Kindergarten Teacher, Neidig Elementary
13th year in QCSD; 6th year in Kindergarten. Also taught 1st grade at QE, Neidig and one year in North Carolina. Grew up in Selinsgrove, PA.
Lives in the district, which she thinks is neat. “I like working in the community where I live. The people are wonderful. I enjoy seeing the kids I’ve had in school playing baseball and soccer with my own children."
Appreciates the people at Neidig - students, staff and parents. “It is a great community school and has the old school building feel, although an air conditioned building wouldn’t be bad either!”
Loves the “innocence” of kindergarteners. “It’s their first time at school. It’s their first experience in public education. They’re excited about learning and can’t wait to come every day.”
Married to Jeremy, who drives for UPS. Twins Joey and Julie are 2nd graders at Tohickon Valley. Joey plays baseball. Julie plays violin and soccer. Family likes to vacation at Disney World and the beach. They also visit family and go to Phillies and IronPigs baseball games.
Jeremy and Joey will run the QCEF/QCSD 5K June 8 while Cristin and Julie will run the 1-mile event on the Freshman Center track. “We try to instill healthy lifestyle choices,” Cristin said. “The kids really liked doing the Pride of Quakertown’s Dash ’n Dip last summer.” Cristin also is a big supporter of the Pride of Quakertown. She is often found supporting their events such as the softball tournament.
4th Grade Teacher, Tohickon Valley Elementary School
5th year teaching in the school district. Stint has included 2 years at Richland and 3 years at Tohickon Valley. Graduated from Kutztown University (2007) and is working on her Masters in Technology at Wilkes University.
A QCSD lifer! Teaches in the same classroom where she spent her 4th grade year with teacher Bobbie Bryant. When Bobbie retired last year, Adrienne moved in! “I love it!” she said. “It’s so neat that I’m here. I tell the kids and parents that Mrs. Bryant was one of the teachers who inspired me to become a teacher. When I started teaching, she was still here and I considered her my mentor.”
Loves working with 4th grade students. “I have a connection with this age group. It's so rewarding watching my students grow, learn, and improve over the school year. They've developed personal interests and have a passion and love for learning. My students teach me so much. They're awesome." Adrienne said she also appreciates the Tohickon Valley faculty. “They are so caring and hard-working. Their positive energy makes coming to work every day enjoyable. I am blessed to be part of such an amazing school. ”
Thanks to her Wilkes courses, realizes how well QCSD has moved forward with technology and 21st Century skills. “We have so many resources available to us here! It's such an advantage to learn about these tools in my tech courses and then be able to incorporate them into instruction. When I talk to teachers in other districts, they are always pretty amazed at what we already know and utilize in our classrooms."
Threw shot put and javelin for the QCHS track and field team but hated running. In college, when she discovered she was too broke to buy a gym membership, she took up running. She could barely jog a mile. Now, 8 years later, she has run two half-marathons and just ran the May 5th Broad Street 10-miler in Philadelphia in 1 hour, 23 minutes. “There were 40,000 people. It was insane. All those people and who should I bump into but [Tohickon principal] Scott Godshalk and his wife. Signed up for coach training so she can offer Girls on the Run to Tohickon Valley girls next year to share her running passion.
Plans to take courses, go to the beach, read, and relax this summer.
Learning Support Teacher, Neidig Elementary
24 years, all in QCSD; 12 years at Neidig; previously worked at Richland and both middle schools.
Likes all the people at Neidig. “It has a great community,” Beth said. “I love the intergenerational part of the staff, hearing about everybody’s babies and wedding plans. Now I’m one of the oldest people on the staff. We all know each other’s children’s names, their nieces and nephews’ names. Even their dogs’ names!”
Gets to see students all over the building. In previous years she worked with students K-5 but now, because of an increase in the number of Special Education students, she focuses on students in K-3 while Cory McHugh covers 4th and 5th graders at Neidig and Pfaff. Beth pushes into classrooms and pulls students out, as needed, working with small groups. “I like that you can see their growth over the years,” Beth said. “Students go from kindergarten, when they don’t know the names of the alphabet letters, to fifth grade when they are pretty much on grade level. I must speak highly of a big team effort by the teachers. The kids see we’re helping them and they know we know them well.”
Grateful to live in Quakertown, where her own children, Hannah and Leah, have enjoyed a good education. “Jeff and I have been pleased with how our girls have grown in the district with their teachers’ input. The teachers have helped to positively shape their lives.”
Husband Jeff Kaighn is a newly published author! He wrote a business book called The Pit Crew, based on his professional experience. He works for ACTS Retirement Life Communities, based in Lansdale, which provides life care and independent living for seniors.
Daughter Hannah Kaighn, a 2010 QCHS graduate, is a junior at Bloomsburg University, where she is majoring in elementary and special education. She will join a long line of teachers in the family, including a grandmother, aunt and a cousin, who taught in New Orleans and California for Teach for America. Daughter Leah Kaighn is a senior at the high school. She plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh to study biomedical engineering. “We like to hang out with family and friends, travel when we can,” Beth said.
Family enjoys its one-year-old Chinese Shar Pei puppies, Archie and Roscoe, who are brothers. “They bring us a lot of joy,” Beth said.
3rd grade, Richland Elementary
5th year, all at Richland; spent one year in fourth grade and the rest in third. Started at Millersville University and transferred to DeSales, thinking he wanted to work in Sports Management. Through tutoring and coaching freshman basketball at his alma mater, Bethlehem Catholic, he discovered he enjoyed teaching students, so he finished his Master’s in Education at DeSales.
Enjoys teaching 3rd graders because of the experience of watching and helping them mature so much from the beginning to end of the year. “At the beginning, they need a lot of assistance with routines,” Mike said. “By the end, they are more independent and they become stronger problem solvers. It’s a big transition year for students. For example, it’s the first year they take PSSAs.”
Appreciates the staff at Richland. “We get along professionally and personally, which makes it such a great place to work,” Mike said. “We’ll ask and share stories about our families and our weekends. And everyone is so helpful and collaborative. There’s a nice dynamic here.”
Likes the fact that QCSD is student-centered. “That was the first thing that jumped out at me,” he said. “The second is the leadership the district is willing to take, like with Standards Based Grading. We’re not afraid to take on new things.”
With wife Natalie, a school counselor at Easton Middle School, Mike enjoys playing outdoors with sons Mikey, 5, and Zach, 2. Mike coaches Mikey’s T-ball team. Mike participated in a few tough mudders with colleagues, which inspired him to run a half marathon, in October. Now, May 5, he will run his first 26.2-mile marathon, the New Jersey Marathon, through Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. This week is his taper, when he cut back on mileage to “rest” his legs. “It’s funny to think of a 13.1-mile run as a short run!” Mike said.
Reads historical non-fiction and roots for the Detroit Tigers, Michigan State and Seattle Seahawks. Excited to run the QCEF/QCSD 5K on June 8. “I think it will be fun to get everyone out there to be together. Teachers, kids, parents. It’s exciting.”
QCHS English Teacher
1st year in QCSD; teaches World Literature to 10th graders and Creative Writing to students in 10, 11 and 12. Previously taught at a charter school in Washington, D.C. (1 year); worked as a curriculum coordinator for a summer school in Virginia; finished graduate school at West Chester University (Master’s in Secondary Education); and graduated with an English degree from Temple University (2008). Grew up in Queens and Yorktown, N.Y.
Likes QCSD because “the kids are amazing. They are willing to give their best when they are pushed a little.” She gets along well with English department members, who she finds friendly, accommodating and helpful. Her mentor, Melinda Lepko, has been a great help as well.
Enjoys teaching Creative Writing because the course allows for plenty of creativity and student choice. “The kids produce impressive writing. Everyone should take the creative writing elective.”
Loved coaching the high school swim team this year because “the kids were hysterical. They were a fun loving group and made me feel young. I will miss the seniors.”
Enjoys reading, especially Albert Camus existentialism and authors like Kurt Vonnegut. Between books, she heads outdoors for extreme sports, like rock climbing and horseback riding. Recently took a trip to Alaska and returned by way of British Columbia and Alberta, hiking in remote spots. Commutes to school from Chestnut Hill.
Emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning. “Professional development and collaboration really help teachers be effective,” she said.
Colleen Deiley18th year in QCSD, at 5 different schools: Neidig, the old Pfaff, Trumbauersville, Haycock, QE and back to Trumbauersville. Taught in several grades but loves first the best. “The amount of learning and growth that takes place in first grade is tremendous,” Colleen said. “I’m not looking to move again. Change has made me a better teacher but I’m perfecting this now!” Likes the fact that people in the district are consistently positive in every building where she has worked. “From the parents, to the entire staff, principals, students. You can’t say that about every district,” she said. Swam in college, at West Chester University, and also played softball in her youth. Now plays with her family, including husband Scott and twins Grayson and Kane, 6th graders in Palisades. The boys play baseball and instruments. They live close to the Delaware River, so they spend a lot of time “in the river!” Colleen said, “We kayak, tube, anything outdoors. We like to hike at Ralph Stover Park.” Scott is an assistant foreman of Montgomery Township roads and parks. Doesn’t like to compete anymore, but does like to stay in shape. She’s planning to participate in a mud run this summer in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Colleen also loves to read. “I’m a sap for romance novels. I’m catching up after reading to my boys for so many years and still reading to my students.”
1st Grade Teacher, Trumbauersville
Certified School Nurse, QCHS and Freshman Center
Started March 15, based at the 10-12 building. Previously served as a CSN at Southern Lehigh Intermediate School (4 years) and as an RN at the QCSD Freshman Center. She went back to school to earn her BSN and school nurse certificate.
Loves working with high school students. “They make the day interesting and rewarding,” she said. “They are much different than elementary school students and every day is busy here.”
Finds everyone she meets in QCSD friendly and supportive. She’s learning the ropes in the health room.
Daughter Amanda is a senior at QCHS, heading to Indiana University of Pennsylvania next year for dietetics. She is in the choir and will be in the upcoming musical. Son Dominic is a freshman. He plays football and wrestles. Son Brandon is a fifth grader at Trumbauersville. He likes to play football and swim. Husband Len is also a nurse. He works at Coordinated Health in Allentown.
Family enjoys hanging out and fishing on their pontoon boat on Lake Nockamixon. “It’s our way of holding our children captive,” Susan said, chuckling. “It’s just a good way for us to be together in one place at the same time.” They also vacation at Stone Harbor, N.J.
Susan runs for fitness. She likes to read non-fiction about how the mind and brain work.
Speech Language Pathologist
2nd year in QCSD. Travels to Richland, Strayer, Freshman Center and Tohickon Valley. Previously traveled four years as an SLP for Bucks County IU 22, working with early childhood intervention. Graduated from Kutztown University with B.S. Worked in school age program while attending East Stroudsburg University to attain M.S. in Speech/Language Pathology.
Makes speech therapy fun for children using games and strategies that incorporate curricular vocabulary. Helps some children to make correct sounds (Speech) and helps others to use semantically and syntactically correct sentences (language), or in other words, express their thoughts coherently. Also helps children understand the meaning of language. “Teachers refer students and I pop in classrooms as often as I can,” Alison said. “Sometimes I can find students who need extra support. Early intervention is key.”
A large amount of her work time is spent evaluating students to determine if they qualify for services. “I like helping different students every day,” Alison said. “I hear some very funny stories. Kids will tell you a lot.”
Appreciates working with Special Education Director Lenny Greaney because he has a speech background and offers Alison “good feedback.” She knows she’s been successful with students when she can hear them using the skills they have been working on in therapy on their own!
“Kids are receptive to help,” she said. “They feel more confident and accomplished when they experience success. Good articulation and language skills can help them with their reading, too.”
Enjoys spending the summer and some school year weekends in Ocean City, N.J. with husband Andy Scappaticci, a guidance counselor at QCHS, and her son Tyler, a 6th grader at Orefield Middle School in Parkland School District. Tyler spends a lot of the summer at the beach, too, where he loves to surf. Alison and Andy enjoy outdoor activities, such as riding bikes and running. Alison admits she is the “quintessential trashy beach (chick lit) novel reader!”
Vocal Music Teacher, QCHS
25 years at QCHS. Previously taught 4 years in public schools in New York, and a couple years at a college in New York. Grew up in Rochester, New York area,where his parents taught English and physics at Roberts Wesleyan College. Also directed a church music program while earning his master’s degree at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.
Originally thought he wanted to pursue a performance career in music. Played piano,trumpet, euphonium and trombone. Took up singing in high school, starting witha musical. Went on to a dual voice-trombone major in college, and student taught a high school band program.
Likes teaching high school kids how to sing. “One of the neat things about working with students from 9th to 12th grades is that the human voice matures so much during that time. Some of the boys go from sopranos to basses, and young girls' voices mature to young women's voices. The age range is rich in vocal development.”
Inherited the practice of producing QCHS musicals every other year and taking students on tour in between. Selects musicals from a list submitted by students. He researches the musicals and determines whether or not he can staff them with his current singers. Students are currently working to present Thoroughly Modern Millie May 16, 17 and 18. “The show has to attract me,” Jonathan said. “If I’m going to spend 4 months with it, I have to be able to get excited about it. This one will get great laughs. It has great characters. And it’s family friendly."
Home and away, all the choral projects require a lot of fund raising. Thanks to support from a strong parent group, singers have traveled to Bermuda, Niagara Falls (Toronto), New York City, Washington, D.C. Myrtle Beach and Los Angeles. A choir council of 10 student leaders work with parents to assist them with the fund raising, and to help organize the choir’s many events.
The QCHS vocal music program produces an average of 3 to 4 college music majors a year. Nearly 100 of his students have majored in music in his 30 years of teaching. QCHS graduate Rebecca Giampa is now the first-year choral director at the Freshman Center. Her husband Joe works in the Curriculum office. Jonathan said they are the second choir couple to marry during his tenure, to his knowledge. (Rebecca just gave birth to Jacob Richard Giampa. Her maternity leave replacement is another QCHS grad, Andrew McCartney.)
Takes singers to PMEA district, regional and state honors choirs every year. Varsity Singers perform for community service in rest homes and schools, and at many other community events. Looks forward to new digs when the high school renovation rolls out.
In spare time, enjoys driving a 1992 TransAm convertible and restoring and riding old motorcycles, including a Honda 1000 and 2 Suzukis, a 750 and 550 from the 1970s and 1980s. Takes care of his 92-year-old father, The Real Mr. Lechner (THERM’L) or “THERM,” as students call him. “I’m more of the parent now. Occasionally it has been a tough transition for us,” Jonathan said, “But we’re pretty good roommates most of the time.”
ESLTeacher, QCHS and Freshman Center
3rd year in QCSD. Teaches ESL (English as a Second Language) all day long. In first 2 years also taught PSSA Reading Remediation and Creative Writing. “Our ESL needs are increasing,” Lori said. “New ESL students are coming with less English and they need more support.” Taught 5 years of ESL in North Philadelphia charter school Nueva Esperanza, where 98.5% of the students were Latino. Went back to school, to Goucher College, to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, and worked part time as a nature teacher with little children. Originally learned to speak Spanish in high school, then majored in English with a concentration in writing at La Salle University.
Loves her students. “They’re awesome,” Lori said. She teaches them in an English class and supports them in all of their other content courses. Constantly communicates with their other teachers so she can find bilingual or language appropriate resources. “I find resources in Spanish and we translate to English. So they learn English and the content at the same time. It’s so rewarding to see what great progress they make. They’re doing a great job. Many of them spoke no English when they came here and now most of them are thriving.”
Appreciates the “incredible technology resources” in QCSD. Recently took a course in immigration law and currently takes an English to Spanish translation class. “The classes help me help my students,” she said.
Loves to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The self-proclaimed tree hugger likes to write nonfiction essays about nature. “Nature writing has turned into environmental writing,” she said. “It used to be pastoral but now we write about the [science] of nature. I write mostly narrative nonfiction.” Has published in magazines and newspapers and in an anthology. Has her own website: lorilitchman.com.
Enjoys flat water kayaking and hiking with husband Dave Tavani, a photographer and videographer. They back-country hiked in Alaska last summer. “We took a bus into Denali National Park. The driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and we camped there. It was beautiful.”
QCHS Spanish Teacher
7th year at QCHS; started teaching in 1987 at Broughal Middle School in Bethlehem. At Broughal, taught math, English, history, philosophy and science in Spanish, in a bilingual program. Moved on to Northampton High School, where she taught all levels of Spanish. Took 4 years off when her children were born. Resumed teaching at Allentown Central Catholic HS. Occasionally teaches online graduate courses in Multiple Intelligences through Performance Learning Systems.
Received an undergraduate degree from Moravian College. Earned a Master’s Degree at Marywood University in Bilingual Bicultural Studies and another in Supervision and Evaluation from Wilkes University.
Loves teaching high school because “I love the kids. There is something good in every one of them. I like to find out what that is.” Develops a great rapport with students through her honesty and dry sense of humor.
“If my kids were little, I would move them to this community,” Brenda said. “I love it here. I love the kids, I love the parents. I still receive emails from parents of former students. It’s just a great town.”
Married 27 years to husband Jon, who runs manufacturing plants.
Very proud of her children and speaks of them often. Daughter Emily, 21, just won Miss West Chester University, where she is a junior. She is very active in her college. She would like to become a high school guidance counselor someday.
Son Tony, 17, is a junior at Emmaus High School, which he will represent as a Bass II in the upcoming All Eastern Regional concerts of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). Wants to study music at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Brenda likes to hike, play tennis, and walk her 100-pound weimaraner, Greyson, every day, rain or shine. She reads fiction in the summer.
ESL Teacher, Richland and Quakertown Elementary
7th year teaching, all in English as a Second Language; taught 3 years in Queens, N.Y. in a self-contained second grade classroom; a year of ESL pullout in New Jersey; 3rd year at Richland. Travels to QE every day for 90 minutes to help Jeff Palen with his high number of students. Most of her learners at Richland and QE speak Spanish, but she also teaches students who speak Vietnamese and one student whose native language is Romanian.
“I adore the students and their families,” Liz said. “They have unique backgrounds. The families really want the best for their children and they see education as a way for them to seek great opportunities in the world.”
Works with students on conversational skills as well as language skills, content area skills, and her favorite, writing skills. “Students in the elementary grades are usually very motivated to learn English. Our focus is on literacy development. I love our district ESL team, Lori Litchman, Kim Kreider, Lisa Hrubec, Marianne Johnson, Kerry Foley and our fearless leader, Jeff Palen. Rachel Holler is our Curriculum Director. They are all strong advocates for the families and students. The whole ESL department works to connect the families so they can support each other. We just had a successful event at the YMCA [Monday night]. We had 40 to 50 kids playing soccer, basketball and dodgeball while the parents watched and mingled. We work to help the students and families in academic, sociocultural and economic ways.”
Appreciates that QCSD works with 21st Century technology. “We have a lot of resources. Taking classes with teachers from other districts, I can see just how much we have available to us.”
Recently completed courses and earned a Writing Specialist Certificate at Penn State Lehigh Valley. The program emphasizes the teaching of writing and literacy. “I have always loved writing, which is kind of my specialty,” Liz said. “The Writing Specialist program motivated me to start writing again for myself. In the courses we lived the process of Writing Workshop. Someday I’d like to write and publish stories for children or young adults. And the program helped me learn how to better work with my ESL students because writing is a challenge for them.”
Will give birth to her first child, surprise gender, in late May. Husband Rob is a middle school English teacher in Edison, N.J. They like to play tennis and volleyball. Each of them plays in a few volleyball leagues. They also like to travel, attend concerts, and go to the beach. Since November, they have been fixing up the house they bought in Bethlehem. Originally from Massachusetts, she is a Lehigh Valley transplant.
First Grade Teacher, Trumbauersville
20th year in district, 3rd year in classroom. Started as a Learning Support Teacher (7 years), then spent 10 years as the Trumbauersville guidance counselor. “I always wanted to teach in the regular education classroom. Most people start in the regular education setting and then move to other positions. Being a learning support teacher and a guidance counselor first helped me to become a better classroom teacher. When I was in guidance, I enjoyed the many different roles of a guidance counselor. Each day was so different from the next. I worked with individuals, small groups and entire classes.”
Loves working with first graders. “They are like sponges. When they are focused, they absorb everything you teach them. They're so enthusiastic and eager to learn,” Stacey said.
Appreciates that Trumbauersville is her “home. We all work well together. We have a good system with working in teams. Our children and families all work together. I also live in the Quakertown community. Most of my neighborhood attends Trumbauersville.”
Purposely moved to QCSD after working in the district first. “We’ve always been a little ahead of other districts,” Stacey said. “I talk to teacher friends in other districts and I know how we compare. We’re not afraid to try things here and others learn from us. I like the vision of our administrators. They like to change for the good of the students' educations.”
Husband Michael, an architect, works from home. Son Brandon, a baseball player, is an 8th grader at Strayer and daughter Jenna, a dancer, is a 5th grader at Trumbauersville. Both will go to new schools next year, at the Freshman Center and Strayer. Their grandparents are very involved with their lives and attend all of their events. The family likes to walk the dog, Sarah, a Schnoodle, ride bikes and vacation in Myrtle Beach and Disney World. They also go to destinations for Brandon and Jenna’s events, including Cooperstown, N.Y. (Baseball Hall of Fame) and Wildwood.
Loves to read and see movies of all genres. “I have an eclectic style,” Stacey said. “I can’t pick just one thing. I like to read it all.”
QCSD Parent and Substitute Teacher
5 years substitute teaching in QCSD. Recently in Strayer Middle School for librarian for several weeks. Subs from K-12, in every kind of class, including Art, Special Education and AP Calculus, where she said she is happy to find the answers at the back of the book!
Earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree at James Madison University. Worked as a restaurant manager and as a credit analyst in commercial lending for many years before getting married and staying home with her children. Enjoys substituting because she works on her daughters’ school schedule, with summers off.
Volunteered with Neidig’s parent group, PAL – People Aiding Learning, and served several years as president. This is her first year not working with PAL. Helped organized the Race for Education, which became the school’s biggest and only fund raiser. “Anybody can help any amount of time with PTO groups,” Stacie said. “It’s not limited to parents. It’s a great way for grandparents and neighbors to get involved with education. People can make phone calls, donations. Even if they can’t help organize an activity, they can volunteer to help the night of an event because they will be there with their kids anyway. They can be involved right through 12th grade.” Now that her girls are in middle and high school, she is involved with Strayer Strong Builders, the HS Field Hockey Booster Club, and the HS Softball Booster Club. "There are always opportunities to volunteer and help at every level of your child's education. The opportunities just look a little different than at the elementary level," commented Stacie.
Also volunteered in Quakertown with Girl Scouts, RASA (Richland Area Softball Association) and QMFA (Quakertown Midget Football Association) because one daughter was a cheerleader. “The kids all know me, from all the different organizations and schools,” Stacie said. “They are very respectful when I’m in their classrooms.”
Why so much volunteer time? “I think we need to set an example,” she reasoned. “We need to show our kids that we care about each other. It’s paid off for my kids. Maddie is the class president of her sophomore class at the high school. [She is also the varsity field hockey goalie and varsity softball catcher.] Alexa [a 6th grader at Strayer] is involved in the Art Club, Mural Club and Reading Olympics. They both do a lot of different things. I’ve subbed in Madison’s classes and she’s fine with it. I think Alexa would be mortified if I showed up in her class.”
Husband John teaches alternative education at Buxmont Academy in Bethlehem, a school created by the co-founders of Tough Love. The family plays board games and travels to places where they can learn about history. The girls liked the presidents’ homes in Virginia, where they also enjoyed Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.
Loves to read and loves to get recommendations from middle school students. Stacie likes the books that come in series so she can plan what she’s reading next.
Instructional Support Teacher, Tohickon Valley Elementary School
9th year in QCSD; spent 3 years at Richland, sandwiched between stints at Tohickon Valley. Taught one year in Allentown School District. Graduated in 2000 from Penn State University, with a degree in Business and Health Policy Administration. Worked in the health care industry for one year before heading to Shippensburg University to earn a Master’s degree in education while husband Patrick went to Dickinson Law School. Originally from Mont Alto, near Shippensburg, and Patrick is from Northampton. Currently they live in Macungie.
Works with students who struggle with math and supports classroom teachers with struggling students. Loves working with kids across grade levels and seeing students make progress in small groups, thanks to the extra attention. “Some of them really take off” with the concepts, Misty said.
Taking her last course at Lehigh University, where she will finish her Principal’s Certificate and Certification in Curriculum and Instruction. Because she is in classes with teachers and administrators from other school districts, she can see just how forward thinking QCSD is with curriculum and technology. “We are so far ahead of the game with the new teacher evaluation, Standards Based Grading, Common Core and a constructivist approach.”
Learned about the Positive Behavior System in a Lehigh course. Brought it back to Tohickon Valley, where she led the teacher training and marketing to students. Teachers introduced the program with skits in an assembly early this week and will be giving tickets to students who display positive behavior.
Richland and Pfaff also use the system. “I believe it will make a big difference here with the minor issues, disrespect and noncompliance with basic rules,” Misty said. “It’s been a lot of work. It’s become my baby and I’m nervous about it.”
Met her husband Patrick at Penn State, where he was her varsity cheerleading partner. “Cheerleading was competitive for the women to make the team but we recruited the guys from the weight room, the ones who could bench press the most!” Misty said. “He always tells people he only did it because the girls came after him!”
Misty and Patrick spend a lot of time outside with their boys, Logan, 5, and Cayden, 3. The boys like to ride their 4 wheelers and play anything with a ball. “They are all about dirt, bugs and balls,” Misty said. The family spends time in the summer at Cape May. Misty loves to read mysteries and crime novels when she’s not reading about the Common Core.
7th Grade Math Teacher, Strayer Middle School
7th year teaching; 11th year coaching. Started coaching middle school baseball while still a student at DeSales University, where he earned a B.S. in education. Has also coached basketball and co-ed soccer. First worked as a Title 1 aide for two years before securing a contract.
Appreciates the quality and progressive ideas of QCSD. Likes the economically diverse population of the students. “They are all nice kids. They really are a lot like the kids I grew up with in Upper Perkiomen.”
Likes teaching seventh graders because “they are a blend of elementary and high school kids. They’re making the transition. They like to interact with teachers. Sometimes middle school kids get a bad rap. But they’re fun. They come in happy and positive and teachers can build on that. I like coaching because I get to know the kids better during the extended time.”
Wife Jillian delivered their first child, Norah, Dec. 3. They are enjoying parenthood and look forward to taking Norah outdoors all summer long. Matt and Jillian spend a week hiking and a week at the beach every summer. This summer they plan to hike with Norah in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. They also like to boat in central PA. Matt said he is an avid sports fan, especially of the Eagles and Penn State.
Administrative Assistant, Freshman Center Library
13th year working in QCSD. Spent one year working in the cafeteria at Milford before moving to the library at Milford. Followed then librarian Bekci Kelly to the Freshman Center. Substitutes for District Services Center receptionist Pam Fothergill as needed.
Loves her job because she loves books. “I read a lot of young adult books, which allows me to say to kids, ‘If you like this, try…’ I buy hard cover books, read them, then donate them to the library. The student-suitable books!”
Likes working at the Freshman Center because “all the teachers here really care aboutt he kids. They get involved with what the kids are doing.”
Reads 4 to 5 long books a month, including on her Kindle. “When I first got the Kindle, I was licking my finger and trying to turn the page,” Judy said, laughing at herself. “I always ask for Amazon gift cards when people want to give me presents.”
Favorite author is James Patterson. She likes murder mysteries and all Patterson’s series, such as Women’s Murder Club. Another series she enjoys but would not share with students are the Stephanie Plum novels, by Janet Evanovich. “They are hysterically funny,” she said.
Library job is part time, so she spends the rest of her days taking care of her house, reading and painting ceramics – lots of them! Her husband, Wayne, thinks she paints too many of them, so she brings them to decorate the Freshman Center library.
Raised 3 QCSD graduates: John, 26, a mechanic who recently got engaged; Amanda, 25, a paralegal; and KateLyn, 21, an office manager for a grocery store chain.
Spends time with Wayne and Gracie, their 5-year-old, 10-pound Schnorkie (Schnauzer-Yorkiemix). “She rules the house,” Judy admitted.
In a word, colleagues say Judy is “cheerful.”
School Guidance Counselor, Tohickon Valley and Pfaff Elementary
2nd year in QCSD; worked 7 years in elementary school guidance at West Chester Area School District.
Loves meeting with students and getting to know them. Enjoys spending time teaching lessons in classrooms, conducting groups and spending time 1-on-1 with students who have issues to discuss. Enjoys working as a team with parents to help kids achieve in school. Helping to lead the way as Tohickon Valley prepares to launch its STARS Positive Behavior Intervention & Support Program.
Works with teams of teachers, parents and administrators to help students. Knows the team has been successful when “we’ve been able to free a student up from the concerns and worries that are keeping him or her from doing what she’s here to do, learn.” Spends much time completing referrals for testing, observing students and completing the office requirements. Her goal is to be pro-active through classroom guidance and groups to help prevent problems before they get to the point when she needs to be reactive.
Loves QCSD’s “forward-thinking philosophy and cutting edge programs, especially with technology.”
Spends time with her four children and husband, Nick, a self-employed landscaping business owner on the Main Line. Her children attend school in Radnor School District, play sports and musical instruments. Daughter Josie, 10, is a 5th grader; Nicholas, 9, is in third grade; Nate, 7, is a first grader; and Francesca, 4, will begin kindergarten next year. Spending time with her kids is how Melyce “refreshes.” Melyce coaches her daughter’s lacrosse team, thanks to her experience as a First-Team All-American Lacrosse player at Roanoke College in Virginia. Her husband coaches the kids’ soccer teams.
Family spends time at Bethany Beach, Delaware, in the summer and snowboards in the Poconos in the winter. Melyce runs for fitness.
2nd Grade Teacher, Pfaff Elementary School
8th year teaching, all at Pfaff and all in 2nd grade. Graduated from Upper Perkiomen High School, Millersville University (B.S.) and Wilkes University (Master’s).
Loves her second graders. “Each day they make me smile!” she said. “They feed off my bubbly energy. That fuels my passion for teaching. It’s exciting when you see their spark and excitement. There is nothing I would rather do than be with my students. That’s how I know that teaching was my calling in life.”
Appreciates the amount of parent support at Pfaff. “They support everything we do here. They come to events. They come to the classroom. They are interested in their children’s education. They want to be a part of it. That makes the relationships strong. I love the people I work with.”
Proud to note that a Gryshuk has been teaching in QCSD since 1972. Parents Debbie and Alan taught in QCSD; Debbie taught 3rd grade at Tohickon Valley, while Alan taught math at Milford. “The district has such high expectations of teachers and students. At times it can be overwhelming but the end results always reap the benefits,” Katie said. “Friends who teach in neighboring districts have no idea about all the programs we follow here. We really do have the best. Our district sets the bar high, and we get the job done."
Joined the QCSD Energy Team because she thought it was going to be about recycling. She is a “crazy” recycler, which she said she gets from her mom. She takes items out of friends’ homes when she is visiting just to make sure they get to the recycling station. “Just to help the planet,” she said. “Polar bears are my favorite, and I worry about them.”
Received a diamond engagement ring from 4-year boyfriend Jay Robbins on Christmas Eve. “The clock was ticking!” she said, only half joking. The couple enjoys spending time with friends and family and doing service work with church. Katie has helped build houses in the south for a week every summer for the past 11 years.
If there is one word to describe the effervescent Katie, she said it is “passionate.”
IST Teacher, Trumbauersville Elementary
14th year in QCSD; first five years in Learning Support; Instructional Support Team teacher since. Worked in Central Bucks School District for half a semester after 8 years at The Timothy School for severely autistic children.
Likes IST because she gets to work with the whole school, including all the teachers and all of the children. “I know every name in the school!” Carolyn said. She pulls out small groups of children for math remediation, mostly, but also works with reading and writing. “The children I work with don’t qualify for an Individual Education Plan [IEP] but they need extra help. Sometimes my interventions work as the first part of the route to see if they need testing for Special Education. All of our interventions are child centered.”
Loves the fact that every teacher and support staff member at Trumbauersville is always trying to do the best for struggling learners. “I learn lots of ideas from teachers that I can use. I do a lot of begging, borrowing and stealing!”
Very happy with QCSD’s vision and efforts. Appreciates administrative efforts, including those of Curriculum Director Rachel Holler and Principal Jim Moczydlowski. “Dr. Holler’s been very supportive with math and the Common Core that we will implement next year. She’s found us books and conferences and helped with our PLC [Professional Learning Community]. The support has helped us be more consistent among elementary IST strategies across all the buildings.”
Married to Gene, a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was drafted out of Villanova University, where they met. He played for 12 years, including in the minors for the Braves, and made it to the Big Show in 1995 and ’96 for the Phillies. Carolyn and their 3 daughters travel with him in the summer. During the school year, the family runs to sporting events with Nicole, 14, a freshman at Lansdale Catholic; Emily, 11, a 6th grader at Corpus Christi Catholic School; and Allison, 3. The two older girls play soccer, basketball and softball and Emily also competes up and down the East Coast in synchronized ice skating. The family also enjoys trips to Ocean City, N.J. and Cape Cod (timed for the summer Baseball League, where Gene scouts college players).
Earth and Space Science Teacher, Freshman Center
5th year teaching in QCSD, 18th overall, including K-12 attendance as a student! Spent four years earning a teaching degree at East Stroudsburg University, then hired to replace the science teacher who inspired her.
“I did an Ed Internship with Mr. Talboo and I had him for class, too,” Mellinda explained. “I spent three classes with him, once as a student and twice for Ed Internship. He gave me responsibilities so I could see all sides of teaching and how much time he put into the job. There was so much more than the time spent in front of the class. I gained a lot of respect for him and for teachers.”
Likes teaching 9thgraders because she can see them grow and change from the beginning to end ofthe year. Most of them, she said, still want to please the teacher and establish good relationships with teachers.
Felt prepared to teach when she returned to QCSD, but has learned in the last five years to “better understand what students need. It’s not about what I’m comfortable teaching,it’s about finding ways to help students achieve the learning targets. I love that we have incorporated PRIDE [advisory period] every day for a half hour here this year. Kids can go to any teacher for remediation, get homework done or simply relax and recharge. In high school, I played sports and Dance Team and I stayed up very late doing homework. I would have loved this opportunity.”
Coaches soccer (Assistant Girls’ Varsity) and the Dance Team, which performs at halftime of girls’ and boys’ basketball games. Likes to cook and go dancing everywhere she finds DJ dance music on the weekends. Also spends time every day with family members. “When I went to college, I thought I wanted to go to Hawaii. But then I got to East Stroudsburg and I realized 45 minutes away was far enough!”
One of 12 children, ranging in age from 38 to 14. Mellinda can rattle off the names in about 5 seconds. So far 1 sister and 1 brother have been students in Mellinda’s class at the Freshman Center and one more is about to become her student. “The first day was weird,” Mellinda said. “I was still living at home at the time, so my sister knew she always had to have her homework done! I gained a newfound respect for my parents!”
Brother Richard, 38, lives in New York with his family, including three children; Christie’s in Pennsburg with her family (two children); Ryan’s in Hellertown with his family (two children); Josh is in Quakertown (one son); Mellinda; and Jill normally lives on an Air Force base in North Carolina with her husband and 2 boys but is home with Mom now while her husband is deployed.
Also at home with mother Cynthia are Matt, 23, Kayla (Cedar Crest College nutrition major), Brianna (2010 QCHS graduate), Jenna (QCHS junior), Michael (sophomore) and Samantha (freshman). Father Steven passed away of cancer several months ago after smoking for many years. His circumstances compelled Mellinda to become the advisor of the Anti-Smoking Club. She took a break this year but figures she will get back to it. “I probably would’ve cried at every demonstration this year,” she said. “I’ll be able to come back to it with a good perspective.”
Technology Associate, Curriculum Office
Started Oct. 29. Previously worked at Off the Wall in Telford, where he designed and built prototypes for signs for companies like BJs and Giant. In the Curriculum Office, he manages data in software systems for My Learning Plan, Compass, SpringBoard, Journeys, ThinkCentral, and many other online resources as well as managing benchmark tests online.
“I answer the IT requests for those systems, keep up the user accounts, and register students to QCSD among other things," Joe explained.
Graduated from QCHS in 2005. Went to the University of Hartford (the Hartt School of Music) on a full scholarship to major in Music Production and Technology after a satisfying learning experience with QCHS choral director Jonathan Lechner. “Teaching wasn't ever really for me, unfortunately. My strengths are really with computers and technology, so this is a good fit for me here in the district office,” Joe said. He moved back to his hometown and went to Bucks County Community College to work toward a degree in electrical engineering while entering the work force early.
Happy to work in the district, where wife Rebecca (a 2008 QCHS graduate) is settling into her first year as the Choral Director at the Freshman Center. “The number one reason I wanted to work here was the people,” Joe said. “You can’t find people like this anywhere else. It was a great place to grow up and go to school. People are really willing to go out of their way to help others."
Enjoys watching movies and going to church, Calvary Chapel Quakertown, with Rebecca. They also go out to eat often. She is expecting their first child, in early March. “Our kids will go through QCSD, and it's important to us that we're involved," Joe said. “We’re ready for the family thing and thrilled to be a part of the school district."
Business Administrative Assistant
Started Nov. 5. Assists Business Manager Bob Riegel. Previously worked as a secretary in the business office at East Stroudsburg Area School District (5 years); prior to ESASD, Kathy worked in the medical field, including time spent as an Accounts Receivable team leader at Pocono Medical Center.
Moved to QCSD for better career opportunities. Kathy is continuing her education through Liberty University.
“Everyone here has been welcoming,” Kathy said. “I like Dr. Andrejko’s vision for not only the students but employees as well. That’s what attracted me most to this job, the willingness of administrators to encourage professional advancement.”
First goal, she said, is to “fully understand how the business office functions at Quakertown and how it fits into the strategic plan and Dr. Andrejko’s vision. I want to provide as much help as I can to my co-workers in this office and at all the school buildings. People can contact me with budget questions.”
Travels to work from Stroudsburg, where she lives with husband Gabriel and daughter Raquel, an 11th grader at Stroudsburg High School. They enjoy day trips to Lancaster because Kathy is an “Amish fan! I love the simplicity of the Amish life. I read books about it. I love Lancaster.”
6th Grade Teacher, Strayer Middle School
14th year teaching, 13th in QCSD; started in Central Bucks School District. Taught Neidig 5th grade from 1999-2003 before moving to Milford for one year and to Strayer when it opened in 2004. Currently teaches RELA and Courses 1 and 2 in Math.
Thankful for the friendships and supports that she has built at Strayer and throughout the district. While schedules prevent them from communicating face to face daily, she cherishes the time that she is able to meet with colleagues.
Loves the energy and enthusiasm of middle school students. “They love their freedom, as compared to elementary school, but they are still eager to please and willing to work hard,” she said. “Once we, the 6B Team, build relationships and make connections, it’s easy to motivate students to do their best.”
Happy that QCSD is at the forefront of integrating technology with instruction. “Along with a full cart of 30 laptops, our rooms were stocked with SMART boards, and document cameras this year,” she said. “It has been a welcomed change that opened the door to new styles of teaching and learning for all of us.”
Enjoys spending free time and weekends with her husband and kids with a healthy balance of relaxation and fun. Husband Mitchell runs a tree nursery business in Doylestown, where they reside. Daughter Payton, 10, a 4th grader, and son Nolan, 7, a 1st grader, attend a small school in Central Bucks. They are both involved in numerous sports, so Stephanie finds herself alongside soccer fields, in the gym and courtside after school each day and on weekends. And when schedules allow, they look forward to getting together with their numerous cousins who all live nearby. The adult women are all first generation Americans because their parents escaped Hungary in 1956.
Stephanie has traveled throughout Europe and looks forward to the day when her children are old enough to appreciate the trip and spend some time with her family oversees. “I didn’t go to Disney World until 3 years ago,” she said. “But for all the traditional vacation places that I didn’t get to see while growing up, I am able to talk about the beautiful landscapes, history and culture of Europe I was fortunate enough to experience. I want to be able to do the same for my kids.”
Math Teacher, Freshman Center
10th year in teaching, all in QCSD; started with 2 years at the high school after graduating from DeSales University and Allentown Central Catholic High School; teaches Algebra 1 and 2 Honors, advises the high school TSA (Technology Student Association), and advises the Freshman Center Class Council. Earned his Master of Education degree in Classroom Technology from Wilkes University.
Shares his sense of humor with colleagues and students, which makes him a popular personality. Expressions he verbalizes regularly keep students on their toes, such as, “Drop it like it’s hot!” and, “You can’t have a radical in your basement, it’ll explode.” He tries to keep up with music and other cultural phenomenon so he knows what kids like and “it keeps me young.”
College friends dubbed him “Stunna” after the #1 Stunna rap song. He put it on his license plate. Plays in a Saturday night bowling league with his wife, Crystal. They collect sports memorabilia, which they plan to put in the finished basement of the house they are building near Parkland High School. Every year he bids (and wins) on Flyers and Eagles items at the QCEF Golf Tournament. “I research the items on ebay and I know I’m getting a better deal at the golf outing,” he said. “I would go to the golf event but it’s always the same day as our Freshman Center class trip.”
Likes working at the Freshman Center because of its small community feel. Works well, he said, with his math department colleagues, including Katie Burke, Chris Hunter and Tony Curto.
Enjoys watching horror movies, like the old Friday the 13th and other slasher flicks. “I grew up on the East Side of Allentown and that’s what we did growing up, watched those kinds of movies.” Also enjoys sports and playing all sorts of games, such as Xbox, PS3, Scene It, Cranium, and Wii. Holds season tickets to the IronPigs baseball games and takes his father to a lot of games. And, Allen has reigned victorious two years in a row at a Quakertown business wing eating contest, eating 72 wings in 15 minutes.
Spanish Teacher, Freshman Center
13th year in QCSD; 4th year at FC after 9 years at QCHS. Taught one year of elementary Spanish in Norristown after graduating from Bloomsburg University. Grew up in Langhorne and lives in North Wales.
Loves teaching Spanish to 9th graders. “Because it’s something really new to learn, a new language, they get as excited as little kids,” Wendy said. “It’s a very hands-on first year course, with interactive communication, skits, presentations, songs. It’s not lecture style. Some kids really get into the language. There may be family connections, or someone they know in the community that peaks their interest.”
Enjoys the students and staff at the Freshman Center. “It was a smart idea to put the ninth graders by themselves,” Wendy said. “The students have a good sense of working together. They’re not cliquey. They really show a lot of tolerance for each other.” The staff, she said, works well together and everyone knows everyone else. “We’ve got a family atmosphere,” she said.
Foreign Language Department staff is “fantastic. Who you work with is so important. Our department members are great. They are Ed Migliore, Brenda Sharpe, Alaina Wert [on sabbatical], Ken Mathieu, Jodi Alderfer, Anne Marie Clemens, Elisa Bartolomeo-Damon. We mesh.”
Camping is a regular activity with the North Penn School District family, including husband Chuck, a network engineer in the IT department at Doylestown Hospital; and daughters Kylie, 7, and Alexa, 4. “We spend a lot of time with our families,” Wendy said.
1st Grade Teacher, Pfaff Elementary School
26th year teaching, all in QCSD; started at Tohickon Valley (1 year) and spent 19 years at Richland; taught 10 years of 2nd grade and the rest first grade.
“The magic of watching kids learn to read and write keeps me in first grade,” Kristen said. “That look on their faces of ‘aha’ when they figure out words. They want to learn. They’re like sponges and they soak it up.” The tickets to teaching children to read, she said, are encouragement and patience. “Small steps help. We do a lot of reading to them and they are so excited when they chime in and realize they are reading the words, too. They love it, especially when they realize they can read all by themselves!”
Loves the fact that QCSD is forward thinking. “We are constantly looking for ways to add rigor to the curriculum, but the children always come first. The support from our principal, Deb Lock, is fabulous and she is always about children first.”
Son Michael, 22, will finish at Lehigh Carbon Community College in May; identical twins Patrick and Andrew, 20, are juniors at Lyndon State College (Vermont) and Delaware Valley College.
Enjoys playing hand bells in her church choir. Enjoys gardening, scrap booking, and making cards. Teaches aqua aerobics. Loves walking her dog, Phoebe, a rescue from The Last Chance Ranch, with husband Bill, a software programmer who trains teachers and school nurses to use his company’s products. They like to travel to the beach and bed-and-breakfasts and finding new parks to explore with Phoebe.
English Teacher, QCHS
2nd year in QCSD; taught 2 years of high school English in Chester School District; graduated with B.S. in English and Comparative Literature and M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction from Penn State University; currently finishing requirements for National Writing Project Fellowship by studying the use of writers’ notebooks for creative writing to teach grammar and revision.
“The kids usually say they hate writing, but now that we are taking time for creative writing in the notebooks, they’re really excited about it,” Rachel said. “For my NWP action research, we are using mentor sentences and writing with choice topics instead of exercises. It’s working. And it fits into the SpringBoard curriculum.”
Likes that she gets to know students more as they write creatively. Also likes how motivated the high school English department teachers are. “They like to learn new things and they’re not putting down the new district initiatives. They’re willing to do what they’re asked and do it well, with technology and other materials.”
Appreciates the challenge of the QCSD initiatives. “Administrators push us to be our best while being supportive of our aspirations. It’s nice to have the opportunities we are given to learn best practices.”
Enjoys taking photographs, especially of things that are not supposed to be beautiful. Recently found broken glass in the street in North Philadelphia. When she photographed it, it shimmered in the sun. “The glass seemed to be a juxtaposition. I was amused!”
Likes the idea of traveling, but hasn’t reached that point in her life when she can come and go as she pleases. Has been to France twice and would like to go many more places. Loves to watch movies, and oh, by the way, just got married last Saturday to Steve, a lawyer who just passed the bar.
8th Grade History Teacher, Milford Middle School
19 years teaching at Milford; 21st year overall; taught 7th and 8th grade in Philadelphia School District and 4th grade at Pennridge.
Loves the students and supportive community at Milford, including the teachers, office staff, students and parents. More than the history content, she likes the “neat ways” to teach history. She enjoys collaborating with teammates to create activities through which students can “become” the people in history. Students become members of the Constitutional Convention so they can learn what was debated and as they
debate, the students use quill pens and candles. Colonial Day is also a fun activity during which students become an important person from the Colonial times for the entire school day.
Clickers, document cameras, Smart Board, laptops and iPads provide the daily modes of learning in Laura’s room. She engages students constantly with all the technology available. She likes that the district is on the “forefront of technology and ideas. It helps kids learn. I love putting questions on the clickers because kids can’t hide. I can see who hasn’t answered a question yet. It keeps them on task.”
Spends the summer figuring out how to work with newest technology to teach the first semester every year, then goes to the Pete&C echnology convention in January to learn more. She revamps her technology approach for second semester based on what she learns
there. Likes to present there, most often with Cathy Laguna, so she can go to the sessions for free! “Last year we presented about how to incorporate technology into a traditional classroom. We can reach the adolescent mind by teaching with technology.” Laura and Cathy shared what they learned at Pete&C with QCSD teachers at the Professional Development Day last April.
Heads to Utah every spring break to ski with family, including husband, Chris, an architect; son Austin, 16, and Brandon, 11. The boys go to school in Pennridge. “Once you’ve skied in Utah, it’s pretty tough to ski anywhere else,” she said. “We’d love to live out there some day.” They
also go to the beach in the summer.
Business Information Technology Teacher, Strayer Middle School
11th year teaching in QCSD; 16th year overall, including 4 years at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. Graduated from Easton High School, East Stroudsburg University and Gwynedd Mercy College. Working on his administration certificate through Penn State. Sixth year as an adjunct professor for Wilkes University.
Currently teaches only sixth graders a variety of software applications, from building 2D structures in Word, to Power Points, to MLA format (and where to find it online), to Google Docs, Web 2.0 tools and Internet Safety.
Loves the enthusiasm of middle school students. “They walk in the door and ask, ‘What are we doing today?’ They have energy and they’re excited,” Dave said.” Kids will tell me, ‘I taught my mom how to do this last night.’”
Students are finishing building structures in Word, such as castles, houses, snow globes. “These skills are used in other Office products, but more importantly encourages them to use their problem solving skills and creativity,” Dave said. Students find it hard to pull themselves away from the computer at the end of class! “I teach them how to trouble shoot, think through the process,” Dave said. “There is a lot of creative thinking involved. They are happy to take their work home on a flash drive and keep working on it at night. These structures have a lot of detail, a lot of layers to them, 9 or 10 objects piled on top, using ‘bring forward or send back and text wrapping.”
Also serves as Tech Liaison for the building, so his phone constantly rings when colleagues call for help. Because students work at different paces, he keeps a stock of projects available, including tutorials about how to speak foreign languages or use such programs as Fireworks.
Likes the “progressiveness” of QCSD. “We’re always looking forward. We really are on the cutting edge of what’s next. We are willing to take a risk. When I meet people from other districts, they’re always kind of amazed at what we’re doing. People here are encouraged to look outside the box and extend themselves. Sometimes it’s at a breakneck pace but when we look back in May or June, we always say, ‘Did we do all that?’
Married to Shannon, a 3rd grade teacher in Easton School District, where their 3 children attend school. Shannon ran track in high school and college and she and Dave still run. When time permits, they enter a few adventure races with friends. Daughter Alexis, 11, is a 5th grader and plays travel soccer, basketball and runs track at St. Jane’s. Son Nolan, 9, is a 4th grader who wrestles and plays football and lacrosse. Cael, 5, is a kindergartener and plays soccer.
Dave wrestled in high school and at ESU and competed in Florida Ironman triathlon in 2000. He tries to fit in running now between running after his kids! The family sneaks in trips to the Outer Banks, Lake Wallenpaupack, parks and museums.
K-2 Emotional Support Teacher, Pfaff Elementary School
7th year as a QCSD employee, working as the Emotional Support teacher for the district-wide program. All K-2 QCSD students who need the support go to Pfaff. Students in grades 3-5 go to Richland. Previously worked in Special Education, in Philadelphia at the elementary level and New Jersey at the secondary level. Earned B.S. in Special Education and Elementary Education and M.S. degree from Temple University in Education Administration, most recently received her Principal’s Certification at Cabrini College, hoping one day in the near future to work in the administrative field, supporting a larger population of students.
“I believe every day is a new day in the world of education,” Carol said. “We work for consistently positive days in our program. I’m lucky. I work with phenomenal colleagues. There is a lot of support from [principal] Deb Lock, [district administrators] Lenny Greaney and Shirley Moyer, all the building teachers and 3 instructional aides who work directly with our students, Anita Kaseman, Michelle Leister and Cindy Leurck. I am such a very lucky person!”
Loves to collaborate with teachers to get her students into regular education classrooms as much as possible. Appreciates working with a variety of personalities. “We work on social skills training three times a week, and embedded in the rest of the day. The goal is to place students in the least restrictive environment. We’ll bring students into the ES room for a break, discussion when problems arise, or simply to complete independent work in a nurturing small group environment, as needed. The team approach really is the way for the children to be most successful.”
Instructs staff members district-wide as one of the leaders for the NCI, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention program, and core team member at Pfaff for the PBS, Positive Behavior Support program.
Husband Phelim, a contractor, is from Ireland. They met in 1986 and got married in 1993. They hope to take their three sons back to Ireland one day soon. Phelim, 16, is a junior and twins Cayce and Brody, 14, freshmen, all play soccer for Pennridge High School. Phelim, Sr. coached them in youth soccer for a number of years. When not on the soccer field, the family sneaks in trips to Ocean City, NJ, and also enjoys time with furry friends Gigi and Prince, mixed breed dogs.
6th Grade Social Studies/RELA Teacher, Strayer Middle School
14th year in QCSD, all at Strayer; previously taught one year of 5th grade in Bethlehem; graduated from Moravian College and Easton High School.
Absolutely loves the relationships he is able to build with students and parents in QCSD. When traveling through Quakertown, he enjoys bumping into former students, all of whom seem to remember good times in Mr. Storm’s classroom! “I tell lots of stories and former students tell me those are what they remember, especially my stories about baked beans.”
Credits his strong teaching team, including Steph Traumuller and Ursula Cronin, for helping to plan creative lessons that motivate students. “I like the art of teaching better than the science of teaching,” Shawn said. “I like to be creative and I like to see students being creative.”
Played football in high school and college. Helped coach football, wrestling and baseball at QCHS for several years when he first started because “that’s what you did here.” He coached Strayer football last year, but now coaching his sons’ teams takes up all his time when he goes home. He currently coaches youth travel baseball in Forks Township.
Wife Nicole teaches at McCann Business School in Allentown. They sneak in family trips to the Jersey shore when they are not running to their three children’s sports activities. The children go to school in Easton. Trevor, 13, is a seventh grader, and he plays basketball and baseball; Luke, 11, is a fifth grader who plays travel baseball, soccer, and basketball; and Elizabeth, 9, is a third grader who plays softball, soccer, and basketball. “I coached her softball team two summers ago and that was different,” Shawn said, chuckling. “I learned all the cheers and songs. The girls wanted to come back the next year, so that’s good!”
Passionate about reading. “I love to get kids excited about reading,” Shawn said. “We can move their test scores if we can get them to love reading.”
Math Teacher, Freshman Center
25 years in QCSD; first year at Strayer Junior High School; 17 years at Senior High School; last seven years at Freshman Center. Has taught Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry. Graduated from Penn State University with a math education degree and earned a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and Curriculum Instruction from Kutztown University.
Enjoys working with 9th graders in a separate building, where they can transition from youth to young adulthood.
Believes QCSD is a great place to work because “students are generally well behaved. Some teachers take that for granted, but we really don’t have a lot of problems that bigger schools run into. We’ve also always been given state of the art equipment, from copy machines to laptops. I remember years ago our teachers had personal laptops long before other districts did. We’ve always been ahead of the curve in that respect. Also, I have had the pleasure of working with extremely talented colleagues past and present in Quakertown. When I was a younger teacher, I was always very impressed with my mentors who had been here before me. They were great people to learn from. I continue to be impressed with the younger people who have been hired by the district over the years. The commitment of these people, past and present, have made this school district a great place to be.”
Helped QCHS head coach Kevin Keeler coach basketball for about 11 years from the ’88-’89 season through the ’99-’00 season. He served as head freshman coach for 8 of those years. He then spent about 4 years as a volunteer coach at various youth levels in the Southern Lehigh School District, where he lives, coaching his son’s teams as he grew up. Currently is a volunteer assistant coach with the Southern Lehigh Varsity/Jr. Varsity basketball teams. Works with QCHS teacher Brad Huebner, who also coaches the junior varsity team at Southern Lehigh.
“I’ve always seen coaching as an extension of teaching,” Tony said. “I used to enjoy prepping teams for games. Now I prefer working with two or three players at a time on their individual skills and development. I also keep statistics for the Southern Lehigh varsity and jayvee.”
Avid high school sports fan. He attends high school football and basketball games on a regular basis. He and wife Marlene, an Operations Manager at Air Products and Chemicals, have gone to the PIAA state basketball championships in Hershey for 20 straight years. Now that son Stefano, 23, has graduated from DeSales University, Tony and Marlene take weekend trips to cities, such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City to take in shows and urban entertainment. They have taken three consecutive summer vacation trips to San Francisco, where Tony said, “We found a little slice of heaven in the bay area and the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.”
Latest addition to the Curto family has been a Norwegian Elkhound puppy named “Caesar” that his son brought home last winter at the age of 2 months. Tony said that Caesar, now about 11 months old, “has added that ‘never a dull moment’ atmosphere around the house that those of us with puppies know so well.”
Instructional Support Teacher, Quakertown Elementary
7th year in the district (first 3 years part-time); previously worked in Special Education and IST in Parkland School District (12 years). Graduated from Parkland and Bloomsburg University.
Likes the sense of community in the school district and the willingness of teachers to go beyond what is expected for their students.
Specifically works with math, helping students with guided practice and strategies that work best for them. Finds it rewarding when “a light bulb goes off for a student when he/she finally gets it.” Specifically likes working at QE because the teachers embrace the students socially and emotionally, as well as academically. “It’s like a big puzzle. It’s so much more than just teaching academics.”
Spends time taking her son Nicholas, 10, a fifth grader in Whitehall, and daughter Allison, 8, a third grade at Whitehall, to gymnastics training at the Lehigh Valley Sports Academy in Catasauqua. Their competitions take the family, including father Charlie, to meets in many locales. Charlie teaches computer class to second and third graders in the Whitehall-Coplay School District. The family took many day trips in the summer, including to Great Wolfe Lodge, Baltimore and New York City. Summers are awesome because they all have off together.
Elementary Grades Learning Facilitator
12th year in QCSD. Taught 3rd and 1st grade at Richland before moving to Neidig, where she served as a Reading Specialist (and for several months the ELLS Specialist) until becoming the Elementary Learning Facilitator for this year.
Appreciates that QCSD staff members are continually pushing themselves to keep current with educational best practices. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my colleagues, mentors and administrators,” Kelly said. “I hope to have a positive impact district wide as I teach, learn, and grow alongside our teachers and students in this new role.”
Feels the importance of her job and others as teachers. “Our goal is to prepare our students in all ways for whatever their journey may be. We strive for our students to be lifelong learners; readers, writers, thinkers, problem solvers. I believe our passion for learning as teachers is what ultimately drives our students to succeed.”
Enjoys spending time with husband Mark, Product Manager for Nexeo Solutions, and children Brady, 6, and Paige, 3. Brady heads to first grade this year. “The trust you must have for your child’s teacher is so important and overwhelming.” The family lives near the Perkiomen Trail, where they take bike rides. They also spend a lot of time at ice hockey rinks while Mark and Brady coach and play on a team. Visiting family and spending time with friends is important to the Cramer family as well.
Pfaff Kindergarten Teacher
14 years in QCSD. Taught kindergarten and first grade at Tohickon Valley, the Old Pfaff, and Trumbauersville. In kindergarten at Pfaff the last 7 years. Also taught 3 years in Washington State while her husband was stationed there in the Navy.
“I absolutely love kindergarten,” Karen said. “I love the high energy. The kids keep me on my toes and there is never any down time. I love being busy. I don’t realize I’m tired till I get home to my own 3 kids.”
Loves interacting with the kids and watching them learn and grow each day. Enjoys watching their growth from beginning to end of the year. "Kindergarten is rewarding because I get to see their tremendous progress both academically and behaviorally." A colleague noted that Karen is “really kid centered. She takes kindergarten seriously and prepares the kids well for the other grades.” A 5th grader who comes back to help in the kindergarten classroom said, “Mrs. Pritchard always made things fun. We were always moving. We could never sit still and fall asleep!”
Appreciates the fact that QCSD is “always current” with educational strategies and the “technology is top of the line.” Also loves working with the “wonderful teachers and staff.”
Husband Jay is a software engineer. Son Mathew, 13, is a 7th grader, son Daniel, 9, a 3rd grader, and daughter Katelyn, 5, is a kindergartener, all in the Boyertown Area School District. “It’s wonderful having Katelyn in kindergarten. I’ve been able to steal some of the crafty projects she’s done and add my own twist! My kids keep me current.”
Family spends a lot of time at the Boyertown Midget Baseball League fields for the boys and Katelyn dances. They go to Disney World every summer as Vacation Club Members. “Disney keeps me young!” Karen said. “I get to relive my childhood. I get to see my kids happy and I get quality time to relax with the family.”
Instructional Aide, Quakertown Elementary
12th year on the job; started as a classroom teacher’s aide at QE and spent one year at Richland in the Read to Succeed Program. Works with small groups of students on reading and writing.
Loves the diversity of the students and staff at QE, the “camaraderie. Everyone supports each other and the kids. What don’t I love about this place?” Especially appreciates the smiling faces of “certain kids who make my day. I love that we can be there for those don’t have family support.”
Her grown children all went to QCSD. Son Joe, 32, is married and works as the recreation director at a retirement home near Philadelphia. He is pursuing his bachelor's degree online at Penn State. Daughter Terri, 22, just graduated with her Master’s degree in American History from Millersville University and will be attending the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is beginning work on her PhD! She wants to be a college professor. Son Tom will be a senior electronic media major at Kutztown University.
“I like this district,” Peg said. “It’s close knit. I love the programs my kids enjoyed. TSA for Terri and Tom was terrific.” All three of her children capitalized on sports and clubs offered in the district and traveled to events in many states.
Enjoys biking, walking, jogging and kayaking with husband Jim, a custodian at Upper Moreland School District. They like to kayak in lakes Nockamixon and Galena.
Peg also volunteers for school functions, such as Fall Festival, Winter Wonderland, Kindergarten Graduation and Thank You Day. "I like to interact with the students in different settings and the kids love to see us." Her favorite program this year was Girls on the Run (an after-school program just for girls). She helps to coach Girls on the Run and wishes the program was available when her daughter was in school. “I have seen a change in the girls’ energy level. The program has really brought out their personalities. They’ve been kinder to each other. I see them working together more peacefully and they’re excited about getting in shape.” Said her running buddy Olivia, " I love being able to just be me!"
Nurse, Quakertown Elementary
2.5 years in the district, 1.5 years as long-term substitute nurse at QE. The RN spent 20 years as an oncology nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital-Bethlehem and 4 years nursing in a pediatrics office. Earned her RN at Central Florida Community College.
Dispenses Band-Aids, lotions and cough drops, takes temperatures, offers consoling words and gives hugs all day long to a steady stream of “patients.” A recent Monday morning featured a flurry of bug bites and poison ivy. Christina treated students with kindness and lotion and sent them back to class. “I like the variety all day long,” she said.
Likes the support between schools in QCSD, where she sees collaboration between buildings as a parent of 3 students, as well as from her professional vantage point. “I don’t feel isolated,” she said. “Kids from the different elementary schools interact in the community in many activities before they meet up with each other at the middle schools, Freshman Center and high school. They re-awaken bonds when they get there. It’s a great community feel.”
Husband Bob works in the IT department at Vanguard; son Rob is a 7th grader at Strayer (and stands 6-feet, 1-inch!) and son Nick is a 5th grader at Richland. They both play lots of sports. Leah, a second grader at Richland, plays piano and participates in Irish Dance. All three play in the bands. Events keep the family busy all weekend. They all like to bike and hike together.
Runs with girls and coaches involved in Girls on the Run, along with her daughter Leah. “I wanted to get involved because many of our students here at QE don’t have a big support system at home. Some live with just Mom, or just Dad or a grandparent. I see the kids who are active and the kids who are not. I want them to be healthy and vibrant. I used to run all the time but I never did a 5K. This gives us a chance to get in shape while supporting the girls.”
2nd Grade Teacher, Trumbauersville Elementary School
26th year teaching in QCSD; started teaching in Kindergarten out in the church when 6th grade was in the elementary schools and then at QE. Taught second grade at the old Pfaff and Trumbauersville; taught first grade for 3 years then returned to second grade. “I like second graders the most,” the warm and caring teacher said. “I like the way they come so far from the beginning of the year to the end. They grow physically and they mature emotionally. They are still really excited to learn and share the things they know. They make good connections.”
Likes the way the teachers in QCSD work together as a team. “Here at Trumbauersville, the teachers are all here for each other, whether it’s to help with materials, strategies, technology or emotional support. Whatever anyone needs.”
Lives with husband Barry, an attorney, in a log cabin in the woods, where she likes to read, sit by the pool, and spend time with her family. They like to travel to new places. They went to Spain when daughter Megan was there for a semester abroad. Plans to go to Argentina this summer when daughter Kimberly is there for a semester. Megan, 24, graduated in 2010 from Franklin & Marshall College, majoring in Spanish and International Studies and works for Rovi, a Spanish television channel, scheduling the Latin American shows. She uses her Spanish sending and receiving emails from all over Latin America. Kimberly is a junior at the University of Delaware, pursuing a triple major in
Latin American Studies/Iberian Studies/Spanish as well as a Women’s Studies minor. “Both are very interested in non-profits,” Joyce said.
Walked/Ran her third half-marathon recently, the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in Allentown. “I like the feeling of accomplishment when I finish the 13.1 miles.”
QCHS Biology Teacher
Third year teaching biology in QCSD; previously worked as an aide and substitute at all the elementary schools. Raised her 4 children before going to college when the youngest was in kindergarten. “My kids saw how hard I worked and how I value education,” Tina said. “That was powerful.”
Teaches face-to-face and two cyber biology courses. “Every day is a grand adventure in teaching!” Tina said. “It’s fun to teach biology because kids get to explore what makes us us. It’s about life. It’s easy to keep them engaged because they see that what they are learning affects them.”
Built two cyber courses, for college prep and honors. Her two students are from Pennridge. Others have tried the cyber option but discovered the subject is tough. “Science is such a hands-on subject,” Tina said. “There’s a lot of content. I had some positive feedback from a Pennridge teacher who commended me on the rigor of the course. One of my students even has a tutor!”
Student taught in QCSD before taking a long-term substitute job in CB East. Turned down a job offer from CB to come here. “It was a no-brainer. I love the community,” Tina said. “I live here, attend events here. My kids go to school here. I want to be a part of it.”
Enjoys the students in QCSD. “They’re bright, funny and honest. They speak their minds and they’re real,” Tina said. “Administrators have been supportive. I’ve always felt like I could take risks and try new things in the classroom. I appreciate that.”
Married 21 years to husband Tom. They were high school sweethearts who went to different schools. They married and had 4 children: Billy, 20, majors in business at the University of Mississippi (Ole’ Miss); Brenna is a senior at QCHS, planning a career in communications; Stephen is at the Freshman Center and wants to be a science teacher; and Gabby is a 7th grader at Strayer, a social butterfly and “full of sunshine.”
Family likes to camp, go to the beach, hike, and generally likes to do things together. “I love to watch sports but I especially like to play sports, like ice hockey and soccer,” Tina said.
Elementary Art Teacher, Pfaff and Trumbauersville
2nd year in district, long term substitute; writing a high school cyber art history course. Graduated 2005 from QCHS and 2009 from Kutztown University.
Likes how QCSD is “on top of” education trends. “It feels like contemporary ideas are the norm. There’s a huge focus on teamwork and learning. Everyone at Pfaff and Trumbauersville are so welcoming. I feel very included.”
Loves teaching art to small children because they often surprise him, in positive ways, with their ideas. Has loved art since he was small, since Marc realized his grandfather’s house was full of paintings the elder (Merrill Beyer) had painted. “The first piece of art I remember producing on purpose was in first or second grade,” he said. “I drew a penguin. Then I started drawing all the time. I knew in fourth or fifth grade that I wanted to be a teacher. In seventh grade my passion for art grew and I knew I wanted to teach art.” At QCHS, art teachers Sue Quinque, Lynn Kraft and Amy Migliore influenced his progress.
Currently, his art involves metalsmithing. He’s working on a layered wall piece in his home mini-studio. Also likes to make jewelry. Has sold a few pieces and wishes he had more time to work on his own art. Likes to show students how to work with a variety of materials they don’t normally experience.
Enjoys spending time outside, hiking and at the beach. Walks his dog, Kozmo, a German shorthaired pointer. “He’s my best buddy,” Marc said.
Life Skills Teacher, Milford Middle School
Working with Life Skills group since 2003; began her professional career with the Intermediate Unit as a long term substitute and then was contracted at QCSD as an itinerant teacher to work with children in all areas of specialties. She worked 4 years in the emotional support classes and with students with multiple disabilities (13 years). “With the multiple disabilities students, I liked when I could see a light of understanding,” Stella said. “With Life Skills students, I can communicate with them and give them advice.”
Assisted every day by Dottie Abbott, Debbie Clemens and Pam Alderfer. Students enjoy plenty of one-on-one attention, whether they are working in books, workbooks, on computers or working with kitchen activities. The adults take the students out into the community on a regular basis, to stores, among other everyday places. Her students put together an annual Family Fun Night, which recently took place at Milford. Students also sell coffee and snacks to staff members every day. The goal is to help students become independent. Several of this year’s group of students head out of the room to be included with students in regular education classrooms.
“I respect my students,” Stella said. “And they respect me back. They do the best they can. They have to feel confident that they can be sociable as they move on to the Freshman Center and high school.”
Takes students camping to their own Outdoor School every year in the spring. Husband Tim always went along on the trips, until he was stricken with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was diagnosed in May 2010. Within a week of receiving a stomach tube, he passed away. “Life is not easy,” Stella said. “I think my experience with Tim’s disease helped to reinforce my belief of never giving up. There are all sorts of pitfalls from disability for people who have to just put up with a disease [or other ailment]. You know you will never recover but the battle must go on.”
Colleagues marvel at Stella’s upbeat attitude and say she is always positive and smiling. She lives with a “can-do” approach for her Life Skills students. Through many activities, students incorporate math and social skills. “Stella really pushes her kids to do the most they can academically and always advocates for her students to be included in everything,” said one Milford teacher.
Helps when she can with her father, who is battling cancer. Her parents live in Chalfont, where she grew up with 5 sisters, 1 brother, 3 step sisters and 2 step brothers. Now she lives with 2 “puppies,” Reagan, 9, and Brody, 4. Sons Eric, 27, and Brian 22, work for an engineering company, “testing stuff.”
“When negative things happen in life, it is easy to choose to give up,” Stella said. “It was not an option for Tim and it is not one I choose either. I learned to count on others and humor to see us through. The support for those in our family was great but the support given to us by my colleagues and work friends was truly amazing. It is what got me through and still does to this day. I like to find a lesson in the tragedy and move on in life from there. That is what I hope to impart on my students. In life, you get knocked down, but then you get up again. Never give up trying, even if you’re told you cannot win. You just never know!”
5th Grade Teacher, Quakertown Elementary
2nd year in QCSD, long term substitute, last year 4th grade at Pfaff; 18th year teaching, overall; previously taught in Central Bucks School District, southern New
Hampshire (Windham) and Charlottesville, Virginia. Relocated family to Doylestown to live near husband’s family.
Loves the community feeling in QCSD. “It’s small enough to feel close to people and get to know teachers in other buildings,” Kim said. “Everyone is accessible, from schools to district office.” Loves the diversity at QE. Teaching 4th and 5th grade is her niche. “Kids in these grades accept new challenges. They’ve got a foundation.
They find the content interesting. I love the American Revolution.” Painted a liberty tree on a sheet, which serves as a background for many student projects.
Athletic background serves her well as a teacher because it helps her relate to students. Played soccer and tennis at Plymouth State (New Hampshire) and was the quarterback for the New Hampshire Freedom of the International Women’s Football League, for one year. “My dad taught his 3 daughters how to throw properly,” Kim explained. “I always complained that women had no access to sports that required that skill. When my husband saw the call for tryouts for the football league, he said I couldn’t complain if I didn’t try out. So I did.” The league played full field and full tackle. Now Kim plays in an indoor women’s soccer league at Buxmount and outdoor co-ed soccer for Lenape Valley.
Started Girls on the Run (GOTR) at QE this spring. Heard about the international program, designed to help 3rd-to-8th grade girls improve and establish strong self-
esteem, and tucked it in the back of her mind. At QE, the environment was ripe. “I wanted to boost the girls’ self-confidence and peer communication skills. I saw that
they needed guidance on feeling good about their unique qualities and that could be accomplished through running.” Twice a week, Kim and several other women district staff members lead the girls through lessons and running. They will all run a 5K May 31 in Flemington, N.J. as a culmination.
“It’s working well,” Kim said of the 15 girls in the program. “I hear them using the language in class, like ‘plug in your positive cord,’ and not picking on each other. One girl told me her mom was using negative self talk and she explained to her how to plug in her positive cord! The girls aren’t whining about running like some of them were at the beginning. They are not bickering with each other as much. A couple of them have been complete turn-arounds. What I really love about GOTR is the time spent with the kids in a nonacademic setting, getting to know them, and motivating them to do something really good for themselves. The program gives us techniques to teach about how to communicate with each other, handle peer pressure, and language that will help the girls stand up for themselves.”
Enjoys playing outdoors with husband Steve (a pre-trial officer for the federal court system in New Jersey), son Jack, 6, and daughter Katie, 4. They like to ride bikes, go camping, canoeing, swimming and travel to New Hampshire and Virginia. “I have two fantastic, fun, energetic kids,” Kim said.
Lead Teacher on Special Assignment for Special Education
Assistant Football Coach
Started current assignment at the beginning of March; previously taught 16 years of math, most recently at the Freshman Center; works as defensive coordinator with the QCHS football team.
New job requires him to interact with all teachers, K-12, in QCSD who work with special needs students. “Our teachers already do an outstanding job,” Tony said. “I can help them share what they do with each other and show them strategies I’m learning.” Also working as the “super user” of the IEP Writer program, which maintains the accounting for IEPs and GIEPs for all special needs students. This will allow Special Education supervisors Lenny Greaney and Shirley Moyer to meet all the requirements of their jobs. Has already observed in a first grade classroom at Pfaff and met with teachers in middle and high school. “It’s been fun running into kids I have had in class in the past and I love seeing my football players.”
Played high school football while growing up in Miami, Florida. In the early 1990s, Tony moved to Hatboro to help his father, who was recovering from triple bypass surgery. Discovered Kutztown University and decided to enroll to finish his college education. “The place was completely opposite of Miami, it was farm land!” Met his future wife, Kristi, an early childhood education major.
Settled in Quakertown with Kristi. She works at the Upper Bucks YMCA. Daughters Abby (sixth grade, Strayer), Madison (4th grade, Neidig) and Bekah (2nd grade, Neidig) inherited Tony’s humor and entertaining personality. “Our house is the drop zone for every kid in the neighborhood,” he said. “I was home sick one day, got out of bed and saw 10 kids. My wife just said, ‘Well, you know…’ She is the most, outstanding wonderful woman. She’s my best friend and asset. I would never have made it as far as I have without her.” Family likes to ride bikes, go to church, go to soccer, swimming and Disney World.
Believes QCSD is the “best district in the state. Of course I’m completely biased, but I’ve seen a lot of districts, and we’re first!”
Shares his great sense of humor with colleagues and students. Looks a bit like teacher Chad Evans, whom he calls “my brother from another mother.” Tony said, “Students do want to know teachers as human beings. Humor helps. I absolutely love the kids.”
Middle School Cyber Teacher, Strayer
3rd year in QCSD; previously taught 2 years of 8th grade science in Lower Moreland School District; graduated with Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern and
Penn State (2003).
Teaches science and social studies for all middle school students who take cyber courses, including sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Strayer and Milford. Must individualize help for each of his cyber students. That first means adding to and updating the sixth, seventh and eighth grade courses in the cyber format. It can then mean remediating with students who need additional support to learn material, or finding more in-depth material for students ready to enrich.
“The value of cyber is that students can work at their own pace,” Mike said. “It’s an opportunity for them to work ahead of the curve and explore curriculum at different angles. Some of the kids really get interested in looking at more advanced topics. It’s a great way to differentiate for individual learners.”
Most students enrolled in middle school cyber courses are hybrid students, Mike said, meaning they attend some face-to-face classes and take some in cyber. Some students take cyber from home. Most come to his Strayer classroom at least once a week to work there. “Communication is pretty easy with phone calls, email, instant messenger, and the Blackboard collaboration tools,” Mike said. “I’m able to give kids a lot of feedback. Some of the communication challenge is that we can’t exchange body language and facial expressions, which are a big part of teaching in a face-to-face classroom. I do get to know the kids, though, because of the one-to-one meetings. Cyber is not for every student. Some students need the face-to-face.”
Married to Strayer social studies teacher Sarah Peters. They take 1-year-old daughter Madelyn with them wherever they go. Mike enjoys rock climbing, back packing and fly fishing.
“As with any new program, the cyber program is working through some growing pains,” he said. “Personally I think the cyber program is off to a great start. It’s only going to get bigger and better. It allows kids to go as deep with their learning as they want.”
Math and RELA Cyber Teacher, Strayer Middle School
Started in QCSD, in 2004, teaching math and RELA in 7th grade at Strayer; transitioned to cyber teaching in 2010-2011 school year. Works with 30 students in sixth, seventh, eighth
and ninth grades, from Strayer and Milford. A student from the Freshman Center and a fifth grader from Trumbauersville are also part of the mix.
Likes the challenge of the position. “It’s different every day,” he said, noting that he works with students in a wide variety of curricula, including pre-algebra, algebra and remedial grade-level work. “Hybrid” students, who take some cyber classes and some face-to-face classes, work in his room every day, which helps the communication aspect of cyber learning. Sometimes Damian drives to Milford , the FC or Trumbauersville to meet students.
Researches to find quality activities to build and revamp the courses, to make sure he is finding appropriate level work for students from remedial to enrichment. Starts with the Prentice Hall online version of the math textbook and must keep up with student goals. “Some kids set their goals to excel through some courses quickly. Some can do it and some realize it’s too intense to do that in one school year. Some students also discover that cyber is not for them in certain subjects and they go back to face-to-face classrooms. Some of them just need more interaction with other students.”
Teaches according to student questions, he said, including questions students ask on the weekends. “Cyber is a great opportunity for students,” he said. “The district is off to a great start with the program. We have more work to do, building the courses.”
Spends time with wife Melissa, who used to teach middle school social studies before staying home with three children and teaching pre-school. Damian and Melissa spend time with Kydalin, 6, Breckin, 4, and Brandtley, 1, outdoors as much as possible. They travel to Williamsburg, Virginia for a week every summer.