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Shywanda Royal
New FHS English teacher Shywanda Royal wants to make sure her students are prepared for college and beyond. Photo by Sahara Peters.

Shywanda Royal

A series of new faculty members this year at Foothill High School.

Shywanda Royal is our new 11th grade English teacher. She went to John McDonogh High School and for her undergraduate degree in English she studied at Dillard University. Both schools were in New Orleans, Louisiana. She later went on to the University of Alaska Southeast to achieve her master’s and join her teacher preparatory program.

At first she was bouncing around college. Later she had a sit down with her counselor who had basically told her she was wasting her life away and most importantly, her money. They then came to the conclusion that she should become a teacher.

“I was so angry at my teachers when I went to college,” said Royal, “because I went to college unprepared. I didn’t know what I needed to know to enter college. So I was very angry that they had let me down.

As a teacher now, Royal has her current students in mind.

“I want to make sure I don’t let that happen to my students,” she said. “I want them to be prepared for college or whatever else they might do in life.”

This was so down to earth. Usually when people are asked why they decided to be a teacher, it’s things like, “Oh I really love this subject,” or “Well I like being in charge.” So not very often do people hear about a teacher actually wanting to help prepare every grade they teach.

Speaking of which, Royal has taught just about every grade, preschool to 12th grade. Whether it’s tutoring or classroom teaching, she’s done it all. Although she doesn’t have a favorite grade, she does enjoy teaching high school students.

Regarding Foothill High School, Royal doesn’t yet have an opinion.
“I’m reserving it for now, until I really get to know the culture here,” Royal said.

She also stated that her first impression is that she likes the school, and the people she has met are very interesting and cool, even the students that may give her a bit of a hard time.

Royal started teaching in early 2000 and was a tutor for standardized testing. Once that was over, her school kept her as an art teacher. She had no idea what she was doing, so she just taught what she knew. She taught her students a lot of alternative arts, such as how to knit, make different collages and crochet. She’s also taught history for 6th graders, which was a little harder for her, as she had the same set of students for English. She’d often get those two classes mixed up, but later in the year she started connecting the classes together, which made life much easier for her. So far, art, history and English are all she’s taught so far.

Royal’s classroom is also extremely welcoming. She gives off both a professional but soft look that lets you know she’ll be a great teacher to have.

So obviously she’s interested in reading and writing, because what English teacher isn’t? But what about something else? A different hobby?

“I have a weird hobby, well, weird to other people, but not weird to me,” Royal said. “I collect medieval weapons.”

Medieval weapons?! So far she has a Battle axe, a mace, two swords and a knife collection. As of right now she’s trying to work on getting some bows and arrows. Her favorite? A battle axe.

She actually has a little replica of one on her keychain! Now not only does she collect them, but she plays around with them as well. Right now she hasn’t been able to use her swords anywhere, as she has no idea where she’d be able to do that. She’s thinking about taking up Judo because it’s a great natural transition to swords with the hand techniques and the weapons they use.


New Faculty

Karen Brizendine

Josh Chamberlain

Mosey Clinkey

Mark Nicholas

Mark Pfeifer

Shywanda Royal

Julie Winkel

Robyn Brown




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