MONROE, CT — Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza welcomed 26 new teachers to Monroe Public Schools during teacher orientation Thursday morning.
“We’re just really excited,” he said. “There’s been great energy the last couple of days. Mike [Crowley] and the other administrators and instructional leaders did a real nice job orienting them to the district, and the teachers are enthusiastic to get into their classrooms and greet their students on the first day.”
The first day of school is this Wednesday.
“I really empathize with them, because I know there’s a lot of nervous excitement on their first day, like there was for me 27 years ago,” Kobza said, while remembering his first job as a teacher at Masuk High School.
The new hires gathered inside the Masuk Media Center for their orientation, before going on a bus ride for a town tour.
“I hope you’re excited,” Kobza said, while speaking to them in front of the room. “I hope you’re eager and enthusiastic. That’s the vibe I’m getting.”
He warned that teaching can be a “roller coaster” where one day you feel like you reached your students and “changed the world”, and another when you ask yourself, “what did I do today?”
Kobza told the young teachers to “stick to it”, adding they are not alone and should not hesitate to ask fellow staff members for help when they need it.
“Understand the power you have,” he said of being a teacher. “Every interaction you have with a kid means a lot to them. Everything you say means a lot to them.”
Kobza recalled how he was always a good student, who worked hard to earn good grades, while his older brother, Ray, on the other hand, wasn’t as interested in school work.
“I love my brother,” Kobza said. “He passed away a few years ago. He had a good work ethic, but wasn’t an academic kid.”
On the first day of class one year, the teacher taking attendance said, “Kobza, any relation to Ray?” When Kobza told him it was his brother, he said the teacher looked down and shook his head while checking off his name.
“I’ll never forget that,” Kobza said. “He judged me right away.”
Among the district’s new teachers are:
Jeanine Martin, special education teacher, Stepney Elementary School
Ashley Lopez, english as a second language teacher, Stepney
Jessica Trombetta, kindergarten teacher, Stepney
Mikayla Triscritti, special education teacher, Stepney
Erin Sweeney, special education teacher, Stepney
Madison Ventresca, 4th grade teacher, Stepney
Molly Johnson, speech language pathologist, Monroe Elementary School
Sabrina Phillips, 4th grade teacher, Monroe Elementary
Kristen Rosati, reading specialist, Monroe Elementary
Rachel Wiberg, speech language pathologist, Monroe Elementary
Christina Marren, special education teacher, Monroe Elementary
Megan Hine, special education teacher, Fawn Hollow Elementary School
Megan Cowic, special education teacher, Fawn Hollow
Chris Buzi, 4th grade teacher, Fawn Hollow
Alejandro Jimenez, music teacher, Fawn Hollow
Pam Pascarella, physical education teacher, Fawn Hollow
Alison Partridge, kindergarten teacher, Fawn Hollow
Joseph Philbrick, 7th grade social studies teacher, Jockey Hollow Middle School
Matt Onderko, 6th grade math and social studies teacher, Jockey Hollow
Elizabeth Ulreich-Moran, speech-language pathologist, Jockey Hollow
Kelly Tannian, art and graphics teacher: Stem Academy
Amy Bien, culinary teacher at Masuk
Jesse Todd, Spanish teacher, Masuk
Salvatore Longo, transition special education teacher, Masuk
Audrey Falsetti, biology and chemistry teacher, Masuk
Allyson Danso, business education teacher, Masuk
Kelly Tannian, art and graphics teacher, Stem Academy
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