New faculty members join BSM family
For Ms. Christine Kinney, a new art teacher at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, the first weeks of school not only brought the adjustment from relaxed summers to structured fall schedules, but also the challenge of familiarizing herself with a different environment and new students. Ms. Kinney, along with five other new teachers in the senior high, joined the BSM faculty this year.
Rising to the challenge, these six new teachers are working hard to fit right into the BSM community. “I’m very pleased with our new faculty. There were many well-qualified applicants for each position. We selected teachers who have a passion for teaching, enjoy working with high school students, and are committed to our mission and vision,” said Dr. Sue Skinner, senior high principal.
In order to fill the post of Ms. Jan Johnson, retired art teacher, Ms. Kinney took over as a new addition to the art department in both the senior high and junior high. “I have had a wonderful experience in the past few weeks getting acclimated to the BSM way of life. I am impressed with the willingness of people to make me a part of the BSM family. There seems to be great pride and respect for being a Red Knight,” said Ms. Kinney.
Mr. Brad Zahler also joined the art department this year, replacing Ms. Leah Klister as a junior and senior high art teacher while Ms. Klister takes a year leave of absence to get her master’s degree in Fine Arts in New York. “[It’s an] impressive community [with] everyone cooperating. [They all] have the same goal—everyone has the students’ education [as a] number one [priority]. The atmosphere, positive attitudes—[it’s] refreshing to see in education,” said Mr. Zahler
To replace recent retiree Mr. Mick Hawkins, Mrs. Katie Belanger joined the staff to teach English. “What I really like about being a part of BSM is the genuine warmth I feel from faculty, staff, and students alike. I hear students say thank you to teachers, and I’m impressed with the level of respect that is so natural within these halls. It simply feels like a good place to be each day,” said Mrs. Belanger.
Mr. Matt McMerty-Brummer joined the faculty to teach Spanish since Mrs. Laporta-Orange also retired from teaching at the end of last year. “The faculty and staff have all been very welcoming and willing to help during this transition. I have been impressed with the respectful students,” said Mr. McMerty-Brummer.
Mr. John Sabol succeeded Mr. Matt St. Martin as the senior high business teacher. “[It’s a] great community brought together in education and prayer. [And] the students are great to work with,” said Mr. Sabol.
Because of the new daily religion classes, the administration hired Mr. Joe Pedersen as a theology teacher. “The department was expanded, but religion now takes place every day. All of the teachers still have full schedules,” said Mr. Pedersen.
All of the new faculty look forward to the following year and are grateful for the welcome they’ve received. “I’ve really appreciated how welcoming everyone has been to me. It’s not always easy coming into a new place, but the faculty, staff, and students here have made my transition really seamless,” said Mr. Pedersen.