Meet Ms. Kunkel- Payton’s new math teacher

By Julia Kozlowski, Contributor

Ms. Kunkel is from Michigan butI knew she wanted to come teach in Chicago.

Paw Print: What got you into teaching?
Ms. Kunkel: A lot of teachers say they have always known or they had a teacher who really inspired them to want to become a teacher. But for me, I was a camp counselor in college, and I realized that I really liked working with kids. That was a big reason for why I started thinking about teaching. I also started tutoring athletes at my college, and I really enjoyed the teaching and helping people understand and learn. So it kind of all made sense when I started thinking about what I enjoy doing and what helps me feel purposeful and happy.

Paw Print: Have you always had a passion for math?
Ms. Kunkel: My relationship with math has changed a little over the years. I would say I really liked it at the beginning, but in middle school and high school I was pretty ‘meh’ about it, and then when I went to college I discovered I really liked math. That’s when I decided I wanted to really dive deep into math and teach it.

Paw Print: Did you go to college for teaching?
Ms. Kunkel: I have a major in economics and a minor in math. It was towards the end of college that I decided I wanted to stay and get my certificate for teaching. So, I stayed a fifth year, and I am certified to teach math and economics as well.

Paw Print: Why Payton?
Ms. Kunkel: I’ve always looked at Payton. I was teaching at a school for four years, and I only applied here. This is the only place that I would want to move to if I was going to move. I did so much research on this school, and I just really liked how cohesive it was. A lot of schools are all over the place, but I feel like Payton has a shared mission and vision, and principles. Also, amongst the staff, we’re all trying to be in line with each other. There’s a lot of collaboration, which makes everything better. At other schools, you can kind of be on your own little island, and it’s very isolating. Here there’s a community. I think the shared mission and vision are so important. It’s so important to have all the staff believe in where this is going because that trickles down to the students as well.

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