Christy Simpson, Department Chair:
Christy Simpson is a math teacher at Riverside who teaches introductory math and AP Calculus. She is also the Math Department Chair.
She has lived in Durham for 15 years, but comes from Roanoke Rapids.
Simpson has been teaching at Riverside for 15 years, however, overall she has been teaching math for 29 years.
Her reasoning for becoming a teacher is because “I’ve just always loved to teach people how to do new things,” she said.
When asked what items she would go back for, if her house were to catch on fire and her loved ones were already safe, she said she’d save her phone, or baby pictures of her children.
“I’m grateful for my family and friends,” Simpson said.
Julie-Lynn Bourquin has been teaching for 14 years, and for 11 of those years she has been here at Riverside and living in Durham as well.
Bourquin teaches math I and honors pre-calculus and so far she feels great about the school year.
She attended UNC Chapel Hill with the dream of becoming a teacher and a mom.
“Teaching was my dream job, and being a mom,” Bourquin said. “I get to do both.”
In fact, she’s already planned her Halloween costumes with her children.
“I sing with my kids,” she said. “The zombie movies are a big hit with [them]. That’s what we’re going to be for Halloween, so we have all the soundtracks.”
Math teacher Andriani Carson has been at Riverside for over 17 years. This year, she teaches math I, honors math I and honors math II.
Carson is originally from Cyprus, a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea, and she moved to Durham in the fall of 1989. She said it wasn’t a hard adjustment moving to the states.
“It’s a very well developed country so in a lot of ways it’s more progressive than some places here,” Carson said.
Though this is her eighteenth year at Riverside, she’s been teaching for over 23 years overall, teaching for four years in Cyprus, and then a couple years in Pennsylvania before moving to Durham.
She said her favorite things about Riverside are “my colleagues, the challenges my students give me [and] the success that I see at the end of the year; the change in my students that I see from the beginning to the end of the semester.”
Carson is most grateful for God.
“He gets me through the day and provides for all my needs.”
Chris Crowl coaches JV men’s basketball and teaches math II, year long math II, AP statistics, and honors math IV.
Crowl lives in Mebane and is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada.
This will be his seventh year teaching at Riverside. Before he started teaching, he was a research scientist.
The relationships he builds with students, players and colleagues are some of his favorite things about Riverside.
He’s most grateful for his health and the ability to wake up every morning.
“My family has a history of health problems that I’ve dodged,” said Crowl. “If it wasn’t for modern medicine I wouldn’t be here today.”
“I was made for Riverside,” said new math teacher, Andrew Hall.
Hall is bringing his passionate and energetic energy to Riverside because he hopes to make a lasting impact on the school and students.
Hall is already very experienced in making an impact and helping out. Just ask his dog Kiddo, who he saved from a storm drain.
“The reason I became a teacher was to make an impact” he says
Despite already making summer plans to cross off Greece from his bucket list, Hall is extremely excited for this school year and believes it will be very successful.
Kelby Hardy is one of the newest Riverside math teachers, with this year being her second year at Riverside.
Hardy has lived in Durham for about 2 years, and started her teaching career with the Pirates.
This school year, she is teaching foundations of math I and honors pre-calculus.
“I’m very excited [about the school year],” Hardy said. “Glad we were able to start in person, and the first couple of days have been great with all of my students.”
Hardy attended Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She later went on to obtain her masters degree from NC State University.
Being a teacher has always been a dream for her; “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little,” she said. “I’m so glad I get to fulfill that [dream] now.”
Math teacher John Nevola is originally from Long Island, NY and moved to Durham when he took his job at Riverside.
Nevola teaches standard and honors math III. He became a teacher for the students.
“I enjoy helping students,” said Nevola. “I enjoy being a teacher.”
If his house were to catch fire and he could only go back for one last item after saving his family, he would return for his PlayStation 5.
“It’s probably the most expensive thing I’ve bought for myself,” he said, “It’s great to wind down with after teaching.”
Math teacher Jordan Nguyen is originally from Syracuse, New York. He went to Geneseo College before moving to Durham. , and he went to college at Geneseo.
Nguyen has taught at Riverside for eight years. He currently teaches math I, math III and math III honors.
H’s favorite song is “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches and Herb, and his favorite part about Riverside is the students and his colleagues.
“You guys [the students], we don’t have a community, I don’t have a job without you guys,” said Nguyen. “You guys kind of set the tone, and we teachers try to live up to that.”
Although he is originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, math teacher Timothy O’Hara has lived in Durham since 1999.
O’Hara teaches AP Calculus, math III, math IV, and AP Statistics.
The new school year, his eighth at Riverside, has started slow.
“I feel like I’m walking through sludge,” O’Hara said. “It hasn’t gelled with me yet. I feel like I’m still a zombie and not really warming up to it.”
O’Hara is most grateful for his marriage and teaching.
“[Marriage] allowed me to get a green card and a citizenship,” said O’Hara, “And teaching gave me the opportunity to travel. I’ve worked in plenty of other countries.”
Rebecca Ray is a math teacher at Riverside. She has lived in North Carolina her whole life, and lives in Burlington now.
Ray teaches intro to math one, foundation to math two, and math two. This school year is her seventh of teaching and her fourth at Riverside.
Ray has always dreamt of, “writing a children’s book, or a children’s book series.”
She became a teacher to help people.
“To help people who usually wouldn’t get the help they need,” said Ray. “Those who don’t get the attention they need.”
Ray is currently working on writing a children’s book.
Kayla Thompson joined Riverside four years ago as the cheerleading coach. One year later she started teaching math, too.
Thompson teaches foundations of math I and math I. She’s lived in Durham since 2009, but is originally from Lexington, NC. She went to college at North Carolina Central University.
Thompson believes this school year has started a lot smoother than last year.
“The only thing that has me worried are all the vacancies,” said Thompson. “We are not fully staffed, but we’re making it work. That’s what we do as teachers.”
Thompson is currently most grateful for her peace of mind.
“People realized a lot during the pandemic,” said Thompson. “I know I realized that peace is important.”