New teacher stresses life skills

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September 11, 2017 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — New Humboldt High School teacher Callee Kaufman enters USD 258 with a position she has waited for her entire life, thanks to several inspiring teachers.
“I had some really amazing teachers in my lifetime and they influenced me to follow my dreams,” Kaufman said. “Ever since I was 4, I would play teacher and classroom with my friends. I just loved the school environment.”
The Colony native came straight out of Pittsburg State University with a degree in family and consumer science.
Kaufman teaches family studies, human growth development, consumer education, career connections, nutrition, culinary and family consumer sciences for the high school.
She also teaches career and life planning classes for eighth-graders at the middle school.
Her inspiration to teach family consumer sciences stems from high school, where one teacher, Kayla Taylor, who still teaches at Crest High School, influenced Kaufman on guiding others to be better people.
Taylor also helped her through FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and other extra-curricular activities. Taylor serves as a mentor to her still today as an adviser through PSU’s program for first-year teachers. 
Kaufman likes being in a small town, and it was easy for her to return to one. She was already familiar with HHS where she was a student teacher under now-retired Dorothy Neely. She jumped at the chance to fill Neely’s old position.
“Neely was absolutely amazing and she left a legacy here,” Kaufman said. “She was such a great person to work with. I had the opportunity to see this school before I even applied. I started to fall in love with it then. It’s one of the best schools in the area and it has a good diversity of students. I really like it in general for everything it has to offer.”

Like her predecessor, Kaufman wants to be there for her students. She said it is common for teenagers to go through struggles while in high school.
“As a teacher, I’ve always told my students I want them to know that I care and know that they always have someone in their corner,” Kaufman said. “That’s important for them. Sometimes students come to school to be loved because they’re not loved at home and need someone to back them.”
Kaufman considers herself to be a meticulous planner. She thinks ahead before anything takes place. She spent most of the summer arranging the classroom and having a teaching plan in place. Her room has a separate area with a couch, lamp and rug for students to read and write on the side away from the main lecture area.
Her classes range from several topics to nutrition and later culinary work for her food classes. Other topics include the human body science, career planning, domestic abuse, family relationships and growth from a physical, emotional and mental standpoint.
Kaufman hopes HHS could add an interior design and sewing class in the near future. She also is advisor for Humboldt’s FCCLA chapter. 
Kaufman owns four dogs and one cat living on a farm with her husband in Colony. She soon will will be the owner of a donkey, and enjoys reading, fishing and exercising. 
With the plethora of subjects that she will teach, Kaufman hopes her students will soak it in and apply it in their lives away from school.
“I want to make a difference in students’ lives,” she said. “I just want people to be more educated and have a better society. Sometimes I feel like we’ve let certain things go. Teaching students when they’re young on how to manage their money, how to be good parents and have a nutritious life will benefit everyone, not just them.”

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