As students flooded the buildings on the first few days of school, they walked in to find fresh faces around every corner—and not just freshmen. 

   Dreyfoos has hired 11 new faculty members, including arts and academic teachers, as well as administrators. Some new jobs entail everything from instructing printmaking lessons to opening students’ eyes to different cultures, but they also get to know students on a more personal level. 

      “Some [students] have [come in and] said, ‘Hey Ms. Nicholas, I want to meet you,’” said Rachelle Francois-Nicholas, communications and theatre school counselor, “so we sit and we chat for about seven minutes. I’m starting to get to know their personalities.” 

   Although the four new administrators and seven new teachers have only been at the school for a little under a month, they feel that the atmosphere has eased the transition and  made them feel welcome.

   “I absolutely love how open it is here,” data processor Beatris Mas said. “Everyone is so open-minded. You don’t feel the need to play the part. I come to work in all black, combat boots, and my band shirts … It’s nice to be myself.”

    Many of the new faculty members came into their jobs not knowing what to expect from the student body. Understanding that Dreyfoos is unique in many ways, they were aware that they weren’t coming into a conventional high school.

“I’m not gonna lie—[It’s] been crazy, but in a good way,” visual arts teacher Erica Prince said. “The students are incredible. They blow me away every day, and everybody seems really amazing here.”

While some teachers may have been overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity, one new teacher had an advantage over her colleagues. 

   “I was a student here, so I understand all the pressures [students] are going through,” foreign language teacher Monica Zarini said. “[Dreyfoos students] have so many requirements, so I try to gear my class with the understanding [that] Spanish might not be their number one priority [and] make it something that they’ll enjoy to go to as a break from the stress.” 

   Whether it be collecting information from the new guidance secretary, Susie Howe, at student services or getting instruction from new art area staff members, teachers feel that they are able to go beyond the Common Core State Standards and make genuine connections with students.  

   “It’s fun to meet every new little personality and make connections with them,” Ms. Mas said. “I’m closer to [students’ ages]—surprisingly I’m only 22—so I’ll make connections like ‘I’ve heard about that meme, I saw that [on] Facebook, or I listen to that band too.’” 

Although it is still the beginning of the year, new teachers have already figured out what they are  excited about and what their goals are for the upcoming year.

“My goals for this year [are] to try to speak more in Spanish in class and try to make my students feel that this is their second home,” foreign language teacher Denise Muszick said. “[I want them to know that] they are always loved and they can always count on me for anything.”

Despite the challenges that come with being new and the little hiccups that might come along the way, the staff members are very excited to have been added to the Dreyfoos community.

   “Everybody is wonderful [and] very welcoming, from the students all the way to the staff,” Ms. Howe said. “I’m just very happy to be here.” 

Stop by and welcome the new staff to Dreyfoos!

Ms. Nicholas (Communications and theatre school counselor)  – Student Services

Mr. Loomis (Mental health counselor)   – 1-205

Ms. Whetsell (Theatre teacher) – 7-107A

Ms. Muszick (Foreign language teacher) – 1-208

Ms. Mas (Data processor) – Student Services (1-115)

Mr. Delgado (Digital Media teacher)  – 9-209

Ms. Kostecka (Math teacher) – 2-112

Ms. Leljedal (Theatre teacher) – 7-107

Ms. Prince (Visual Arts teacher)   – 9-117

Ms. Howe (Guidance secretary) – Student Services (1-111)

Ms. Zarini (Foreign language teacher) – 1-105