Fresh Faces

A spotlight on Garfield’s new teachers


Art by Taylor Gale

Garfield’s courses are constantly in flux, and with the yearly change of classes comes a change in teachers. From electives like theater to core classes like math, several new teachers have moved into the Garfield High School community. Each one of these new teachers have something to bring to the table in and out of the building. 

Ms. Gress, Garfield’s new theater teacher, started teaching at Garfield in the 2020/21 school year. She moved to Garfield after teaching theater at Liberty High School, guest directing at Highline and student teaching here at Garfield. She’s extremely passionate about theater and is always either seeing a show or involved in one. Some of her other hobbies include thrifting, cycling, and spending time with her 17 year old cat, Cloudy. 

“Theater is definitely where I spent the majority of my time in high school which continued through my life. That’s my go-to hobby, either seeing a show or being involved in one.” Gress said.  

Gress hopes that students will leave her class having gained confidence, improved collaboration and communication skills, practice with group work, and discovered new talents. 

“There’s a lot of people who during the course of theater classes discover an untapped talent or something that they could pursue for a career. Either on stage or behind the scene, it’s a world of creation.” Gress said.

Gress grew up in Renton and attended Liberty High School, just twelve miles from Garfield. She had multiple friends who went to Garfield and were involved with the theater, so she spent a lot of time in the Quincy Jones building watching their shows. 

Seeing these shows, hearing about the community from her friends, and student teaching at Garfield had a huge impact in her decision to teach here rather than another school. It was clear to her that Garfield really valued arts education and student expression, which is exactly the kind of school she wanted to be a part of. 

In her classes, Gress tries to cultivate a healthy, safe space for all types of people to come together, be themselves, find community and make lifelong friends, just like her experience with theater in high school. 

Another new addition to Garfield is Mr. Kropp, who works in the Math Department teaching Algebra Two. Before becoming a teacher, Kropp was a professional ballet dancer at Kansas City Dance where he trained all over the world for eleven years. After retiring five years ago, he student-taught at Cleveland High School, volunteered at Skyline High School and then moved to Garfield. 

Aside from dancing and teaching, Kropp has many hobbies that have gotten him through quarantine. Some of these include hiking, going on walks, baking blueberry pie, making sourdough starters, knitting, and sewing. 

Kropp knew he wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, especially because his father taught math for forty-three years. His father was a teacher who shared his love of math with his students. This helped his students thrive and develop their own love for math. He tries to create that same effect in his classes. 

In this class, Kropp hopes his students develop a love of Algebra Two, feel confident that they have problem solving and critical thinking skills, and feel that they belong in any class or profession, no matter the difficulty. 

“I want to make sure they know that they all can do it, and that I believe they can all be successful. I am here to support my students.” Kropp said. 

Mr. Cicilini, who graduated from the University of Washington with his masters just last year, teaches Spanish Three and Four. Cicilini grew up and did his schooling in Buenos Aires, until moving to the US in 2013 and finishing his masters degree at University of Washington.

In his free time Cicilini continues to study languages, dabbling in Portuguese, Italian and French. Cicilini also enjoys spending time outdoors, and appreciating Seattle’s natural beauty.

“I sometimes think that people in Seattle aren’t really aware of the beauty that surrounds Seattle. Seattle is a beautiful place where you can see lakes and mountains from different parts of the city. I enjoy hiking, it transports me somewhere else every time that I interact with nature.” Cicilini said. 

Cicilini has always loved languages and he strives to promote a class where his students feel a reason to study another world language. 

“Languages open many doors in life, not only for jobs but for relationships, friends, and traveling. By learning another language you are respecting, supporting and learning about their culture as well.” Cicilini said.