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Family first at Jeannette Junior High

A sense of family can be felt at each school throughout Utica Community Schools, but staff at Jeannette Junior High School have found that your family at home can also be your work family. 

“I feel really fortunate because in so many ways you work closely with other staff members, but we get to go home and talk, collaborate and help each other out,” Jeannette Junior High School teacher Rachel Adams said.

Rachel Adams has been teaching alongside her husband, David Adams, at Jeannette for the past 13 years. David and Rachel are amongst nine other staff members who have a family co-worker at Jeannette.

“It shows that people feel good about inviting their family members to work here,” said David Adams, Jeannette Junior High School teacher.  “Obviously they feel strongly enough about our school to encourage their loved ones to come and work here.”

Jodi Ruiz has spent her 24-year teaching career at Jeannette Junior High School and this school year encouraged her son, Jahi Hinson, to join the Jeannette team. Hinson is now a building substitute teacher and 7th grade football coach.

“It’s been really amazing actually,” Hinson shared. “I think our relationship has gotten stronger since I started here.”

“To bring in Jahi, it’s been my best year of teaching,” said Ruiz. “I really like having him here.”

Steven Robinson joined the Jeannette team this school year after teaching at a different school district.

“As good as I thought it was going to be, it’s 1,000 times better,” Robinson said.

His wife Kristina Robinson has been with UCS for 9 years, teaching at Jeannette Junior High before going to Stevenson High School to teach.

“I’m happy to be here and I always heard from her that this is a great school to be at with a lot of support, and she couldn’t have been more right.”

Jeannette is also the work home for Student Services teacher Dorothy Vernarsky and her daughter, Rebekah, who is a long-term sub in the science department. Janelle Kaufman has been a long-time building sub at Jeannette, and her daughter, Aeriana, joined the team last year as the Media Center Clerk.

Rachel Adams explained that the staff at Jeannette are close knit with the unifying factor being their students.

“We treat each other like family, we have fun together and we help each other on a moment’s notice.”

Utica Community Schools is always looking to expand its staff family – to learn about current openings and apply, visit