Once a Pirate, always a Pirate…

Many teachers at Palatine High School were former students

Emma Langer and Hannah Henrikson

When talking to teachers here at PHS, one finds there are quite a few who previously went to Palatine as students and have returned years later as faculty. In fact, there are roughly 50 staff members who are alumni of PHS. Many of these teachers walked the same halls their students do today and some even still live within the PHS community. 

Graduating between the years 1976 and 2014, PHS alumni are in just about every department. Special Education has the most alumni in their department, Science and Math tied behind them. Below are the stories of two alumni teachers. 


Brenton Fisher

Class of 2010 graduate Brenton Fisher began teaching in the PHS English Department as soon as he graduated from ISU. 

During his senior year, Fisher was an intern for the English department. While interning, the class teacher got very sick and had to take an extended leave. Fisher said that each day in the sub’s notes, it said to simply “let Brent lead the class.” This was one of the first moments Fisher fell in love with the idea of teaching, standing at the front of the class teaching his younger peers. 

After starting college with the intent of being a writer, Fisher realized the truth was that there would be few jobs and little money in that career. The moment he switched his degree he knew he wanted to be back at Palatine again. 

Luckily for him, there was an opening within the English department his first year out of college. The transition was easy for him. 

“The most rewarding part about coming back to Palatine is that I was already a Palatine Pirate,” Fisher remarked about his first year back. 

He had no issues adjusting to his previous teachers becoming his coworkers. The ease that came with this adjustment probably had to do with what he often tells his students, “that he is clinically unstressed.”

“I already had a bunch of spirit gear, so didn’t have to buy that,” Fisher said when asked about the best part of returning to his own high school to teach.

Fisher’s 2010 Senior photo and a photo of him today. His senior quote was “In your care, the words will live on, if they’re worth reading.” (courtesy of Spotlight)
Brent Fisher teaches in the English department and coaches speech. (courtesy of Spotlight)












Mitchell Tucker 

Class of 2007 graduate Mitchell Tucker began teaching in the PHS Science Department as soon as he graduated from ISU. 

“It was like a perfect storm for me,” Tucker said when asked about his return to Palatine. His senior year, after emailing with some science teachers, he discovered a teacher was retiring that year. He emailed the department head, got an interview, and had a job. 

While he also felt the same bond to Palatine as Fisher, Tucker had a harder time adjusting to being a teacher instead of a student at PHS. 

“The weirdest thing was calling people by their first names,” Tucker said, “I would say for the first year or so it was weird.” 

During his first year teacher orientation, the administration wanted to give the new teachers a break from being talked to, and decided to do a scavenger hunt. While for most of the people in that room, it was simply being released into a giant school with no direction looking for a list of random things, for Tucker, it was just his high school. Needless to say, he won. 

As his career has progressed, he’s found that some of his students have come back as teachers. Karla Robles and Kellie Campbell were both Tucker’s students.

“It’s cool to see the cycle continue,” Tucker said. 

Tucker’s 2007 Senior photo and a photo of him today. His senior quote was “I once built a Death Star in my backyard. Then the government came and told me it violated a village ordinance, so I sold it to some guy wearing a black helmet.” (courtesy of Spotlight)
Mitch Tucker teaches astronomy in the science department at PHS. (courtesy of Spotlight)















Breakdown of all alumni

Many alumni have very different experiences, but at the end of the day they are all tied together by one fact; they are forever a Pirate. 

To see all PHS alumni by year, as well as what department they are in and their senior quote (only for alumni that graduated 2003 and beyond) click this image: