FRIDAY FACULTY FEATURE: Vernell Makes Creative Space for Students

This week’s look into one English teacher’s life, in and out of school.


media by Andi Mack

English teacher Skyler Vernell types at her desk Sept. 8. Vernell also teaches Creative Writing. “I think I’m creative. I like to create a lot, like I’m a writer and I like to crochet. I’m working on Christmas gifts already. So I’m a big creator,” Vernell said.

by Andi Mack, Reporter

Orange-yellow light glow in lamps. Different pieces of furniture sit around the room: a bookshelf, a table, a desk, a wardrobe, and desks. A few framed pieces hang on the walls, one of them a black and white picture of a dog. Periodically, clusters of students walk in, smiling and giggling. After a short while, eventually many of them start giddily talking to English and Creative Writing teacher Skylar Vernell.


Q: What is your full name?

A: Skylar Vernell

Q: Do You have a middle name?

A: Yes. 

Q: What is it? 

A: I’m not sharing that.


Q: What is the meaning behind your name?

A: My first name comes from a movie that my mom really liked. She liked watching it on TV. And my last name, my grandfather made up, he wanted a different name. So we have a different last name now.

Q: Do you like your names?

A: I do like my names. I feel like Skylar just fits me as a person. But then Vernell seems like a teacher’s name.


Q: How old are you?

A: I’m in my 20s.


Q: When is your birthday?

A: November 2. 


Q: What is your zodiac sign?

A: Scorpio. 

Q: What does that mean?

A: That I am intense, can be kind of dark and twisty sometimes, and also can be stubborn, but I’m really passionate about what I do. And those are the traits of a Scorpio.

Q: Do you agree with that? 

A: I do. 


Q: Where did you graduate?

A: Highlands Ranch High School. 

Q: Okay, where did you go to college?

A: CU Denver for English lit in secondary education. 

Q: Do you regret it?

A: Do I regret going to college? 

Q: Or do you regret going to that specific field?

A: No, I love teaching. It’s crazy sometimes, just like our access today, but it’s– I love my job.


Q: What kind of person do you think you are?

A: Oooh, I don’t know. I hope I’m a good person. 

Q: How do you think other people see you? 

A: I hope people see me as a kind person. I think I’m a kind person but I hope that that comes across because I really do care about people as a whole, I care about my old roommates and I care about my friends and I care about the people I work with and I care about my students.


Q: How do you view yourself alone?

A: Oooh, spending time alone? These are hitting– asking the hard-hitting questions, Andi.

Q: Just how are you like at your house? Just chillin’? Do you talk to yourself?

A: Oh, I absolutely talk to myself. That helps frame the question a little more. I try and rest a lot. So I do things like solitary activities. Very old lady. I read, I journal, I crochet. But I try and rest because I spend a lot of time with a lot of people every day. So when I’m by myself I just want to like, be.


Q: So would you say teaching takes up a big part of your life? Just describe to me what it’s like, as a teacher.

A: Yeah. It’s a big part of my life because I do love my job, and I love being here every day. But I’m also a person outside of school. I have activities, like I like to do things. I like to go places and I love traveling. The teacher schedule really helps that but I’m like, I am my teacher persona and I am my home persona. 


Q: What are your favorite qualities about yourself?

A: I’ve not thought too much about myself before. I like that I’m kind and caring. I like that I’m a teacher. And as weird as that is, I think it sums up a lot of my better qualities and makes me a stronger teacher. I’m really empathetic and I want to do well, and I want to grow as a human. Teaching makes a good avenue for that, like going to professional developments and reading the cheesy teacher books and everything. 

Q: Is there anything other than kindness and teaching?

A: About me? 

Q: Yeah.

A: I think I’m creative. Yeah, I like to create a lot. I’m a writer. I write a lot, like I crochet. I’m working on Christmas gifts already. So I’m a big creator. Artists might not be a good word but like a creator.


Q: What do you want to do? Like if you could do anything, what would you want to do?

A: I would love to continue with my education and get my masters and my Ph.D., and potentially teach college. But also when I was in college, I worked at my school’s library, and I loved doing that. And I could be very happy going back and being a librarian as well.

English and Creative Writing teacher Skyler Vernell works at her desk Sept. 8. “It’s a big part of my life because I love my job, and I love being here every day,” Vernell said. (photo by Andi Mack)

Q: How do you feel about your job as a profession?

A: It’s a good profession. I wish that things were easier for teachers a lot of times. But I don’t think it’s a bad job. I think it’s really fun. Each day is different. Each class period is different. So it’s always changing and that helps me stay interested in things. I just wish that we had more respect. 

Q: Describe what you do in your job.

A: Like my daily routine, or…

Q: Like, as a whole, what do you think you do in your job? What do you think you’re accomplishing?

A: I… like every day I come and I try and do a lesson that’s engaging to students as a whole that can help build skills for their future classes because like English as much as I love reading books and talking poetry, the skills that we need are reading and writing, so you can go on to your college career, your future jobs and like, be humans that can communicate with others. So I try to make sure that what I’m teaching is those skills.

Q: Yeah, so like fostering the growth of a future generation? 

A: Yes, yes, yes. 

Q: Raising children?

A: Raising my 152 children.


Q: What does an average day look like for you? 

A: Like a workday? 

Q: Yeah. Workday, weekend day, holiday break, summer…

A: My days always start with coffee. Truly every single day it’s a bad day if it doesn’t.

The average day is normally going to work. But after you know getting ready and all the things and then I go home,

Q: What is your “getting ready?” get more specific.

A: Okay, I listen to an audiobook every day while I am getting ready for work. So dress, do my makeup, make important, VERY important coffee. Right now I’m listening to it by Stephen King. It’s wild. Um, I really hope I will finish it, but it is 45 hours long. Yeah, as an audiobook that’s crazy. And then I go to work. I teach the youths of America (sarcastically) and then I go home. I normally hang out with my dogs for like an hour just like laying on the floor because they’re very needy animals. And by the time that all happens, I make dinner. I get my lunch ready for the next day which is like my dinner and leftovers. But weekends are more fun. I like to do one thing a weekend that’s fun and different, like either going downtown to visit my friends who still live there, or going to my favorite coffee shop, or doing something for me, but that’s my weekend and like a holiday kinda break.