Building besties

Teacher friendships increase positive school culture


Lainey Tuszynski, PR/Marketing

As the bell rings, students scramble to locate their friends to talk with them as they walk to their next classes. Likewise, teachers make their way to stand outside their classrooms and talk with other teachers. 

As the year progresses, the teachers build friendships with their co-workers that will continue to last year after year. By building these bonds, the workday may suddenly become more enjoyable. Creating relationships in school, work or any environment can increase the ease of collaboration and give a support system to help people in times of need.



Coincidentally, Ms. Maria Porter and Ms. Andrea Niedbala both started their teaching journeys by student teaching at the same school. However, the two didn’t cross paths until they were both hired as ninth-grade teachers at Freedom 17 years ago. Over the years, they have grown to become best friends. Porter and Niedbala enjoy talking with each other inside and outside of school. Together, they have attended concerts, gone shopping, gotten together to hang out and let their kids hang out, attended weddings, been a part of each other’s weddings and much more fun in addition to the time they spend in school.

Over the years, they have been through the ups and downs together and have made lasting memories. 

“We were both pregnant with our first babies at the same time. On Mrs. Niedbala’s due date, I headed to a doctor’s appointment only to find out I was in labor. I headed to the hospital. When I walked into the labor and delivery center, Mrs. Niedbala’s mom said ‘oh, are you here to see the babies? They just took her back.’ I shook my head, likely with fear in my eyes, and Mrs. Niedbala’s mom said ‘No way!’ I said, ‘Yep! I think so.’ The rest is history! We had our babies within hours of each other, at the same hospital! One of my favorite pictures is of the two of us visiting late at night after visiting hours were over since we were patients! We have done the “mommy thing” together since day one!” Porter said. 



Ms. Kelly Krawchyk and Ms. Blaire Lasko have been friends for about 10 years. Although they weren’t very close in the start, the two grew closer when they started teaching in their neighboring rooms. Like many friends, Lasko and Krawchyk share a similar sense of humor and similar likes and dislikes. They share similarities in things like movies and television shows, loving the same things growing up and having similar teaching styles and relationships with their students. Lasko and Krawckyk also got married around the same time and have daughters the same age. Although they only spend time together during the school day, they are very close, know a lot about each other and have fun. They also share a funny memory of a mouse in the classroom.

“The mouse in my classroom had a really good time. We were talking in my classroom and a mouse ran by. Mr. Griffith was teaching next door, and we almost went to get him to rescue us but realized he is terrified of mice. So, we had to get Officer Liberty to help extract the mouse,” Krawchyk said. 



After years of teaching within Freedom and other districts, Ms. Courtney Anderson, Ms. Jessika Fontaine and Ms. Christina Waters became friends seven years ago. With similar personalities, the three bonded and discovered that they teach in similar styles, can joke with each other and have fun. Each of them helps to create a positive and uplifting environment for one another. Anderson, Fontaine and Waters bond within the walls of Freedom and like to message after hours. A favorite memory shared between the group is “Operation Grinch.” “Operation Grinch” was a school-wide joke that the staff played on Mr. Steven Mott. They came together and decorated his office each day around Christmas with Grinch items. In addition to this, they all share a love of teaching, family, camping, traveling, crafts, Mexican food and shenanigans. 

Like many bonds, Anderson, Fontaine and Waters provide each other with laughter, fun and support in times of need. 

“Bonds in the workplace are important so that ideas and thoughts can be shared and bounced off of someone who is in the same profession and understands the content. Bonds are also very important to have someone there for when you are going through difficult times, personal or professional. Without bonds it would make the work day less entertaining,” Fontaine said.