By Ely Schosek
SGI Student Reporter
School districts are always hiring new teachers for one reason or another like to fit the needs of a larger student body or specific student needs. This year Springville GI is excited to welcome 11 new teachers to a variety of positions. The areas of Special Education, High School Science, AIS or Academic Intervention Services, 1st grade education, Literacy Education, Speech Services, and ENL or English as a New Language will be receiving these new teachers.
Heather Senn grew up all around Western New York due to her family moving around a lot. Once she reached high school, her family settled in Hamburg where she attended Frontier High School. “I taught at both West Hertel Academy and The Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in the city of Buffalo prior to moving to Ipswich, Mass. in 2014. While living in Eastern Massachusetts, I was a reading specialist at Rockport Middle School in Rockport, Mass. I recently moved back home to the Western New York area where both my husband and I grew up,” Senn stated. This year, she will be teaching AIS or Academic Intervention Services at the middle school. AIS helps students who are having trouble reaching the learning standards in English and mathematics in grades K-12.
“I thought about becoming a teacher from a very young age. My father was a high school social studies teacher before becoming an administrator. I used to love to help him correct papers when I was a kid. I also loved to read growing up and was pretty sure that I wanted to teach English and reading,” Senn said when asked what made her want to become a teacher. She said that she is happy to be back in the area near family, and about becoming part of the SGI community.
“…I am excited about getting to know and work with my students and fellow educators here at the middle school this year.”
Kimberly Jackson grew up Lakeview, N.Y. and will be teaching first grade at Springville Elementary this year. She started her teaching career by teaching preschool for Early Head Start located in The Children’s League here in Springville for 4 years. After that she taught universal pre-k or UPK for CAO Head Start at Blasdell Elementary for three years. Most recently, she taught kindergarten at Southtowns Catholic School in Lakeview for the last year.
Jackson stated, “For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. I have a love of learning, whether it be professional or personal and want to pass that love onto others.”
When asked what she was most excited about Jackson stated, “I am most excited about the relationships I will build with the students, their families and staff members”. “Everyone has been so welcoming!”
Mary Gaffney grew up in the Town of Tonawanda and will be teaching multiple classes in the area of Special Education this year at the middle school. Co-teaching 7th grade English and a guided study hall, along with Resource Room and a 15:1 8th grade English class are all classes she will be teaching. The purpose of a Resource Room is to address Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) goals and others that are more general. IEPs are plans developed for students that are legally disabled to ensure that their education is as specialized for that specific student’s benefit and success as possible. A 15:1 class means that there are 15 students and 1 teacher and is a form of Special Ed.
Gaffney has taught at several different schools over the past 14 years, the last seven of which have been spent teaching for the Buffalo Public Schools at B.U.I.L.D. Academy School #91. “Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher”, she stated. “Making a difference in the lives of young adults and helping them to achieve their goals and aspirations is something I have always been passionate about. One of the things I love most about teaching is when I see a student who has been putting forth such effort into something that is challenging for them and they finally have that moment of understanding,” Gaffney said when explaining why she loves being a teacher.
She continued: “I am most excited to be working with the students at Springville Middle School. All of the students I have met are extremely friendly and really want to learn. This makes me excited to come to work everyday and inspires me to do everything I can to help each of my students become successful.”
Katie Piper grew up in East Aurora and has been hired as a Speech Language Pathologist- Long Term Substitute for this school year. She will be working at Springville Elementary, Middle and High Schools. “I was always interested in Biology and enjoyed working with children,” Piper stated. “I shadowed a few Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) when I was in high school so I could learn about what they do in various settings (hospital, school, private practice).”
When asked why she wanted to become a teacher, she stated, “When I saw the SLP working in a school, I knew that’s what I wanted to do! I had considered being a teacher but at the same time I was fascinated by the experience of helping someone learn to communicate.”
After attending SUNY Geneseo’s graduate program, Piper started her career at Wake County School District in Raleigh, NC. “I moved back to WNY in 2009 to be closer to my family and friends,” she said. “From 2009-August 2018, I worked for Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center. I am entering my 15th year in the field of speech pathology. Throughout my career, I have worked primarily with preschool to adult age.”
Additionally, Piper stated, “I am most excited to get to know many students from the Springville schools. The teachers and students have been extremely welcoming, I am enjoying my first few weeks!”
A good school environment allows students to enjoy attending school. This occurs when there are teachers who really love what they do and these new additions are great examples and are sure to be successful at SGI!