What Your Teachers Did Before Teaching

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What Your Teachers Did Before Teaching

Lancer Messenger Staff, Editors

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Before becoming teachers or employees here at James W Parker Middle School, the adults in the building had a variety of different jobs.  The Lancer Messenger staff interviewed a variety of different employees and here are there answers:


Raelee Salusky interviewed Mrs. Christensen, Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Lindenberger, Mr. Everhart:

Mrs. Christensen:

In high school, I worked in a gift store in Volant, PA and took care of a 90 year old woman. Then in college, I was a student secretary in the Foreign Language and Philosophy Departments at Edinboro University. During my college summers, I worked at Camp Lambec. It’s a church camp on Lake Erie and I was the Aquatics Director, archery and Art and crafts instructor.
After college, I was a woodworking apprentice for 2 years. Then worked at United States Investigation Services, (USIS) doing Governmental and Commercial background investigations. I then returned to EUP to get my teaching degree. During that time, I became a TSS at the Barber Center and was placed here at JWPMS in the Autistic Support Room. I also have substituted at GM and Ft. LeBoeuf. Currently, I’m a PCA3 here at Parker Middle School and looking for a teaching position.

Mrs. Hayes:

I worked at a daycare before I got my teaching job.



Mrs. Lindenberger:

Middle School:

Babysitter for several families

High School:
Nanny for one family during the summer and any long breaks

Snack bar attendant

Secretary/Receptionist at a carpet cleaning company
Post College:
Director for Summer Program


Mr. Everhart:

Before being a School Nurse, I was a Hospital Staff Nurse at Hamot Medical Center in Erie. I worked on a general surgery and Trauma unit. I also have worked in Hamot’s Emergency Room.
I had many jobs while in High School and college. In High School I worked on a diary farm and at a butcher shop. In college I worked on a grape farm and in hospitals and did construction with my Dad.


Stella Bridger interviewed Mr. Buto.

Mr. Buto:

My first job was mowing lawns in my neighborhood. When I was 14, I got a job at Rax Restaurant (a Fast Food

Restaurant). When I was 16, I got a job at Keonig Sporting Goods in the Millcreek Mall. During college, I worked at The Finish Line (selling sneakers), tutored Math and Science in the Erie School District, and was a residential counselor for the Upward Bound high school program during the summer at Edinboro University. I also did some landscaping throughout all of those years. After college, I taught Chemistry for 10 years and have been a school administrator for 12 years.




Libby Weiss interviewed Mrs. Bakka.

Mrs. Bakka:

After high school I worked at a local gardening store. In college I worked at Camp Notre Dame during most of my summers- I was a counselor there as well as the Assistant Director. I also used to run the off-season parent/child weekends at camp (I did this for a long time- even after I started teaching). During the school year in college I worked at a uniform store that was near my university and I worked for the university within the dorms as a resident advisor.



Caitlin Preston interviewed Mrs. Zafiropoulos and Mrs. Barbarini:


Mrs. Zafiropoulos:

 My first job was babysitting for 2 boys that lived across the street from me.  They were trouble makers as soon as their parents walked out the door!
I worked cleaning hotel rooms for about 1 month.

I worked at a restaurant called Ponderosa.  I started by bussing tables, then I worked my way up to being in charge of the salad bar, I delivered meals to tables, and finally worked my way up to cashier.
When I got tired of working with food, I became a cashier at a super market called Super Duper.  It was one of the nicest grocery store in the area at the time.
While I was in college I had 2 jobs.  During the summer I worked as a cashier and an assistant manager at Country Fair.  During the school year I worked as a student secretary in the Elementary Education Department.  The professors trusted me so much they let type their tests.
After I graduated from college, I worked one year as a substitute teacher at General McLane and in Erie City Schools.
All these jobs have helped me work up to my favorite job here at General McLane.  I have been teaching at GM for 33 years. I’ve worked at Edinboro Elementary, McKean Elementary and Parker Middle School.


Mrs. Barbarini:


I worked at Waldameer park from ages 14-19 during the summer.
I was the Assistant Manager of The Weathervane for several years.   It was a girls clothing store in the mall. I worked there during college.


Mrs. Elliott:

I worked many jobs before I became a teacher.  I didn’t start teaching until my children were in middle school.  So here goes:
  grocery store meat clerk and cashier
  print shop
  airport security
  teacher’s aide
  personal care assistant in preschool
  department store clerk


Mrs. Spencer:

High School
– CNR (video store)
– Payless shoestore
– Montgomery Wards (clothing store)
– Time Square Deli (restaurant)

– Red Lobster
– Cracker Barrel
– French Creek Valley Christian Childcare (daycare/preschool)

After College
– Union City Middle/High School (2005-2016)
– JWPMS!  (2016-current)


Lucas Cummings interviewed Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Irwin, and Mrs. Ferraro.


Mrs. Johnson:

I Worked at the Erie County Welcome Center on I-79. In College I worked at PNC Bank as a part time bank teller and at Domino’s Pizza as a pizza maker.


Mrs. Irwin:

She worked as a Sales Associate at American Eagle at the mall.
After graduating college, She wrote/edited math textbooks at Larson Texts


Mrs. Ferraro:

She worked at Wendy’s and in college was a cashier at Sears.



Gurneet Kaur interviewed Mrs.Mischler, here’s what she said:

Mrs. Mischler:

I have worked a variety of jobs during college and just after- hostess at Olive Garden, clothing store in mall, camp counselor, work in the office of a lumber company. I also did a before school/ after school program through the YMCA.
During college, I babysat and worked in the college admissions office.
If I were not teaching, I’d love to have some kind of job where I had to travel…better yet, pay me to travel!



Kendra Kope interviewed Mrs. Shreve and Ms. Manzella:

Mrs. Shreve:

I was a crisis counselor at the crime victim center in Erie before becoming a teacher assistant at
Parker Middle School.

Ms. Manzella:

McDonalds Cashier
Newspaper Carrier
Counselor at a Boys and Girls Club


Lilly Slate interviewed Ms.Gay, Mrs.Helsley, and Mr.Triola.

Ms. Gay:

While I was in high school, I worked every summer at our local Recreation Center as a Day Camp Counselor. We had various, themed day camps for children ages 3-12, and one week for youth (12-21) with special needs. We also put on a community carnival.

I also babysat for several families in my area during the school year.




Mrs. Helsley:

In high school I worked at the mall. I worked for a store called County Seat, which was a denim store that is gone now. Then, I worked at The Limited. I loved that job because I could spend my pay checks on clothes and I received a discount.

My first job out of high school was at Northwest Savings Bank where I started out on the teller line part time and worked myself up to senior teller and then new accounts and loan representative. I was there for 9 years.

Then, I worked at an advertising agency named Engel, Fritts, Hanna, and O’Neill. Notice the name Fritts? That is Mrs. Fritts’ father-in-law! He was my boss, but at the time I did not know Mrs. Fritts. Can you imagine what it was like to start my new teaching job and realize that I had been working with her family member? At that job I was able to complete really interesting tasks for them like work with record companies for the rights to use songs for commercials. I was even in a commercial myself. The coolest thing was contacting Sharon Stone (she is an actress) so that Saint Vincent could have a dress of hers to auction off at their fundraising Heart Ball one year.

Then, I started teaching and the rest is history!



My previous jobs were greatly varied before I became a teacher.

In high school I worked three jobs. I worked cleaning cow stalls and training horses on weekends. I also worked for an electrician on weekends and during the summers for two years in high school, and then scoped ice cream at a “Friendly’s” restaurant in the Mall for three years in the evenings.

Before going to college I was a construction worker and mason. I spent a few years on the road traveling the country building underground houses for survivalists and people we called “Earthers”. I then spent another ten years as a job foreman in construction building exteriors and pouring concrete.

I also did some writing and consulting at various levels for various companies prior to becoming a teacher.


Owen Eisert interviewed Mr Roden, Mr Moats, Mr Marafine, Miss Karns, Mrs McCollum, and Mr Brasington:

Mr. Roden:

High School jobs
McDonalds (first job)
Abercrombie and Fitch
American Eagle

College Jobs
Greenskeeper/Grounds Highlander Golf Course in Edinboro
Sold custom screen printing
Worked for GM, Erie, and Corry Marching Bands

Mr. Moats

Mowing Lawns in High School(16 lots)
Gas Station in High School
Lumber Yard
Delivered Furniture for a Store
Kayak Instructor for Presley Ridge

Mr. Marafine:

Worked as a Brick Layer as a Laborer(9th Grade-College)

Miss Karns:

Bussed tables at Restaurants
Lifeguard of 3 pools
Taught People to Swim
Taught a Lifeguard Course for 3 years.

Mrs. McCollum:

Jay’s Ice Cream in McKean
American Eagle in the Mall
Peer Mentor in College
Campbell’s Pottery

Mr. Brasington

Detailing cars (1998 – 2008)
Taco Bell (1999-2001)
Hollywood Video (2001-2006) – Best job ever:)
Barber Center Supported Living (2003-2004)
Robison Child Care Group Supervisor (Fort LeBoeuf) 2004-2008
St. Vincent Child Care Asst. Group Supervisor (2006-2008)


Mrs. Chabola

She said: Well….my very first job I had when I was 14 years old was picking strawberries at Troyer’s Strawberry Field in Waterford. We got paid by the basket! I also worked at Country Fair when I turned 16.  I worked the cash register, made subs & pizzas. When I graduated high school I got a job at Cracker Barrel as a hostess and eventually became a waitress there. I worked there while I was in college.





Isabella interviewed Ms Stonis, Mrs Boyd, Ms Shee, and Mrs Santos

Ms. Stonis

“High School:
From ages 16-18, I was a lifeguard at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park and Resort. I was in charge of keeping people safe, and making sure they followed the rules for the park/slides/activities.

College and After College:
May 2007-August 2009- Worked in the Office of Continuing Education at Clarion University as a secretary. I answered the phone, took messages, sold and organized theatre tickets for all school plays, and designed flyers.

August 2008-May 2010 worked at Toby Hill Bar and Grill in Clarion PA as a waitress. I took and served food and drinks orders, handled money, interacted with customers, and trained new employees.

May 2010- 2015 I worked at Culbertson Hills Golf. (Did the same things as Toby Hill)

May 2012-2014 I worked at Ruby Tuesday as a waitress. (Did same things as Golf Course and Toby Hill)

May 2009- 2012 Substitute Teacher in Many School Districts (Brookville,Tionesta, Penn Crest, Fairview, General McLane. Long Term Sub in first grade for half a year at Edinboro Elementary.”

Mrs. Boyd

“Well, my first job was as a waitress when I was 16 years old. It was at a little Italian restaurant in Erie. I would start right after school and work until around 11pm. Then, I would go home and do homework. Sometimes, between work and homework, I wouldn’t get to bed until 2am and have to get up for school at 6am! I stayed at that job for about 6 months until I realized I was exhausted! I didn’t work for the remainder of my school career. After my school career, I did work at the Erie Airport for about a year (I relocated to Cleveland for my husbands job). After that, I raised my family before returning to the work force. Little odd and ends jobs when I first returned to working. About 10 years ago, I started working at the Barber National Institute Elizabeth Lee Black School. I worked there for a year and a half then applied here at GM! I love it!”

Ms. Shee

“When I was in 10th grade, I worked at Carmike Cinemas. I mainly worked the concession stand, which means I was in charge of popping popcorn, restocking the candy and drinks, and serving customers in a timely manner. Sometimes I would work at the ticket booth and sell tickets, or I would be the person to go into each theater and sweep up the floor after each movie was over. That was my least favorite part, because people can be really messy! One really cool thing I learned while working at the movie theater, was how to put movie reels together, and feed them through the projectors so that they could be shown. Now, most theaters just use DVDs, which is much simpler!

After high school, I attended community college for two years. During those two years, I worked at Panera Bread. My main job was to clean up the dining room, but really, I loved working in the bakery section! I loved being able to connect with customers, and using the cash register was really fun.

When I attended Edinboro University, I babysat for a local family. The kids I watched were twins, a boy and a girl, and I started when they were just 7 months old. When I graduated, and got hired at General McLane, they were four years old. They are now in the first grade, and I think it would be fun to teach them once they come up to Parker Middle School in a few years!”

Mrs. Santos

• Deli Clerk
• Cashier
• Waitress for important parties and weddings (during college)

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