After a rewarding career in the Othello business community working for companies like McCain's, Simplot and Columbia Basin Health Association, Tari Perez decided she wanted to pursue her original passion of working in education. She started off college with the intent to become a school counselor but decided to major in business at the last minute. Now that her children are old enough and her husband Pete works at Wahitis Elementary School as the principal, the time was right for a change to help her work schedule fit better with the rest of her family's. "A few years ago - pretty much after my kids were in school - I decided I wanted to have a calendar that would fit more with my family," she said. "Ultimately, the decision was driven by wanting to align my schedule with that of my family." So, two years ago, Perez signed up for a two-year program to earn her technical education certification. This program allowed her ample business experience to speed up the whole process while taking courses at Central Washington University for two years at the same time to earn her teaching certificate in May. Since being hired, Perez has worked with retired OHS teacher Craig Crnick to help get her up and running. She's also gotten help from long-time friend Angela Kudsk, who teaches similar courses in the classroom next to Perez's. "When Mr. Crnick retired, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to join the school district ... I was actually a student of his so he was very supportive of my transition," she said. "And of course, working with Angela was like a dream. She's been awesome." Both Perez and Kudsk teach computer-themed classes like Digi-Tools and digital design while Perez also teaches economics and intro to business. She admits being a little nervous those first few days, but she remains committed to sharing her unique perspective on the workplace with students who are on the verge of joining the same workforce that helped her get her start. "I want to make sure I can effectively impact kids of all learning abilities," she said. "I want everybody to know they can go on to education after high school." One area she thinks students should be better prepared for is their first job interview after leaving school. "I'm hoping to share some of those entry-level business skills with them," she said. "I used to do a lot of hiring and interviewing and I would shake my head at some things (candidates said) and think, 'we need to teach these kids these skills'." If she can help students nail their first interview and land a solid job, then Perez feels she's doing her job well. She hopes her impact will be even more meaningful than that, though. "I want them to look back on their years at OHS with fond memories - I want them to enjoy it," she said.