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Sanna Clark, center, is excited to return to Shelby Schools as the math teacher for eighth grade and high school students. Her family, husband, Travis, and children, Delaney and Dylan, are also excited about the change that will free up a bit more of Sanna’s time, allowing her to attend more of their activities.

Shelby Schools welcomes two new teachers to the staff this year, Sanna Clark and Kamie Barnhill. Neither is new to teaching, Clark has taught previously at Shelby and Barnhill had been teaching in Conrad prior to joining the Shelby Public Schools staff. Clark will be putting her teaching skills to use in the math department at Shelby Junior High and High School, while Barnhill will be teaching third grade at Shelby Elementary.

As many are aware, Clark has spent the last seven years owning and operating Fieldstone Office Supply on Main Street. After finding out that the lease for her building wouldn’t be renewed come October, Clark found out that the math position was open at SHS.

“The timing was perfect! When I found out that I lost the lease on my Fieldstone building, I found out within a day or two that the math position was open at the high school,” smiled Clark. “It seems that when one door closes, another opens.”

Clark and her husband, Travis, have two children attending school, Delaney, eighth grade, and Dylan, sixth grade. The decision to go back to teaching wasn’t a hard one, especially with her family’s support.

“My husband, Travis, and kids, Delaney and Dylan, were supportive of whatever decision I made, but they were excited when I chose to return to teaching,” said Clark. “It will be convenient for me to have the same schedule as my kids and I’m looking forward to being able to make it to all their afternoon and weekend activities.”

Clark will have her daughter in math class this year, which will definitely be a new experience for both, one she is looking forward to. In another couple of years she will also have the opportunity to have Dylan in class. Some of the staff she taught with before is still teaching and she is looking forward to working with them again. With being active in 4-H and other activities with her children, Clark already has interacted and knows quite a few of the kids she will be seeing in her classroom, but not all, and she is looking forward to getting to know more of them.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids in the community again,” said Clark. “I missed that! And I get to go to work every day with great colleagues, some of whom I know from the past and others that I have heard great things about.”

It’s been seven years since Clark has found herself in a classroom and a lot has changed during that time. Her experience of managing her own business has given her some new insight to the subject she will be teaching and the importance of every student understanding math, not just those pursuing “math” careers.

“Now that I have seven years of business experience behind me, I think it will be easier for me to work in more meaningful real-life applications of math,” said Clark. “I know that math isn’t just useful for those who go on to become engineers or scientists; it’s important for every person to have a math mind and be able to use math when necessary.”

Her new schedule as a teacher will also allow her a bit more free time to do the things she enjoys, spending time with her kids and being involved in their activities, camping and gardening.

“I love watching my kids in sports and music and other activities,” said Clark. “The whole family is really involved in 4-H and we like to go camping when we can get away. I like working in my yard and flower gardens and always have hope that ‘next year’ it’s going to be beautiful!”

Barnhill will be putting her 32 years of teaching experience to use at the third grade level and is excited about working with the staff in Shelby and meeting new students.

“I was teaching at Meadowlark Elementary School in Conrad,” said Barnhill. “I heard about the Shelby teaching position from a friend that teaches in Shelby and decided to apply because I have heard great things about the teachers and staff in Shelby.I am looking forward to working with a great bunch of new teachers and students.”

With over three decades of teaching experience, Barnhill is sure to be an asset to Shelby Schools. She shares that her passion for teaching goes back even further, to when she was a child.

“My parents have always said that I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was born,” she smiled. “I always played school with stuffed animals, pets and brothers. My second grade teacher was my favorite and that is when I absolutely knew I wanted to be a teacher.” 

Barnhill and her family, husband, Ron, and sons, Ron and Brady, will continue to live in Conrad with Barnhill making the commute to Shelby each day. Both sons attend high school, Ron a senior this year and Brady is starting his freshman year, and both are very active in sports. When she’s not teaching, spending time with her family and being involved with her sons’ many activities keeps her busy.

“I love spending time with my family,” said Barnhill. “My sons both wrestle and swim competitively in a summer league. I am one of the swim team coaches during the summer. When I first had my boys and they wanted to do sports, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be ‘That sports mom!’ But, I am. I love to watch my boys and cheer them on in everything they do, both academically and sports related.”

Barnhill shared that in what free time she has left she also enjoys camping, sewing and crafting. When it comes to her job, math is her favorite subject to teach, but really, she enjoys them all.

“I have taught for 32 years and I absolutely love teaching!”

An opportunity for parents to meet both Clark and Barnhill is during the school’s Open House, taking place on Wednesday, Sept. 4, starting at 5 p.m., throughout both buildings. This is also a chance to ask any questions, meet other staff members and learn more about what the upcoming school year has in store. If you are unable to make the Open House and have questions or need more information contact the school at (406) 424-8910.

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