Saline's New Teachers Introduce Themselves to the Board of Education

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 09/10/2019 - 14:36

A recent Saline Area Schools Board of Education meeting provided a great opportunity to see an incredible number of new teaching faces all in one place.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Curt Ellis called up the new teaching hires, many of them just starting out in their careers, to the center aisle of the board's meeting space in the Liberty media center.

"We introduced our new staff earlier in the day with a Brady Bunch video ... many of them in the room when we recorded the video had no idea what the Brady Bunch was," Ellis joked to much good-hearted laughter and applause. 

While the joking was in good fun, Superintendent Scot Graden stated the obvious with the full gravitas of such a moment.

"These teachers are literally the future of the Saline schools," he said, to more applause.

Below are the introductions given by the 22 new teaching staff who attended the meeting:

  • My name is Laura Vaccaro, I am teaching fourth grade at Heritage this year and I a graduated in December from Central Michigan University.
  • My name is Claire Burnette. I'm a resource room teacher at the high school and I graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 and just finished an internship at Pleasant Ridge.
  • My name is Barry Burnette, no relation, I'm also a resource room teacher at Heritage. I'm also a Hornet, Saline alum 06, and I do know the Brady Bunch and Spongebob.
  • Hi I'm Mike Sherman. I'm teaching the innovation lab at Harvest. I went to Eastern, have a Master's degree from Marygrove, and spent the last four years teaching in Belleville at Rossvillle Elementary.
  • Hi, my name is Erin Gregoire. I am teaching fourth grade at Heritage and I just finished my master's at U of M in May. 
  • Hello my name is Brooke Johnson. I'm teaching fifth grade at Heritage and I just graduated from Central in Maine. 
  • Hello my name is Gina Panzica. I graduated from Saline in 2012. I am the family consumer science teacher over at the Saline High School and I have taught two years over in Portage, for two years. That didn't go very well.
  • Hi I'm Shannon Sweet. I will be teaching third grade at Woodland Meadows. I am not a stranger to Saline, I am a graduate of Saline High School 1995, so I know full well who the Brady Bunch are, and before teaching I was also a para-educator for just under five years at Woodland Meadows as well, and I graduated from EMU.
  • I'm Amanda Bohle, and I will be at Harvest, or I am at Harvest ... I guess now. I am MCSS Coordinator. I taught first grade for 10 years on the west side of Michigan, from which my family and I just moved to the area. I have a master's in reading and I did one year as a reading specialist, so similar role as to MCSS.
  • Hi I'm Liz Bueller and I'm teaching kindergarten at Pleasant Ridge and I just noticed I have some of the kids snack on my shoulder ... so it's been a good first full day. I've been teaching kindergarten for the past five years in New York City in Brooklyn and I also taught second grade there for two years and I taught in Perrysburg Ohio for one year, and I went to Tennyson University but I majored in French and Psychology and got my masters in education at Teacher's College.
  • Hello my name is Alissa Amell, and I am the new music teacher at Pleasant Ridge Elementary, and I just graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April.
  • Hi my name is Sarah Wiest, I'm going to be one of the english teachers at the High School. I just finished up my masters at the University of Michigan, before that I taught for three years, also in New York City, also in Brooklyn. And prior to that I got my undergraduate at Princeton University.
  • Hi I'm Sam Hotop, I'm the athletic coordinator at the high school. I graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 2013 and I got my masters from the University of Findley and the last three years I was coaching college basketball at the University of Findley and Thompson-Moore University.
  • I am Victoria Drotar, a new science teacher at the high school. This is my tenth year teaching. Previously I was at Ida High School.
  • Hi I'm Cody Whip. I'm teaching art at the middle school and one section at Heritage and I graduated from Michigan State University, and I taught for the last five years in South Dakota.
  • Hi everyone my name is Natalie Coronie. I graduated from Michigan State University in spring of 2018, from there I completed my internship at Holt High School and now I'm happy to be in Saline teaching English at the high school.
  • My name is Wendy Szuminski, I am a 2014 grad from Saline and a 2018 grad from Central Michigan. I teach at Pleasant Ridge, PE, and my arm will be better at the end of the week.
  • I'm Madeline Berry. I'm teaching life skills at the high school. I went to Spring Arbor University. I taught at Blissfield for two years but I was aide there for one year, so I was there for three years. Thank you very much for this opportunity. 
  • Hello my name is Alicia Lovejoy and I teach Young 5's at Woodland Meadows. I completed my masters at University of Michigan last June and I've been teaching first grade elsewhere for the last year.
  • Hello my name is Rocky Palazzolo, I'm going to be teaching health and physical education, well I am teaching, since we started at Saline High School. Previous to that I was at Marysville Public Schools for the past 12 years.
  • I'm Natalie Holbrook, I'm teaching science at the high school. I graduated from Michigan State in 2017. Last year I taught at Ithica High School, and then I decided to move back home. I'm not from Saline like so many of you, but I am from Manchester. Right next door.
  • My name is Katherine Wallevand. I'm teaching kindergarten at Pleasant Ridge, and I just graduated from the University of Michigan.
  • Hi my name is Chelsea Cicero. I am teaching sixth grade this year at the middle school. I graduated from Saint Mary's College at Notre Dame Indiana and then taught in Monroe and in Florida and then moved back up and taught in Ida for two years. So I'm happy to be in Saline.
  • [Megan DeGrand] I'm not new to Saline, I graduated in 2001 and this is my fourteenth year, and I just had the incredible opportunity to grow my class size from 26 to 731 as dean of students at Heritage Elementary and my first two days could not have gone better, thank you Laura for everything.

Sean Dalton's picture
Sean Dalton
Sean Dalton is a veteran of the Washtenaw County journalism scene. He co-founded WeLoveDexter.com and WeLoveAnnArbor.com and also worked for Heritage Newspapers.