Teacher Spotlight: Coach Salinas

By: Alexandra Garcia 

This May of 2023 the PHS journalism staff would like to recognize Coach Salinas as our Teacher Spotlight. We had the opportunity to interview him and get great feedback about his teaching and coaching life here at PHS.

Coach Salinas first graduated from just down the road at Jourdanton High School, and when it came time for college,… he says, “After bouncing around to a few different colleges and taking some time away to just work, I finally decided to return to UTSA and finish my degree in Kinesiology.”


Coach Salinas has now been teaching here at PHS for 10 years. When he first started he only taught geometry, but after 3 years he started teaching Algebra 1 along with geometry to the freshman class.

Coach Salinas was also known for coaching football and basketball for the first 7 years here at PHS but eventually decided to take a step away from coaching to be there for his wife and kids.

He was first inspired to teach because he wanted to impact students and our Atascosa County. 

He says “I grew up in this community and feel that I can relate to many students on this campus.”


Originally he wanted to become a coach before he wanted to become a teacher because of the impact his coaches had on his life. But not long after he says he believed he had fallen in love with teaching as the side job of coaching, and feels that he still can make a difference with every student he teaches along with students he coached. 

Coach Salinas says “When things are tough, I like to look at this Dr. Seuss quote which hangs in my room. It reads, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.” My goal here is to ensure that students feel like I care about who they are, besides being a student in my class.”


“I also really enjoy Algebra and working with Freshman students because I feel that I can make a stronger impact on their high school experience and understand expectations on our campus.”

He states that one of his favorite parts of teaching here is “seeing the growth of my students every year. Every student has something special about themselves, and I enjoy having a year to watch my students grow and find their way here at PHS.”

Even with teaching, Coach Salinas stays busy outside school as well. He says “Since I have kids, most of my weekends consist of kid activities, like the Zoo or Sea World. But when I have free time to myself, I enjoy playing golf with some friends/coworkers. I’m also in grad school to one day become an Assistant Principal/Principal, so that takes up most of my time outside of here.”

PHS is so fortunate to have Coach Salinas here and wish to thank him for all that he does!

Teacher Spotlight

Teacher Spotlight

By: Alexandra Garcia

For April, we wanted to highlight the bright and kind-hearted teacher Mrs. Novosad. A teacher of 4 years here at PHS, Before becoming a wonderful teacher at Pleasanton she graduated from Cy-Fair High School and went to Texas A&M in College Station, where she received her teaching degree. 

Mrs. Novosad currently teaches seniors English IV and AP Literature and Composition, as well as having sophomore and junior English tutoring classes. Although those subjects can be difficult she continues to be a facilitator of learning, she tries to give opportunities to her students to discover literature and critical thinking skills on their own.  

She says she became inspired by “Working in Pleasanton ISD for 12 years as a substitute teacher back when there was an intermediate campus. I fell in love with the community, the students, and the support from parents.” Mrs. Novosad says her favorite part of teaching is seeing the creativity and different perspectives of her students. 

Being very dedicated to her teaching job these few years she continues working here and is motivated by the laughter and the feeling of being a part of a group here. She also states how much she loves how her coworkers keep her laughing and how they all push each other to be better teachers for the school and students. As we can all tell, she is a delightful teacher and co-worker.

Mrs. Novosad says “ I enjoy the inspiring conversations with my students. It is so cool to see the plans my students have for their future as they have their whole lives ahead of them. The best is yet to come!”

Some huge roles in teaching are maintaining your work-life and home-life balance, and understanding the students. Mrs. Novosad nails the job! She displays her support and encouragement with positivity to uplift her students motivation. Making her students feel as if they can accomplish anything and comfortable with trying. 

As for her home life, she says some hobbies of hers are spending time in the mountains hiking, and climbing. Also, she enjoys growing vegetables and gardening. 

Mrs. Novosad is a huge inspiration to many students and her wonderful co-workers. 

PHS is so thankful to have a wonderful teacher such as herself. 

We wish the absolute best for the extraordinary teacher Mrs. Novosad.

Sweet Treat

By: Alexandra Garcia

A Banana Cake with banana pudding frosting and banana slices placed on top! 

An excellent Spring dessert for all. 

If you have bananas sitting on your counter and aren’t feeling banana bread, you should make this easy banana cake! 

Many people love to bake from scratch, but sometimes there isn’t enough time that is where this cake comes in. 

Some ingredients you would need are: 

  • Bananas 
  • White cake mix (Ingredients from the cake mix box)
  • Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking soda

Ingredients Info:

Cake – You will need the ingredients listed on the cake mix. Also note that some white cake boxes have different versions, and this cake version should be with the whole egg, not just the egg whites. 

Frosting – For the frosting, you will need an instant banana pudding mix, milk, and whipped cream. If you have different preferences like buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting, both can be used. 

Instructions to make Banana cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Be sure to grease your baking pan. 
  2. Mix the cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. 
  3. Use milk in place of water on the back of the cake mix box, and use eggs instead of egg whites. Use oil as instructed on the box.
  4. Add milk, eggs, oil, and bananas to your mixing bowl. Blend all together until it becomes a batter.
  5. Pour your batter into the cake pan and bake preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Allow the cake to cool down before applying it to frost.

For frosting: 

  1. Whisk together milk and pudding in another bowl, then place into the refrigerator.
  2. Mix whipped cream until you see a stiff form. Fold the pudding into the whipped cream and spread it onto the cake. 
  3. Add banana slices if desired. 


November Horoscopes

By: Alexandra Garcia 

Horoscopes this month: See what your Zodiac Sign had in store for you this November of 2022!


Aquarius: Witness without judgment that which is yearning to be witnessed within…

It is never a straight line for Aquarius. Your healing process tends to be messy but the more you explore inwards, the more you begin to uncover the shadowy aspects of yourself, so light the lamp of awareness. Witness without judgment which is reaching to be witnessed within. Something tells you, you are ready to break out of your cocoon. 


Pisces: Become aware of the beauty and grace that surrounds you in the present moment…

Happiness is more than just money in your bank account or likes on Instagram. This is about the quality of your life. It is about the things that bring you happiness and renders you with a sense of purpose. Today, you’re being asked to become aware of all things and people and experiences that add beauty and grace to your life and existence. Make time for those who bring you happiness and opportunities. 


Aries: Get ready to put your bossy pants back on…

You are in a life you wished for a long time ago. You have to open your eyes and become aware of all opportunities and miracles around you. This is a time for you to become confident and focus on your career and goals.


Taurus: Throw caution to the wind and take a bold step toward the future you have always envisioned for yourself…

This season is for the unknown for Taurus. You’re imploring and glowing. Do things that make your heart sing because that means you’re on the right track. This month is saying for you to not be afraid to let go and try new things. 


Gemini: Jump back into the stream of consciousness…

This is a time of experience and not intellectualization.  Let go of all those theories and worries, will you? Create a peaceful mindset for yourself. Drop all those questions and second thoughts, and just celebrate life and the many memorable upcoming days. 


Cancer: It’s time to show up as the most embodied version of yourself…

You’ve danced with many shadows and already have walked your demons to the exit door. You are a very brave and strong soul. This chapter of your life is all about rising and showing up as the most embodied version of yourself. Turn your wounds into wisdom and keep going. 


Leo:  It’s time to show up as the most formidable version of yourself…

You have pulled yourself out of the dark and now it is your time to relax. You have found the strength and courage to continue. Take life day by day. Become at peace with yourself. 


Virgo: Rely on your intuition to make big decisions… 

Your fears and worries always seem to catch up with you just when you’re about ready to explore. The good thing about this is you are not quite aware of this pattern, therefore you can set yourself free. You can lay back and trust yourself. 


Libra: Sometimes, you have to break your rules…

You are the one. You have been looking for yourself all along. Get obsessed with your goals, your dreams, and gifts. Look forward to your growth, and inspiration. Challenge yourself, and permit yourself to just go with the flow. 


Scorpio: By letting go of your resistance, you will find a way to get back in the flow…

Here’s the truth, not everyone will dance life with us all the way. Some will make it to the very end. While others may part ways. But accept the cycle of destruction and accept the cycle of creation. Understand that every end can bring a new beginning. New potential and hope. The more you accept every situation for what it is, the easier it will be for you to flow through. 


Sagittarius: The shadows are calling for your attention, Sagittarius…

We want to believe that the healing process is similar to ‘love and light.’ But the deeper into the psyche, the more we begin to uncover what’s hidden. The more we uncover what lies are hidden. We are called to become aware of the shadow aspects of life. Take a step back from the chaos and commotion from the outside world. Make your life a journey and witness the yearning to be witnessed.


Capricorn: The tools required to cope with many changes will always be provided for you… 

“Accept everything, and reject nothing”. The truth is not everyone is going to stay in your life til the very end. Some characters in the play tend to temporarily leave. Others may leave for good without a warning. But the important thing to remember is that every experience is for a reason. Lay your trust back into yourself. 


Teacher Spotlight

By: Alexandra Garcia 

For this October’s Teacher Spotlight we got to visit with the one and only, Coach Joseph. 

Coach Joseph, while being a cross country assistant coach and head soccer girls coach, is also a very excellent teacher. Many states that he “makes learning more understandable and comprehensible.”

Coach Joseph graduated from Bandera High School where he was inspired by his own soccer coach to become a teacher and coach as well, he says the coach was not only great with the soccer players, but with everyone. He then went on to graduate from Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, Where he received a teaching degree. Coach Joseph is always up for a challenge and that’s what motivates him to teach. “Math is by far one of the most challenging subjects. It is a subject that generally speaking students dislike and struggles with the most.” He also says “I then put myself in a position where I can elevate and make learning math a little less miserable for the students.” One of the ways Coach Joseph enjoys teaching is being in front of the whiteboard instructing, and calling on students for answers to bring the class together and get them out of their comfort zone to build up a comfortable learning environment for all students. 

One of his favorite parts about teaching is “the lessons that happen outside the content.” He enjoys being able to have genuine conversations with students, and when the students are able to open up about things that may be troubling them and they come to him for guidance. He liked that he is trusted enough to give advice and answers that will lead them in a positive direction. One of the main aspects of how understanding and motivational Coach Joseph is that he wants to see his students succeed and make it far in their education, and in life. He wants them to pass their TSIs, and prepare them for Algebra 2 or College Algebra. He does not want his students to have to deal with struggling through semesters. 

Apart from school, Coach Joseph has very limited time. A hobby of his is lifting weights, which happens to be his favorite. He enjoys watching soccer and UFC but other than that his free time is pretty booked with him pursuing an MBA. 

With that being said, we here at PHS are very grateful for such an inspiring and hardworking teacher. We thank Coach Joseph for all the time, helpful skills, and work he puts in here at PHS, it does not go unnoticed. 


Teacher of the Year

By: Alexandra Garcia & Aaliyah Herrera

Dr Conner Ayers, who is known as one of our Spanish teachers at PHS was selected as teacher of the year 2021-2022. With his positive attitude toward his students he uplifts the student’s mood with a bright smile as he welcomes everyone at his classroom door. 

When asked how he felt about being teacher of the year he had said he was very surprised because it was his first year here at PHS. There is no surprise that he had received this award, Dr Conner Ayers is very outgoing and always wants to do what’s best for his students to help them succeed. He enjoys being in the classroom doing fun activities and is just an overall great teacher and person here at PHS. Although Dr Conner Ayers has his own challenges he still finds a way to be a positive role model to his fellow students and coworkers. 

Teacher spotlight

By: Alexandra Garcia 

     As well as many other great teachers and staff here at PHS, Mrs. Leonhardt is a very hard working and great teacher overall. She is very encourageable and motivational, pushing through rough days to better the students here at PHS. Mrs.Leonhardt is very welcoming and inspiring to many students who wanna get through high school and move on to better paths and create an amazing future with further education and help, she strives to get them where they deserve to be and stays as positive and humbled. 

    When asking Mrs.Leonhardt as a teacher what superhero would you wanna be and why she replied by changing the question a little bit but stated “If I could change the question a little bit I would be one of the nine muses who inspire people, writers and artists. I would rather be a muse who’s a goddess helping others and encouraging anyone they can.” Mrs. Leonhardt is a driving force to her students and many others.

     As a teacher here at PHS, Mrs. Leonhardt is very successful and we thank her for striving and trying her hardest to help all students accomplish their goals to become successful for their far amazing careers. 

     We are very privileged to have a kind and supportive individual as a teacher here at PHS. We thank Mrs. Leonhardt for making known what students are capable of. 

Sweet Treat

By: Alexandra Garcia

Are you looking for a perfect peaceful party dessert ?  The Berry and Cream Tart is a tasteful 

individual berry dessert which is easy to customize as well.   

Berries and Cream Tarts are very delicious and elegant desserts to satisfy your taste buds, and it will leave a delightful taste in your mouth. For sure a dessert you and your guest won’t miss. 

This dessert includes a buttery crust and rich pastry cream filling with colorful berries on the top.  

Berry Cream Tart | King Arthur Baking

Be sure to prep the oven 30 minutes before. 

The filling ingredients :

¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All- purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 large egg and 1 cup or (227g) of milk
  • 3 tablespoons  (42g) butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond extract

Ingredients for crust :

  • One 9’’ round pate sucree crust, fully baked

Topping ingredients : 

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries 

Glaze (optional) : ½ cup preserves or jam; or ¼ cup jelly


Step 1 – To make the filing : In a warm bowl you will whisk the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg, whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Step 2 – In a small bowl (1 ½ quart) saucepan, begin boiling the milk. Add hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continually to make everything smooth.

Step 3 – Pour the hot milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan, return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Once the mixture thickens you will wanna keep whisking vigorously to keep it from getting lumpy.

Step 4 – Once you see the filing come to a boil across its entire surface, cook for another minute. Then move away from heat. Then stir in the butter and extract. 

To assemble the tart: Pour the filing into the tart shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve the tart, remove the wrap from the filing and top of the tart with sliced strawberries and berries in alternating rows

To make the glaze: If using jam or preserves, warm them up gently and thin with a little water if necessary to loosen them up. Scoop out and discard any solids. Brush remaining glaze over the berries. If you’re using jelly, warm it up and brush it over berries. 

Slice the tart  into wedges and serve with whipped cream if you desire. 

STORAGE INFO: store any leftover tart, covered, in the refrigerator and do not freeze.

Sweet Treat

By: Alexandra Garcia

Wanna satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your kitchen with these no-bake strawberry desserts ?.. Try the Strawberry Pretzel Pie. 

This cool no-bake Strawberry Pretzel Pie is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Made with pantry staples and as easy as pie. It becomes one of the favorite sweet treats around.  The strawberry pretzel pie has lots of ingredients added into it such as… butter, sugar, lemon juice, marshmallow creme, and cream cheese. Reviews of this sweet treat are quite good although most of the reviews recommend adding strawberry whipped cream cheese or just taking out the cream cheese. Of course, everyone has their own opinion of this delicious treat. 


  • 4 cups of miniature pretzels
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup boiling water 
  • 1 package (6 ounces) strawberry gelatin,1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled, divided  
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • ⅔ cup of whipped cream cheese (not necessary) 
  • ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk  

Directions to the strawberry pretzel pie

  1. Place pretzels in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Add butter and sugar; pulse until combined. Reserve ⅓ cup of pretzel mixture for topping. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. Springform pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until you feel like it’s enough.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add boiling water to gelatin; stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Chop half the strawberries; slice the remaining berries and reserve for topping. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Beat marshmallow creme, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk into cooled gelatin mixture until blended. Gently fold in chopped strawberries and whipped cream. Pour into the crust. 
  4. Refrigerate, covered, until firm, 4-6 hours. Beat remaining 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form; spread over pie. Top with reserved strawberries and whipped and pretzel mixture.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 350 calories, 19g fat (12g saturated fat), 56 mg cholesterol, 284mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates (30g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.