Casady’s tight-knit community is unique from other schools because numerous faculty members work with their spouses or siblings. I had the privilege of interviewing the Hermansen siblings, or as Mr. Bottomly likes to call them, the “Hermansen Trifecta.” This winning combination of teachers include Mr. Hermansen, Mrs. Matias, and Mrs. Nelson. The odds are high that you will get the opportunity to work with at least one of these passionate educators, as Mrs. Matias teaches pre-k and kindergarten at the Primary Division, Mr. Hermansen teaches 8th grade U.S. history in Middle Division, and Mrs. Nelson teaches 9th and 11th grade English in the Upper Division.
The Hermansen siblings grew up in Edmond and were always close. Mr. Hermansen kept his older sisters laughing with his silly phrases and funny jokes. In fact, Mrs. Nelson said that her brother does great impersonations and suggested his students ask him to do Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Mr. Hermansen enjoys the Middle Division’s collaborative and welcoming environment, and said he is “blessed with a lot of incredible students who come to class curious and wanting to know more about the world.” He is passionate about learning and understanding the past. He also hopes that his students leave his classroom inspired to get more involved in their community, encouraging his students to look out for one another, and to go out of their way to help others.
During college in Nashville, Mrs. Matias often babysat and was a nanny. There were two experiences in college that led Mrs. Matias to pursue a teaching career. She volunteered at a bilingual Spanish/English elementary school where she enjoyed working with kindergartners. She then observed a Montessori school where she fell in love with that method of teaching. Mrs. Matias also knew that Casady was the place she wanted to work, since her mom had graduated from Casady and always spoke fondly of the teachers there. Mrs. Matias said she is inspired by the way her students “live with this expectation to be friends with those around them, despite what may be similar or different.” She loves the curious and funny primary students, and appreciates her amazingly talented co-workers who inspire her.
Mrs. Nelson was always a good role model who set high expectations and inspired her younger siblings. She is grateful for the support the Casady community gives the teachers to continually grow in their professional development, and appreciates the school’s commitment to educate the whole person. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Nelson assists with some all-school curriculum mapping work. She enjoys the meaningful conversations shared with her high school students because she feels there is so much to learn from them. Mrs. Nelson hopes that years from now, her students will remember her as a teacher who loved her students and believed in their learning. She also replied, “If they happened to remember that I do a mean ‘Ice Ice Baby,’ as well–well, that would be the icing on the cake.”
So what is it like to teach at the same school with your siblings? Mrs Matias replied, “I love it! They’re both two of the greatest human beings I know, and I’m so glad to share this wonderful place with them.” Mr. Hermansen answered, “It is incredible. I only wish I could see my sisters more. Each division is an island so it is hard for me to get a chance to spend much time with them.” Mrs. Nelson said, “It is one of the greatest joys of my life! I love to pop by my sister’s classroom in the primary division and watch her teach the little kids for a few minutes or to sit at dinner with my brother and discuss the newest project or teaching strategy that he’s doing with his middle division students. I learn so much from them each time I get to watch them in action. Plus, it’s fun for me to get to teach students who were taught by my sister or brother; they all have such great stories about what my siblings were like in the classroom.” The influence of the Hermansen siblings extends to hundreds of Casady students who have had the privilege of learning from three gifted teachers who are passionate about teaching and learning.