Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” This reflects the educational philosophies of the team of new educators who attended an orientation meeting themed Greatness Begins Inside the PRIDE at the District on August 19.
All 15 new faculty members, a mix of new hires and permanent substitutes, are eager to work with students in creative and effective ways this school year at Western Wayne.
The new teachers include the following new elementary faculty members: Erin Schane, Sadie McHale, Summer Klikus, Alizabeth Takacs, and Sienna Cardamone. New secondary faculty members include: Jessica Fullwood, Taber Starnes, Casey Lisowski, and Nicole Weber. Long-term substitutes include: Theresa Valent, Kayla Sposto, Katie Getz, Eric Olsommer, Starlah Robbins, and Kathleen Petty.
The new Western Wayne staff members come from a variety of backgrounds yet all share the same passion for working with our Western Wayne Wildcat students.
Elementary teacher Erin Schane comes to us most recently from serving as a substitute teacher for the North Pocono School District. In addition, she was the Curriculum Coordinator and Center Director for North Pocono Preschool.
“My favorite part about teaching second grade is the stories that the children tell,” Schane explained. “They are so excited each day and eager to share. Their excitement is contagious! I am most excited to show students that we have more in common with everyone else than differences.”
Fellow new elementary faculty member Sienna Cardamone comes to the district with experience at a variety of other districts. She taught at the Valley View Intermediate School in third grade as well as Lakeland Mayfield Elementary for one and a half years.
She was also a long-term substitute teacher at Western Wayne serving at the Robert D. Wilson Elementary School teaching Skills Based Learning Support Grades K- 5 for one year before being hired full-time.
This year Cardamone continues to teach Skills Based Learning Support in Grades K-5. She teaches her students math, reading, writing, social, emotional, and everyday skills.
“I love working with such a wide range of abilities, ages, and personalities,” Cardamone said. “What I love most about my job is that I encourage students to strive to be life-long learners and informed and engaged community members.”
Cardamone is excited to be a part of the Western Wayne community and to work with students to help them develop their sense of belonging and Wildcat Pride.
After a decade of subbing for Western Wayne in all buildings, Alizabeth Takacs is thrilled to be a permanent part of our Wildcat Pride. In the past, Takacs held long-term substitute positions in Pre-K, first grade, and 9th/ 11th grade.
Tackacs is beginning her career as a full-time Western Wayne teacher in kindergarten.
“My favorite part about teaching kindergarten is how new everything is to them and how excited they are to learn. Every day I get to see them grow and change,” Tackacs explained. “They are excited when they get to school, and they are excited as the day goes on!”
Fellow elementary educator Sadie McHale comes from a rich and diverse background in education.
McHale graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s in elementary and early childhood education. Upon graduation, she moved from State College to Houston, Texas. During her time in Texas, she taught fourth and first grade.
“I taught in the fifth most diverse county in the nation,” McHale explained. “So it was pretty neat having first born American children in my class. Some of my students’ families were from Mexico, Africa, and Asia.”
McHale loves teaching all subjects in her elementary classroom, especially reading.
“I love seeing where students are [with their reading] in the beginning of the year and watching them grow throughout the year. It is rewarding!” McHale said. “Reading is so important, so to be able to foster a love for reading in young learners is even more important to me!”
McHale looks forward to her journey in education at Western Wayne where she surely will build relationships within the school and local community.
EverGreen Elementary pre-kindergarten teacher Kayla Sposto, who will serve as a long-term substitute teacher this year, also feels grateful to be a part of the amazing Western Wayne school community.
Sposto was a building substitute for three years at Mid Valley Elementary school where she worked in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. She had experience being in the specials, autisitic, emotional, and learning support classrooms.
In addition, during the 2020-2021 school year, she became a pre-kindergarten teacher at Montessori preschool in Scranton, Discovery MI Preschool. During her time at Montessori, she worked on incorporating Montessori lessons alongside the Pennsylvania State Standards.
She is currently employed at the Dickson City Civic Center, which runs before and after-school programs for a local elementary school within the area. Also, she has been a summer camp counselor at the Dickson City Civic Center for the past seven years.
“My favorite part about teaching is building relationships from day one with my students; they need to know I am there for them and care about their feelings and thoughts,” Sposto explained. “Children are truly unique and building a level of trust can change the dynamic of the student themselves and the whole class.”
Fellow long-term substitute and Western Wayne alumni Katie Getz is also thrilled to be with elementary students this year as a kindergarten teacher. Getz has experience in the early childhood field having spent several years working with children six weeks to twelve years old.
“I love every part of teaching kindergarten. My favorite part is watching the children grow and change throughout the year!” Getz explained. “It has been so special being a part of the Wildcat community again. It really is family here.”
New elementary teacher Summer Klikus also feels glad to be a part of the Western Wayne educational family unit.
Klikus substitute taught for five years with a marketing degree while going back to school for early childhood education. She taught fourth grade for four years, special education for one year, and third grade for one year at Carbondale Area. She is currently finishing up her master’s degree in special education at Marywood.
Klikus enjoys teaching all subject areas, especially ELA.
“I agree with my building principal Mr. Pidgeon, when he said that WWSD is a hidden gem,” Klikus explained. “The environment is extremely positive and it seems as though everyone shares that same love for the students.”
There are also a few new additions to the Western Wayne Middle School faculty who feel just as excited to be a part of the Western Wayne community as their counterparts working in the elementary buildings.
Jessica Fullwood comes to us with much experience having worked for eleven years at Bangor Area High School which has been a 1:1 technology school for years. That experience has helped her now working with technology in her middle school ELA classroom.
At BAHS, she spent much of her time working with students in Honors English I and II. In addition, she taught several years at the college prep and technical prep levels.
“I always wanted to be an art teacher because of the ability to express creativity,” Fullwood explained. “The only problem I have is that I can hardly draw. ELA always seemed like an art to me. In school, I loved my English teachers who made our stories come alive and built creative lessons into the curriculum.”
Fullwood feels grateful to be a part of the Western Wayne community that her husband graduated from years before.
“The thing that excited me most about being part of the Western Wayne community is feeling that I am finally back ‘home’ where I belong,” Fullwood said. “I grew up and live near here, my husband went here, I support local businesses here– there’s that community connection, and I’m truly excited to be working at Western Wayne!”
Fellow new English department member Kathleen Petty is also glad to join the Western Wayne community this year as a long-term substitute teaching sixth grade ELA.
This is Petty’s seventh year as a full-time teacher. Prior to teaching this year at Western Wayne, she worked at Our Lady of Peace School, which is a part of the Dioceses of Scranton. There she taught sixth grade ELA.
“My favorite part about teaching ELA is that I get to combine parts of my three favorite subjects English, reading, and vocabulary into one class,” Petty explained. “I like to incorporate creative lessons that are often fun, artistic, and hands-on to help students master the material in reading and English.”
Petty is grateful for the warm welcome she has received at Western Wayne and looks forward to an amazing year.
One new teacher who welcomed Petty to the middle school is our new physical education teacher Casey Lisowski.
Before getting hired at Western Wayne, she worked in the district as a long-term substitute in EverGreen Elementary for two years after graduating college. Since then, she worked as an elementary PE teacher in Alexandria, Virginia, for four years, and then in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, for two years.
“My favorite part about teaching physical education is inspiring students to find a way to be active that they love to do and want to improve upon and continue in the future,” Lisowski explained. “I also enjoy that my job provides many opportunities to teach life lessons such as cooperation, resilience, and dedication.”
Lisowski is thrilled to be back in the Wildcat family just like fellow middle school teacher Starlah Robbins.
Robbins is also glad to continue to be a part of the Western Wayne community this year. She holds a position as a long-term substitute in the Middle School teaching both social studies and ELA.
Robbins has a diverse background in education. She taught Middle School Language Arts for nine years in both Glendale Arizona, and in El Mirage, Arizona. After that, she taught three years of seventh grade language and literature at an International Baccalaureate school in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In addition, she has been teaching in Pennsylvania since 2019 and has done multiple long-term substitute positions at the Western Wayne High School for English. She also has worked with the SHINE after school program teaching STEAM to fourth and fifth grade students at EverGreen Elementary School.
Robbins enjoys so much about getting to teach social students and ELA to middle school students.
“I enjoy interacting with my students while sharing my passion for the written word and history. I enjoy connecting ideas to students and watching students expand on these ideas while they create masterpieces of their own,” Robbins explained. “Lastly, I love seeing students gain confidence in themselves when they learn their strengths and start to see their own growth in their reading and writing skills.”
Robbins also looks forward to watching her students take part in extra-curricular activities this year whether they be sports or performing arts programs.
Robbins will surely attend some of the choral programs to be directed by new high school faculty member Taber Starnes.
Starnes served as a long-term substitute last year at Western Wayne and has a full-time position teaching music in the high school and middle school this year.
“My favorite part about teaching music is seeing kids have the opportunity to come together to create something beautiful for the community,” Starnes explained. “As a Western Wayne alumni, it is wonderful to see the school and our music program grow and evolve.”
Fellow Western Wayne alumni Eric Olsommer has a long-term substitute position teaching technology in the high school.
Olsommer got his degree from Keystone College and has spent time doing classroom observations for college at Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack and Western Wayne. He has also been a day-to-day substitute at Western Wayne for a number of years along with serving in coaching positions for Western Wayne sports.
Currently he is enjoying his new endeavor in teaching technology at his alma mater.
“Technology is an interesting subject because it is an ever-changing landscape, so while I may be teaching my students we are also learning together when a new update, device, or program comes out,” Olsommer said. “One of the best parts is that the programs we use are another way for students to express themselves, show their creativity, and be involved in the community.”
Another new staff member in our Western Wayne community is long-term substitute school nurse Theresa Valent.
She comes to us with vast experience in the medical field having served as a nurse for over 35 years in every care setting, the last being Regional Hospital of Scranton.
“I am a grandmother of three preschool and elementary school aged children which has ignited my passion to work with children,” Valent explained. “Inspired by them, I just recently became certified in school nursing, and this is my first job as a school nurse.”
Another inspired educator that is new to our district is Nicole Weber. She joins our Middle School math department in a full-time position after having worked for twelve years at the Scranton School District. She worked in a variety of positions at Scranton. Weber was a special education teacher for four years at the high school level. During that time, she was a co-teacher in a mixture of math classes. In addition, she tutored students outside the district in math. Later, she moved down to first grade where she taught as a regular education teacher for eight years.
At Western Wayne, she teaches sixth grade math and is excited to be a part of the team here.
“Ever since I was in school, I loved and was good at math. I am excited to share my passion with my students,” Weber explained. “I love to see the students ‘aha moments’ when they grasp the concept that is being taught. It is my favorite age group.”
All of the new staff members starting out this year within the Western Wayne School District look forward to showing their Wildcat PRIDE while helping their students to make many breakthroughs in their understanding of a variety of subject areas.