McNick employs approximately 78 faculty and staff members, each with a unique background and history of how they came to Rocket High. Contrary to popular belief, teachers have not always just lived in their classrooms and only taught high school students. In fact, the majority have had families to raise, other jobs to work, or even hobbies to keep them busy. The previous jobs and occupations in our own school range anywhere from Theology teacher Mr. John Norman running his own construction business from 1988-2010 to Social Studies teacher Mr. Tim Monahan working as a ramp agent for Delta airlines right out high school.
Ms. Mel Gaskins, Architecture & Ceramics teacher, worked as a runway model as a 14-year-old and continued until she was 22. She got into this work when she was at the mall with her mother and was stopped by an agent. “I worked as a runway, shoe, and hand model in Akron, Cleveland, Chicago and Toronto,” Gaskins said. This model lifestyle took her through quite a journey. “One of the craziest experiences I had was being the model picked to drag a $10,000 fur coat featured on the cover of Vogue down the catwalk,” Gaskins said. Aside from this experience, she got to spend a lot of quality time with her brother. “My older brother also ended up modeling as well after I started. It was great as we did a lot of jobs together, and he could drive me!” Gaskins said.
Mrs. Barb Gillming, Math and Technology teacher, worked for two different contractors at the United States Environmental Protection Agency from 1990-1993. Gillming did the data and statistical analysis while creating graphs and tables to display the data as well as any other computer support. “I was named co-author on the paper for the Fairbanks, Alaska study. I also went on site for a study to help collect samples of an abatement study at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois,” Gillming said.
Spanish teacher Mr. Kyle Jepson, experienced a job involving athletics, writing and traveling. Before becoming a teacher, Jepson teamed up with two major league baseball teams, The Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers, and was a sports writer. “Basically, I traveled with baseball teams, watched games and talked with players on a daily basis. It was a ton of fun,” Jepson said.
Many faculty members have held positions in the food industry. Mr. Dan Rosenbaum, Director of Curriculum, affirms McNicholas as his third job ever. “I worked for 4 years at Burger King in Forest Park,” Rosenbaum said. “I have loved all of my jobs and consider myself a very loyal employee.” Another faculty member with restaurant experience is SAIL teacher Ms. Hannah Schwab, who has worked at Frisch’s and Long John Silvers. Additionally, Mrs. Christine Rohling, a math teacher, started at a coffee shop then moved onto catering weddings. “It was easy and good money and I paid my way through college with it,” Rohling said. Later, she worked at a restaurant on the Great South Bay in Long Island. “The scenery was always beautiful and people would drive their boats up and have dinner,” Rohling said.
Some teachers didn’t even start their high school teaching career until they’d already had another career prior. Mrs. Kathy Tyler, math teacher, was an actuary, financial negotiator, tax preparer, and college adjunct Math professor before teaching high school at age 35. “I got my first degree in math because it was easy. I had no idea what I ‘wanted to be when I grew up’,” Tyler said.
Mr. Dave Jackson, Executive Director, has been in several different fields of work before he took his position at McNicholas. In 1977-1982, Jackson was the legislative assistant for Senator Orrin Hatch. He worked on business banking, wrote speeches for his floor, communicated with constituents in Utah, and helped develop legislations. Jackson said this position came with many perks. In 1980, Jackson attended the presidential election of Ronald Reagan and had the privilege to meet him and his wife, Nancy Reagan. He also added that he had an interest in the medical field. This interest led him to work as a surgical technician where he passed instruments to the surgeon during open heart surgery, and he later became a certified EMT.