Senator Square: CHS announces teacher of the year

The CHS teacher of the year is Astronomy, Honors Physics, and head CHS Freshman Football Coach James Bean Jr.

Born in Okinawa, Japan where his dad, a Marine, met his mother, Bean moved back to the U.S. when he age 4. Most do not know early in Bean’s childhood he was involved in a serious accident which left him with a brain injury and a severe stuttering.

Bean said, “A speech therapist suggested I try drama and voice characterization; now, my stuttering goes away when I use ‘different’ voices, one of them my Public Announcer’s voice during football and basketball games.

“My brain works like a parallel processor sometimes, helping with calculations and trivial facts.”

Interestingly in high school, Bean failed the very subjects he now teaches at CHS: math and chemistry. He did not allow this to stop him from attending college though. Bean said because he played basketball, he received an activities grant to attend Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

In deciding his college major, Bean said “My dad was in law enforcement, so I was looking at majoring in criminal justice, but Linfield did not have this available at the time, so my love of Star Trek and Star Wars helped me decide to major in physics, and after my freshman year something clicked, and physics and math became easy to grasp.”

Bean tutored his fellow students in physics and math and “This is where I developed my love for teaching” Bean said. “My best memories from high school and college are the out-of-the-classroom experiences and research experiences.”

Following graduation, Bean attended graduate school at UNR in Chemical Physics where he enjoyed being a laboratory teaching assistant more than he enjoyed doing research. Along the way, Bean says he lost focus and decided to join the Reno Police Department where he was involved in an academy knife training accident. This, to the benefit of his grateful students, ended his law enforcement career, but opened up an opportunity to work at the Washoe Country Coroners Officers as Deputy Coroner. He did this while teaching math part-time at TMCC which led him to return to UNR to pursue teaching.

“That’s where I met the late CHS Principal Glenn Adair, and I came to CHS” Bean said.

In 2005, he met former physics professor and WNC Observatory Director, Robert Collier and was also able to get more training in solar space science at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab, and while spending time at the Jack C. Davis Observatory, Red Sumner mentored him in telescope operations and asteroid tracking.

“I was fortunate to get CHS involved in Project RECON, tracking transneptunian objects, and thus I try to get as many students involved as possible” Bean said. Thankfully, current WNC Observatory Director and physics professor Dr. Tom Herring has allowed the observatory to be accessed by CHS students. Bean, who also loves sports, was a basketball coach at CHS early on, and the late CHS teacher Shane Quilling got him involved in football.

“This was quite a challenge for me as I had to secretly ask players who Mike, Will, and Sam were, linebacker positions, but Coach Quilling was patient with me and very supportive.” Bean added, “The administration at CHS is great, especially in allowing me to develop the astronomy class; our former and current Science Department heads, John Valley and Scott Vickrey, have been awesome in allowing flexibility to accommodate my teaching style and methods, our science department is awesome, and I get to work with amazing colleagues, in particular, Curtis Kortemeier, whom I bounce ideas off almost every day; our athletic department is fantastic with Athletic Director Blair Roman helping me to develop into a better football coach, and finally my awesome wife Patty helps me maintain my sanity.


CHS Speech and Debate had a busy week as Carson debaters participated in the club level Rotary Speaking competition on the topic: How are You an Inspiration?

Team Captain, Sophia Peterson, took third place, Kate Torres took second, and Ivy Campbell placed first. Torres and Campbell will advance to the area level competition in April.

Carson also competed at the State Tournament over the weekend. Kate Torres and Rosalind Macy placed ninth in duo interpretation with their cutting of “Columbinus.” Sophia Peterson advanced to semi-finals of congressional debate and placed fourth overall with her program oral interpretation titled “Remember looking at the Nazi destruction of the town of Lidice,” and teammate Mary Milburn placed sixth with her program oral interpretation studying gender norms. Milburn was also named State Champion for placing first in informative speaking with her piece entitled “130 plus looking at issues in education opportunities between regular and gifted tracked students.” Next week, the team will compete at the district tournament to qualify for Nationals. CHS Social Studies teacher, Northern Nevada Forensic League Executive Committee member, Diamond Coach, National Forensic League, Speech and Debate coach, and adviser Patrick Mobley may be reached at


The ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign has chosen CHS Health Teacher Erin Been as its 2019 ACT K-12 Champion for Nevada in recognition of her work to enhance student performance on the ACT. Winners were selected from all 50 states. According to ACT, a Champion is “an individual who has created or lead a program that positively impacts their organization and community for improved readiness for college and career opportunities.” Been helps analyze the test scores of students at CHS to determine where improvements need to be made and collaborates with teachers on developing strategies for making those improvements happen. “Our district has dedicated, skilled professionals and resources to help our students improve their readiness for college and career,” Superintendent Richard Stokes said. He then added, “Mrs. Been has a true love for students and wants all of them to be successful; she has a unique combination of skill and passion that is reflected in the work she’s doing.” Been, a teacher at CHS for more than 13 years, formerly worked at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas for 10 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health, Science and Physical Education from Washburn University in Kansas and a master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University. “I have always loved teaching, but I also have always enjoyed the idea of taking on a greater leadership role in how teaching can be more effective overall,” Been said. “My job at Carson High allows me to do that; it allows me to see things from a different perspective, yet be involved with the day-to-day instructional process.”


March 14 was the monthly Mob the Halls and Dress for Success events at CHS. The day began at 7 a.m. with teachers greeting students as they arrived to school to help them start the day on a positive note, and everyone is aware of how positive it is as students will have the next four days off. CHS also had its next Dress for Success Challenge with many a staff member and student dusting off their nicest career threads and wearing them to school. Staff and students were able to nominate one staff and one student for recognition and a chance to win prizes. And the winner for best dressed student is Jaden Hall. Prizes are gift cards for Dutch Bros.


Those interested in joining the Military, but also passionate about going to college, came to hear a message from Cadet Benjamin J. Hallinan, a young man who spoke about his acceptance into the United States Military Academy where he will graduate with both a college degree and receive his appointment as an Officer in the US Army. Cadet Hallinan took time from his busy schedule to visit CHS and speak March 14 in the CHS Career Center during Lunch. So many students showed up to this event there was not enough room in the Career Center. Additionally, several students from Williams S. Boyd School of Law are available to CHS teachers as guest speakers in order to provide Street Law preparation to students. Topics range from opening what to expect from a law school experience, opening statements, contracts, criminal law to many others. CHS, preparing students to meet their future careers head-on.


CHS teacher, and one of the Senior Project advisers, Julie Gabica wanted to highlight the amazing SP of one of her advisees, Adelina Pacheco. Gabica said, “Adelina is doing an incredible Senior Project on astrotracking and astrophotography; on March 2, Pacheco was at the Jack C. Davis Observatory discussing with spectators about her project, which has been on-going all year.” About Pacheco’s SP, Gabica added, “I think this is an excellent example of the best the project embodies.” Congratulations Adelina for successfully completing such an amazing SP, a CHS graduation requirement. Senior Projects came due March 12, and as the community of Carson City is always so reliable when called upon, Senior Project Judges are needed to evaluate student portfolios between March 25 and April 6, and those same judges are needed to evaluate the SP presentations of those seniors April 8. For more information contact Melisa Kunter at To volunteer as a SP judge, go to, or contact the CHS Career Center at


Maker Monday this past week at the CHSenators Library, an opportunity for students to ease their brains back into school after a weekend of sleeping in, featured a knitting learning opportunity. Students and staff are invited to stop by, Mondays at lunch, to create, connect and practice self-care. Students have requested beatboxing and building birdhouses, so CHS Library Media Specialist Ananda Campbell is seeking volunteers to lead workshops in the future. Interested in teaching, call her at 283-1641, or email her at The CHSenators Library is a great place to learn, to make, and to just be.


What? Have not ordered a 2019 Carnetta yearbook yet? Parents, guardians, and friends, the end of the school year is fast approaching; celebrate and congratulate graduating seniors with the purchase of a yearbook. Yearbooks may be pre-ordered by going to, or from adviser Patt Quinn-Davis in room 136. Order before March 18 and pay $85. After, the price will increase to $90.


The CHS Student of the Week is Jasmyn Riediger, nominated by CHS Honors Trigonometry, Pre-calculus, and Mathematics Department Chair Susan Drozdoff. According to Drozdoff, “When it comes to her own studies, she is one of the hardest working students in my class; she is dedicated and focused on being a successful student, but what truly stands out to me is her willingness and ability to help those around her understand the material.” Drozdoff added, “I recently changed my seating assignment and put her beside a struggling student, and Jasmyn goes out of her way every class to assist him whenever he gets stuck…and, he responds really well to her tutoring” Congratulations to Jasmyn Riediger as the Senator Square CHS Student of the Week.


Pioneer High School’s Senior in the Spotlight is Kaylee Vega. Kaylee is hardworking, honest, dependable, and kind. She also has a great sense of humor. Kaylee began attending PHS during her sophomore year. The smaller campus and extra help with academics are what appealed to her most and helped her to raise her grades successfully at school. During her time at PHS, Kaylee has been very involved in campus activities, participating in leadership, yearbook, Jobs for America’s Graduates, and art. Kayle also helped plan and set-up for school dances and barbeques. Last year, she was a part of a group of students who participated in the Nevada Statistics Poster Contest. She is always eager to help out around campus in any way, and she often takes new students on campus tours or assists in the office. Outside of school, Kaylee has done a great deal of babysitting, and she has also volunteered at her church rummage sale. She is currently working at Little Timbers Academy child care and preschool in Carson City. After graduating high school, Kaylee plans to attend WNC. She wants to work toward a degree in education with the goal of becoming a special education teacher. In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys reading and drawing.

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


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