New Teaching Talent - Mandi Young

Mandi Young

Mandi Young is doing double duty with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, as a part-time Title 1 preschool teacher at Soldotna Elementary School in the mornings, and a part-time Title 1 parent liaison in the afternoons at Soldotna, Redoubt, Mountain View and Nikiski North Star elementary schools.

As a parent liaison Mandi helps the Title 1 teachers at each school build up their parent involvement, by organizing parent meetings and family nights, sending home newsletters and making frequent phone calls to parents. “It is a challenging job to get everyone involved, but very rewarding when I know that those families are benefiting from my work,” she said.

Her morning preschool class at Soldotna Elementary has a full enrollment of 10 students.  loves teaching preschool. “I absolutely love teaching preschool. I have a great group of students who are full of life and bring smiles to my face each day. They challenge me as a teacher and I am learning along with them,” she said.

Mandi is originally from Minnesota. She attended Minnesota State University Moorhead and majored in early childhood education. She took an opportunity to come to the peninsula in August 2009 as a student teacher in a kindergarten classroom at Soldotna Elementary.

Mandi and her boyfriend, Brandy Vaala, had visited the Kenai Peninsula in the summer and during the Peninsula Winter Games. Brandy works on the North Slope and is a chainsaw carver, which is what originally brought the two to the peninsula. They enjoyed their visits and hoped to one day live here. “Everybody always talks about Alaska being so cold, but I think it’s better than Minnesota. It’s much better than I expected,” Mandi said.