Teacher Feature- Mr. Hepler

The Bark would like you to meet our new math teacher here at Redbank Valley, Mr. Hepler.

The Bark: What high school did you go to?

Mr. Hepler: Redbank Valley High School- Class of 1995

TB: What college did you go to?

MH: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1999. I then attended Clarion University of PA where I earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education and a minor in coaching in 2007.

TB: What extracurricular activities did you participate in during high school and college?

MH: While at Redbank, I was a member of the soccer team my junior and senior year. I also was a member of student council my senior year. At Edinboro, I played intermural softball and was a member of the Psychology Club.

TB: What made you decide to be a teacher?

MH: During the 2002-2003 school year, I had the opportunity to work as a 7th grade Title-I aide here at Redbank. My job was to tutor 7th graders in math and reading, and help them succeed as students. While this aspect of the job was highly rewarding, I also got to work along side Mrs. Hawk and Ms. Troupe. Watching both perform the craft of teaching was very inspiring and ultimately lead me to teaching.

TB: How long have you been at Redbank?

MH: I was just hired full-time in October 2019, but I was employed by the district as a long-term substitute teacher for the 2007-2008 school year, and as a Title I aid during the 2002-2003 school year.

TB: Since you have been at Redbank, what sports have you coached or clubs have you sponsored?

MH: Here at Redbank, I have not coached any sports or sponsored any clubs yet.

TB: What courses do you currently teach here at the high school?

MH: I am teaching full-year courses in AP Statistics, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry/Pre- Calculus. I am also teaching a split half-year Problem Solving and half-year Probability and Statistics course.

TB: What is one of your favorite teaching memories?

MH: I can’t say I have one favorite memory, but more of a general category. I always find it refreshing when former students tell me how my class prepared them for college, trade school, or the work force. It’s great to see genuine gratitude for helping in some way.

TB: What is one local, state, or national educational issue that you would like to see resolved?

MH: The biggest issue facing Redbank Valley locally is finances. The school district is in a low-income area, so our tax revenue is not adequate enough to meet the needs to our students.

On the state/national level, I would like to see politician and education departments find an alternative method for evaluating student growth. We rely too heavily on standardized testing, especially when the evidence shows the tests aren’t that reliable of indicators. High-stakes testing puts too much pressure to students to perform. It’s unhealthy.

TB: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

MH: Outside of work, I truly enjoy spending time with my family. My wife and I are fans of quality food. So we try to visit different restaurants at least once per month. My daughter, Brooklyn, dances at a studio in Clarion. My son, Ryan, plays basketball, baseball, and soccer. He’s also in robotics this year. The three of them provide many opportunities for me to coach, cheer, or just watch them perform.

I also enjoy giving back to the community through volunteering. I have tutored after school at the Redbank Valley Community Center, served on the board of directors of United Valley Soccer for 11 years, and have been on the New Bethlehem Little League board for four years-serving as president for the last two. While volunteering takes up a lot of free time, it is rewarding knowing I am contributing to the growths of so many of our area’s kids.

TB: If you had not chosen to be a teacher, what other career path would you have explored?

MH: If I had not chosen to be a teacher, I would love to have a career in sports management somewhere. The Pirates hire new General Managers often enough, and apparently you don’t have to be very good at it to get the job. I also enjoy working with numbers, so something in the field of data analytics seems in line with that.