The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

New year, new staff: Meet your new teachers part 4

Kelly Ye, math teacher

By Hayden Miller

Imaan Ansari

Math has always been Kelly Ye’s calling. Ye grew up in San Francisco, where she attended Lincoln High School. After earning a bachelor’s degree in statistics at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a teaching credential at San Francisco State University, she taught math at Half Moon Bay High School. She’s now putting her passion for mathematics to work in the Lowell Math Department teaching Algebra 1.

What’s your favorite part of teaching?

I like to work with the students. It’s motivating to see them grow from semester to semester. It’s nice to see how they learn with my guidance.

What’s something that your students would be surprised to find out about you?

This is my second year of full-time teaching, so they might be surprised to find out that I’m still young, and I can be a friend of theirs as well as an adult.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

Growing up, I liked to help out students or my friends with math. I love working with problems myself, and I thought it would be nice to help students.

What made you choose Lowell specifically?

I think Lowell is a great community to work in and I have a cousin who went here. I also grew up in San Francisco. I went to Lincoln High School myself.

If you could choose a different subject to teach, what would you teach?

I think I’d like to teach a science class. I liked chemistry a lot when I was in high school.

What are your hobbies outside of school?

I like watching movies. I also have a cat, so I like getting him outside on walks.

Joann Wang, counselor 

By Alisa Kozmin

Ava Rosoff

Born in Canada, Joann Wang has always wanted to pursue a career in mental health and work with high schoolers. She attended the University of San Diego where she majored in developmental psychology while also getting a minor in education. Later she got her master’s in counseling at San Francisco State University. Wang is excited to become more involved in the Lowell community. 

What inspired you to become a Counselor?

My high school experience was stressful and I didn’t feel like I had the support of my school counselor. I always knew I wanted to work in mental health and, later on in college, I realized that I like working with high school students. Then I moved into school counseling and wanted students to get the support that I didn’t get. I think it’s just the little things like making a difference in the student’s life or being that person that a student can come to. It’s really rewarding and it keeps me going and thinking, Oh, this is what I meant to do.

What was your high school experience like?

English was my favorite subject.. I was also a part of the orchestra where I played violin.

If you could teach a subject at Lowell what would you teach?

I’d probably teach English, maybe 10th grade. 

What is something that you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like rock climbing. I’ve been doing that for about three years now. I’m also into photography. Sometimes I like to bake.

What is something that you’re looking forward to in your time as a Lowell counselor?

I’m looking forward to getting to know the community and getting to know the students. I’ve already enjoyed getting to know the students and staff, so I’m excited to be more of a part of the community. 

What is a piece of advice that you would give?

A lot of the time students think, “Everything I do counts and it’s the end of the world if I get a bad grade on a test or if I don’t like to get into the college that I want.” And I understand it’s stressful and it’s really hard in the moment, but looking back on my own high school career, by just being kind to yourself and trusting the process, things will work out in the end. 

Torie Palmer, English teacher

By Alisa Kozmin

Ava Rosoff

Torie Palmer was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended Sacred Heart High School, where she played forward for the women’s soccer team; Palmer is passionate about women’s sports. After high school, she attended the University of Nevada Reno where she majored in journalism and got a minor in Business Administration. Palmer began teaching English in 2020. Apart from interest in English, she enjoys physics, Japanese, and journalism. She also has a cat named Pia and enjoys reading poetry. 

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Teaching kind of fell into my lap. I didn’t go to school or undergrad or anything for teaching and post college graduation. I was struggling to find a job. And then I took a job at a school as a teacher’s aide and ended up loving the school environment. I had a major in journalism, so I had a lot of background in English. The teacher at that school asked me if I wanted to take over teaching at the time. That was back in 2020, and I said, “What the heck I’ll go for it.” And now three years later, I have my master’s in teaching and I am here at Lowell. 

What would it be if you could choose a different subject to teach? 

I think a really fun subject to teach would be science because you can do a lot of experiments and things like that. I wouldn’t be very good at the formula and math side of it. But I think I’d have fun with the experimental side. I was weirdly really good at physics in high school, so maybe physics but I don’t know if I could do that.

What was your high school experience like, what activities and clubs were you involved in?

I was born and raised in San Francisco. I went to Sacred Heart for high school. It was kind of fun. I had a lot of friends that went to Lowell, so I was here all the time, which is weird being back here. I played soccer all four years in high school. My favorite subject I would have to say was English while I was there, which probably influenced me now. I love my English teachers. I love reading books and having discussions in class. But I think my second favorite class was the foreign language I took, which was Japanese and was fun. I don’t know too much anymore but I have a little bit of conversation left in me. 

What are some things that you like to do in your free time?

My hobbies include playing with my cat. I love my cat Pia, and I’m getting another cat soon. So I’m excited about that. Other than that, I’m a big advocate and lover of women’s sports, specifically women’s soccer. I like playing all the time and if I’m not doing that I’m watching games and watching highlights. 

What is one thing that students will be surprised to find out about you?

I’m a big Swiftie.

What is one thing that you are looking forward to most at Lowell?

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the school events. I’ve been absent so far on the rally days so I’m excited to see the next rally that we have because I have yet to see one of those. 

Brian Waldman, math teacher 

By Alisa Kozmin

Imaan Ansari

Brian Waldman was born in Mountain View, California and attended Monta Vista High School, where he enjoyed math. He was a part of student government, the tennis team, and choir. After high school, he attended UCLA. When he graduated college, he worked at for-profit companies but realized that they weren’t his passion and he wanted to help young people instead. Now, he teaches algebra and geometry at Lowell. In his free time, Waldman likes to go for nature walks and hang outs with his friends. He also has a guinea pig named Taro.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I want to be a teacher because of the parts of the job like having to guide young people into more knowledge and for them to unpack their abilities, and capacity and to find out how intelligent they are. And before I was a teacher for seven years I worked for profit companies and realized that I wanted to support a system that was not in business just for the sake of making money. But to be service-oriented. 

What is one moment in your life that you realized that you wanted to become a teacher?

When I was about 27, I was working downtown at a couple of different companies and kind of grew jaded and disillusioned by the for-profit world. I enjoyed working with teenagers and wanted to find a job that would satisfy those things like moving away from the for-profit industry and also getting a chance to support young people to grow personally and intellectually. It was a gradual realization.

What was your high school experience like?

My favorite subject was math. I was involved in student government for three out of four years and I was on the tennis team and in the school choir.

What is something that a student would be surprised to find out about you?

I was not a math major in college. I studied sociology. I enjoy teaching math because it’s something that I learn fairly quickly and makes sense to me. After all, math is an incredible exercise for everyone’s brain to learn how to problem solve.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to be out in nature and take long hikes, hang out with friends, go for long walks, go for day trips around the Bay Area, and play soccer or tennis. I also like to play board games and card games a lot.

What are you looking forward to the most in your first year at Lowell?

Working with really motivated students seeing them grow in terms of their content knowledge and their ability to advocate for themselves to problem solve and to make friends while they’re doing it.

James Poling, science teacher 

By Alisa Kozmin

Imaan Ansari

James Poling, one of Lowell’s new biology teachers, was born in Oakland and grew up in Lafayette. He received his Bachelor in biology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Oregon, and received his teaching credential and Master in Education at the University of California of Davis. Poling began teaching because he was inspired by his high school science teachers, who made his science classes a positive learning experience. He wants to do the same by making science an enjoyable subject for more students. Besides teaching, Poling is the Dungeons and Dragons club sponsor; he is able to share his interests in the game with students. He also enjoys listening to heavy metal, hip hop, and rap music. 

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had really great teachers growing up, especially in science. They made school a better place for me to grow. I’m thinking specifically of my freshman biology teacher and my senior psychology teacher, who made high school way more fun and bearable. So, they made me want to return the favor. Now, I teach freshman biology, which is funny, as this year has come full circle. 

Was there a moment in your life that made you decide to go into teaching?

By the time I left high school, I was thinking about teaching. There was also a point in my second year of college when I got a job being a tutor and a teaching assistant. That was the first opportunity I got to actually work with students and help them learn things in a formal role. There was another student who I was tutoring and I was their teaching assistant for the biology lab class that they were taking at the time. I got to watch the student over the course of a 10-week quarter go from failing the very first quiz to getting an A by the end of the class. And they had to come to see me every week on the same day all the way through the quarter. Seeing them grow and get better and get more confident, then get their A at the very end of the quarter was huge. This is something that I would be happy to do for the rest of my life. 

What was your high school experience like?

In high school, I did a lot of the same things that I do right now. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons — I’ve been playing since I was 12— but it really picked up in high school. I was also a part of the debate team. Debate taught me how to speak publicly and communicate efficiently which I don’t think I’d have gotten to where I am in teaching without that class. In my senior year, I qualified for the state tournament in debate, which was a fantastic experience. That was like such a feather in my cap. It made me feel good out of high school.

What are your hobbies?

I don’t have as many hobbies as I used to before I started teaching, but I still get to play Dungeons and Dragons a lot, which is kind of the main thing that I put a lot of my time and energy into. I also run the Dungeons and Dragons Club for students on campus, which lets me mix my hobbies with my job a little bit, which is fun.

What is one thing that students would be surprised to find out about you?

I think given the appearance that I have and being a relatively nerdy science teacher, my taste in music might surprise them. It goes a bit all over the place. I’ve been really into death metal; I like heavy metal recently, just a lot of really screaming and stuff. I also like quite a bit of old school music like hip hop and rap. I’m into Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and a lot of MF Doom right now. 

What are you looking forward to the most in your first year at Lowell?

I’ve heard a lot from former coworkers at my old school about Lowell and what a great place San Francisco is to teach and how incredibly committed the students are. So having been here for two months now, I’d say I’m impressed, and am really happy to be working with such a really great group of kids.

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About the Contributors
Hayden Miller
Hayden Miller, Reporter
He/Him Hayden Miller is a Senior and a reporter for the Lowell. Hayden serves on the San Francisco Youth Commission and is an advocate for better public transportation throughout California. When he is not in a government meeting, you can find Hayden enjoying a burrito, on a bus in rural Northern California, or biking with friends.
Alisa Kozmin
Alisa Kozmin, Reporter
She/Her Alisa is a senior. She loves petrichor, the smell after rain. She also enjoys art, fashion, being outside, reading, swimming and her dog Yettie. In her free time she likes to do martial arts and sing for the Lowell jazz band.
Imaan Ansari
Imaan Ansari, Photographer
She/Her Imaan is a junior at Lowell. When she isn’t taking photos, she is bouldering, building legos, eating pineapple and olive pizza, and listening to laufey.
Ava Rosoff
Ava Rosoff, Multimedia Editor
She/Her Ava is a senior at Lowell. When not taking photos, she can be found reading, writing, or listening to her carefully curated playlists when she should probably be doing her homework. Ava also likes thrifting, drinking green tea, and watching Greta Gerwig movies.
Joey He
Joey He, Illustrator
She/Her Joey is currently a junior at Lowell. In her leisure time, she enjoys watercolor painting, baking, and traveling.

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