Teachers pursue new path


Heather Reid

Faculty members Breana Davey, Rebecca Matoska, and David Thompson have announced they will not return to school next year.

Caroline Scott, Staff Writer

As the blare of the buzzer fills the gym, it signals the end of boys’ assistant varsity basketball coach David Thompson’s run and the end of the team’s season. The team lost 37–35 to Melbourne Central Catholic High School at the FHSAA 3A District 5 playoffs on Feb. 8.

“I wanted to be there for the team,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t a ‘me’ thing.”

Thompson, who began teaching English in 2021, will marry 2018 alumna Jasmine Greathouse on June 4, and the two will move to Atlanta on June 17. 

“It’ll be interesting to no longer be a Florida orange and be a Georgia peach,” he said. “[My fiancèe and I] are going to be farther away from family than normal, and that’s going to be a challenge, but it’s something we’re going to embrace.”

Freshman Drew Newlin, who is a JV basketball player, said Thompson helped him develop a love for the sport.

“Last year, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll play,’ and then he [said], ‘If you want to play, you’re going to have to step up your game,’” Newlin said. “He helped me become a better player. It will be hard to replace such a great guy. It’ll leave a hole in my heart because I really like him.”

Theater teacher Breana Davey will also not renew her teaching contract. She will return to the University of Central Florida to complete her master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology. 

“I would like to do more research-based stuff and be behind the scenes rather than on the frontlines of teaching,” Davey said.

Swim coach and testing coordinator Rebecca Matoska will move to Virginia.Junior and swimmer Taylor Reid said Matoska is an important part of the team.

“[Matoska] builds you up throughout the year and gets you to a point where at the end of season, you’re the best you can be,” Reid said. “She has been a good support system, someone that, if I feel like I need to talk to someone or get guidance, I can meet up with her.”

Thompson will pursue entertainment writing with the company TheDirect.com, for whom he has written freelance since 2020. He will be promoted to Senior Editor in June.

“When I was a kid, I never knew what I wanted to do, but I was obsessed with the news and sports announcing,” he said. 

Davey participated in theater productions when she attended Viera High School. She applied to teach English but filled former theater director Maureen Fallon’s position when Fallon retired. 

“I planned on switching over to the English department, but as I taught theater, I fell in love with it,” Davey said. “I didn’t start this job with a love for theater, I am leaving it with such a passion for it.”

Junior Ryla Underwood was Davey’s student for Theater 1 and 2. 

“I love that she brings so much positivity to the program,” Underwood said. “She has given me many opportunities and made me more comfortable and confident.”

Davey said leaving is “bittersweet.”

“While I’m young, I need to try to get my education,” Davey said. “I’ve grown close to my thespians. They have been understanding, sweet and supportive.”

Thompson said he has been able to grow with his students.

“It was never my plan to teach first thing out of college,” he said. “It’s just what I found myself doing and having another passion for. I had the pleasure of having students in ninth grade that I taught in eighth grade, which was satisfying.”

Thompson taught Newlin for two years. 

“He’s nice and helpful, and I have a good time in his class,” Newlin said. “His lessons are interesting.”

Principal Rick Fleming said the political environment has influenced teacher turnover. Two-thirds of the faculty have been replaced since 2020.

“I’m happy for [Davey and Thompson] but also sad,” Fleming said. “The battleground for politics is K–12 education, and teachers didn’t sign up for that.”

The Florida Education Association reported 5,294 teacher vacancies in January. 

“Ten years ago, I would have forty applicants for every position,” Fleming said. “My pool of who I’m considering is four [people] when it used to be maybe a dozen or more. The good thing about West Shore is that teachers want to teach here because students want to learn.”

Fleming will assemble teams of department heads and curriculum resource specialists to aid in assessing applicants for teaching positions this summer.

“I want the teacher perspective in the interview process, not just [administration],” Fleming said. “We’re not going to have the same Thompson or Davey, but we will do the best we can.”