New faces at Region One schools
Despite the uncertainties of the coming school year, the Region One School District has announced 20 new hires and transfers of teachers from one school to another. The commentary for each of the teachers and administrators was provided by the Region One Central Office.
English Language Arts
Grades 5-8, Cornwall
Zachary Hebert is thrilled to join Cornwall Consolidated School after two years teaching seventh and eighth grade at Mansfield Middle School. He is a lifelong learner who holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in Teaching Creative Writing, and is nearing completion of a second master’s in education. He is a world traveler who has lived and taught in multiple countries, most recently South Korea, where he spent seven years teaching English. He is a father of two who loves to learn and explore, especially when food is involved.
Jennifer Hill is thrilled to return to Region One after teaching in Hartford for two years as a member of the Connecticut Teach For America organization. She is a lifelong learner taking courses through the master’s level while working full-time and raising a family. Jennifer is a parent of three former Region One students and a former paraprofessional at Salisbury Central School. She has experience with struggling to read as a child and supporting a struggling reader as a parent. She looks forward to giving back by supporting students in learning to read with joy and confidence. When not teaching, Jennifer enjoys reading, crafting, gardening, playing with her grandchildren, and exploring new destinations with her husband whenever possible.
Brittany is excited to be joining the Cornwall community as a school counselor this fall.
Brittany earned her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and has always been dedicated to supporting those around her, building connections and strengthening communities. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from Western Connecticut State University this past spring.
She approaches counseling with kindness, optimism and humor, acknowledging student challenges while building on their strengths. Brittany recognizes the importance of communication and collaboration and takes a holistic approach to child development.
When she isn’t working, Brittany spends her time with her two beautiful children, family and close friends.
Brittany spent a decade in Copenhagen, Denmark, and enjoys yoga and mindfulness, decorating, authentic conversation, an excellently delivered pun (the worse the better!) and spending time in the sun and by the water. She is truly looking forward to meeting everyone at Cornwall Consolidated and joining a community of supportive and nurturing professionals.
Mary Kay Ravenola
Mary Kay Ravenola is honored to have been chosen to lead Cornwall Consolidated School and excited to join such a dynamic learning environment. Mary Kay graduated from Elms College in Massachusetts with a degree in Elementary Education, then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Consulting/Teaching Reading from Westfield State College. She earned her 6th Year Degree, Educational Leadership, from Central Connecticut State University. She has taught grades 1-8, been a reading teacher and language arts curriculum coordinator, an Instructional Specialist and most recently a principal at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School in Windsor, Conn., for the past 8 years. Mary Kay loves to learn and share that love with others. She is looking forward to the work and learning that will help Cornwall Consolidated School continue to grow, and provide the best learning environment for our children. Mary Kay and her husband, Frank, just moved to Goshen, where they are enjoying exploring the beautiful Northwest Corner of the state.
Regional High School
Patricia Vanicky brings to the HVRHS Art Department a tremendous amount of energy and a broad range of experiences in art education and public service. She has previously taught art in the Naugatuck public school system. She also developed dynamic after-school programs at Cornwall Consolidated School and North Canaan Elementary School.
Prior to that, she taught art at a high school in Belem, Brazil. It is worth noting that Belem is the largest city in northern Brazil. For several years, Mrs. Vanicky worked as a federal police officer in Belem, focusing on community outreach and relationship building. After receiving a BA in Art and Art Education from Amazon University in Brazil, she continued her studies at Northwestern Connecticut Community College and Central Connecticut State University.
Patricia also enhances the HVRHS faculty with her rich background in languages. She speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish. Patricia is a resident of Region One. Her two sons and stepdaughter are alums of HVRHS.
English Language Arts
Lee H. Kellogg School
Christine Dascanio is thrilled to join the Lee H. Kellogg School this year as an ELA Teacher. Christine is joining us from Norwich Public Schools, where she taught grades 4-8. During her time in Norwich she was greatly committed to closing the achievement gap and teaching students how to advocate for themselves. She hopes to share her commitment to social justice with her students at Kellogg. Christine holds a BA in English from Eastern Connecticut State University and an M.Ed in Elementary Education from University of New Haven.
When not teaching, Christine loves to write poetry, see live music and constantly rearrange her furniture.
Lee H. Kellogg School
Eliza Paolucci is excited to begin her career as a teacher of social studies at Lee Kellogg.
Eliza received a BA in history from Cornell University, an MLA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Education from the University of Bridgeport.
She is a native New Yorker who has also lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, before moving to Litchfield County to raise her children.
Eliza is active in environmental issues in her town, is a member of NOFA, had a garlic farm for a spell, and helped build an edible garden at her children’s school.
She has sailed along the Atlantic coast and in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.
Eliza plans to teach the layered complexities of our past and present, looking through many lenses at the multisided aspects of events, decisions and personalities.
She is grateful to her predecessor, Amy Lake, for handing down a wonderful wide range of experiential lessons and materials.
Kent Center School
Elizabeth Bernard is excited to be returning to Kent Center School after teaching in Salisbury for the past six years. Elizabeth grew up in Kent, attending KCS and HVRHS. She has a BS in elementary education from Western Connecticut State University and an MA in special education from the University of Saint Joseph. Elizabeth lives in Goshen with her husband and daughter.
In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys taking walks with her family, listening to true crime podcasts and baking.
Kent Center School
Jennifer Moros is the newest addition to the Kent Center School music staff. She holds undergraduate degrees in Music Education and Theater Arts, a Masters of Music Education, and a graduate certificate in Arts Administration. A lifelong learner, Jennifer is a level one Google Certified Educator, an Apple Certified educator, and also works in social media and marketing for schools, churches and camps. She is a member of NAfME, previously holding leadership positions in both CMEA and MMEA. In her free time, Jennifer participates in regional orchestras, choirs and theater groups; and she hikes and skis. She does this without the aid of caffeine, and is a general ball of never ending energy.
Lisa’s career has spanned from Early Childhood Special Education through primary grades, in both public and private schools. She has also been an International Baccalaureate Coordinator and taught students identified as being dyslexic in grades 1-12.
Finally able to reside in Salisbury, Lisa is an active community member.
She has worked as both a daily and long-term substitute in Region One, and is happy to call NCES her new home. Lisa looks forward to being a productive faculty member and sharing her knowledge with teachers while guiding students through their educational journeys.
Science, Grades 7-8
Sarah Braun is excited to be starting her first year as the middle school science teacher at North Canaan Elementary School. Sarah is passionate about teaching science and holds a BS in Biology from Trinity College and a PhD in Entomology with a minor in Plant Pathology from Cornell University. She believes that all students should learn in an interactive environment that provides them with important skills to support their cognitive, social and emotional development.
Besides teaching, Sarah enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time outdoors.
Long-term substitute, ELA Teacher, Grades 7-8
Elise Cook is excited to join everyone at North Canaan Elementary School this year as a long-term substitute teacher for grade 7 and 8 English. Elise was born in Illinois and attended college at Bradley University, majoring in English and Spanish, but it wasn’t until she moved to Iowa that she began her teaching career. There, she got her MA in English and MA-T in Secondary English Education and taught for five years before coming to Connecticut. She has successfully completed six long-term sub appointments, and just finished off two years teaching English at Guilford High School. Elise is a lifelong learner who’s always looking for books to read and ideas to share, and she can’t wait to bring that enthusiasm with her to North Canaan Elementary as a substitute teacher. When Elise is not at school, she is likely crocheting or watching movies with her husband and cat.
One-year Position: Grade 3
North Canaan Elementary School
Jeff Durkin is excited to begin teaching third grade at North Canaan Elementary School after a year as a Building Substitute at Batcheller School in Winchester. Jeff is a lifelong learner with a BA in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MA in Elementary Education from Fairfield University. He has been helping children achieve success even before working in public schools, first as an Eagle Scout and then as an English teacher in Japan. He looks forward to learning more about his students and finding ways to make lessons exciting and fun. When he is not teaching Jeff enjoys hiking, camping and spending time with his two dogs.
Middle School Mathematics
Kate Earley is thrilled to join the family at North Canaan Elementary School as the middle school math teacher. Kate is coming from a position as a math and science middle school teacher in the Greater Waterbury area. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a BS in psychology. She then earned a master’s in education from the University of Bridgeport. Kate was the president of Psi Chi honor society during her undergrad years, and was co-president of the Connecticut Education Association at UB.
When Kate isn’t teaching or planning she is a lover of the outdoors, especially in the warmer months. She spends her summers traveling the U.S. in a conversion van, focusing heavily on hitting the national parks.
In her downtime, Kate enjoys exploring second-hand bookstores, watching sports or relaxing with her pets.
Grades 5-6 Mathematics
Katherine Hunt,21, graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a double major in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies, with a mathematics concentration. In her spare time she enjoys arts and crafts (especially painting) and reading. She also enjoys traveling. She loves working with students and children because they provide a new prospective on the world and have many great ideas to share.
Jennifer LaCoss is excited to be a reading teacher at North Canaan Elementary School. She feels so lucky to have been a teacher for many years across a variety of amazing experiences. She has been a computer/STEM teacher, classroom teacher, math specialist, reading specialist and reading coach. These experiences have made her grow as a teacher and allowed her to understand all the different ways students learn and achieve. She has attended many workshops and training throughout the years, which have helped her develop her teaching skills. Jennifer has an undergrad degree in elementary education from SCSU, a master’s in reading from SCSU, and a master’s in educational media from CCSU.
She loves exploring nature, hiking, computing and traveling with her family. She takes great pride in helping others and finding solutions. Her favorite places to visit are the library and the beach. She enjoys teaching and making a difference in a child’s life more than anything.
Sarah is excited to join the North Canaan Elementary School and looks forward to helping all students develop a robust appreciation for math. She comes to us after years teaching math at the Kildonan School in Amenia, and at the Poughkeepsie Day School. Sarah studied Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston but realized education was in her future and earned a Master’s in Education from American International College in Springfield. She has enjoyed working with diverse learners, implementing fun into the classroom and believing in all students’ potential for success. When not teaching, she can be found outside gardening and staying active: biking, paddle boarding, practicing yoga, and snowboarding in the winter. Make sure to ask Sarah about her cats as she is always interested in conversations about felines.
Teacher, Grades 9-12
Michelle Decker’s learning environment promotes success inside of the classroom and in life. She is committed to educating students, families and community through establishing strong connections. Decker was inspired by her third-grade teacher to pursue teaching, and she implements the same welcoming atmosphere in her classroom. She has been a part of the Region One team since 2011, when she started her career as a paraprofessional.
Decker holds an MS in Special Education, CCSU (2011), a BS in Elementary Education, WCSU (2009), and an AS in Early Childhood Education, Northwestern Connecticut Community College (2006). She is also the coordinator for the Region One Special Olympics.
She enjoys photography, helping others and spending time with her husband, children and golden retriever.
Salisbury Central School
Before joining the teaching team at SCS, Sarah worked at Salisbury Central as a paraprofessional. She studied at Bank Street College of Education in New York City to earn a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. While living in New York, Sarah taught as a first-grade teacher. She grew up on a dairy farm in the Northwest Corner and moved back to the farm 5 years ago to raise her family.
One-year Position: Grade 3
Salisbury Central School
Liz Houck grew up the third of four children and a typical city kid in Far Rockaway, N.Y. After high school, she earned an Associate’s Degree from Nassau Community College, and a BA in psychology from Adelphi University before the arrival of her first daughter.
After moving to Kent, Liz served as a paraprofessional in Region One while raising her three children, and recently went back to school for her master’s in elementary education from Grand Canyon University. She is delighted to be returning to Salisbury Central as a classroom teacher.