By Ely Schosek
SGI Student Reporter
Each year, it is common for new teachers to be hired within a school district. They may be filling open positions left empty because of retired teachers or it may be a brand-new position added to accommodate a greater number of students or unique student needs. These new teachers may be continuing their teaching career or just starting out.
Overall, Springville GI welcomes 11 new teachers to the district this school year who come from various backgrounds. Springville Elementary, Middle, and High Schools will be receiving these new staff members, and special education, Academic Intervention Services (AIS), English as a New Language (ENL), Speech Services and First Grade Education are excited to welcome these new educators.
Robert Cain will teach biology at Springville High School. He is taking over for Mrs. Reinhold-Gibson, who retired this past school year. Cain, who grew up in Silver Creek, was Mrs. Reinhold’s student teacher 14 years ago; in a past interview with her, she stated that he was practically her “mini-me.”
When asked what made him decide to become a teacher, he gives credit to his 11th and 12th grade English teacher, Mr. Bilas, whom Cain says left a huge impression on him. He also said he always liked the sciences but didn’t want to work in a lab because of the lack of interaction with others. He has previously taught at an Erie 1 BOCES Youth Detention Center for two years along with an alternative school, also a part of BOCES. Most recently, he taught at Canisius High School for seven years.
Cain looks forward to “being in a school district in which the kids are all from the same community” because at schools where he previously taught, students were from all different areas. Those schools, he says, lacked the “sense of community” that Springville has. He enjoys being able to see his students and other staff members in passing outside of school when he is in Springville.
Lisa Johnson grew up in Hamburg and will teach reading to Tier 2 RTI students.
RTI stands for Response-to-Intervention and is a multiple-tier program that “aims to shift educational resources toward the delivery and evaluation of instruction that works best for students.” Johnson has been teaching for a total of 11 years.
“I started my career at Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo, where I taught kindergarten for six years,” she said. “Then I taught first grade at Southtowns Catholic in Lakeview for four years. I left Southtowns when I had my second child last May. So the last school year I was home taking care of my two kiddos and subbing in the Frontier School District.”
When she was growing up, she said she had wonderful teachers who made her want to become a teacher. Johnson said she “was the kid who always liked to play school and loved going to school.”
Her other passions in life are scuba diving and snorkeling. If she didn’t become a teacher, she was going to go into Marine biology or underwater cinematography.
“I wanted to be able to touch the lives of my students the way my teachers had touched mine. I love learning new things even as I grow and I wanted to be able to instill that love for learning in my students,” Johnson stated.
When asked what she was most excited about, Johnson said, “I am most excited about meeting all my new students and their families here at SES. I have heard wonderful things about the community, and am looking forward to getting to know it better.”
Tim Schosek grew up in Eden and is the district’s newest teacher for English as a New Language (ENL), which was formerly known as English as a Second Language (ESL) until a recent change by the state.
Being an ENL teacher involves “supporting students with English acquisition and making content area knowledge like science, social studies and math more comprehensible and accessible.”
When asked where he has previously taught, Schosek stated, “I started teaching in Arlington, Va., in 1998. After three years there, I moved back to New York and taught with the Jamestown Public School District for a couple of years. Later, I moved to Fredonia Central Schools, where I taught ESL for 11 years. Most recently, I taught at a charter school in the city of Buffalo.”
When asked what made him want to teach, he stated, “I learned that I wanted to be a teacher when I was living in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer. People began to approach me and ask me to teach them English. Once I started doing it, I was hooked. I knew it was what I wanted to do as a career. Plus, I enjoy meeting people from other cultures, so it’s a fun job.”
Schosek, like the majority of all new teachers, is excited to meet his students. He said, “I hope that we have a fun and successful year.”
Michelle Schoeneman grew up in North Buffalo and has been a teacher for 18 years. She currently teaches reading to grades K-5. Over the years, she has taught in New York City; Annapolis, Md.; Austin, Texas; Fontana, Calif., and also in Buffalo Public Schools. When she was in Texas and California, Schoeneman taught a combined history and English class for sixth grade.
“I don’t ever remember a time I didn’t want to teach,” Schoeneman stated. “I feel like it’s what I was meant to do.”
She briefly worked at Fisher Price but soon realized that she couldn’t wait to get back to teaching. Schoeneman also stated that she’s “never been dissatisfied with her job.”
After teaching for nearly 20 years, the thing that excites her the most about being a teacher at SGI is the new P-TECH program (Pathways in Technology Early College High School). She said, “It is a really great thing!”
There are different ways of learning for different kids and the program caters to their interests. This is important for students who maybe do not like school or do not want to go to college. P-TECH is comparable to a trade school, it sets its students up with internships and apprenticeships. “The important thing is being happy,” Schoeneman stated.
The Springville School District offers many unique opportunities for its students to grow and succeed. Many of the teachers that are new to the district this year are very excited to be a part of a community like Springville.