The Cody School District welcomed a number of new teachers to the ranks this year, many filling the spots of teachers retiring after decades of service.
Incoming teachers range from those in their careers and those diving into teaching after helping as paraeducators, to those with many years of experience in the profession. Some are from across the country, others are happy to be working in, or very near, their hometown.
Name: Jodi Adams
Education history: B.A. University of Wyoming, M.S. Capella University
Work history: I taught first grade in Arizona for a year, moved to Idaho and taught second grade for West Ada school district for a year and then moved to Caldwell school district where I have taught kindergarten, first and school wide Title 1 for 21 years.
Assignment and school this year: Title 1 at Livingston School
Why did you choose Cody? It’s a beautiful part of Wyoming.
What are your hobbies? Baking cakes, camping, fishing and hunting.
Family? I’ve been married to my husband Jim for 29 years. We have two children. Our son Anthony lives and works in Dallas, Texas and our daughter Bailey is a KC-10 crew chief and is flying with her plane right now over in Europe.
Name: Laura Campbell
Education history: First year teacher, sub for six years, B.A. in Elementary Education and SPED K-12
Work history: Last 20 years as a massage therapist and substitute
Assignment: 3-Sunset resource room
Why: Cody is home and wouldn’t want to be any where else.
Hobbies: farming (a lot of animals), gardening (food no flowers), kids sports
Family: Married going on 20 years. I have three boys including a senior, junior and 6th grader
Name: Greer Clark
Education history: B.A. in English Literature, Elementary Teaching License, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction
Work history: First year teacher with experience in Student Teaching and long term subbing
Assignment: Third grade teacher as Livingston
Why: Chose Cody because it’s a great place to raise a family and it’s beautiful.
Hobbies: Hobbies are being outside with family, baking and reading
Family: My husband and I have been married 10 years. We have two daughters, Olivia (5), and Isla (eye-la, 2).
Name: Cassie Firkins
Hometown: Redding, Calif.
Education History: B.A. in Child Development from California State University, Chico, with a minor in Psychology; Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Simpson University
Work History: Four years as Lead Teacher with Head Start (three of those years as Mentor Teacher for practicum students); two years as a kindergarten teacher, two years as a SPED para with Park 6
Assignment and School: Fourth Grade at Eastside
Why Did You Choose Cody?: We moved to Cody two years ago after a lot of research to find the place we ultimately wanted to call home. We moved here for the peace and quiet, nature, and the overall values that mesh with our own.
What are your hobbies?: I am a musician, love to read and bake, and care for our small family farm of animals.
Family: My husband and 9-month-old daughter, and my father-in-law who we are blessed to have live with us.
Name: Raffie Halajian
Hometown: Hackensack, NJ
Education history: Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Gannon University in Erie, Penn.
Work history: I have done travel therapy for 3-4 years. I traveled in Virginia, New Hampshire, and New Jersey before settling in Cody.
Assignment and school this year: District-wide physical therapist
Why did you choose Cody? Because it’s by Yellowstone, I like the scenery, and I like to hunt
Family? My parents and brother are in Jersey, but I just bought a house with my girlfriend.
Name: Zachary Holmes
Hometown: Veradale, Wash.
Education history: Master’s degree in Elementary Education
Work history: Former librarian at Sunset Elementary
Assignment and school this year: Fifth grade teacher at Eastside
Why did you choose Cody? Outdoor recreation and small town culture
What are your hobbies? Fishing, hunting, hiking, sports
Family? Wife, Rachel, and son, William
Name: Jaime Ivanoff
Education history: Bachelor’s degree in Education from Valley City State University
Work history: I started working for Park 6 in 2012, substituting and coaching the high school junior varsity girls soccer team with Marian Miears. I then joined the Livy team for four years as a special education paraeducator. I got my first teaching job with Connections Academy last year teaching 2nd grade. I am excited to start my new journey as a 1st grade teacher with Livy.
Assignment and school this year: First grade teacher at Livingston
Why did you choose Cody? My husband and I have been enjoying raising our children in a small community!
What are your hobbies? Enjoying tea with a good book! Scuba Diving
Family? My husband’s name is Jake, we have a daughter, Mali (13), twin boys, Peter and Joseph (7), two dogs, Dish and our newest puppy, Scout.
Name: Hunter Jones
Hometown: Jupiter, Fla. and Story
Education history: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Marine Biology at Eckerd College; Master of Science in Psychology specializing in Child and Adolescent Development at Capella University
Work history: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy Upper School Science Teacher; Teton Science Schools Field Educator; Teton Science School Mountain Academy Teacher, Wildlife Expeditions Guide, Casper Mountain Science Program Outdoor Science Educator
Assignment and school this year: Cody High School Science Department
Why did you choose Cody? Cody has always been a town I’ve loved in the mountain west and I’m excited to teach high school science!
What are your hobbies? Paddling, hiking, cross country skiing, ceramics and jewelry making.
Education history: I earned my B.A. and my M.S. at the University of Montana in Missoula, Go Griz!
Work history: This is my first year in the field. However, I was lucky enough to complete two of my graduate practicums here in Cody. I worked with students at Cody Middle School and Cody’s Children’s Resource Center, so I am looking forward to the familiar faces and continued relationship building.
Assignment and school this year: Speech-Language Pathologist at Cody High School and Sunset Elementary
Why did you choose Cody? When Covid hit, I came back to Cody to be closer to family. After a year of being back, I didn’t want to leave again. I am enjoying the slow-paced life and endless open space here in Cody.
What are your hobbies? I love reading, walking with my dogs, spending time with loved ones, and listening to music and podcasts.
I am looking forward to connecting with the students, families, and staff of Park 6. Let’s make this year great!
Name: Garrett Leach
Education history: Northwest College, University of Wyoming, English and Secondary Education, Western Governors University, Special Education
Work history: years of kitchen work, customer service, odd jobs, substitute teaching, para-professional at CHS
Assignment and school this year: Sunset, Behavior
Why did you choose Cody? This is my home. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
What are your hobbies? Playing bass, getting lost outdoors
Family? Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephew all in Cody, as well as the world’s greatest dog, Walter. Getting married June 18 next summer.
Name: Sarah Lynn Magargal
Hometown: Cody, Born in Norristown, Penn.
Education history: Earned a BA in Elementary Education at MSU-Billings. Currently working on a Computer Science Endorsement at Northwest College
Work history: Substitute taught for Billings school district (five years) including long-term subbing in Billings, Bridger and Park 6 school district (six years), para-pro transition department at Cody High School for one year, recently the technology para “Computer Lab teacher” at Sunset (eight years)
Assignment: Computer Science Teacher at Eastside Elementary School
Why Cody? I moved back to Cody in 2006, after living in Billings for 10 years to raise my son Zach. I felt that there were more opportunities for recreation, sports and a better education.
Hobbies: Painting/hiding rocks, paddle boarding, 4-Wheeling, walking my dogs and watching my son play hockey and soccer
Family: I’m a proud parent to son Zachary; Zach is a sophomore at CHS. My father is George, brother is Luke, sister in law Sarah Ann and nieces: Allison and Lauren.
Hometown: Castle Rock, Colo.
Education history: Bachelor (Human Development and Family Studies), Master (Elementary Education), Certified Structured Literacy Teacher, National Board Teacher
Work history: 20-plus years in Education as Certified Teacher, Program Director, State Education Trainer
Assignment and school this year: District Literacy Coach
Why did you choose Cody? I grew up west of Castle Rock, Colo. on a cattle ranch. It is nuzzled right up to the Rocky Mountain foothills. When I graduated high school Castle Rock was smaller than Cody was during that same time. In the last thirty years, Castle Rock has gained 60,000-plus in population growth. I chose Cody because it is a small town, filled with friendly people and reminds me of my small hometown. Cody offers wonderful experiences such as hiking, kayaking, geocaching, cross country skiing. Plus it has a fantastic museum. Lastly, Park County 6 is an amazing school district filled with dedicated teachers who always put their students first!
What are your hobbies? hiking, kayaking, geocaching, cross country skiing, reading and painting
Family? I have two grown children and one granddaughter
Name: Sue Nelson
Education history: Graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2014 with a dual degree in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education
Work history: I was a Special Education para at CHS from 2009-2014. I student taught at Sunset Elementary in the fall of 2014. I taught Special Education in a tiny town in Minnesota from Jan 2015-June 2016, then Special Education in Rock Springs 2016-2917, then Kindergarten at Torah Day School of Phoenix from 2016-2021
Assignment and school this year: Special Ed K-2 at Livingston
Why did you choose Cody? I love Cody, I lived here from 2007-2014, I have family here, my daughter and son in law just made me a Grandma!
What are your hobbies? Horses, hockey, hiking, camping, etc
Family? Three adult children and one grandson
Name: Rachel Nielsen
Hometown: Originally Rock Hall, Md., but I have lived in Wyoming for 15 years.
Education history: I graduated from Powell High School, went to Northwest College for Sociology, Received my bachelors in Social Work from the University of Wyoming and my Masters of Social Work at the University of Wyoming as well.
Work history: I worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wyoming in Laramie from 2016-2018 as a case manager and then worked at Positive Progressions in Powell and Cody as a therapist for children and families from 2018-2021.
Assignment and school this year: I am a district-wide Mental Health Counselor.
Why did you choose Cody? I chose Cody because of the great community and area.
What are your hobbies? Reading, board games and spending time with family and friends.
Family? I have been married to my husband for three years and been with him for a decade, I am lucky to have his family living in this area as well.
Name: Elena Raver
Education history: Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from UW and Masters in Teaching from Western Governor’s University
Work history: Wells Fargo manager for several years after college, then substitute teacher for Park 6 schools for six months
Assignment and school this year: Sixth Grade math teacher at Cody Middle School
Why did you choose Cody? I grew up in Cody and went to Cody schools myself. I completed my student teaching here and I firmly believe there’s no better environment and faculty to help a new teacher hone her skills. Also, my family and my fiancé’s family live in the area.
What are your hobbies? Reading, listening to podcasts, crafting, spending time with family
Family? My fiancé, Scott, and our two dogs, Teddy and Sudo
Hometown: Los Angeles
Education history: AB Engish Stanford University; MFA Production USC School of Film and Television
Work history: Icon Productions; Howlands Entertainment projects, including Divided Hearts of America; LIFTABLEtv productions including Women of Faith Show and Class Series
Assignment and school this year: Broadcast Journalism and Media, Cody High School
Why did you choose Cody? Because it is the best town in the world
What are your hobbies? Running and skiing and camping
Family: Husband Dr. Mark Ryzewicz; CMS student Molly Maina Ryzewicz and Eastside student Luke Kennedy Ryzewicz
Hometown: Choteau, Mont.
Education history: I received my Bachelor’s degree from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2008 and my Master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University-Billings in 2012.
Work history: I started off in the counseling field working for Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in their School-Based Services Program in Laurel. I later worked for Montana Vocational Rehabilitation in Billings as a Rehabilitation Counselor before moving to Cody in 2012. I have been working as an outpatient therapist for Yellowstone Behavioral Health Center since March 2013, and specialize in play therapy, anxiety disorders, and behavior disorders.
Assignment and school this year: I am the school counselor for Livingston Elementary School.
Why did you choose Cody? My husband grew up in the Big Horn Basin, and we both love this area!
What are your hobbies? I love going on walks with my family, doing yard work, reading (especially non-fiction), hand lettering and spending time with my dog, Milo.
Family? My husband and I have been married since 2011, and have three kids, ages 6, 4, and 3.
Name: Kayla Swank
Hometown: Lakin, Kan.
Education history: Graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, Okla. with a degree in Elementary Education.
Work history: Long-term substitute in second-grade at Sunset Elementary in 2021.
Assignment and school this year: Fourth grade at Livingston
Why did you choose Cody? While attending school at SWOSU, I met my significant other and he happens to be from Cody. After visiting, I fell in love with the mountains and all that Wyoming has to offer.
What are your hobbies? I love being outdoors. Some of my hobbies are skiing, walking my new puppy and going to the gym. I also enjoy anything to do with sports!
Family? I have a big family who all reside in Lakin, Kan. My mom Jana, stepdad John, brother Ryan, two step-sisters Kymberly and Stephanie, two brothers-in-law Curtis and Dusty and a beautiful niece, Elaine.
Hometown: Levittown, Penn.
Education history: I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Technology Education from Millersville University in 2011. I earned my Master’s Degree of Education in Instructional Design from Western Governors University in 2020.
Work history: I taught three years in Arizona on two different reservations teaching wood shop. Then I moved to North Carolina where I taught middle school STEM for four years. Most recently I taught wood shop, technology, graphic arts, and construction at Riverside Middle/High School in Basin for three years.
Assignment and school this year: Computer science teacher at Livingston
Why did you choose Cody?: I chose to move to Cody because of the great opportunity it provided to set down roots to start family. My wife and I were looking for a state that had great schools for teachers and students. We also wanted to be in an area that provided for outdoor adventure and recreational activities.
What are your hobbies? Traveling, hiking, camping, woodworking, board games, spending time with my family
Family? My wife works in the district as a Special Education Teacher at Cody Middle School. We have a 7-month-old baby girl, who is our new travel partner and bundle of joy.
Name: Gabbi Wright
Education History: Graduated from Cody High School. Earned my associate degree from Sheridan College. Earned my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education from Valley City State University.
Work history: Subbed for Park 6 for a year. Worked as a preschool teacher assistant at the Seedlings Center
Assignment: Third grade at Sunset
Why did you choose Cody? I was born and raised here and love to be close to my family.
What are your hobbies? Anything outdoors. I love riding horses and chasing around my 16-month-old.
Family? I am married to Cameron Wright and we have a little boy named Tuck. We are also expecting another little boy around New Year’s.