ST. JOHNSBURY -- Headmaster Tom Lovett recently welcomed members of the Academy's faculty and staff at the first of several workshops designed to introduce his vision and goals for the upcoming year, the school's 170th. In his address, attended by nearly every Academy's employee, Lovett focused his opening remarks on three key themes, "Be who you say you are. Put others before yourself. Deliver on your promises." He went on to say that these themes will continue to undergird the building blocks of trust already firmly established at the Academy.
Lovett also praised the work of the Admission Office and the entire Academy community for its success in attracting, recruiting, and retaining an increasing number of students who believe in its mission. Though the final enrollment numbers will not be known for another week or so, fully one third of the student population will be new this year, a testament to the both the Academy's and the vibrant quality of life found in St. Johnsbury and its surrounding towns.
Several new curricular projects will be introduced this fall, including a move towards further collaboration among academic as well as a Freshman Humanities Project that will be announced at the beginning of school.
Lastly, Lovett introduced the newest members of the faculty and staff, a remarkable group of educators whose were purposefully recruited to enhance the academic and extracurricular life of the school. Lovett remarked, "Every year we are fortunate to have hundreds of applicants to choose from, and from that pool we are able to recruit some of the finest educators in the world. These people are first of all genuinely good people with strong characters and loving hearts. They are also deeply optimistic and enthusiastic about working with young people; they believe they can help change lives, and they are committed to making a difference in the lives of those they serve. Finally, they come from some of the finest colleges and universities in the world and are passionate about what they teach. This year we have a bumper crop!"
Angelica Bianchi joins Special Services where she will be working with a diverse population of students with special needs. She was graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor of arts in English and earned her master's degree in education with a focus on special education from Dowling College.
Jose Bruzual, SJA Class of 1984, joins the Career and Technical Education Department where he will teach robotics classes. Prior to coming to the Academy, Bruzual had a career in technology and management. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Lyndon State College.
Elia Desjardins returns to the Academy (she taught there from 2002-2006 before leaving to pursue an interdisciplinary doctoral degree) to teach science and chair the Science Department. Having already earned both a bachelor's (Earlham College) and a master's degree (Indiana University Bloomington) in physics, Desjardins chose to pursue her PhD in communications and rhetoric at the Rensselaer Institute of Technology in Troy, N.Y. There she worked to better understand the roles of communication and design in support of learning. Her research focused on educational environments and her experience as both a researcher and as an educator makes her uniquely qualified to translate the latest findings about teaching and learning into practice.
Janet Edmundson is joining the Fine Arts department as an adjunct. Previously, she worked as a private music instructor and part-time faculty at Good Shepard Catholic School. She has also conducted the Academy Jazz Ensemble and the Pep Band and played in the pit orchestra for Academy Theater productions. Edmundson holds a bachelor of arts degree in music education from the University of Connecticut and an master's in music education from Central Connecticut State University.
Grace Egbert earned her bachelor of arts (2004) in religious Studies from Occidental College, her master of fine arts (2007) in creative writing from the University of Montana, and her master of theological studies (2011) in religion, culture and literature from Harvard Divinity School. She will teach in the English Department and is eager to return to a high school environment where she also looks forward to working with students outside the classroom as an advisor and mentor.
Sarah Emery joins the Academy's Technical Education Department where she will teach business classes and mentor students interested in credentialing, human resources, and process and work flow. Emery earned her bachelor of arts in English from the University of Connecticut. Prior to returning to the classroom she worked in sales and human resources and owned her own credentialing company for 10 years.
Wendy Forgie owns a master's degree in special education from The University of Pennsylvania. She comes to St. Johnsbury Academy from DePaul University in Chicago where she was a learning specialist and provided individualized academic advising and instructional support to students with a wide range of special needs. Forgie also has 18 years of high school teaching experience and earned her bachelor of arts in Eastern European Area Studies from Tufts University.
Brett Herleikson will teach mathematics at the Academy and is the assistant coach for boys junior varsity soccer. He earned his bachelor of arts in mathematics from Whittenberg University (Springfield, Ohio) where he was also a resident advisor.
Laura Higgs taught in the Academy's English as a Second Language (ESL) summer school this past summer and will join the Academy's ESL Department as a full-time faculty member this fall. Higgs holds a bachelor of arts from Hamilton College, where she was a double major in anthropology and Hispanic studies, and is a candidate for master's of science in Global and International Education at Drexel University. She has spent time abroad with brief teaching stints in Argentina and Spain.
Shari Larocque was graduated from Lyndon State College in 2011 where she earned her degree in mathematics. There, she won the Rite L. Bole Award for Outstanding Scholarship, was a member of the Aurther B. Elliott Honor Society, and was the only graduate named as an Albert J. Ouellette Memorial Scholar. Larocque completed her student teaching at Concord High School and was a member of the Math Department there last year. She also enjoyed coaching basketball for third and fourth graders at the Danville School. She will teach in the Mathematics Department.
Timothy Lyon (SJA Class of 2008) received his bachelor of arts in business administration from the University of Vermont this past spring. He will teach in the Mathematics Department and will be a resident proctor in The Barn, a dormitory for ninth- and 10th-grade boys. Lyon is honored to be returning to the Academy in a teaching role as he hopes to give back to the school that shaped so much of who he is today.
Randy Morley has a passion for physics and physics education and will join the Academy's Science Department. He earned an associate in science degree in mechanical engineering at Vermont Technical College and a bachelor of science in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Morley completed his student teaching in Tunkhannock, Pa. and is currently working on his master's degree in secondary science education at Goddard College.
Adam Ortman will teach social studies at the Academy this fall. He earned his bachelor of arts at Valparaiso University in international service and theology, and his master of divinity (Buddhism) at Harvard Divinity School.
Kreg Owens comes to SJA from James Madison University where he was an instructor in communications. He holds an master of fine arts in ceramics from James Madison, an master of arts in communication studies from Eastern New Mexico University, and a bachelor of arts in fine arts from Northwest Nazarene College. Owens has taught both communications and art over the course of his career and is thrilled to be returning to the secondary classroom. He is skilled in woodworking, cold glasswork, and all aspects of ceramic construction and firing.
Matt Racenet joins the Academy's Math Department as a full-time teacher this year after a stint as an adjunct math teacher and coach last year. He earned his bachelor of arts from Lyndon State College in pure mathematics and is a St. Johnsbury Academy alumnus -- Class of 2006. He will be coaching football and he and his wife are proud to be the new parents of a baby.
Catherine Reed is thrilled to be joining the St. Johnsbury community. She spent the last 10 years at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. where she taught Spanish, was a head of house and student advisor, and coached varsity girls cross country and track and field. Reed earned her bachelor of arts in English and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire (where she was PhiBeta Kappa and a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Hispanic Honor Society) and a master of arts in Spanish from Middlebury Language Schools. She has participated in three study abroad program -- Guadalajara, Mexico; Madrid, Spain; and Logrono, Spain -- and encourages the Academy's students to do the same.
Rachel Rios is a May 2012 graduate of Trinity College where she earned her bachelor of arts in public policy and law with a concentration in educational policy. She will teach in the Social Studies Department and will an assistant coach for the girls varsity soccer team. Rios has been a teacher's aide at three different schools and is especially excited to work in a school where teachers get to know the students outside of the classroom.
Courtney Kozlowski is an alumnae of St. Johnsbury Academy (Class of 2006) and will be joining the Admission Office as assistant director of admission. She earned a bachelor of arts in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and has been a research assistant for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in both the Dermatology and Gastroenterology sections. She enjoys alpine skiing, the culinary arts (she admits that she is completely food obsessed), and listening and dancing to jazz, folk and bluegrass.
John Suitor joins St. Johnsbury Academy as the acting director of Marketing and Communications and non-resident proctor in Brantview Dormitory. Suitor has over 20 years of independent school experience, most recently as headmaster of Long Trail School in Dorset, Vt. He earned his bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Vermont and a master of arts in liberal studies with a concentration in international affairs from Georgetown University. A native Vermonter, Suitor looks forward to living and working in the Northeast Kingdom. He has admired the Academy's commitment to a broad and accessible educational experience for many years and is eager to become a part of such a vibrant and forward thinking community.
Nicole Biggie, associate director of admission, will lead the Academy's day student and domestic recruitment efforts. She is a graduate of the Academy, Class of 1992, and earned her bachelor of science in business management from the University of Maryland in 1996. As an alumnae and current parent, Biggie looks forward to sharing St. Johnsbury Academy's vision and opportunities with families from the local area and across the United States. She has worked at the Academy in Admissions and Development since 2003.
Kathy Daley has taken over for the retired Howard Crawford as the director of career and technical education.
Johnna Kendall now serves in the Office of Campus Life where she is the assistant coordinator for Student Programs and Homestays.