FEATURE October 2010 www.theweswordonline.com
Pop quiz: get to know our new teachers Can you match the faces with the facts?
Annie Cohen Associate Editor
Several new teachers have joined the Westhill faculty this year. They teach various subjects, from business to agriscience, and they have many diverse interests. They’ve traveled extensively and have varied tastes in music and ice cream. Do you know them well enough to match their faces with their facts? Take the test! Visit www.thewestwordonline.com for answers and full interviews.
who teaches business, worked for Kraft Foods/Nabisco as District Manager and Regional Budgeting Manager. He attended Bryant University as an undergraduate and the University of New Haven for his master’s degree. He enjoys golfing, biking, hiking, traveling, and music.
2. Mr. DiLuggo,
a history teacher, attended Central Connecticut State University and served in the United States Army for a total of 10 years. He is a marathon runner and a big fan of the New York Yankees. He and his wife recently had their first child, a daugher named Angelina Marie.
3. Ms. Huber,
a math and business teacher, travelled to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Mexico as part of a job in international finance. She has three girls, ages nine, seven and almost one. She attended Fairfield University and her favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
4. Ms. Hirth,
who teaches science, loves cookies and cream ice cream with whipped cream and cherries on top. She also loves music, especially the Beatles and anything indie rock. Ms. Hirth enjoys watching comedies and documentary films, taking pictures, traveling to new places, and hiking. Before coming to Westhill, Ms. Hirth was a teacher in Dover, New Hampshire.
Andrew Newman / Photographer
5. Ms. Jeffries,
an agricultural science teacher, enjoys working with livestock and cattle. She attended the University of Connecticut, where she drove a shuttle bus, worked on the university’s dairy farm, and worked in an animal hospital as a veterinary assistant.
6. Mr. Cabanillas,
who teaches Spanish, says that he enjoys cooking, painting, and playing the guitar in his free time. One of his favorite hobbies is writing. He also enjoys reading about social issues such as immigration, education, the economy, technology, and human rights. He loves lemon ice cream and spending summers in Europe.
Martin and Nordin seek school-wide change Talia Robinson Staff Writer
Julie Arditti / Photographer
GREAT EXPECTATIONS Ms. Nordin and Mr. Martin hope that their new leadership will serve to boost test scores and school spirit.
This September, Westhill welcomed two new assistant principals, Tenth Grade Administrator Ms. Roth Nordin and Eleventh Grade Administrator Mr. Jason Martin. Ms. Nordin, equipped with six years of administrative experience, believes that schools differ based on leadership. “My experience has taught me that the only difference in schools comes from the school leaders and how they approach their philosophy to teaching and learning and how they communicate that to the entire community,” Ms. Nordin said. Westhill in particular has been “welcoming and helpful. Students are friendly,” she said, when asked about her first impressions. Ms. Nordin is focused on supporting students as well as learning from them. “I am focused on helping to raise student
achievement both in the CAPT state testing and in the SAT,” Ms. Nordin said. “I would like to learn from the students so that I can be more understanding of their needs,” she added. When asked about Westhill’s diversity, she said that it was a great aspect of the school. “Westhill’s population is much more representative of a global society. Students have an opportunity to learn from their classmates and to share differing viewpoints,” Ms. Nordin said. Overall, Ms. Nordin strongly believes in her ability to positively influence the school and its students. “I can make a difference in someone’s life. I feel that I may be just the person to give a student hope,” she said. Mr. Martin describes his former job working as an administrator at the KIPP AMP (Knowledge Is Power Program: Always Mentally Prepared) Charter School in Brooklyn, New York as completely
different from his job at Westhill. “It was a lot of planning and writing,” Mr. Martin said. “Here, I do a lot of running around and interacting with the students. It’s much more exciting.” He wants students to know that he is not here as a disciplinary figure. “I’m here more to support and motivate students to work hard,” he said. According to Mr. Martin, a good work ethic is the key to success. Like Ms. Nordin, Mr. Martin has been impressed by the amount of energy that the school seems to have, along with its diversity. However, he is concerned about the disconnection among the students. “As diverse as it is, there isn’t enough discussion about embracing differences,” Mr. Martin said. He believes that this separation is taking a toll on school spirit. “Improving the communication about spirit days or specific holidays is something that can be improved here,” Mr. Martin said.