Kimberly Walsh, Ally Street, and Anna Pluff
The 2015-2016 school year at Jamesville-DeWitt High School brought several new teachers, including three social studies teacher: Jordan Berger, John Barlow and Stephanie Rice, and ceramics teacher Mark McIntyre. The process of assimilating into a new school can be a challenge, yet each teacher was up for the new experiences and challenges J-DHS had to offer.
Mr. Berger earned his undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo and then attended Nazareth College for graduate school. Mr. Berger was inspired to become a teacher because of his seventh grade teacher who made his classroom experience innovative and fun. Mr. Berger began his teaching career at Dryden High School, in Ithaca, as a special education teacher, before he transferred to Fayetteville-Manlius High School where he began teaching world and U.S. history. This is Berger’s second year as a social studies teacher. He keeps busy here at J-DHS teaching Regents U.S. History, Psychology, and Economics classes. His impression of J-DHS has been very positive; he was taken in by the sense of community and was impressed how the students take care of each other. He also picked up on how the teachers expect a lot from students and hold them to high standards.
Mr. Berger’s advice to J-DHS students is to “try something new, even if it scares you.” His own high school experience icluded getting involved with the drama club, which provided him with inspiration to try out improv comedy. He also recommends getting involved in a new club or sport, or anything that is outside your comfort zone. Mr. Berger takes his own advice; he has a lot of interests outside of school, like travling. He hopes to travel to areas in Southeast Asia and be inspired by different cultures in order to improve his teaching. Mr. Berger also plays guitar and writes his own music, with a focus on folk rock and blues music..
Ms. Rice recently moved here from Charlotte, N.C. where she worked in a public school for two years and then a private school for two years. Yet, she isn’t new to the Central New York area, since she attended Skaneateles High School where she played lacrosse. Ms. Rice grew up in an environment filled with teachers; her father was a history teacher, her mother was a special ed teacher, then a principal, and now a superintendent. So it is no surprise Ms. Rice followed her passion for history and after she graduated from Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY, and pursued a career in education.
Ms. Rice appreciates the fact that students at J-DHS are well-rounded and involved in a lot of activities. She noticed that J-DHS has a good combination of athletics and academics, and overall student body. She advises her students to “be positive and work hard and listen.” Outside of school she enjoys coaching lacrosse and is the assistant coach for Varsity Girls Lacrosse at J-DHS. Outside of school, Ms. Rice enjoys running and competes in marathons, and loves seeing her family and enjoying the fall season in Upstate NY by doing traditional fall things like apple picking.
After graduating from Le Moyne College in May, Mr. Barlow’s joined the social studies department at J-DH, teaching Regents U.S. History classes part-time. Mr. Barlow always enjoyed school and always imagined teaching. He notes the great faculty and students and school pride at J-DHS. His advice for students this year is to enjoy their experience. He said that, as a student, you only get one chance, so don't wait for this year to end before you want it to start. Sports are a big part of Mr. Barlow’s life; he is interested in coaching football and track though he also enjoys watching sports and going to sporting events.
Despite teaching for 21 years, this is Mr. McIntyre’s first time teaching at a high school level. He previously worked at Tecumseh Elementary and Moses DeWitt Elementary. Working with high school kids has been an adjustment because instead of having to micromanage, high school students are “more focused and take their time and are more self-directed.” Mr. McIntyre enjoys the fact that students can work on their projects long-term instead of having to complete a project every class, as elementary school kids were confined to. Coming into the school year, McIntyre was ecstatic, as it has been his goal to teach at the high school level since he started his career. With that kind of enthusiasm, students can expect a very fulfilling ceramics experience this year. Besides his apparent art interests, Mr. McIntyre enjoys whitewater kayaking, skiing, and snowboarding, stating that he is an “outdoor enthusiast”, and even traveled to Mexico this summer where he received his scuba license.