Home » Lakeville Journal Regional » Welcome to the new teachers

Welcome to the new teachers

The school year began, in person, at the seven schools of the Region One School District on Monday, Aug. 30. Several new hires and changes of position for the schools were announced last week.
We welcome the new teachers and staff to the region!


Rachel Novak

Housatonic Valley
Regional High School

Social Worker

Rachel Novak is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and a state-endorsed school social worker. She holds her Master’s Degree of Social Work, with clinical concentration, from Fordham University and her Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Saint Joseph. She comes to us from the Farmington School District, where she was an Interim School Social Worker and worked as a paraprofessional for three years.

Rachel has a passion for Social Emotional Learning, and is versed in Zones of Regulation and RULER curriculum. She believes that social emotional learning is essential for a well-rounded student and is excited to work with the students and staff of Region One. 

As a native to the area, in her spare time Rachel enjoys spending time outdoors by hiking, paddleboarding and kayaking. She is also an avid traveler, and takes advantage of school breaks in order to travel as much as possible!

Salary: $52,334


Lauren Montagna 

Lee H. Kellogg

Kindergarten to
Grade Two

Lauren Montagna is going into her fifth year of teaching this fall. Previously, she has taught Special Education in grades Pre-K through first and general education in a mult-iage Pre-K/K classroom.  She is excited to continue to work with students in a multi-age model at Kellogg.

Lauren graduated from the University of Delaware in 2017 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is currently obtaining her Master’s Degree through Pennsylvania State University: World Campus in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Curriculum and Supervision.  

Through student teaching in undergrad, Lauren was able to teach internationally in Athens, Greece.  In her spare time, she loves to travel, read and bake.

Salary: $52,086


Matthew Kandel

Lee H. Kellogg

Grades Three/Four

Matt Kandel is the new third- and fourth-grade teacher at the Lee H. Kellogg School. 

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Matt has taught  fourth grade for the past 14 years at Rumsey Hall School. Earlier in his career, Matt taught elementary and middle school classes in Vermont and Maine. 

Matt lives with his wife and three teenage boys in Morris, Conn. If asked about his favorite part of teaching in the elementary school, he would say that it’s being surrounded by the joy, excitement, wonder and energy of childhood each day. 

When he’s not in the classroom, Matt loves to spend time in the woods and his local public library. He can’t wait to meet more of the Falls Village community and to become a member of the Region One team!

Salary: $67,325


Amanda Hitchcock

Lee H. Kellogg


Amanda Hitchcock is the new School Counselor at Lee H. Kellogg School. She graduated with her Master’s in Counselor Education from Western Connecticut State University in May 2021. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Connecticut State University and an Associate’s Degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College. Amanda is a member of both ASCA and CSCA and has her College Admissions Specialization. 

Before starting a career in School Counseling, Amanda worked in Education under various roles such as a Before/After School Daycare worker, District Substitute, and a Behavioral Special Education Paraprofessional.

Salary: $51,544


Liz Houck

Kent Center School

Grade Four LTS

Elizabeth “Liz” Houck is a Connecticut certified elementary school teacher, with more than 20 years of experience working with children. Liz believes that you must get to know each student individually and be diligent in trying to discover and understand their unique potential. 

Originally from Long Island, N.Y., Liz moved to Kent in 2006 and has been working in the school system, in some capacity or another, ever since. 

In addition to teaching third grade for Salisbury Central last year, Liz was previously a special education para for Region One (Kent and Salisbury) for 14 years. 

She has also worked for local camps and regional parks and recreation departments including the director of the Kent After School Program and Camp Kent (2006-2009), assistant director of Little Rascals in Sharon, and the Mental Health liaison for Camp Sloane in Lakeville (2018). 

Elizabeth holds a BA in Psychology from Adelphi University and a Master’s of Education from Grand Canyon University.

Salary: $46,561


Megan Leach 

Kent Center School 

Grade One

Megan Leach is a first-grade teacher at Kent Center School. Prior to receiving her Masters of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Bridgeport, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Western Connecticut State University. She recently completed her student teaching in a first-grade classroom at Kent Center School. 

Previously, she has worked as an enrichment coordinator, paraprofessional, and camp counselor in the Kent Center School community.

In addition to her love of teaching, Megan enjoys hiking, bowling and traveling. Megan is looking forward to another wonderful year at Kent Center School!

Salary: $46,561


Jessica Caeners

Kent Center School

Art LTS 

Salary: $43,155


Patty Garcia-Pedroso

Kent Center School 

Spanish .3

Patricia is an enthusiastic and devoted Spanish teacher with excellent communication skills demonstrated by 15 years of teaching experience. She has a high degree of fluency in major Spanish dialects. 

Patricia also specializes in managing students and maximizing learning opportunities in diverse classroom settings. 

Some points to highlight are her experience teaching high school students to read and write in Spanish, implementing strong organizational skills, classroom management and discipline. 

Patricia also has extensive travel experience, which she shares with her students to help with cultural awareness.                                                                                                                                     

Patricia has been employed at South Kent School as a Foreign Language teacher since August 2006. While at South Kent School, Patricia has prepared foreign language curriculum, lesson plans and activities. She teaches Preparatory High School Spanish Levels I, II, III, IV and AP. She has always encouraged hands-on participation in lectures and group activities.                                                                                                                                    

Patricia holds a BA from Lynn University, Magna Cum Laude. She lives in South Kent with her husband, Gonzalo, and their two children, Alejandro and Gabriela.

Salary: Information not available


Jeffrey Reed

North Canaan
Elementary School 

Music Teacher 1.0

Salary: $53, 827


Ashley Harrington

North Canaan
Elementary School

Science Grades Five and Six

Ashley Harrington will teach fifth- and sixth-grade science at North Canaan Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Connecticut State University. She has taught special education, as well as math and science in northeastern Connecticut.

Salary: $59,345


Charlotte Papa

North Canaan
Elementary School

School Counselor

Charlotte Papa is joining the North Canaan Elementary school team as a school counselor.  Charlotte completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Emmanuel College in Boston. She completed her Master’s Degree in School Counseling at Southern Connecticut State University. A member of both the American and Connecticut School Counselor Associations, she has five years of experience in school counseling and is eager to contribute to the Region One school community.

Salary: $53,827


Katie Cimmino

North Canaan
Elementary School

Grade Three

Katie is 30 years young and lives in Barkhamsted near West Hill Lake. She enjoys being outdoors, going to the gym and spending time with her friends and family. She is very excited to be the new third-grade teacher at North Canaan Elementary School. This is her fourth year teaching. She has previously taught in Winsted, Colebrook, New Hartford and Litchfield. 

Katie grew up in New Hartford. In May 2014, Katie graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Social Work from Central Connecticut State University. In May 2016, she graduated with a Master of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Bridgeport. She is a certified Elementary Education teacher for grades one through six.

Salary: $51, 265


Kathleen “Katie”

North Canaan
Elementary School

Grade Four

Katie Stolarcyk is a new fourth-grade teacher at North Canaan Elementary School. She graduated in December 2020 with her Masters in Elementary Education and teaching certification. While in graduate school, Katie also served as a special education paraeducator in grades three and four at Harwinton Consolidated School.  

Prior to relocating to Connecticut and raising her family, Katie graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Boston University and held various corporate and nonprofit community relations positions in New York City and New Jersey. 

Katie lives in Barkhamsted with her husband, Chris, son Braedan (12), daughters Callan (11) and Quinn (5), and kitties Thunder and Lightning. 

She enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, baseball (Go Yanks!) and the beach. Katie is excited to begin her teaching career in Region One!

Salary: $46, 867


John Conklin 

Salisbury Central School 

Assistant Principal

Mr. Conklin’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from Vassar College, a Master of Professional Studies in Humanistic and Multicultural Education from the State University of New York College at New Paltz, and a Sixth Year degree and administrative certification from Central Connecticut State University. During his 22-year tenure at Salisbury Central School, he has served as a middle school General Science teacher, middle school coordinator, leadership team member, beginning teacher mentor and baseball coach.

Salary: $112,000


Deana Conlogue 

Salisbury Central School 

Grade Two

Deana Conlogue has worked as a Special Education paraprofessional for Region One since 2011. During this time, she supported the instruction and student learning in the integrated Pre-K program at Salisbury Central School. Deana also completed her student teaching in 2020 at Salisbury Central School. 

In December 2020, Deana graduated summa cum laude from Grand Canyon University with a dual degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

Being a native of Salisbury herself, as well as a second-generation Salisbury Central graduate, Deana feels incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to continue working and living in such a wonderful community. 

When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mitchel, and three sons Jace (19), Griffin (17) and Colton (4).

Salary: $45,329


Kathleen Ruiz

Salisbury Central School 

MS Spanish

Kathleen Ruiz is thrilled to be teaching middle-school Spanish at Salisbury Central School. She comes to us with over 30 years teaching experience, having taught Spanish at all levels of public education. Her passion for teaching Spanish and exploring world cultures has led her to study and teach extensively throughout the Spanish-speaking world. 

Kathleen received the King Juan Carlos Fellowship for graduate studies in Madrid, Spain. She tutored special needs students in Oaxaca, México, and taught in Bogotá, Colombia, through the Fulbright Teacher Exchange. 

Kathleen did her undergraduate at Fairfield University in Spanish and Political Science and her graduate studies in Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Southern Connecticut State University.                                                                                                                                     

Kathleen lives with her husband, Rodolfo, and their three children in Goshen. In her free time she enjoys travel, hiking, painting, music, reading, quilting, knitting, antiquing and spending time with her active family.

Salary: $91,877


Emily Loiodice 

Sharon Center School 

Elementary School Math

Miss Loiodice is a graduate of Nazareth College of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Inclusive Early Childhood/Childhood Education and Chemistry. She earned her Master of Science Degree in Childhood Education with a concentration in STEM from State University of New York at New Paltz. 

Miss Loiodice will be a familiar face to Sharon Center, having spent the last three years working with elementary students as a teaching assistant. 

Outside of the classroom, Miss Loiodice enjoys spending her time riding and caring for horses. When she is not at the barn, Miss Loiodice can be found reading a book, baking with her sister, or playing with her two kittens, Jasper and Delilah.

Salary: $51,436


Dallas Speranzo

Sharon Center School 

MS Math

Dallas Speranzo is in her first year at Sharon Center. She comes from Monument Mountain Regional High School and before that SBRSD in Massachusetts.    

Dallas has been teaching math for the last 10 years, specifically ninth through 12th grades. In her time at Monument, Dallas participated on many committees and took on many responsibilities.  She was in the Safe & Supportive Committee, Academic Affairs, Class of ’19 and ’21 advisor, brought back the Cheer program, and leader to both the creation of the Advisory program and Team 10.  She is originally from Long Island, N.Y., where she earned her BA, majoring in mathematics secondary education at St. Joseph’s College.  

She then participated in an online program at Concordia University and received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Mathematics.  

Before leaving New York, Dallas worked for two years as a substitute teacher, and leave replacement at East Moriches UFSD.

Last year Dallas joined her local firehouse as part of the Auxiliary.  And she recently celebrated her third anniversary with her husband, Justin.  She loves horses, and currently leases a beautiful quarter horse named Sunny.  She enjoys watching football (American and European), reading fiction, and cuddling with her fur babies (Dexter the dog and Milo the cat)

Salary: $71,436


Bethany Franklin

Sharon Center School 

Music Teacher

Bethany Franklin is excited to join Sharon Center School as its music teacher.  She previously held teaching positions in Falls Village and Colebrook.  Bethany graduated with a BS in music education with a concentration in French horn from Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa. 

She is also pursuing a master’s degree in music education with pedagogy emphasis from University of Hartford in West Hartford.

Salary: $51,715


Keeley Rossi

Sharon Center School 

Grade Three

Keeley studied elementary and special education at the University of Maine at Farmington, where she received her bachelor’s degree and later went on to receive her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University. 

After completing her undergraduate degree, Keeley began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Maine, where she taught for two years before making the move to Connecticut. 

Most recently, Keeley has been supporting students in a third-grade classroom as a paraprofessional. She is very excited to be joining the teaching team at Sharon Center School. 

Keeley lives in New Milford with her husband, Dan, and their cat, Dash. In her spare time, Keeley loves to be outside, spend time with her family, and experiment in the kitchen.

Salary: $56,436

More Information

TriCorner News

Copyright The Lakeville Journal
PO Box 1688, Lakeville, CT 06039
All Rights Reserved