New faces at Beaver Island School

Along with new superintendent/principal Riley Justis, there are two new faculty members at Beaver Island Community School.

Ashley Helmer

Ashley Helmer is the new English teacher at BICS.

Ashley Helmer, new English teacher at Beaver Island Community School, was born and raised inSaginaw, MI. She attended Saginaw Valley State University and graduated in 2006 with adegree in secondary English education.

For the past six years, she and husband, Chad, lived in New York City where she taught inthe public school system. The couple, both with family in Michigan, always planned tosomeday return to their home state. After the birth of their son, Finn, in April, Ashley wason maternity leave when she saw the online posting for an English teacher on Beaver Island.New York was different experience, to be sure, with groceries delivered and a 45-minute

subway ride to and from work.  “Now it’s just a 10 minute drive home,” said Ashley, who isimpressed with the Island’s natural beauty. “One thing we never had was what is now rightoutside our window.”

New science teacher Rachael Wilber is a yooper! She grew up Ontonagon, MI. and is used tosmall town life.

After graduating from Northern Michigan in 2010 with a degree in biology, Rachel’s life tooka turn toward education. She served in Americorps’ Superior Western U.P. program, workingfor Big Brother – Big Sister and running an in-school mentoring program.

Rachael was then awarded a grant from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation to pursue her degree in education from Grand Valley. While searching online to investigate potential teachingpositions, she came across a photo of Beaver Island School and found it impressive,especially for such a small community.

“I just sent an email to see if there was an opening. I’d never been to the Island beforebut it just seemed to fit,” she said.

For the complete articles on the two new BICS faculty members, see the upcoming October

issue of NorthernIslander.