Feature Photo By: Alexis Drummond – Mr. Wells reaches for his computer to switch slides for his class. Wells is teaching his fifth period class different types of writing and how to find key elements in a story.
By: Alexis Drummond, Review Staff
Editors’ note: The Raider Review Staff Member of the Month is a friendly competition between all of the staff members that work within Rangeview walls. Staff members are picked by both students and other staff members. Each survey taker suggests three staff members they believe have gone above and beyond for each month. At the end of the month, a tally is taken to see which staff member has the most votes; the winner gets a profile story written about him/her and has that story posted on The Raider Review.
The winner for August Staff Member of the Month is Mr. Jonathan Wells. Wells is a 10th grade English teacher. He is also one of the department chairs for the English Department. After school, he sponsors the ski club and the snowboard club.
On the side, when he isn’t grading papers or spending time with his dog, he is either preparing for snowboard season or doing studies on his own. For instance, instead of traveling or binge-watching an entire T.V. series, he may spend his time studying educational leadership
“I took the course to expand my knowledge of becoming a better teacher and leader,” Wells said.
Wells has been working at Rangeview for five years; this is his second year of being co-department chair. Before Rangeview, he worked at Aurora Central as a long-term substitute for teachers. Although becoming a teacher wasn’t his first choice, he loves what he does and couldn’t see himself doing anything else.
“I love English and specifically literature,” Wells said. “It would be hard to do something else.”
As a kid, Wells considering being a professional football player and even a rock star. Since being a professional football player was going to be hard with all of the baseballs he played, he went down the path of becoming a rock star. He learned how to play the bass guitar and even tried to learn the piano.
At the age of 24, Wells was recruited into the band IAMTHESHOTGUN as bass guitarist. Within his time with the band, he went on a semi-national tour and got a song written about him.
In 2013, he left the band.
“I told myself that if I wasn’t making enough money to support myself by the time I was 30, I would switch careers,” Wells said. “I chased some paths before realizing my calling to be a teacher.”
With any job, there are always advantages and struggles. One of the many teachers’ struggles seen through Wells’ eyes is the lack of time they have to get everything done. Constantly finding himself rushing to get the little things done for the next school day, Wells pushes through the struggles only to find himself looking towards the advantages of his job.
“I get to interact with very smart students and colleagues to push me to get better at what I do,” Wells said.
Wells’ work around the English department isn’t just recognized by the students he taught, but also by other English teachers.
“He is our department chair, and I appreciate all the hard work he and Ms. Bill have put into making sure that our year was off to a great start and that we had everything we needed to be successful,” said Sarah Gasior, a language arts teacher.
Mr. Wells comes to work every day, hoping to push students to their fullest potential. Ryan Sladek, Dean of Students, described Wells as, “A genuine leader that works to support his department and be a strong and logical voice with great intentions for all.”
The reason Wells won the Staff Member of the Month wasn’t only for his hard work say students and staff, but the impact he has made on his students and colleagues. He has risen above and beyond in the eyes of his co-workers and the students he teaches.
“In my mind knowing Mr. Wells, he is friendly enough to encourage his kids to come to class every day,” said junior Annalese Archer. “He makes his students happy to be in class with his attitude and his fun assignments. Mr. Wells tries to help his students in anyway he can in and out of class. Mr. Wells is always someone you may talk to if you’re having problems and he is there.”
So why did Wells win? Was it only because of his connection to those around him? Or was it also because of the choices he made; the way he expresses himself to his students and colleagues? “He has established a fun and palpable teaching style and he works with students to make sure they get the help they need so they can succeed,” said junior Claire Ransom. “I think he won because he has the compassion and dedication that the student need and he deserves recognition for it.”
Wells puts himself out there to help others succeed and to help them realize their potential in life, many said. He goes to work knowing that not every student learns at the same pace and he can’t help everyone at the same time.
“Getting students to realize their amazing potential is often difficult, but it is very rewarding to see students excel and grow.” Wells said.
Being chosen by other students and staff, and given their opinions on who they believe should win Staff Member of the Month has shown Wells that he is respected and appreciated for what he does.
“It means a lot,” he said of the recognition. “It is proof that students and staff have made a connection with me and appreciate my efforts. It is always nice to be appreciated.”.