Numerous Namesakes: Identical Faces and Names On Campus Can Lead To Confusion

by Anelina Alegre and Adam Hawari

Cypress High School is home to diverse staff and students, some of them even sharing a name, which creates some confusion. This article will help you differentiate among staff members who share a last name.

First, there are three Binfords working on campus: Mary Binford the counselor, Sarah Binford the Activities Director, and Mrs. Kathy Binford the nurse. Mrs. Binford’s son, Sheldon Binford, is currently a Cypress senior. Mary Binford and Sarah Binford are identical twins, and they both go by “Ms. Binford.”

The twins get confused for each other daily, by both students and staff members they don’t interact with often. Mary joked that it “makes the day more interesting.” It’s something that has happened her whole life, so she’s not bothered by it. The twin Binfords encourage students not to be scared to come up to them and ask them a question, even if you aren’t sure which one you are talking to. Mary also said not to be offended if she doesn’t recognize you, because it might have been the other Binford you were previously talking to. “I think our message is don’t be shy and don’t be offended,” the counselor said. 

Christopher Wright, English teacher (left) and Benjamin Wright, Autism Focus teacher (right) once even had a payroll mix up due to their similar names. (photo by Anelina Alegre)

Ms. Sarah Binford teaches AP US History and is the Activities Director at Cypress High. She said that she enjoys getting to work in the same place as her family, and likes being able to pop in and see her twin or mom. “I have enjoyed seeing my nephew grow up and attend the same school as I did and be able to have similar experiences,” Binford said. 

Sheldon Binford is the son of Mrs. Binford and the nephew of the Ms. Binfords. He finds it funny how people react to him answering questions like “Is Mrs. Binford your mom?” or “Your aunt is the counselor?” Sheldon said that “knowing the staff at Cypress has been normal ever since elementary school,” and mentioned how Cypress High School and the staff were a part of his life even before becoming a student here. “Now that I’m graduating it’s cool to reflect on meeting most of the staff here and getting to know them before I even went to high school,” Sheldon said.

Cypress also has two teachers with the last name Wright: Christopher Wright the English teacher, and Benjamin Wright the autism focus teacher. Mr. Christopher Wright has been teaching 10th and 12th grade English for about five years now, and Mr. Benjamin Wright is starting his first year here teaching an autism focus group. Both teachers mentioned that they often get misaddressed emails sent to the wrong inbox.

The autism focus teacher shares a story about getting a misaddressed letter in his school mailbox: “I found a really nice letter in my box and read it, but it turns out this wasn’t my student,” he said.  The English teacher Chris Wright also shared that the school had a mix-up regarding payroll because of their same last names. 

Reihle Saldana, math teacher (left) and Renee Saldana, attendance clerk (right) sometimes get each other’s emails. (photo by Anelina Alegre)

Another pair of names are the two Saldanas: Ms. Reihle Saldana the math teacher, and the attendance clerk Mrs. Renee Saldana.

It is Ms. Saldana’s first year teaching math here at Cypress. She is also the Water Polo coach.  She said she used to get mixed up with the other Mrs. Saldana when the year first started. “It happened frequently at the beginning of the year, but it happens less now that the school year has gone on,” she shared.  Ms. Saldana is the daughter of former CHS Asst. Principal, Joe Saldana.

Mrs. Saldana  has been working here in the attendance office for a year and a half. She said that she would get emails from people thinking was the other Saldana. She shared, “Her first name starts with an ‘R’ as well, so it really is confusing.” 

Jeffrey Russell, CHS Athletic Director and Economics teacher (right), and Jennifer Russell, Chemistry teacher, are two staff members who work with their spouse on campus.

It’s a common misconception for people to mix up names, and at Cypress, these cases happen usually with teachers who have the same last names. But, it’s not just a coincidence. Interestingly enough, some of these teachers are related or come from the same backgrounds. 

For teachers like Jeffrey Russell, it bugs him that people mistakenly confuse his name. Mr. Russell currently teaches economics and is the Athletic Director. Mr. Russell said that he has “been teaching for at least 26 years.” His time at Cypress wasn’t only teaching economics, he was also a former student! The person on campus who shares a similar last name is his wife, Jennifer Russell.

Mr. and Mrs. Falt are mainstays in the 200 building.

Normally when people confuse Mr. Russell’s name, it happens digitally. People accidentally email him instead of his wife. When this happens, Russell responds with, “I don’t teach chemistry” and forwards it. Another incident of someone mistakenly emailing Jeffrey is when a completely different school emails him instead. Loara High School usually confuses him with another Russell in the school.


English teacher Andrea Crooks is another person with a matching last name. She has been teaching for eight years; her husband Jeffrey Crooks is a new teacher on campus this year, as well as one of our football coaches. There are actually other people with similar last names as Mr. and Mrs. Crooks. There are two teachers with the last name “Cook,” Alison Cook, the English teacher, and Sharlene Cook, the math teacher.

In room 224 and 225, teachers Mr. and Ms. Falt can be found teaching Math. Mr. Dan Falt has been teaching for 21 years, and Mrs. Lisa Falt for 30 years. Funnily enough, when newer students come into Mrs. Falt’s classroom, she teases them by telling them that Mr. Falt is her twin.