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Meet the incoming MHS educators

Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
1:40 pm PDT August 11, 2014

Malibu High School and Middle School will be welcoming six new teachers and support personnel to their faculty for the 2014-15 school year, in addition to interim principal Dave Jackson.
The Malibu Surfside News conducted one-on-one interviews with some of the incoming teachers and staff members about their expectations for the year.

Mark Larsen, middle school science
Ashleigh Fryer: Please briefly explain your prior teaching or educational experience.
Mark Larsen: I started teaching in 1995 in Caruthers, California, a rural farming community south of Fresno, California. I taught science, math and drama at the middle and high school level until we moved to Malibu three years ago. I have taught the last two years in South Central Los Angeles at Animo Phillis Wheatly Middle School. During my time in Caruthers I was the drama teacher at both the middle school and then high school. I was also the high school varsity coach for volleyball, soccer, cross country and track.  
 
AF: What attracted you most to MHS?
ML: We have enjoyed living in this community. My daughter, Hunter, spent her senior year at Malibu and our youngest, Juliette, is now there as a seventh grader. The opportunity to teach in the community I now live in is very exciting.  
AF: What are you most excited for in the upcoming school year?
ML: I’m looking forward to making science a fun and exciting part of every students’ day. I can’t wait to provide a positive environment for them to learn, take chances and become excited about science. I’d like them to look forward to their science period each day.

AF: What are some things you’d like to accomplish this school year?
ML: I’m a firm believer that every student can learn and be successful. I look forward to providing those opportunities for learning in ways that all students will feel successful.

Casey Rowley, college counselor
Ashleigh Fryer: Please briefly explain your prior teaching or educational experience.
Casey Rowley: Prior to this position, I was a counselor at Valencia High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District for the 2013-2014 school year. I received a Bachelor of Art degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and then attended the University of La Verne for a Master of Science degree in educational counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling. I am a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

AF: What attracted you most to MHS?
CR: What really drew me to wanting to work at MHS was the fact that they have a college and career counselor on campus for students to utilize. I think it is an amazing resource to have on campus and there are so many post-secondary options and college choices that the information and resources are endless. To be able to assist students in creating goals and then see them graduate and continue on to fulfill their goals is an amazing position to be in. I am truly grateful and blessed to be a part of Malibu’s team.

AF: What are you most excited for in the upcoming school year?
CR: I am excited to meet the students and families and really get involved and rooted in the school. I have a passion for working with students and getting involved on my campus. I am hoping to get to know the students and build a connection within the first year. I’m hoping the College and Career Center is a place where students know they can go with any question and feel like they are supported.

Angel Velez, high school and middle school band teacher
Ashleigh Fryer: Please briefly explain your prior teaching or educational experience.
Angel Velez: I was the former director of bands/head of percussion at Marian University in Indiana and the former pep band director at Taylor University, also in Indiana. I taught on the staff of the national championship band program at Avon High School in Indiana. I attended Butler University, Berklee College of Music and University of Southern California.

AF: What attracted you most to MHS?
AV: The strong reputation for excellence in music in the District. Teaching at Malibu has me very excited. Together, I believe we will be able to create something wonderful.

AF: What are you most excited for in the upcoming school year?
AV: To find what motivates my students via music.  

AF: What are some things you’d like to accomplish this school year?
AV: At the end of the school year I would like my students to be able to look back and understand how they have grown as musicians and understand the process they took. I want my students to be empowered by this knowledge and apply it elsewhere in their learning and in their lives.