe in education and think that there’s a lot of different support services that are needed to be able to get through, especially in 2022.”


How has your experience at West been so far?

“Great! It’s a big school! …there’s a lot going on, I hope to be able to make more connections with students, that’s been a little bit hard because the first couple weeks are busy. But, it’s been good so far.”


What do you hope to get out of working here?

“I don’t really want to get anything out of it, I want to provide access to support and services that students need.”


What is your personal life like? 

“I [have] two dogs. And I have two little kids; I have a two and a four year old.”




Steve Gamet

“I’ve always wanted to teach. My mom was a teacher and so was my grandmother, but it just took me a little bit longer to get into the teaching career.” Social Studies teacher Mr. Gamet said. (Makenna Burt)

How long have you been teaching?

“Three years; started at United Township then now at West.”


Why did you decide to teach social studies?

“I’ve always loved history and interacting with people.” 


How’s Your experience at West?

“It’s awesome! I just love the culture and the atmosphere!”


If your students could describe you in one word what would you want it to be?

“I hope they say caring, fun and a relaxed type of teacher.”




John Nikolopoulos

Nikolopoulos grew up in a super caring environment, not just at home but at school. “All the teachers cared and I was totally involved.” said Nikolopoulos. (Gracie Sade)

What’s your view on the west staff?

“They have been super supportive and welcoming, especially the principles and social studies teachers.”


What do you like about being a teacher?

“The kids. Maybe I got blessed with a good set of kids but I’ve got some really good ones and not just certain classes.”


What grade did you want to teach?

“I always wanted to teach high school, it’s a great time to be alive.”




Jennifer Hunter

Jennifer Hunter has been a teacher for twenty five years. She attended the University of Iowa to receive degrees for phys-ed and health education and is now teaching health over in room 208. (Isabella Davis)

 What college did you attend?

“University of Iowa, Go hawks! […] My three children go to school there right now.”


Is there anything you like to do or are passionate about outside of work?

“I love to decorate. So I do a little bit of freelance decor work as a hobby on the side besides teaching.”


What kind of environment do you want your classroom to have?

“Inviting, colorful, entertaining. The kind of thing that makes kids think and wonder. (..) I want it to be a place that’s never boring.”


Do you have any pets?

“I do! I have a dog, a Shih Tzu. His name is Oliver.”




Anna Bross

Ms. Bross is new to full-time teaching for the ‘22-’23 school year, and loves to bring an energized, engaging approach to her classes. (Aiden Kroeger)

 In a few sentences, summarize your attitude towards teaching. What would you like your students to know about your teaching style?

“I would say that I try to bring a lot of energy every day. I know math isn’t everyone’s favorite subject so I just try to be positive, and kind of fun sometimes. I think that can make a big difference for students.”


 What would you say is your mission in teaching? What kind of mark do you want to leave?

“I think just being a consistent person in my students’ lives every day. Every student has a different story, a different background, and a different place that they go home to every day. I think my mission every day as a teacher is just showing up and playing a role in my students’ lives so that they know that they have somebody that cared about them, that wanted to support them, that wanted to see them succeed.” 


Do you have any hobbies?

 I am a big soccer player. I played soccer at Augustana for all four years, and I’m maybe hoping to coach here or at least be involved. I did coach at North last year, but since I’m not there, I’d love to do more of that here. I also love music, I play violin and guitar.”




Zachary Zelnio

Mr. Zelnio is a language arts teacher and is the head of the school’s drama club, Falcon Theater. (Owen Logsdon)

Do you have anything special planned for Falcon Theater this year?

“We are doing Figments, which is one of my personal favorites, as something that I did when I was younger.”


How long have you been teaching?

“I did my student teaching last year at West, and this is my first teaching experience fresh out of college.”


In general, how has your experience been at West?

“It’s not without its challenges, but its better than I’d hoped and it hasn’t let me down so far.”


Is there anything that made you want to teach at a high school?

“I’m most interested in the content level of high school, and I appreciate the maturity level of the students.”




Katie Nash smiling from her desk. She was hired as one of the new
English/Language Arts teachers for West. (Makenna Burt)

What classes do you teach?

“I teach Young Adult Literature, English II, and English I.”


 Do you have any degrees? What colleges did you go to?

“I went to Saint Ambrose University for my BA, which is in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Marketing PR and Advertising, and I minored in Philosophy, and then I went to [the University of Arizona] to get my English degree and my teaching certification.”


Are you new to teaching, and if not, how long have you been teaching?

I am not new to teaching. I think I’ve been teaching for maybe seventeen years? I was at SalPointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona for six years and then moved here. I was at Williams for seven years, and Garfield for three years, and now I’m at West and North.”


What do you want to get out of teaching?

“For me, what I want to get is the long relationship that you build with students and keeping in touch with the students as they grow up and go through different phases of their life. It’s very exciting to see some of my former students have gone on and gotten married and have families of their own, so that to me is the greatest thing ever.”