Alumni Spotlights

Chauncey Jones

Chauncy Jones, LGUHS Class of 2010, is currently a high school English teacher in Pittsville, Wisconsin, which is the geographical center of the state. She teaches grades 8-12 in both general English classes, as well as electives such as AP Literature, Creative Writing, and Outdoor Literature.

After graduating, Chauncey attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as her Master of Arts in Teaching English. Immediately after finishing school, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to teach middle school English. She was there for three years and then moved to Wisconsin, where she holds her current job in Pittsville. Fun fact: Pittsville is near the “cranberry highway”, and since living there, she has developed a new love of cranberries and really enjoys watching the harvest every year.

Her most vivid memories about Leland and Gray all center on the arts and sports. While at LGUHS, she participated in Journey East 2007, marching, pep, rock, and concert bands; stage crew, and pit band for multiple drama productions; and play softball all four years of high school. In all those areas she remembers being so supported and welcomed by staff and coaches that were passionate about what they were doing and wanted to share that with students.

She had many good teachers throughout her time at Leland and Gray, but two definitely stand out: Tammy Claussen, her softball coach, and gym teacher, was an amazing mentor and kept her working hard towards her goals. It's because of Mrs. Claussen’s coaching and Chauncey’s positive experiences with her that led Chauncey to coach multiple sports now. She wants to give student-athletes the same lasting memories Mrs. Claussen gave her. She has Mrs. Rood to thank for her entire career. She was her AP Lit teacher, and put her on her path to becoming a teacher. She loved Mrs. Rood’s class and the way she interacted with her students. Chauncey wanted to be just like her and have an English classroom of her own. She is still one of her biggest role models as she continues her path in education.

A few lessons she learned at Leland and Gray are to take advantage of opportunities that you are given and to surround yourself with people who are passionate and supportive. Bettering yourself through opportunities afforded you and finding your "people" are both ways to enrich your life in extremely fulfilling ways.

Her advice to today’s Rebels: Work hard. Know what you want and go for it, even if it is down a road "less traveled." Make your life something with which you'll be happy!

Some more fun facts: Chauncey is fluent in Spanish, she rides a motorcycle, she has three cats and she loves cooking and baking!

Madison Russ

Madison Russ, LGUHS Class of 2017, is currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah where she works restoring old, modified cars at Kindig-It designs, which you may recognize from television as Bitchin’ Rides!

After graduating from LGUHS, Maddie went to Pennsylvania College of Technology for welding, graduating with an Associates Degree in welding. She was in the Top 40 welders at Penn College.

Basketball was a huge part of her high school career and she credits Eleanor Kearney as having a positive influence on her. Her time at LGUHS taught her that “No matter where you go in life, community means everything”.

Her advice for today’s Rebels: “If college doesn't seem like the right fit for you, there are many other opportunities available, you just need to look for them."

Matt Bizon

Matt Bizon, class of 2011, is a corporate tax recruiter currently living in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also a fantasy football commissioner of a "wildly successful and sought-after fantasy league". Following graduation, he served in the United States Air Force as a security forces member. Since leaving LGUHS, he has lived in Maine, New Jersey, Texas, West Virginia, Illinois, and Turkey. He has 12 siblings, two of whom are currently at LGUHS.

Matt's most vivid memories of his time at LGUHS include his friendships (some of whom he still considers family), the sense of a tight-knit community, and playing in all three sports. Mr. Barton, who coached him was a great influence on him, and he says "it was an honor to be coached by him for three years". He also has fond memories of Ms. Olmstead who he considered to be a fantastic teacher: "She was a lot of fun and kept the classes engaging". Lastly, he says that he gave Jota (Ms. Julian-Cisse) "way too much grief and she was always fantastic". He appreciates that she was always warm-hearted and genuinely loved the subject she was teaching.

At LGUHS, some important lessons he learned were:

  • When you surround yourself with good people you can thrive anywhere.

  • If you took the time used to procrastinate to be productive, you would have a lot more time on your hands.

  • Ask questions when you are confused; oftentimes others are as well and are too shy to speak up.

  • His advice for current Rebels:

  • Take the time to consider what you are passionate about and ASK someone how you can get there. Never settle on something because it's status quo or it's easy.

  • Be the person others look to when they’re in need.

  • Sometimes (all the time) the teachers and our parents actually know what’s best.

Kayleigh (Overton) Jackson

Kayleigh JacksonKayleigh (Overton) Jackson, class of 2009, is currently a Communications Officer for Smyth County Sheriff’s Office in Marion Virginia. Her emergency 911 center dispatches calls for 4 law enforcement agencies, 8 fire departments, and 6 EMS agencies in her county. She currently lives in Chilhowie, Virginia. Kaleigh is deaf in her left ear and says this has proven to be a “fun challenge” for her chosen career.

After graduating from LGUHS, Kaleigh received her Bachelor's of Arts in Business Management from Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia In 2018, she earned certifications in operating the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC). Additionally, she is a Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) certified 911 dispatcher.

Kayleigh’s most vivid memories of LGUHS include her involvement with the 2007 Journey East Program, as well as her time as an LGUHS Player. Kayleigh credits Ms. Landenberger for being a supportive and positive influence on her and many of her students. She says Ms. L always encouraged her students to do their best work and be the best version of themselves. She also has fond memories of Mr. Connor, who was a “great teacher” and always wanted students to not be afraid to explore new ideas and to be adventurous.

At LGUHS, she learned the importance of determination, hard work, and patience. Her advice for current Rebels: “If you want something, go for it. It is ok to take risks; it is ok to fail on the first try. The most important thing is that you get up and try again. Persevere”.

Austyn Resek

Austyn Resek, class of 2009, is currently the Head Athletic Trainer at Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire. For the past two summers, she has been a group leader for The Experiment in International Living, is bilingual, and has traveled to three countries this year! She currently lives in Windsor, VT.

After graduating from LGUHS, Austyn received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Southern Maine. In 2015, she earned her Master's of Science in Sport and Exercise Science with a concentration in Biomechanics.

Austyn has many fond memories of her time at LGUHS, especially playing softball with Mrs. Claussen. Ms. Chapman also had an extremely positive influence on her. Some lessons that she learned at LGUHS are "if you really want to pursue something out of the norm, put in the work and you can make it happen". As for advice for our current Rebels, she suggests: "Be yourself. Don't change who you are for other. Strive for what you want and you will achieve it. Just because you are from a small town doesn't mean you can't do big things".