New Staff Welcomed to Montclair

New Staff Welcomed to Montclair
Posted on 08/27/2019
The Montclair Public Schools welcomed close to 60 new employees to the 2019-20 school year at its annual orientation for new and non-tenured staff on Tues., Aug. 27 at the Furlong Field House.

Before the formal presentations, new staff members greeted each other and took time to get to know each other and reflect on the coming year.

new teachers talk   new teachers pose

Patricia Gaia, a new Kindergarten teacher at Nishuane said she is thrilled to be in Montclair “because I love the diversity here. And I really appreciate the love of the arts, especially at Nishuane.”

Sejal Dave (below left), a third, fourth and fifth grade resource teacher at Northeast said she was “looking forward to a new start, meeting new people and forming relationships with colleagues.” Charles Anderson (below right), a Glenfield Language Arts teacher said he “hopes to make his lessons as relatable, tangible and meaningful as possible to motivate my students to learn.”

new teachers pose

Personnel Manager Yesenia Budhu-Howell opened the morning telling the new hires, “I’m so happy and so excited that you chose Montclair and I hope you are as excited.” She continued, “I met many of you at our Diversity Fair and through the interview process and you all showed me how much you really want to be here.”

Thomas Santagato, Director of Pupil Services, took a few moments to talk about special education. “Special education students are all of our students. They are the most vulnerable and need all of our help,” he said. “Teach them every day – in the classroom, in the hallways, on the playground – just as you would your general education students. Be proud to work with all students.”

new staff gathered

Board of Education Vice President Latifah Jannah acknowledged that “this is a year of change and a busy year for all of us. This room reflects what I see in Montclair,” she said. “I’m so happy to see such diverse new staff. Focus on what is best for students and families I look forward to hearing all of the amazing things you’re going to do this year in your classrooms.”

Dr. Joseph Putrino, Renaissance Middle School principal and President of the Montclair Principals Association had some words of wisdom to impart. “Believe in yourself. Whether your are a first year teacher or an experienced one, the first day of school is scary because it brings change. Walk in believing you are the right person for the job and you are going to make a difference,” he said. “Form meaningful relationships with your students, establish trust, keep them engaged and make every moment count.”

administrators talking
From left: Dr. Joseph Putrino, Glenfield art teacher Catherine Kondrek and Yesenia Budhu-Howell share thoughts about the upcoming school year.

Additionally, Petal Robertson, President of the Montclair Education Association along with other members, welcomed the new staff and discussed the MEA’s services. To further acquaint and prepare staff with the district, Central Office representatives including Personnel Secretary for Pensions and Benefits, Ginger Mulhern, Business Administrator Emidio D’Andrea, Payroll Supervisor Beth Borowski, Technology Director Christopher Graber, District Mental Health/HIB Coordinator Andrew Evangelista and District Restorative Justice Leader Gayl Shepard discussed the roles and responsibilities of their respective departments.

Day two of the orientation featured a presentation by the Department of Equity, Curriculum and Instruction. The Department supports the district’s mission of “creating a culture of learning and continuous improvement that provides every child with a high quality, creative, innovative and challenging education, through a magnet system of integrated schools in which every school represents a strong, diverse and vibrant community of learners.” The presentation focused on “Leading with Equity,” which provided background and instruction for ensuring fairness among all students through educational models, programs and strategies designed to eliminate educational barriers. Teachers were reminded that “everyone can achieve success given the right supports and opportunities,” and learned how to plan for transformational lessons, ensure equitable grading practices and create student growth objectives. 

To cap off the second day, the new staff members were treated to a brief tour of Montclair, which was enjoyed by all.  
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