Group of new teachers includes alumni, newcomers
Group of new teachers includes alumni, newcomers
Posted on 08/26/2015
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WEST HAVEN, Aug. 26, 2015 —As the West Haven Public School District begins a new year and welcomes students back to classrooms, it’s also welcoming a new crop of teachers, including some alumni who’d always hoped to return.

Several are going to be part of the new all-day kindergarten program, which is expanding to all six district elementary schools starting Aug. 27, the first day of school. Others are filling classroom positions that had opened last school year or over the summer.

“I love being back here. It’s nice because there are a lot of teachers from West Haven. You’re teaching with people you grew up with,” said 2010 West Haven High School alumna Alex Pierelli, who will be a classroom teacher this fall at Forest Elementary School and studied at Central Connecticut State University. She also served as a first-grade permanent substitute teacher this year at Seth G. Haley Elementary School after completing her student-teaching requirements.

The West Haven school system was also a top choice for Rebecca Jennings, another 2010 WHHS alumna. Jennings will be an inclusion teacher for third and fourth grades at Forest, which means she will be a special education teacher who co-teaches with a classroom teacher when regular and special education students come together for lessons.

“I grew up here and think we have a great school system. I work at a camp here too and love working with little kids. I think I’ll know some of the kids when I start teaching in the fall from having worked at the camp. And being from West Haven, I think I’ll be able to relate to the kids and understand different things they’re talking about,” said Jennings, who attended Southern Connecticut State University for elementary and special education and student-taught at Savin Rock Community School.

Others have already been working as teachers, but decided to head for West Haven after hearing about the district from colleagues. Amanda Wright, who will be a sixth-grade inclusion teacher at Carrigan Intermediate School this fall, had been teaching at a private school in Milford when she heard good things about the West Haven school system from a peer in her master’s degree program.

“I’m in a master’s program with a girl from Bailey (Middle School), and she spoke really well of the schools, especially Carrigan. She said West Haven has a great staff and people who are really helpful, so I think it will be an easy transition,” Wright said.

Darcy DeMaio, another alumna of West Haven High School, is, in a way, a newcomer this year, but she taught in the district years ago. She used to teach at Alma E. Pagels Elementary School before taking time off to be with her children, and she’ll be coming back this fall to be a classroom teacher at Washington Elementary School.

“I went to Pagels when I was in elementary school. I remember when I first started here, I was calling my former teacher by her first name. That was a weird transition,” she quipped.

Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said the district was fortunate enough to have many talented and enthusiastic applicants to choose from, ensuring that each teacher will be the best fit for his or her class and grade.

“We’re excited to have some new Westies and to see some of our former students returning now as colleagues. Our veteran teachers are ready to show them the ropes, and we look forward to seeing the contributions they’ll make to our school community,” Cavallaro said. “We wish all of our teachers and staff members a happy and successful school year and a great first day.”