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Getting schooled

Academy helps get new teachers acclimated

Academy helps get new teachers acclimated

August 10, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - About 160 Washington County Public Schools teachers participated in a New Teachers Academy this week.

The academy, in its sixth year, is for teachers new to the school system.

Carol Corwell-Martin, supervisor for the Center for Peak Performance & Productivity, said the teachers learned about county policies, curriculum, classroom management and other topics.

Teachers will continue some of those lessons when they spend two days in their classrooms next week.

Corwell-Martin said that 60 of the new teachers have experience teaching. Of those, about 30 have five or more years of experience in another school district.

Here is an introduction to some of the teachers who attended:

Christopher Gaddy, 27

Northern Middle School

Gaddy graduated from Northern Michigan University this year, and is a first-time teacher.

He'll be teaching seventh-grade language arts at Northern Middle School.

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"I enjoy it," Gaddy said. "I enjoy watching my students succeed."

Gaddy, of Hagerstown, did his student teaching with seventh-graders, and said the students are motivated and have a good "energy level."

He said it was the reputation of Washington County Public Schools that brought him to Northern Middle. He said the mentoring and support for new teachers, along with competitive salary and benefits, also were appealing.

"I'm excited to get to know my students, and get into a routine," Gaddy said.

Jennifer Gregory, 39

Eastern Elementary School

Gregory began her teaching career in Washington County Public Schools in the 1990s, and is returning this year to teach second grade at Eastern Elementary.

Gregory, who lives in Falling Waters, W.Va., left the school system in 2002 after having twins.

She has been in education for about 14 years - all in elementary education.

She said she had always hoped to return to the local school system. Gregory said she wants to offer her students a "warm and inviting environment" to learn in.

"I want to be able to display my passion for learning with students," she said.

Stacy Flannery, 26

Boonsboro High School

Flannery, of Hagerstown, taught high school and middle school students in Pennsylvania before coming to Washington County Public Schools.

She'll be teaching ninth- and 10th-grade English at Boonsboro High School this year.

"It's a really nice school ... nationally renowned with an excellent curriculum," Flannery said.

She said she enjoys teaching high school students and helping them move on to the challenges they will face after graduation.

"I love being able to challenge students and have a positive effect on their lives," Flannery said.

Jeff Byard, 35

Northern Middle School

Byard was born in Hagerstown, and has lived there most of his life. He taught for nine years in Frederick County, Md., though before deciding to teach locally.

"I wanted to make an impact on my community," he said.

Byard will teach sixth-grade science this year at Northern Middle School.

Another reason he wanted to work close to home was his daughter, who is 22 months old.

"I wanted to be on the same schedule as her when she starts school," Byard said.

He said he was excited for the school year to begin and for the challenges of teaching middle school students. He said Frederick County and Washington County have similar school systems.

"Both are very progressive, research driven ... student achievement is at the center of everything we do," Byard said.

Genie Massey, 29

North Hagerstown High School

Massey was hired by Washington County Public Schools in January to teach a new yearlong course that combines government and U.S. studies.

The course begins in the spring and finishes in the fall semester, she said. For now, the course is only being offered at North High, Massey said.

She is a first-year teacher, and said she has always loved history.

"I wanted to convey my love of history to other people," Massey said. "I always had the desire to help other people understand things I'm passionate about."

By weaving government concepts into lessons about U.S. history, Massey said students will understand the concept and have a real-life example.

"There's a story behind the definition of the word," she said.

Megan Nicholson, 32

Emma K. Doub Elementary School

Nicholson and her family moved to Hagerstown two years ago, and she said she is glad to be teaching in her own community now that she has accepted a job with Washington County Public Schools.

She'll be teaching a second-grade magnet program class at Emma K. Doub Elementary.

Nicholson, who taught second grade in Frederick County Public Schools for nine years, said she looks forward to developing some "creative and enriching" lessons for her students.

"You want them to be lifelong learners," Nicholson said.

That love of learning will generate excitement among students about her class, she said.

"I want my kids to get up in the morning and be excited about going to school," Nicholson said.

Jamie Harris, 22

Boonsboro Elementary School

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