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New teachers in a (kind of) new school

New+AP+Biology+and+Anatomy+and+Physiology+teacher%2C+Deborah+Swantek%2C+settles+into+her+new+room+on+the+third+floor+with+all+her+biology+and+anatomy+models+and+posters.
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New teachers in a (kind of) new school

New AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Deborah Swantek, settles into her new room on the third floor with all her biology and anatomy models and posters.

New AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Deborah Swantek, settles into her new room on the third floor with all her biology and anatomy models and posters.

Maryann Xue

New AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Deborah Swantek, settles into her new room on the third floor with all her biology and anatomy models and posters.

Maryann Xue

Maryann Xue

New AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Deborah Swantek, settles into her new room on the third floor with all her biology and anatomy models and posters.

Daniel Nam and Maryann Xue, Managing Editors

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A former dancer and a lover of the outdoors, AP and Active Physics teacher Elward Crianza hopes to work with the other teachers to provide the best teaching experience for his students.

Crianza taught at Nandua HS, which is in Onley, VA, for the past seven years also teaching physics, but he came to WS as he was looking forward to the new community and opportunity to interact with new people and students.

However, Crianza is not just a physics teacher. Over the summer, he works with a non-profit organization to help build robots and rockets and tour NASA. Crianza also loves the outdoors, loves to go on hikes, and ride on his mountain bike.

“I like making rockets explode,” said Crianza. “But I don’t think the school would allow that.”

Crianza isn’t the only new teacher at WS. After teaching math at Edison HS for three years, Ashley Ferraro comes to WS as a former student and graduate. Ferraro was excited to come and teach in a place she was accustomed to.

Ferraro has been most surprised by the students at WS: their commitment to the class and their interactions with other students and the teachers.

“Students at [WS] have a drive to learn the most difficult concepts,” Ferraro said. “It’s not just about getting a good grade and finishing the class, it’s about knowledge and growth.”

Not only does Ferraro teach math, she also loves to teach and work out at BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT to stay fit and healthy.

“I use all of my exercising to pay off for all the baking I do,” Ferraro said. “I love to bake cakes, cookies, and basically any pastry.”

The biology department also gained a new member this year. The AP Biology and Anatomy room is now home to a variety of giraffe plushies, new teacher Deborah Swantek’s favorite animal for a very valid reason: they’re tall, and she’s tall.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Swantek studied at Stony Brook University, and it was during her time mentoring high school students there that she realized her desire to become a teacher. Her love for biology, however, can be traced back to a genetics laboratory visit during her own high school AP Biology class.

Swantek taught at Chantilly High School for ten years before coming to WS. As someone who lives in West Springfield, she wanted a shorter commute to school and wanted to have time to go to her students’ games and theater productions after school.

“I want to be able to have that community connection with school because when I taught at Chantilly, I would try to leave as soon as I could because I would sit in so much traffic trying to get home,” Swantek said.

For Swantek, the biggest challenge in coming to WS is having to teach a new course. While she previously taught Honors Biology, this is her first year teaching the AP course.

“It’s hard work teaching a new course, but I’m also re-exploring why I really loved biology in the first place,” said Swantek.

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New teachers in a (kind of) new school