South welcomes 19 new staff members

English department adds four new teachers.

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South welcomes 19 new staff members

Science teacher Sergey Zinovchik chats with students during class.

Science teacher Sergey Zinovchik chats with students during class.

Sophie Porter

Science teacher Sergey Zinovchik chats with students during class.

Sophie Porter

Sophie Porter

Science teacher Sergey Zinovchik chats with students during class.

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This year South welcomes 19 new teachers into the community. Among them are Shannon Lesko (English), Barrett Taylor (English), and Sergey Zinovchik (Chemistry).

Lesko spoke highly about South and the students.

“I love all the school spirit! Both the students and faculty at South are really involved in clubs, sports, and activities,” she said.

In fact, Lesko is already getting involved in the South spirit through volleyball. “This year I am helping out with girls volleyball, mostly varsity,” she said.

Lesko said that she has gotten to know the English teachers, particularly those on the first floor, as well as math teacher Allison Macdonald because they share her classroom for Academic Lab.

Lesko started teaching seven years ago at Fort Zumwalt East after graduating from Truman State University.

“In comparison, South is much bigger, and has more amenities, like a pool and more tennis courts. Also they didn’t have Ac. Lab,” she said.

Lesko had a few reasons for switching schools.

“I want to get to know the students, and I’ve always been drawn to Parkway; it’s such a great district. I think it will be a good fit to grow for both me and the students,” she said.

Lesko said she teaches Honors English 2 and English 3.

Another new English teacher, Taylor, had similar things to say. After graduating at Lindenwood, he went on to start teaching in 2005 at St. Louis public schools.

“Parkway South presents a great opportunity, with a great reputation as well as progressiveness in diversity and great education. I’ve been in the city for the last 13 years, and it provided a new opportunity for me as well,” he said.

Taylor also says that the size of student body is dramatically different.

He thinks that after getting acclimated, someday down the road he might want to coach a team.

“I’ve coached track and football in the past, but for now I’m just getting used to the climate,” Taylor said.

Taylor teaches three regular English classes, and two classes of Honors English 1.

“I’m excited to be here and looking forward to the upcoming year,” he said.

Zinovchik had great things to say regarding the science department as well.

“I have gotten to know most of the other science teachers, as well as some of the other new teachers. The department has been very welcoming,” he said.

Zinovchik started teaching 11 years ago in 2007 at Hazelwood West, after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree at UMSL and a Master’s Degree at Eastern Illinois State.

“I switched to South because it is closer to me, and is where I went to high school. It’s every teacher’s dream to teach where they went to school,” Zinovchik said.

Zinovchik said he particularly has noticed “the comradery between students, and how much they care about each other as well as their classes.”

Zinovchik said he isn’t currently involved in sponsoring any clubs, but says that after his first two years he may be interested in helping with or starting some sort of science extracurricular.

Overall he said he’s really excited and that South “feels like home” to him.

Other new teachers include: Kimberly Bay Reading Intervention Denise Barnett (Nurse Assistant), Jennifer Erker (Science), Jennifer Findall (Special Education Para), Suzanne Greenwalt (World Languages), Daniel Lanier (Art), Suzette Moore (ELA), Tracy Parkhurst (Art), Mary Robinson (Bookstore Secretary), Connor Scott (Music), Jennifer Sebold (Assistant Principal), Gretchen Schmitz (Library TA), Ashly Strumpler (PE TA), Jahmall Thomas (Special Education Para), Dani Whitcher (ELA), Stephanie Williams (FACS).