By Luke Baynes
Summer officially ends in the Northern Hemisphere on Sept. 22 at 10:49 a.m. EDT, but for Williston School District and Champlain Valley Union High School students, it ended this week with the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
For students, the start of school usually means a new set of clothes, new school supplies, perhaps a fresh haircut.
For more than 20 local educators, the first school bell of the year meant the start of a new job.
New faces at Allen Brook School this year include teachers Rebecca Ashford and Peter Lake, as well as Jennifer Tumilowicz, who replaces guidance counselor Aili Beeli.
Williston Central School welcomes educators Linsay Bloxham, Lauren Wesnak, Courtney Sherman and Ashley Sutton, along with new Spanish teacher Reina Guarnaccia, who joins an expanded WCS world language program that includes fifth grade students.
WCS Principal Jackie Parks told the Observer in an email that offering French and Spanish language classes beginning in fifth grade is an idea the school board has been considering for several years.
“The 5th grade World Language program was something we have talked about for years,” Parks wrote. “I think it is wonderful that Williston can provide language instruction beginning in 5th grade.”
According to a letter sent by WSD administrators to parents, 90 out of 115 eligible fifth grade students have signed up for the world language program.
Ten educators have joined the CVU faculty for the 2012-2013 school year: special educators Anna Couperthwait, Mary Cotton and Jennifer Stevens; science teachers Laurel Billingsley, Michael Anne Kirschner and Jessica Lemieux; English teacher Sabrina Case; world language teacher Sara Molina; wellness teacher Anthony Spagnola; and social studies teacher Lezlee Sprenger.
Although she’s a 10-year CVU veteran, social studies teacher Katherine Riley will change hats this year and take over as Snelling House director in the stead of Adam Bunting, who accepted the principal position at Montpelier High School in May.
Riley said that while she won’t initially do any direct instruction of students, she hopes to keep a hand in teaching.
“I won’t have my own class this year, but I’m working closely with the five Snelling Core (ninth grade) teachers,” Riley said. “Hopefully, as the year goes on, we’ll do some team teaching.”
But as Riley told the Observer on Tuesday, just seeing the students back in school is a good feeling.
“I’m looking forward to the students getting back,” she said. “The kids are what bring the school alive.”