Welcome New Staff and Faculty (Fall 2013)

Sturgis Welcomes New Faculty

Sturgis Welcomes New Faculty

Sturgis welcomes 21 new staff and faculty members for 2013-14. Some of the new faculty members join us after teaching internationally at schools in China, Colombia, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Saipan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Spain.

Christina Alvarez, Spanish – East

Christina Alvarez with her students during the San Isidro Festival.

Christina Alvarez with her students during the San Isidro Festival.

Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, I graduated Wellesley College in 2008 with a Spanish and American Studies double major. After studying and interning in Córdoba, Spain during my junior year, I knew that I wanted to go back to Spain after graduation. So I packed up two suitcases and moved to Madrid in September of 2008 to teach English at a bilingual primary school, where I worked for two years.

During my third year in Madrid, I completed a master’s degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education at the Universidad de Alcalá, while teaching at Gredos San Diego, a teaching cooperative in the Community of Madrid. After completing my master’s, I was offered a job at a public relations firm, where our main client was the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. I worked alongside the Director and Social Media coordinator on social media strategies, press releases, and event planning for our clients. This opportunity allowed me to completely immerse myself in the language and gain experience in a different sector.

I started teaching pre-IB and IB Spanish at Sturgis in January of 2013. The international climate at Sturgis has made my transition back to the US a lot easier. My colleagues have helped me with the reverse culture shock and my students have been amazing. This school year, I am also assisting Marion Weeks, Community Outreach Coordinator, developing the school’s social media presence and helping with development.

Ellen Boucher, Counselor—West

Ellen Boucher  at Mt Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

Ellen Boucher at Mt Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

I am a native New Englander and love all it has to offer.  I am thrilled to be living on the Cape and honored to be working as a counselor at Sturgis.  I spent the last three years working at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia.  While the work experience was outstanding and the travel in Southeast Asia incredible, I am happy to be returning to a more peaceful and active lifestyle.

Marjorie Chaprales, Administrative Assistant—West

Marjorie and Penny Chaprales

Marjorie and Penny Chaprales

I am joining Sturgis West as an Administrative Assistant.  I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree from Bay Path College in Longmeadow, MA.  I previously worked in a for-profit education company coordinating their home tutoring division.  But, for the last year or so, I have been a full time Mom.  Besides spending time with my daughter and husband, I love reading and watching anything historical and playing volleyball.  My husband is a Sturgis Alum (’04) and I have heard only great things about his experience.  I am excited to be coming back to work at such a great school and awesome atmosphere!

Marca Daley, Theory of Knowledge—East

Marca Daley

Marca Daley

In some ways, I feel I have come full circle this year.  I was born and raised on the Cape, but spent almost forty years living and teaching in Athens, Greece.   Most of my teaching career was at the American Community Schools of Athens, a school with an American Curriculum and an International student body.

While at ACS Athens, I had the opportunity to wear many hats: as a teacher of English, Music, Social Studies, Theory of Knowledge, Speech and Drama in the middle and high schools;  and administrative positions as IB Coordinator, Assistant Principal, and Director of Student Life.   Now I am back:  living in Eastham, teaching Theory of Knowledge here at Sturgis, and loving every minute of being back on the Cape and in a new educational home.

Thomas DiBrita—Math— West—Porter-Gaud School, Charleston, South Carolina

Jeffrey Hansen, Spanish—East

Jeff Hansen, Guitarist on the Roof in Boqueron, Puerto Rico

Jeff Hansen, Guitarist on the Roof in Boqueron, Puerto Rico

I was extremely delighted to see a job possibility posted in the Cape Cod Times for a part-time Spanish teacher as I had been phasing out of my computer programming world for a few years now after having left teaching a score and some years ago (was that Lincoln or Stills?).  A Long Island, NY, lad, but always a suffering Red Sox fan, I found my way to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Va. where I became enchanted by language studies from Spanish and German to linguistic theories by Noam Chomsky.  After a summer abroad at the Universidad de Salamanca and then graduate studies at The University of New Mexico I thought myself well on my way to teaching languages.  I did so for 6 years at Newton South High School and those were wonderful professional years.  Unfortunately, Reagonomics came along and I could see the writing on the wall for those in the social services. I jumped into the high tech world and became a programmer working at the Department of Public Health and then Harvard School of Public Health. Those were curious and lucrative years, but had always missed my students and the camaraderie of my colleagues.  Language and music is the salsa on my world taco and I am so happy to be back in the magical madness of kids and education and all the rich minds and support of the Sturgis community.  Thank you for this opportunity!

Deborah Hempel, Guidance CounselorEast

Deb Hempel

Deb Hempel

I grew up in the Boston area and attended the University of Massachusetts at Lowell where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English.  I later enrolled at Northeastern University where I completed a Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel Work and Counseling.  I worked in the financial aid office at Northeastern University while attending school and went on to work as Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Wentworth Institute of Technology and then Lesley University.  I left Lesley University after my second child was born and took eight years off from employment to raise my three children. Five years ago I returned to work at Cape Cod Community College as the Dual Enrollment Coordinator.  I provided guidance and advising for high school students from all over the Cape who were taking classes at CCCC while still in high school.  I also worked in the financial aid office at CCCC.  Last year I completed a guidance counselor internship at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School.

I have lived on Cape Cod for almost 12 years with my husband, Doug, and our three children.  Doug grew up on Cape Cod, so when he was offered a job on the South Shore, it was an easy decision to relocate from north of Boston.  I am also a Sturgis parent – my oldest child is a student at Sturgis West.  When not spending time with my busy family, I enjoy sewing, knitting, gardening, and my newest hobby of beekeeping.

Matt Hodge—Theory of Knowledge/English— West—American International School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Darcy Hood, English—East

Darcy Hood and Family

Darcy Hood and Family

Living and working on Cape Cod is a sort of “coming home” for me.  I was raised in Waltham, lived in Harvard (the town) for ten years but spent the last 15 years in Great Falls, Virginia.  My husband, Michael, and I have four children ~ Nicole (30 years old), Eryn (25), Molly (23) and Robert (21, a Junior at UNC Greensboro), as well as one grandchild, Owen (6) and one more on the way!  We spent every summer of the past 25 years vacationing in Brewster – Crosby Landing Beach is my little slice of heaven!

While living in Virginia, I attended George Mason University, receiving my BA in English, with a minor in African American Studies.  I continued at George Mason for my graduate work and began teaching in 2006.  I began my career as an 8th grade English teacher at an MYP (Middle Years Program) middle school in Fairfax County, Virginia.  Poe Middle School is a priority school whose student body included more than 50% qualifying for free or reduced lunch and well over 50% in the English as a Second Language Program.  In spite of all of these challenges, every student was part of the MYP program and many went on to the full IB program in high school.

For the two years before I came to Sturgis, I taught IB English at the high school level, also in Fairfax County.  I am looking forward to a continuing my career here and plan to enjoy as many beach sunsets as possible – I have missed the ocean!

Michele Mapes—Math— West—Pope John Paul II, Hyannis

Sarah Martinez, Special Ed – West

Sarah Martinez

Sarah Martinez

As a Cape Codder, I am so excited to join the Special Education Department at Sturgis East. I graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and studied biology at UMass Boston where I also worked as a peer tutor in Algebra and Calculus. Although I will be working primarily as a one-on-one Math tutor, for the past seven years I have worked as a Researcher for the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Wellfleet. I received my Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from UMass Amherst in 2012 as I explored the spatial ecology of horseshoe crabs in Chatham for my thesis. I enjoy beachcombing, sailing and long runs.

Colin McDonald, EnglishEast

Colin McDonald with his class in Korea

Colin McDonald with his class in Korea

I am joining Sturgis East as a 10th grade English teacher. I am a graduate of Nauset High School and have lived on Cape Cod the majority of my life. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I went on to teach a year in Buk Busan, South Korea. The time I spent there really shaped my thoughts on developing the potential I had as a teacher. Since then, I have returned to my home peninsula and am actively pursuing my career as an educator. I realize what an honor it is to have been selected to teach with such incredible staff and students. I hope to grow along with this school and become a better, more involved figure in our community.

Christine McDowell, Theory of Knowledge/Wellness/Special Education—West

Christine McDowell with Students in China

Christine McDowell with Students in China

I grew up in western Massachusetts and used to spend my summers working at my parents’ restaurant in Dennisport so I’m very happy to be able to return to the Cape!  My former experiences include teaching in South Korea, Brooklyn, NY, and most recently in Chongqing, China as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  I’m joining the faculty at Sturgis West and am teaching TOK and wellness in addition to working with the special education department.

Judd Melón, Spanish – East

Judd Melon

Judd Melon – Alhambra – Granada, Spain

Judd was born and raised in Massachusetts but spent much time in his family’s ancestral city of León. His interests in language began at home, where his Spanish-born father mixed English with Spanish and French. After high school, Judd pursued literary studies through Middlebury College, where he earned a B.A. in Spanish and French and studied in Madrid. He also worked for 3 years as a bilingual liaison at Middlebury’s Spanish School and earned a M.A. in Hispanic Literature and Culture at Boston College. Judd recently completed the coursework for a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature at Purdue University and will defend his dissertation this year. He is extremely excited to segue from his past 6 years teaching college Spanish to preparing Sturgis students to become global citizens and to chart fulfilling and productive futures. In his free time, Judd loves spending time with his wife, Laverne, and their dog, Tera.

Katie O’Hara, Special Education Teacher—West

Katie O'Hara

Katie O’Hara

Before walking through the doors of Sturgis West, I had done my fair share of exploring, teaching and learning.  Upon earning my BA in History from Rosemont College, I determined that other than becoming an archivist or a teacher/professor, my options as a History buff were limited.  So I decided to join Teach for America.  While earning my stripes as a TFA corps member, I earned my MS Ed. from Saint Joseph’s University.  After two years of teaching US History and English, I left the Philly cheese steaks behind for lobster rolls and an ocean breeze and returned to the sandy shores of Cape Cod.  It was then that I fell in love with Special Education. I have been a Special Education teacher for over three years and I am immensely excited to be a member of the Special Education Department at Sturgis West!

When I am not busy teaching, you can find me travelling (India is next on the list), reading, cooking, hiking, biking, kayaking, and enjoying all that the ocean has to offer.

Ilan Vaisman, Spanish—West

Ilan Vaisman

Ilan Vaisman

I was born and raised in Cali “salsa capital of the world” Colombia. I can’t really dance.

For a good number of years I lived in Israel, and after finishing high school there I moved to New York City. I received my BA in economics and languages from NYU, and proceeded to accept a teaching position in Spain after graduation. I spent 4 happy years in Madrid, teaching ESL in a linguistic immersion program. While there, I also completed an MA in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from Universidad de Alcalá de Henares.

When I grew tired of jamón, I knew it was time to come back. I accepted a position at Sturgis. So far, so good! But winter is coming…

Lindsey Weaver, Math—East

Lindsey Weaver with Volleyball Team

Lindsey Weaver with Volleyball Team

“I am very excited to be living on charming Cape Cod after living in the bustling city of Tokyo. I most recently worked within the Math and Special Education department at The American School in Japan, where I also coached a variety of sports. I am originally from the Midwest, where I earned my undergraduate degree at Luther College in Decorah, IA. I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, rollerblading, and scuba diving. I feel so lucky to be in as beautiful of a place as Sturgis! My colleagues, students, and athletes have been incredibly warm and welcoming, and I feel so grateful to be working with them.”

Emily Williams, English – East

Emily Williams with Students in Saipan

Emily Williams with Students in Saipan

Hello! I am delighted and honored to join the vibrant Sturgis community and look forward to getting to know all of you who make Sturgis the remarkable school that it is. I have three years of experience teaching high school English on the island of Saipan (a 12-mile by 6-mile U.S. territory in Micronesia), and although I fear the inevitability of freezing cold winters, I am pleased to have finally returned to my home state of Massachusetts!

Prior to Saipan, I taught in Minnesota where I also attended St. Olaf College and majored in English and education. As a travel enthusiast, I enjoy exploring new corners of the world (most recently Thailand, Scotland and Ireland) and immersing myself in cultures distinct from my own. Since moving to the Cape, which feels like a booming metropolis compared to Saipan, I have delighted in attending plays, hiking, playing tennis, reading and reviving a yoga practice.

Robert Wojtowicz, English – East and Jolanda Ferguson, English/Special Ed Inclusion – West

Bob Wojtowicz, Jolanda Ferguson and Family

Bob Wojtowicz, Jolanda Ferguson and Family

Jolanda and I are excited to start a new chapter of our lives here at Sturgis.  We had recently been in Colombia where I taught at a British day school in Bogota, and Jolanda taught at both my school and at a bilingual school just north of the city.  Our twin sons, Graeme and Ian, who are twelve, will be starting at the Barnstable Intermediate School.  Prior to our experience in Bogota, I taught at boarding schools in Maryland and New Hampshire and had started my teaching career teaching English with the Peace Corps in Poland where I met Jolanda.  A native of Massachusetts, Jolanda also taught and worked at a boarding school just north of San Francisco before her Peace Corps experience.  She also taught at the same school where I taught in New Hampshire but took time off after the birth of our sons and home schooled them prior to our tenure in Colombia.  We are looking forward to working with everyone as well as to experiencing all that the Cape has to offer.

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