New substitutions

District hires new high school substitute teachers


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Ms. Ashley Spencer fills in for Special Education teacher April English.

Brigette Richard, Social Media Director

After seeing there might not have been enough substitute teachers to substitute classes, Freedom decided it was time for a change. The superintendent, school board and high school principals decided to hire a few more substitutes and facilitators.


Nick Pretnik is one of the substitutes that have been hired at the beginning of the year. Pretnik originally worked at Hopewell. He had been facilitating Kelly Krawchyk’s Civics and Government class. Switching to a different school mid-pandemic can be a little complicated when you’re completely new to the district. Pretnik started working at the school during the pandemic when Freedom was completely virtual, so switching to a different school was a complete transition for him. Freedom has changed so much because of the COVID-19 pandemic though, and it’s confusing for all of the teachers and students too, so at least he’s not alone in this.

Switching schools when you can’t even see your students except through a computer screen can be a little hard and confusing. Pretnik was able to get through it and is now able to see his students in person instead of online. He seems to have had a good interaction with the students and is able to connect with them and have conversations with them. Students seem to enjoy having him as a substitute and interacting with him in class. Having that kind of connection and interaction with students is a very good thing. Having that interaction will allow students to get excited when they come into the classroom that the substitute is in. 

I think once he gets to know all the teachers and students and get a feel for how our school runs, he has potential to be a good fit,” English teacher Blaire Lasko said.

After being virtual for the first nine weeks, it was hard to get to know all of the students and teachers. Since Freedom went back to school as of Nov. 9, it would be much easier for Pretnik to get to know everyone better. Freedom is now all virtual again, Pretnik has had to go back to substituting online again. As of Dec. 11, 2020, Pretnik has returned to being a day-to-day substitute for the district. Meaning he will substitute when needed.


Jennifer Young had been facilitating Maria Porter’s classes when the students at Freedom were learning in person. Even after only being in person for about two weeks, Young adjusted extremely well to the environment of Freedom. 

I absolutely love working with Ms. Porter. She is such a good teacher and cares about her kids, her staff at Freedom, and her family. We have similar personalities, so we work extremely well together,” Young said.

When the teacher is online and the facilitator is in person with students, it can be complicated to work together. Young and Porter successfully did it. Having similar personalities, like Young said, allowed them to work very well together, and Porter’s students were still able to learn greatly. 

There is no one better than her to be my eyes and hands in the classroom while I teach remotely for the moment.  She is willing to do anything to help me, and she fits right in with the atmosphere of my classroom. She is one of a kind and I couldn’t be happier with the situation,” Porter said.

Porter was very happy with the results of the two weeks that the students were in person. Her students worked very well with Young, and she worked very well with them. Porter explained that having kids that went through the high school really prepared her for this situation. Young has overall done a very good job facilitating that classroom.


Ashley Spencer is another one of the new substitutes. So far into this school year she has substituted for Catherine Schultz, April English And Aaron Fitzpatrick. Some of the teachers have also let her observe how they teach and what their teaching is like online. Those teachers include Nathan Langelli,. April English, Linnea Homa, Dr. Brian Wargo and Emily Skirtich. 

“As for subbing now that everything is virtual, it is extremely interesting to be a sub. I have gotten to get a better feel for how the high school teachers run their virtual classroom. The biggest difference with subbing in person rather than virtual for me would have to be trying to keep students engaged,” Spencer said.

Like Spencer said, being a teacher, especially a new substitute, can be complicated during these tough times. Having to substitute a class when they’re virtual means having to have access to the google classroom as a teacher, going onto the google meet, and have the struggles that every other teacher has of teaching to a bunch of profile pictures. The substitutes don’t exactly have the ability to create a bond with the students they see, when all they see is a little square on a computer.

Being any kind of teacher is very hard in these times. Teaching when nobody has their cameras on and they’re basically just teaching to a bunch of profile pictures can be extremely discouraging. When we were in person for those two weeks starting Nov. 9, it was much easier and much more encouraging for teachers, substitutes and facilitators to teach. After substituting and facilitating, administrators at Freedom feel that they have done a great job.