DHS (virtually) welcomes new staff for 20-21 school year

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DHS welcomes 22 new staff members to the Hatter family!

Aidan Garvey and Michael Morrell

All information is based on teacher’s responses to an email questionnaire.

Alyssa Mancini: Chemistry and Forensics

Hometown: Utica, NY

College: University or Rochester (BA); Pace University (MA)

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite hobby: I am an herbalist so I love growing herbs and making medicine out of them

Why do you love teaching?

It helps me work on and continue to grow my skills: organization, planning, communication, creating, technology

Do you have any pets?

I fostered a cat named Jules. He just got adapted which was bitter sweet. I am looking to get another cat soon!

What made you want to become a teacher?

An organization called Teach for America visited my school my junior year and I really enjoyed their presentation. Although I study education in my undergrad, I wanted to try out teaching for a few years before going to grad school. I started teaching in 2007 and have never left ūüôā

 

Anne Fiore: Speech Therapist 

Hometown: Newtown, CT

College: Hamilton College (NY)/Towson University (MD)

Favorite food: chocolate chip cookies

Favorite hobby: hiking

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?

meeting students with so many different backgrounds

Why do you love teaching?

I love helping students become better communicators, because we use communication in all aspects of our lives.  

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a dog named Izzie. 

If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go?

Australia or New Zealand (it might take the whole day to get there, though!)

What made you want to become a teacher?

I love working with all different types of people with different strengths and interests.

 

Benjamin Schultz: Art

Hometown: Bethel, CT

College:  UConn: Digital Media and Design, Manhattanville College

Favorite Food: Everything except mac and cheese. This has made me some enemies before…¬†

Favorite Hobby: Indoor rock climbing or anything active at this point

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?:  All the great faculty and students I have been meeting as a new teacher!

Why do you love teaching?:  The amount I learn from my students and how many new people I get to meet in a short time 

¬†Do you have any pets?: ¬†I had some weird, uncooperative fish at one point. It was like a reality show called “The Tank.”

If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go?: I’ve never been to the West Coast, so somewhere out there.¬†

How long have you been teaching?: Less than a year! 

What made you want to become a teacher: I was always grateful for how much I learned from the teachers I had. There are a lot of teachers in my family and it was always a point of interest. Finally,I would say that my experiences as both a digital media student and artist made me realize the endless possibilities for learning more about the world from a creative viewpoint and I thought I should share that inspiration with others. 

 

Daniel Cronin: Special Education

Hometown: Newington CT, 

College: Siena College in Albany New York

Favorite food: steak

Favorite Hobby: I love watching sports

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?: I love being able to meet everyone, staff and students.¬† It’s great to see everyone coming together and working so hard with the distance learning

Why do you love teaching?: I love being able to work with kids and help them learn something new

If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go?: I would love to travel to Europe, specifically to Italy

How long have you been teaching?: This is my 6th year as a teacher

What made you want to become a teacher?:I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I always wanted to be able to help kids and work with them.

 

Deanna Aurio: Health

Hometown: Waterbury, CT 

 College: I graduated from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, I have two Bachelor’s Degrees, one on Justice and Law Administration with a focus on Pre-Law and a second in Health Education! I just completed my Masters Degree through the University of Arkansas online in Physical Education.

Favorite food: tacos!

Favorite hobby: My favorite hobbies are exercising, spending time with family and friends, and reading! 

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?:  My favorite part about DHS so far is getting to know my students and working closely with the Health and PE Departments to have a successful year. 

Why do you love teaching?: I love teaching because I love being able to help my students succeed! Health is such an important part of all of our lives and I want to make sure my students know how to take care of themselves for years to come!

Do you have any pets?: My two family dogs are Blue who is a Siberian Husky and Sugar who is a mix between a Shi-tzu and Bichon! They’re the best and so cute! 

 If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go?: If I could go anywhere in the world for a day I would go to the Amalfi Coast in Italy because it looks amazing! 

How long have you been teaching?: I have been teaching for 3 years. 

What made you want to become a teacher?: Honestly I remember from probably first grade on wanting to be a teacher. I think I had some amazing teachers myself who really made a positive impact on me and I also really loved school and liked being able to help my classmates out when they were having a hard time grasping new  concepts so it just made me want to become a teacher and have that same impact on my own students one day! 

 

Elisa Logush: Biology

Hometown: Salem, MA

College: UMass Amherst, and then University of Pennsylvania 

Favorite Food: Potatoes

What is your favorite hobby?: Travelling

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?: I love the community and the students. You all are so warm and welcoming, and despite distance learning, seem excited to learn.

Why do you love teaching?: I love to share my knowledge and excitement for science. It is great watching students learn and grow.

Do you have any pets?: I have three cats

If you could go anywhere in the world for a day. where would you go?: Cairo, Egypt. I’d love to see the pyramids

How long have you been teaching?: 2 years! I was a veterinarian before I was a teacher.

What made you want to become a teacher?: I was teaching veterinary interns when I realized it was my favorite part of my job. When I realized I loved teaching the most, I decided to come teach high school Biology and I am so glad I did!

 

Jennifer Estrella Vanterpool: School Counselor

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in three different places. Dominican Republic, Harlem NY, and Bronx, NY.

Where did you go to college?

For Undergrad, I attended Lehman College. For graduate studies I attended CCSU.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is my homestyle chicken noodle soup.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love to spend time with my son

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?

My favorite part at DHS so far is the support I am receiving from my colleagues. 

Do you have any pets?

I have one dog, his name is Prince.

What made you want to become a school counselor?

I wanted to become a school counselor to be a positive influence and role model in minority and underrepresented students.

 

Joseph Efferen: School Counselor

Where did you grow up?

Carmel, NY

Where did you go to college?

I graduated with my Bachelors from SUNY Brockport and my Masters from Fairfield Univ. 

What is your favorite food?

That is a tough choice.  Can I say that among my favorite foods are pizza and cereal (but not together)

What is your favorite hobby?

Currently I do not have one, but I am keeping my eyes open. 

What is your favorite part about DHS so far?

Even in these strange times I have been so impressed by the students, so I would say them. 

Why do you love teaching?

As a School Counselor I really enjoy working with students (usually over several years) and seeing them grow and develop into amazing people.

If you could go anywhere in the world for a day, where would you go?

This is one of my favorite questions to ask, but there are so many possible answers. I guess, if I had to pick one place for a day, Antarctica. 

How long have you been a school counselor?

This will be my 4th school year. 

 

Judith Hendrickson: Business

Where did you go to college?

I attended college in York, NE, Edmond, OK, Moorhead, MN and Bridgeport, CT. I have also taken online courses through Phoenix, AZ. 

What made you become a teacher?

I find teenagers to be filled with possibilities. I love Social Studies and Business and want to show students how their high school education can change their futures. I have been a life-long learner and wanted to share my experiences and knowledge with the next generation. I also enjoy learning from my students. The newest innovations will come from them and I want to help them achieve their goals.

What do you enjoy about DHS so far? 

The teachers and administration clearly care about the students. Counselors, teammates, and administrators have all reached out to welcome and advise new teachers. I have been impressed with the amount of technology that is being introduced to engage students in an online platform. Keeping our kids safe while still creating a learning and social environment that is so important in high school. We have to be creative to make this work and everyone is working overtime with really positive attitudes. 

How long have you been teaching? 

I have been teaching as an interventionist and long term substitute for two year but am technically in my first year of officially teaching. 

 

Kirsten Tuz: Business

Where did you go to college?

Western CT State University, BS in Marketing; Sacred Heart University, MBA in Finance; University of Bridgeport, 7-12 certification and Sixth year in Secondary Education.

What made you become a teacher?

 worked in corporate Marketing & Finance for 23 years. I was laid off in a downsizing when my oldest daughter was a freshman in high school and she was running cross country. I realized how much I was missing by working long hours and decided to start substitute teaching. After a short while doing that I became a paraeducator and loved working with students and knowing at the end of the day I had made a difference. I did that for 5 years before I went back to school full time to pursue my certification while still working as a para during the day. 

What do you enjoy about DHS so far? 

I have met many great students so far. I wish we were in person, but for now, we are all making things work. I can not wait to meet my students in person. 

 

Lori Amann: ESL

What made you want to become a teacher?

Growing up, a teacher was all I ever wanted to be.¬† (Or a dolphin trainer/marine biologist, but truth be told, I wasn’t that good at science. lol) . My youngest brother, Robby, is 7 years younger than me, and is autistic. He couldn’t learn things the way other children could; I was always trying to think of ways to teach him things. I was always fascinated by the way people learn.

What do you enjoy about DHS so far? 

The people!¬† My colleagues in the ESL department are so friendly, and my students have been great so far.¬† I can’t wait to meet them in person!

How long have you been teaching? 

Right out of college, I taught high school and middle school English for 10 years in Region 12 (Washington, Roxbury, Bridgewater).¬† Then I left teaching for several years to stay home and raise my three daughters.¬† I got my Masters in Journalism from Quinnipiac while I was home with them, and taught college at Quinnipiac as an adjunct professor for 4 years, worked in the old Tutoring Center at DHS for 2 years, then taught 7th and 8th grade English at the Endeavor Program here in Danbury for 5 years. I’ve also taught adult night school ESL at Danbury WeRace, beginning English language learners.¬† That’s a lot of years!

Where did you go to college?

B.A. in Education (English) from the University of Connecticut, M.A. from Fairfield University in Computers in Education, M.S. in Print Journalism from Quinnipiac University, and my certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Phoenix.  I like to learn.

 

Michael Goldman: Science

What made you become a teacher?

I started to develop arm and hand issues about 7-8 years ago. I actually needed surgery back then and had to be out of the office for 6-8 weeks. I started to realize that my career might end prematurely and thought about what I’d like to do next.

What do you enjoy about DHS so far?

 I like DHS very much. The other teachers and students are very helpful and nice. I wish we could have been in person in order to get to know each other more easily.

How long have you been teaching?

Three years

Where did you go to college?

I started college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), transferred to SUNY Stony Brook, where I graduated as a Biology major and then went to NYU College of Dentistry

Emma Stankiewicz: English

What made you become a teacher?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. My favorite subject was English so that’s what I decided to teach. My favorite teachers were the ones I met while I was in high school, they supported me and rooted for me even when I struggled to be the best student. I like to be that person for my students, high school can be hard academically and socially, but if you have adults around who care about you and want to see you succeed it can make it a little easier, that’s my goal!

What do you enjoy about DHS so far? 

So far my favorite part has to be the students! I love those first few minutes of class or the last few when we get to just talk and get to know each other a little bit. I’ve had a few students email me to recommend tv shows or books and it has made me feel very welcome. I also have to say the other teachers in the English department have all been really cool and helpful as well!

How long have you been teaching? 

This is my 6th year teaching. I started at Harlem Prep High in East Harlem and then taught for a few years at Amistad High in New Haven CT. I have really enjoyed being a high school English teacher, so far I’ve taught every grade so I’ve gotten to dig into a lot of different texts with my students. I love teaching speeches the most, but I feel like we always get the most out of longer pieces like novels because we get to know the author so well. It’s always fun to have class discussions and debates about real world issues represented in literature.

Where did you go to college?  

I went to West Virginia University, even though I grew up in CT. They had a 5 year teaching program, so I went to school there and while in grad school I taught in a rural town in West Virginia that had only 500 people! It was a very different experience but I feel like I learned a lot. I am still in touch with a few of my students from that school, most of them just graduated last year (virtually)!

Kristen Dimarino: Health/Physical Education

College: Penn State 

What made you want to become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I wanted to educate students on how to live a healthy lifestyle and show them the importance of physical activity and the impact it has on our minds and bodies

What do you enjoy about DHS so far?

I love our dept. and staff that I met so far! 

How long have you been teaching for?

This is my first year teaching in CT.

What are some things you like to do outside of school?

I like to play lacrosse and field hockey, go hiking, take cycling classes, and cook!