Caroline welcomes new teachers
RIDGELY — Caroline County Public Schools welcomed nearly 40 new teachers to their first day of work in the county with a breakfast Tuesday, Aug. 21, at North Caroline High School.
The new hires ranged from those beginning their first jobs out of college to those with decades of experience under their belts.
Superintendent Dr. Patricia Saelens opened the breakfast by encouraging all the new teachers to stick to “the Caroline way.”
“We collaborate,” Saelens said. “In schools, across schools and with our community partners — the sheriff’s office, county commissioners, churches and libraries.”
The school system’s top priority, Saelens said, is to equip each student to be successful after
graduation, whether they are entering the workforce, joining the military or going to college.
Students should be able to solve problems, think critically, work with others and analyze information, as opposed to regurgitating memorized facts, she said.
Students should also learn to be accountable for their own progress and that mistakes are OK, Saelens said, as perseverance is a necessary trait in life.
“We put our students first in every decision we make,” Saelens said. “Every day this year will not be perfect, but on those frustrating days, think about the Caroline way, and reach out when you need help.
“Your success is our success,” Saelens said.
Caroline County Board of Education President Louise Cheek, who retired from a career as a teacher and administrator in Caroline County, remembered what it was like beginning her own career 40 years ago.
“I was excited, but also fearful of what would happen,” Cheek said.
Cheek said over the years, she developed her “bag of tricks” — methods that worked in one situation, so she remembered them for future use.
“Whatever you find that works for you, you will need it again,” Cheek said.
She encouraged the new teachers to listen to their mentors and school administrators.
“They’ve been where you’re going this year,” Cheek said.
Cheek said she is often by asked by Board of Education members in other jurisdictions how Caroline County does so much with so little money.
“The answer is we hire the best,” she said.
Caroline County Commission President Larry Porter said he, Vice President Wilbur Levengood and Commissioner Dan Franklin considered their relationship with the Board of Education and school administrators to be very important.
“We’re here to support you,” Porter said. “Welcome to Caroline, and we hope you have a great year.”
Rob Willoughby, principal of Colonel Richardson Middle School and president of the Administrators and Supervisors Association of Caroline County, said the new teachers had made a great choice in coming to Caroline.
“I challenge you to end your career here,” Willoughby said.
Amy Anderson, a teacher at Colonel Richardson High School and president of the Caroline County Educators Association, encouraged the new teachers to make connections with the people around them, plan to be flexible, get plenty of sleep and keep a sense of humor.
“We’re all here because we want to help our students become successful future citizens of the world,” Anderson said.
Returning teachers in Caroline County reported for their first day of work Monday, Aug. 27. Students return Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Federalsburg Elementary School, left to right: Principal Yolanda Holloway; Lisa Williams, kindergarten; Melissa Prendergast, special education; Michelle Wurtz, ELL; Britt Robertson, special education; Jody Bee, third grade; and Assistant Principal Todd Nichols.
North Caroline High School, left to right: Acting Principal Matt Spiker; Kelly Cannon, special education; Assistant Principal Erin Adams; Assistant Principal Jeannine Necessary; Michael Thompson, school psychologist; Mary Gilbertson, science; Erin Gray, math; Brian Curtis, special education; Colleen Kuzma, math; Courtney Dunn, math; Susan Angeloni, special education.
Preston Elementary School, left to right: Principal Kari Clow; Mackenzie Tull, fifth grade; Jocelyn Vazquez, first grade; and Assistant Principal Rich Petroske.