By Anna Pluff
This year at Jamesville-DeWitt High School brought new teachers, Kristin Hardy, Colleen LaTray, Andrea Ninestein, Michael O’Brien, Lauren Patton and Daniel Vinette. Everybody had positive remarks about their experience so far. “Everyone has been very welcoming including the students and especially the staff,” said Ms. Hardy who teaches English. “It has been great so far because I have many amazing students in my classes,” said Ms. Latray. Ms. Latray replaced the retired Amy Quinn, and said she has big shoes to fill as the new biology teacher, and she hope she can rise to the occasion. Global teacher Ms. Patton enjoys seeing her former students. “I like to throw them off a little bit because they don’t know I’m here,” she says with a laugh.
Although they are new here, they are not new to teaching. Before teaching at J-DHS, Mr. Vinette, who now teaches technology, student taught Automotive Technology at East Syracuse Minoa High School and taught at Baldwinsville’s Ray Middle School. Ms. Hardy filled in for an English teacher who was on leave at J-D Middle School. “Before I worked at J-D, my first seven years of teaching were all at high school level down in Tully, NY,” said Spanish teacher Mr. O’Brien; “I have been teaching for 14 years.” Mr. O’Brien, along with Ms. Patton, and math teacher, Ms. Ninestein, have all previously taught down at J-DMS.
All the teachers drew from different interests or inspirations that set them on the path to education. Ms. Hardy drew inspiration from her high school English teachers. “When I learned from them and experienced their classes, I knew I wanted to be an English teacher,” she said. Mr. Vinette loves teaching because he said he thrived when he was helping other students at his high school, especially during their technology classes. Through many great technology educators, he discovered that he wanted to become a technology education teacher. Since second grade, Ms. Patton knew she wanted to be a teacher. “I also had great teachers who continued that inspiration,” she said. It was Ms. Ninestein’s high school math teacher who led her to a career in education. “I liked the way she explained things,” she said. Mr. O’Brien drew inspiration from his parents, who were both educators. Once he was in college, he realized that he realized that he wanted to become a teacher as well. Ms. LaTray started off working in the business world, but she said, she “wanted something a little more rewarding,” so she used her strong roots in science to obtain a major in biology and chemistry. Then, because she loved working with people, she decided to become a teacher.
The new teachers also offered advice for their students this year. “Be willing to take risks and have fun!” said Mr. O’Brien. “Keep up with your homework and come and see me if you have any questions or need help and you should be good to go.” said Ms. Ninestein. Ms. LaTray even shares her secrets to success on first day of school: “Pay attention, engage yourself, do your homework, spend time studying, know my door is always open, and most importantly, have fun!” Ms. Hardy added, “really listen to what I say in the beginning of class, take good notes, always, always, always do your homework and the more focused you are, the better chance you have of doing well in my class.” Mr. Vinette noted that it was important to be sure to read all directions and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “I’m here to help my students get the most out of their education and even having the simplest questions answered can make a big difference.”