Colleague Companions: Staff members find friendships through work

Teachers find enjoyment in longlasting relationships within the workplace

November 24, 2016

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By submitted by math teacher Jessica DeWild

Having been friends for eight years, art teacher Erica Crist (third left) was a bridesmaid in math teacher Jessica DeWild’s (center left) wedding on Friday, Oct. 21.

Art teacher Erica Crist and math teacher Jessica DeWild become close friends through work

While physically far away, teachers grow closer in work

Getting along with your coworkers makes work easier, especially in the case of math teacher Jessica DeWild and art teacher Erica Crist. DeWild and Crist both grew up in McPherson, Kansas, but, because of an age difference, were never friends until DeWild came to Mill Valley nine years ago. The two then quickly became friends, spending a few of hours per week together as StuCo sponsors.

According to Crist, being friends with DeWild makes working together easier.

“I know I can depend on her and since we are good friends, we have each others back,” Crist said. “If we do disagree about anything, we disagree about it and then we move on.”

DeWild likes Christ’s selflessness, and Crist likes DeWild’s outgoing personality and that she speaks her mind.

Although they don’t get to see each other often during the school day, they often spend time together outside of school. From participating in bingo night to playing with DeWild’s dog Lessie, to eating out, they always find a way to fit each other into their lives. According to DeWild though, their favorite thing to do together is just talk.

“We just sit around and hang out and watch TV and talk,” DeWild said “It’s pretty lame, but that’s probably our favorite thing to do.”

In October, Crist was a bridesmaid in DeWild’s wedding, and Crist believes that this is a special memory the two of them share.

“We stayed in a hotel room the night before [the wedding] together so being there when she woke up and knowing it was her big day was a lot of fun,” Crist said.


Their friendship has become important to the both of them. According to Crist, they would do almost anything for each other.

“She’s important. I don’t know how to explain it. She’s just an important person to me,” Crist said. “I would just do anything for her. I probably wouldn’t catch a grenade for her, but otherwise I would do anything for her.”

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By Lexi Flipse

Everyday, world language teacher Edith Paredes, P.E. teacher Christine Preston and science teacher Landra Fair carpool to and from school together from Lawrence. “We’ve gotten closer because we see each other all the time. We know things about each other that we wouldn’t [otherwise],” Paredes said.

Teachers are brought together through transportation to school

World language Edith Paredes, P.E. teacher Christine Preston and science teacher Landra Fair find friendship through a daily carpool

Every morning, physical education teacher Christine Preston, science teacher Landra Fair and Spanish teacher Edith Parades can be found piling into a car to endure the 30 minute trip from Lawrence, Kansas to the school.

The carpool initially began between Fair and Parades in 2009 so the two could save gas. Two years later, Preston joined the group. The carpool group has now evolved into a definite friendship, according to Fair.

“It’s nice to not have to drive myself every day, obviously [to] save on gas and maintenance on the car,” Fair said. “But, what I probably like best is just spending time with them.”

Parades said that the time spent together while carpooling provides all three teachers the opportunity to foster a friendship.

“I think because we spend an hour a day together … all that time in the car together really gives us the opportunity to know each other,” Parades said.

According to Fair, the friendship between her and the other two teachers has allowed her to become more connected to other aspects of the school.

“We never see each other at school because we’re in different departments,” Fair said. “It’s [interesting to] see a different aspect of school that I would never have seen without having a friendship with them.”

Although different, Preston said the three’s relationship has been beneficial due to their differences in personality.

“We all three are very different but we have a lot in common and we get along really well,” Preston said. “We tend to just help each other through issues we’re having or problems or share good news.”

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By Lexi Flipse

Band teachers Debra Steiner and Elliott Arpin have become close friends after directing band together for close to three years.

Band teachers Deb Steiner and Elliott Arpin’s relationship make for a better work environment

A passion for music and teaching brings music teachers helps teachers form a bond

Both finding a passion in music, band teachers Elliott Arpin and Deb Steiner bonded inside and out of the classroom. They quickly connected over their love for teaching music courses.

After Arpin was hired here three years ago, the two “hit it off,” according to Steiner. Steiner attributes their friendship to their close working environment.

“We teach both of the bands together so that is really good that we get that connection,” Steiner said. “We both get to work pretty early so we can go through the day and we usually stay pretty late.”

According to Arpin, their problem-solving skills in the classroom have benefited from the friendship and made it easier to work together.

“I feel like I can be completely honest if I have an idea; I can let her know, and if it’s a bad idea she doesn’t hesitate to let me know,” Arpin said. “It’s nice to have that communication so we can bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm together and solve problems together.”

Steiner agrees and said that their friendship makes for a more comfortable work environment.

“It makes it a lot more fun. We can entertain ourselves when we’re teaching, which is really good,” Steiner said. “Then when we’re done, we also have a good relationship where we can talk about things and … can come together and find that good place.”

Spending most of their work day together, the two have made many memories along the way.

“There was the time when she threw a football to me and I bit it in front of the the entire band,” Arpin said.

Their friendship is meaningful to them and has made school more enjoyable for the both of them.

“I think it is important to get along with the people you work with,” Steiner said. “I think the students enjoy us having a connection and not, you know, fighting against each other. It makes them feel more comfortable and they enjoy being in the band.”

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