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New teachers bring business experience to boost MHS students

Tayla Woods
Mr. Neal Klaeser

Most teachers begin their teaching careers right after college, but Ms. Terri Nichols-Bullock and Mr. Neal Klaeser brought their outside years of professional experience here to benefit our students.

With 33 years of television production experience from Klaeser and Nichols-Bullock baking since she was 8, they have a lot of real-world experience to bring to Merrillville High School.

Nichols-Bullock, a new Culinary Arts teacher here, utilizes her cooking experience that she has developed throughout her life to benefit her students today. 

“I love to cook. [It’s] something that calms me, something that gives me joy,“ she said. 

Terri Nichols-Bullock

Nichols-Bullock loves to share her cooking skills with young people because it’s something they can take with them whether they want to do it professionally or just to accommodate their families.

Nichols-Bullock, who started cooking at the age of 8, was a latch-key kid. Cooking was somewhat of a safeplace for Nichols-Bullock, as her parents worked during the day.

“When I would come home from school after a certain age I started cooking, cooking stuff without knowing if it was good,” she said. “If it was something bad, I would just toss it and they would never know.”

In 2013, Nichols-Bullock started an event planning business. After she baked for her son’s graduation party, that helped her baking business as people started asking her to bake for them.

 Throughout the course of the trimester, Nichols-Bullock plan for the students here at MHS is to help them decorate and cook at a higher level.

“I am able to share with young people the different equipment in the kitchen and help them to understand what the pieces are used for,” she said. 

Another teacher bringing real-world experience to MHS is Neal Klaeser, the new Radio/TV instructor.

In 1985, Klaeser graduated from Columbia College in Chicago and started working for a post-production editing facility in Chicago.

Then he moved to Waco,Texas, and started working for a TV station as a photojournalist. He  remained in Waco for several years until his wife and his parents got sick so they relocated back to NWI.

“I landed a job with the City of Chicago working in their cable TV department. I stayed working for them for several years until I saw a position at Merrillville High School for a Radio/TV instructor,” Klaeser said 

When Klaeser started attending Columba College in 1981, he actually wanted to become a sound engineer. He took several classes related to sound engineering and achieved a certificate for sound engineering. 

Because there were limited opportunities for that position, he started taking TV production classes and that’s when he started to enjoy his craft, putting together images and sound.

“When I transitioned from editing in the corporate world and started working for a television station, the time constraints were drastically different,” Klaeser said 

Klaeser used to have several days to work on a video piece, and then he found out that he only had 20 minutes to edit together a story that had to air on the 5 o’clock news. 

“That’s when it became real,” he said. “When I pick up the camera, I start editing the story in my head. I enjoy telling a story through imagery and sound.”


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