Sept. 3, 2009
By Tim Simard
Students who returned to Williston Central School this year found three new teachers in their midst. Two join Swift House, while the third will teach music at the school.
Swift House welcomes Jared Bailey, who is replacing Jason Lamb. Bailey is already familiar with Williston Central School; he interned in Meeting House in 2005. He said he’s pleased to return to a familiar place.
“I’ve always really liked the approach Williston takes in its middle school,” said Bailey, who grew up in South Burlington.
Bailey earned his political science undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont in 2003, as well as his master’s in education from the university this year. For the past four years, Bailey taught seventh and eighth grade classes at Middlebury Union Middle School. At Middlebury, he was also the high school girl’s varsity basketball coach.
Bailey said he approaches teaching from a coaching mentality. He said he’s there to help students understand and to steer them in the right direction.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of teaching a variety of kids in a variety of subjects,” Bailey said.
Swift House in Williston Central underwent many changes last school year, especially with the unexpected death of Al Myers. Taking over Myer’s position is Amanda Johnson, who interned under the popular teacher last semester and finished teaching his classes after he passed away in April.
Johnson said she considers herself fortunate to be teaching in Swift again and is happy to be teaching in the same area where she grew up. A native of Shelburne, Johnson is a graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School.
She received her undergraduate degree in biology at SUNY Plattsburgh in 2006 and attained her teaching license from St. Michael’s College this year. She’s currently working to obtain a master’s degree in reading education and hopes to have it completed in 2011.
Johnson said she learned a lot from Myers when they worked together and hopes to continue his teaching ideas in her classroom.
“My philosophy is treating students and colleagues and parents with respect and compassion,” Johnson said.
Williston Central School’s new music teacher, Kate McRae, is no stranger to music education. The Vermont native’s parents are both music teachers, she said.
“I’ve wanted to be a music teacher for as long as I can remember,” McRae said.
McRae graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2008 with a degree in music. Her focus was trumpet and voice, although she can play a multitude of instruments. She’s even toured Europe as a chamber singer.
Last school year, McRae taught part-time at the Westford elementary and middle schools. This year, she’s replacing Andy Smith, who took a position at Charlotte Central School after teaching in Williston for 11 years.
McRae said music can be a subject that brings out the best in students, as well as bring to the forefront unforeseen talents. She said she’s looking forward to making great music with her classes.
“I believe music can reach all children in some way,” McRae said.