Elyse Snyder, Idyllwild School’s middle school mathematics teacher. Photo by JP Crumrine

Elyse Snyder is Idyllwild School’s new middle school mathematics teacher. It has only been a few years since she left graduate school, but her dedication to the educational profession and to Idyllwild students, specifically, cannot be questioned.
Snyder lives in Banning! She has to take Highway 79 through Lamb Canyon, and then through Hemet to Highway 74 in Valle Vista, and then wait for a pilot car to take her up to Mountain Center.
Even with the pilot car and the noticeably burned landscape along Highway 74, Snyder much prefers this drive to time in bumper-to-bumper traffic on highways 60 and 91.
Her current commute is taking about an hour on good days, but she assured me this is much better and more scenic than her previous commute from Banning to Riverside in rush hour. That drive often took 90 minutes or more and the views were commercial buildings and vacant lots.
Southern California has always been Snyder’s home. She grew up in Jurupa and is a Patriot High School graduate. For college, she explored the cooler, northern climate of Oregon.
She is a University of Portland graduate, and returned to Southern California for graduate school, earning her master’s degree from California Baptist University in Riverside.
At Idyllwild School, Snyder is beginning her fourth year of teaching, two in Riverside with her first year of teaching in Palm Springs. “The kids here are totally different [than she had in the previous schools]. They’re great in the classroom, all of them. It’s very helpful,” she said describing her first week at Idyllwild School. “The parents are definitely more hands-on.”
Ever since her years in elementary school, Snyder knew that being a teacher was her in future.
“Ever since third grade, I wanted to be a teacher,” Snyder said. “I was totally in love with it. I told my teacher, ‘I’m going to be a teacher like you.’ All my life I knew it was possible.”
While teachers are not part of her family tree, mathematics has been part of her family life growing up. “My family worked construction and math was constantly there,” she said.
“It frustrates me to meet people my age that don’t have basic math skills,” she added. “Some basic math is necessary for day-to-day life.”
Teaching math has multiple components. There are regular math programs for both seventh and eighth grades and an algebra program for eighth. While she enjoys algebra and finds it easy to teach, she has observed that students tend to prefer geometry. “They prefer the different shapes,” she said.
One of her goals is meeting and getting to know the entire school faculty, not just her middle school colleagues.
On weekends, she renovates her home, walks her two huskies, and plays some basketball.
Her exploration of Idyllwild has begun with a few of the restaurants. When she asked her students to suggest some things she can do in Idyllwild, many wrote about the numerous trails on the hill. She’s looking forward to exploring them next.
“I’m excited to be here,” Snyder said. “It’s a great town and great people.”