teacher stands in front of stage

The New Faces of Dana Hills

To begin the 2019 school year, Dana has made a couple additions to its Dolphin family. Mr. Hoier, our new math teacher, and Miss Kocol, our new theater teacher, are both ecstatic to be here. Mr. Hoier will strengthen our mathematics department, with three years of engineering experience and four years of teaching. Miss Kocol’s talent and passion for the dramatic arts will also be welcomed with open arms.

teacher poses in front of plants

Despite his initial interest in engineering, Mr. Hoier’s love of math and helping others drew him to teaching. He went to New Mexico Tech, where “the MythBusters like blowing things up,” to get his bachelor’s degree. Next, Hoier earned his teaching credential from Cal State Fullerton. Speaking on his career change, Hoier is “sure there are mechanical engineering jobs out there that wouldn’t drive [him] crazy, but the one [he] was in did, and [he] took the opportunity to make a change.” Hoier taught at a private school in East Tennessee and then at Capo Valley High School (CVHS) while working towards his teaching credential.

Hoier’s teaching style involves tricking students into discovering the math on their own, so that the students retain it better. He elaborates, “If I’m doing my job right, I’m giving them just enough to drive them crazy so that the relief they feel when they figure out the rest on their own gives them a huge confidence boost.”

Outside of the classroom, Hoier spends time with his wife and two sons. Despite spare time being a luxury for the teacher, he plays the violin in his church band when he can. A man of many talents, he also used to sing barbershop, but hasn’t found a group to sing with or the time lately.

Reminiscing on his favorite moments in his profession, Hoier remembers “an entire classroom full of students basically yelling at each other about the right answer to a problem, specifically why their way was best. A few of the kids who usually didn’t care were so worked up about the math that they had to step out for a second. It was probably my most successful day teaching yet.”

Miss Kocol is excited to be joining the pod. From starting ballet at age three to double majoring in English and theater at the University of California, Irvine, Kocol has developed a passion for the arts.

teacher stands in front of stage

While she spent most of her life working on one show or another, Kocol eventually chose to be a teacher after six years in professional acting and costume designing: “When you’re working professionally in the entertainment industry, your longest jobs only last a few months. Then the show closes or the film wraps production, and you have to find something else. I wanted to find a way that I could do theater without this, and since I love working with young people, I decided to teach.”

Since then, she has taught English and drama classes. Nonetheless, her love of theater has never faltered. She describes them as some of the most emphatic people she has ever met.

Moreover, Kocol has found that there is a place for everyone to be accepted in theater, “whether you’re a performer, a designer or you just like making the curtain go whoosh across the stage.”

With different educational backgrounds and interests, both Mr. Hoier and Miss Kocol do have a love for their new school in common.

For Kocol, taking the opportunity to join Dana’s staff was a no-brainer. A full time drama schedule with support from the school and teaching musical theater as a PE course made it her “dream job.” The ocean view and pianos scattered all over the school didn’t hurt either, allowing her “days [to be] full of beauty and music.”

Mr. Hoier saw that Dana had both the opening to teach and “combination of opportunities to grow as an educator.” He was also happy about continuing with the Capistrano Unified School District, for whom he had worked at CVHS, and enjoyed the ways they worked.

Overall, Mr. Hoier and Mrs. Kocol are just as happy as we are to be the newest additions to our staff.

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