What Were the Lives of Teachers Before They Came to Air Academy?


Natalie Chabot, Ben Honeycutt, and friends stand in a classroom in Nepal. Photos taken by Ben Honeycutt and Natalie Chabot.

Every young kid has been asked what they want to be when they grow up. Most answer with the obvious career choices: movie star, scientist, or professional athlete.

As we become older we are asked the same question, but the answers become a little more serious and specific as students get closer to college. Sometimes, though, it can take years for people to find the right career and to succeed in it. 

Air Academy High School is filled with many teachers who teach many different and diverse courses. The subjects offered can help students decide who they want to become in life.

However, how did the teachers at AAHS decide they wanted to come here, and what did they do before Air Academy? 

World language, science, art, cooking and writing classes are just a few of the wide variety of courses to choose from; these courses would not exist if it weren’t for the teachers who taught them. Just like the current students, AAHS’s staff were once deciding who they wanted to become. Some of them even have crazy stories about their journey.  

Cris Robson, the biology teacher, decided to take a gap year before she started college. During this time, she accepted a job as an editor for a manga company. 

“I got offered a job after doing scanslations (fan translated manga) when I was in grad school,” Robson said. After she got married, however, she became a biology teacher, eventually taking residence at AAHS. 

Another biology teacher, Nathan Chisholm, hiked the Appalachian Trail after working as a teacher for a year.

Matt Bast, Nathan Chisholm and Paul Chisholm on the Appalachian Trail. Photos taken by Nathan Chisholm.

“I mean, college is great [and] working with students is great, but hiking 2200 miles from Georgia down was an awesome experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” Chisholm said.

Natalie Chabot, the French teacher, also had a fun and exciting story to tell. While she was in high school, she worked at Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza and Schlotzsky’s.  As she moved on to college, she started working at a dorm security center.

“Pretty routinely, I would have to…sprint after people trying to break into the building,” she said.

Chabot also remembered a time when she was almost attacked by a girl and had to call the police to prevent the incident from escalating.

After college, Chabot moved to Colorado with her husband. She helped him with his nonprofit organization, Open World Cause, traveling to Kenya and Nepal to aid in children’s education outside of America. While she helped her husband, she also worked at a middle school. Eventually, she came to AAHS, where she now teaches French and continues to work with her husband. 

Art teacher Lisa Preeshl also had interesting pre-teaching experiences. In high school, Preeshl worked at a tanning salon and then a gas station that doubled as a store for farmers.  After high school, she started working two jobs, one at a gas station and another at an insurance company. The busy schedule was hard on her, though, so she decided to start going to college to get her degree. After she graduated, Preeshl started teaching art at schools, first on an Native American reserve in Montana and then at Air Academy.

However, Preeshl didn’t always want to be a teacher.

“When I was…in fifth or sixth grade, I wanted to move to New York and become a rock star. I was always into things like heavy metal and big hair,” Preeshl said. After a few guitar lessons, though, Preeshl decided the rock star life just wasn’t for her.

Many teachers and other adults have had other jobs before deciding on a career. Through learning and many different experiences, though, they learned what occupations they were passionate for.