Hillary Mullen is the new kindergarten teacher at Petersburg’s Rae C. Stedman Elementary School. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)

The Rae C. Stedman Elementary School in Petersburg has two new teachers this year. One of them is kindergarten teacher, Hillary Mullen. As Angela Denning reports, she comes to the position after several years at a Montessori Preschool in Juneau.

Hillary Mullen is originally from Denver, Colorado. She earned her Elementary Education Degree at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau and did her student teaching in a second grade classroom in Sitka.

Mullen moved to Petersburg over a year ago to be closer to her husband’s family. Her husband is Lucas Mullen and his aunt and uncle are Mike Steinbrook and Karin McCullough.

Last year, Mullen worked as a Paraprofessional at the Petersburg Elementary school. She has experience working with young students. For six years, she taught at a Montessori Preschool in Juneau.

In a conversation with KFSK’s Angela Denning, she said that her preschool experience will translate to her kindergarten classroom here.

Mullen:  “I think just instilling a love of learning in each student and having lots of hands on activities and following each child’s strengths and interests and just letting that grow over the school year.”

Denning: “What’s your draw to the young kids? You mentioned you had second grade and then you did all those years at preschool and now you’re kindergarten, you know, why that age group?”

Mullen: “It’s just an exciting time you know, there’s all these new experiences and to look at it through the eyes of the child who is experiencing for the first time is pretty exciting. It has an impact on why I love doing what I do in early childhood.”

Denning:  “If you have a style of teaching what would you say it would be?”

Mullen:  “Let’s see, my style of teaching… providing lots of hands on exploration, a lot of movement you know, young children need to move, so incorporating a lot of songs and just lots of hands on learning and again, following each child’s interest.”

Monday was Mullen’s first day in the classroom. The other kindergarten class is taught by Erin Willis.

The other new teacher at Petersburg’s elementary school is Carla Green who is teaching the 5th grade.