As many of the students in Homer High know, there has been an influx of new arrivals at the school, teachers and students alike. One of the new teachers is Ms. Ciccarone, a language arts teacher. Students in her creative writing class are exploring literature through a different point of view than they have previously, the literal deconstruction of novels. They are cutting, burning, and ripping apart the books. Then they use the words and pages to create new art of their own.
Ms. Ciccarone did the same to her career. Her position in the education system in Gilbert, Arizona was very poor. She informed me, “They don’t pay teachers well. Classrooms are not fully funded… Senators own charter schools and write laws to help charter schools and not public schools.”
It is “Charter school mania” as she puts it. So, when she found Homer High School, she was very excited to apply. “I found Homer High School on Facebook, and I emailed the principal. He said there wasn’t any openings at the time.” A few months later, in May of last school year, Mr. Waclawski contacted her again, offering an interview for a new opening.
She deconstructed what she had established at her old teaching position, but she is in the process of “rebuilding the relationships with kids and teachers, and staying for the long haul.” She is using the 30 years of living and 12 years of teaching in Arizona to bring new art to Homer. A large part of the art that she brings is a “family atmosphere, letting people know that I’m pretty nice, pretty fun. You learn a lot, you laugh a lot.”
Now that she has begun the next chapter of her career she is bringing her actual family to Alaska to enjoy the great state with her. She is prepared to finish her novel in Homer. She finished her interview by saying, “I want to spend the rest of my teaching career here.”