New Teacher Profile: Katina Ballantyne


History teacher Katina Ballantyne is new to the Menlo teaching staff this year; she is already a senior co-advocate and is advising two student clubs. Photo courtesy of Katina Ballantyne.

Lexi Friesel, Assistant Sports Editor

This past August, history teacher Katina Ballantyne began working at Menlo, teaching ninth grade Modern World History and 10th grade U.S. History. On campus, Ballantyne is also a senior co-advocate and the sponsor of both the Menlo Fashion Club and Cooking Club. “It’s been interesting to start a new job online during a pandemic, but so far, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my students, who have been both welcoming and gracious,” Ballantyne said.

Ballantyne grew up in Houston, TX and in school, her favorite classes were Government and French Seminar. “My teachers had a really powerful influence on who I am today, and they helped me find my voice,” Ballantyne said in a Zoom interview with The Coat of Arms. 

Ballantyne has been teaching for seven years: one as a French teacher and six as a history teacher. “I wanted to become a history teacher because I’m Arab American, and my mom was born in Haiti, and her siblings lived with us growing up,” Ballantyne said. “The conversations I had at home were different than what I was taught in school. All we talked there about was Europe. I wanted to teach World History with a more inclusive lens.” Ballantyne also shared that her favorite part about teaching is getting to know her students.

After teaching at a school in Austin, TX, Ballantyne joined a program called Teach for America. “Teach for America is a program that places teachers in schools that are experiencing usually a shortage of teachers,” Ballantyne said. “You sign a two year contract, and then you have a couple of options. You are committed to being an active part of the school.” According to Ballantyne, Teach for America helped her obtain her master’s degree at a lower cost in exchange for her work at a school in Hawaii.

Outside of school, Ballantyne enjoys reading, hiking, dancing, cooking and making her own jewelry.