Changes coming to business department staff

Brooke Jones, Reporter

In the upcoming school year, the business department will see several changes due to DECA adviser Dave Shillinglaw’s retirement  and business teacher Gogi Supenski’s new position as a tech trainer. With these changes comes a new era for the Bellevue West business department.

Shillinglaw has taught at West for 29 years and has been a vital part of the schools DECA program ever since. His DECA students have gone to nationals every year and won first place titles nine times.

When it comes to his impact at West, Shillinglaw said he believes that he’s helped every student just as much as they have helped him over the years.

“I’d like to think that I made an impact on all of my students in some way, shape, or form,” Shillinglaw said. “I always tried to challenge students to get the best out of them.”

Shillinglaw said that he has plans of helping kids in another way outside the classroom, but doesn’t know exactly what that is yet.

“I’m not retiring because I need to, I’m retiring because it’s time, and I want to. I want to do some other things in my life,” Shillinglaw said. “I’d like to accomplish something and help kids in another way.”

Several students expressed praise for Shillinglaw, talking about the several lessons they were taught while having him as their teacher.

“He taught me how to be successful in not just business, but in any field that I decide to go into,” junior Alisa Jordan said.

Personal finance teacher Gogi Supenski will be transferring to Mission Middle School after 12 years of teaching at West. Her main role at Mission will be helping teachers learn how to integrate iPads into their classrooms.

She says that the most rewarding part of teaching is having students come back and tell her that she helped them in some way. Sometimes, students will come back years after graduating just to say that her class helped them through college and beyond.

“Students will come back and say ‘it was real!’, you were telling us what it really was like,” Supenski said.

When it comes to her legacy at West, Supenski says she wants to be remembered for her way of making people feel important.

“I just hope they remember me and remember my laugh,” Supenski said. “Hopefully I made them smile.”

Among the new teachers joining the business department next year is current info tech and AP Computer Science Principles teacher Epley Hamilton. Hamilton has been a track coach for the past three years, but looks forward to getting to know students beyond the track team.

“I’m really looking forward to building relationships with students,” Hamilton said. “Right now I only really know my track kids.”

Along with Hamilton, the department will welcome new DECA adviser Jennifer Clark.

“I wish the new teacher the best,” Shillinglaw said. “I hope the students understand that she’s not me and that they’re going to have to learn to work with somebody else who maybe has a different way of doing things.”