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Teachers ready for class

August 15, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - They were all in their places with bright, shiny faces, as the old nursery rhyme says.

No, it wasn't the students - they haven't arrived for the 2006-07 school year. But the five new teachers at Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education are and they were eagerly anticipating the start of classes Aug. 23.

Of the five, Amanda Miller already got her feet wet, having started at Funkstown in January because of a retirement.

"I love it here," said the second-grade teacher. A graduate of Shippensburg University, Miller serves as a source of encouragement for the other newcomers, several of whom have never taught before.

Matthew Tack specialized in early childhood education while studying at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

"I taught third grade in Slippery Rock," Tack said. But when he heard there was opening at Funkstown in early childhood education - specifically kindergarten - he quickly arranged for an interview.

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Even though kindergartners are young, Tack said he wants them to get started early learning organization skills and how to deal with structure.

Johanna Mullendore just earned her master's degree in reading from Frostburg University's main campus.

"I stayed on at Frostburg after I got my undergraduate degree because I was offered a graduate assistant position," Mullendore said.

She said her first-grade class at Funkstown will have approximately 19 students and she is excited about that.

Lindsay Miles grew up in Washington County, graduating from Williamsport High School and then Frostburg University's main campus.

"I'm going to see where it takes me," Miles said. "I want the children in my kindergarten class to be as comfortable as possible."

Miles said she plans to smile as much as possible.

Shanna Byrd is in her fifth year of teaching, having been in Frederick County, Md., classrooms for her first four years. A second-grade magnet teacher, Byrd will work with gifted and talented students at Funkstown and Emma K. Doub.

"I was happy to get this position because Washington County is going in the right direction for kids, not just test scores," Byrd said.

She also said she is enjoying the small-town atmosphere in Funkstown.

Principal Susan Burger said she loves seeing new faces on her faculty. "We interviewed some great people and got our first choices," she said.

Now in her fourth year at Funkstown, Burger said her faculty has a nice mix of ages, as well as experience, which ranges from zero to 30-plus years.

Looking at an enrollment of about 310, Burger said there are five kindergarten classes, five first-grade classes and four second-grade classes.

There also are two prekindergarten classes with one teacher.

Funkstown now has seven "learning cottages," which previously were known as portable classrooms.

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