CVU science teacher takes place of mentor (9/17/09)

Three part-time teachers also new to CVU

Sept. 17, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

For Champlain Valley Union High School’s newest full-time science teacher Bill Schoonover, working at CVU is like coming “full circle.”


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Bill Schoonover, a new science teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, stands in a biology lab at the school.

Ten years ago, Schoonover began his education career under the tutelage of former science teacher Dave Ely. Now, Schoonover has replaced his former mentor and is looking forward to continuing the legacy Ely created in his 36 years of teaching.

“I feel like CVU is a place where I want to develop some roots,” Schoonover said. “There’s a reason teachers teach here for years and years.”

Schoonover, who teaches biology and physics, said the school atmosphere at CVU was appealing. It’s a community of learners, he said, and not just a school.

“I’m really impressed with how mature the kids are here,” Schoonover said. “They seem willing and eager to learn right off the bat.”

Schoonover is a native of Chicago, and received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Iowa in 1996. As a kid, he said he was always fascinated by the physical world and how things worked. Science drew itself to him, he said.

He spent three years working as a veterinary technician in and around Chicago before moving to Vermont with his wife in 1998. He earned his teaching certification in 1999 and worked as a science teacher at Mount Mansfield Union High School and The Gailer School when it was in Shelburne; The Gailer School has since moved to Middlebury.

For the past seven years, Schoonover was a teacher at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon. He received his master’s degree in education from St. Michael’s College in 2006.

Schoonover said he’s enjoyed his first days at CVU and is impressed with the knowledge his students already have in science. His job will be to further that interest, he said.

“Students are treated like adults here and because of that, they act in kind,” he said.

Part-time teachers join staff

CVU also welcomed three part-time teachers earlier this month: Stacy Wulff as a social studies teacher, Michael Burris as a science teacher and Xue Li as a Chinese language teacher. The Observer was unable to reach the educators for interviews by press deadline.

Wulff, who received a history degree from St. Michael’s College in 2002, has worked at CVU since she graduated college. She’s worked as a paraeducator, a tutor and a long-term substitute at the high school. Wulff replaces long-time teacher Alexander “Sandy” Lord, who retired after last school year. She earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont in 2007.

Burris, who worked as a science teacher at Peoples Academy High School in Morrisville since 2004, earned a bachelor of science degree from UVM in 1994. He earned his master’s degree in education from the university in 2004.

Li came to CVU when the high school added Chinese to its world language program this school year. Li earned her bachelor’s degree in China in 1994, then taught English at a medical university in that country for four years. In 2004, she completed her master’s degree at Auburn University in Alabama. Most recently, Li was a Chinese language teacher at Vermont Commons School in South Burlington.