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Phelan Named Director of Curriculum; Nine New Teachers Added to Watchung Hills H.S. Faculty

Denis Kelly

Thursday, August 28, 2014 • 9:04pm

WARREN, NJ - Nine new teachers have been added to the faculty at Watching Hills Regional High School for the 2014-2015 school year. In addition, former Supervisor of English and English teacher Mary Ellen Phelan has been named Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
 
The new faculty attended a three-day orientation Tuesday, Aug. 26, to Thursday, Aug. 28 at Watchung Hills.
 
In welcoming the new teachers, Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett said, “We have an outstanding class of new teachers. Their enthusiasm and meaningful conversations around quality instruction over the past three days are just two indicators of their potential to enhance our school community. “
 
Marlene Stoto has been added to the English Department faculty, and has been named Supervisor of English. Stoto is a graduate of Watchung Hills, Muhlenberg College and Seton Hall Law School. She had previously worked at Seton Hall Law School and at Roselle Catholic High School as an English teacher and Supervisor of English.
 
Three additional new teachers have been added to the English Department faculty. They are:
Jeffrey Wasserman, who is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and Columbia University Teacher’s College. He had previously taught in Greenwich Connecticut and at Bergen County Technical Schools;
Kristen Keefe, who is a graduate of Rider University and Seton Hall University graduate school, and who had previously taught at Immaculata High School; And Vanessa Phillips, who is a graduate of the University of Arizona and Montclair University graduate school, and had previously worked at the writing center in Montclair.
 
Two new teachers have been added to the Arts Department faculty: They are: Gillian Crisman, who is a is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, at the undergraduate and graduate level, and who had previously taught in charter schools, the Portland Museum of Art, and Chatham. She will teach art, and also coach girls junior varsity soccer.
And Caitlyn Barrows, who is a graduate of Rutgers University, at the undergraduate and graduate level, and has been appointed dance teacher as a leave replacement. She had completed her student teaching assignment at Watchung Hills.
 
Rebecca Brown has been added in the faculty of the Social Studies Department. Brown is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Emory Law School, and Fairleigh Dickinson University graduate school. She completed her student teaching assignment at Watchung Hills.
 
Cassie Oleszkiewicz was appointed to the Child Study Team in January. She is a graduate of Manhattan College at the undergraduate level, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Monmouth University at the graduate level. She has experience as a youth advocate and crisis responder. She is also coach of the junior varsity field hockey team at Watchung Hills.
 
And, Alines Ciriaco has been added to the faculty of the World Language Department. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and Pace University, and has taught both in New York City and Dunellen. She will teach Spanish.
 
The new teachers will join the entire faculty at opening-of-school staff development programs Tuesday, Sept. 2, and Wednesday, Sept. 3.  Director of Curriculum And Instruction Phelan said she is excited by her new assignment. Already this summer, she has seen the breadth of her new duties, from working with a math teacher on math curriculum to looking at data from Advanced Placement performance to planning to help freshman have a rewarding experience during their first two months of transition to high school.
Phelan said from the board and top school administrators to its supervisors and teachers, there is a common vision for Watchung Hills to be a highly performing school that helps teachers collaborate around subject area and enhances the opportunity for students to be prepared, and to find and nurture their talents.
 
Freshman and new registrant orientation will be held Wednesday, Sept. 3. The program will last from 7:30 to 10:15 a.m. Bus transportation will be provided to and from the program.
The orientation will be used to acclimate incoming students to the school. Students will report to designated classrooms where they will receive their schedules. They will hear from peer leaders, who will talk about the typical concerns of incoming students. Among the topics discussed will be how the rotating drop schedule works, how to locate and open their lockers and how to find classrooms for their classes.
 
Students will then run through an abbreviated eight-period school day so they can become familiar with all the classrooms they will need to find during a typical school day. They will meet their teachers, and peer leaders and teachers will be available to answer questions.
 
The first day of school is Thursday, Sept. 4.  School dismissal on the first day is at 12:05 p.m.
Back to School Night is at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9. Back to School Day is at 7:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 13.
 
 
 
 
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