Teacher Feature Week 5

Sergeant First Class Savage



Q: Why did you choose Red Mountain?

Savage: Red Mountain chose me. I was working at Highland High School in Gilbert at the time and received a telephone call from Ken Garcia. He was the Army Instructor here at the time and was retiring. He asked if I would take over the program, and I could not say no. I had been to Red Mountain several times since 2005 for visits and have always felt at home here. I knew most of the JROTC students who were here at the time through shared events and competitions. Not to mention, they were hiring a new Senior Army Instructor, too, and someone had to train him.

Q: What unique characteristic do you bring to Red Mountain?

Savage: As a JROTC Instructor, you become an open book to the students. I share a lot of my life with them as learning points. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, dropping out of high school, living in the Army for 20 years, raising my own family along the way, you really learn a lot about people, situations, and you make a lot of your own history. Working with students has taught me that the faces change but stories stay the same. When you can relate to the students on a level they understand by sharing those experiences with them, they see they are not alone. You show them they have options.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Savage: Seeing students return with their lives in tow, being introduced to their spouses and children, hearing how their lives have changed and the enjoyment they found after graduation, seeing the success in their eyes, excitement in their voice and enrichment in their lives, that’s when I feel the most successful.

Ms. Vaughn



Q: What is your position at Red Mountain? What do you do on a day to day basis?

Vaughn: I am a Receptionist at Red Mountain High School. I greet and direct visitors and callers, give the daily announcements and answer any questions.

Q: What unique characteristic do you bring to Red Mountain?

Vaughn: This is my eighth year at Red Mountain, and I bring social organizational skills. I love the relationships between staff and students.

Mr. Kaufman

Social Studies Dept. Chair


Q: Why did you choose Red Mountain?

Kaufman: Red Mountain chose me. I started working at Red Mountain High School in 1999, and this is my 28th year. Dr. Free (the first Red Mountain High School Principal) called me for an interview, and I guess I impressed him, so I was offered a position. At the time, I really did not know RMHS existed, it was only a year old. I wanted to be in the Mesa District. I did my observation at Mountain View and my student teaching at Westwood, and I enjoyed my experience. Mesa District was very competitive when it came to salary and benefits as well as being very competitive in academics and sports.

Q: What made you decide to be a teacher?

Kaufman: I come from a family of teachers. My great grandfather, grandfather and two sisters were teachers. The hard answer is that I loved learning about history, psychology, economics and all the other social sciences, and my friends often told me that I could explain things to them better than their teachers. So that being said, teaching came naturally to me. I have always gotten ‘warm fuzzies’ when I help someone understand a concept, so it was a natural fit for me.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Kaufman: The ‘warm fuzzies’ from helping a student learn a new concept or make connections. I really enjoy the times students come in before school and at lunch get extra help, working with students one on one. Their desire to learn really gets me excited for my next class. Every time I see a struggling student, and I am able to help them do better on an assignment or test, I have a sense of accomplishment that to describe. I am sure I would not get that same feeling from working in the private sector helping a company make more money.