PA welcomes new staff this year-Profiles!

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PA welcomes new staff this year-Profiles!

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The Page set out to interview the new staff in PA’s main building for the 2019-2020 school year. These new teachers come from various different backgrounds and add to the diverse community we have here at PA.

English teacher Alea Cornelius

By Helena Savage

English 9 and 10 teacher Alea Cornelius has only been teaching for six months, since she started at PA in January, but she is eager to begin her first full year as a Cavalier. 

PA High School is Cornelius’s first school as a teacher, and she will be teaching English 9 and 10 on A days this year. After getting to know the PA family, a little, for the past six months, Cornelius said, “I love the students. I like that there is a diverse population of students and that they are all just very different. Their personalities are different, their likes and dislikes are different, their approaches to learning are different so I like that.”

Cornelius has also appreciated the support and encouragement from all of the staff and the English department. As this school year begins Cornelius said, “I’m excited about starting from the very beginning and being able to build that relationship with the students from the very beginning.” 

Since becoming an English teacher, “I’ve learned that teaching English, it’s trying to teach someone how to love something. So I can be passionate about reading, but it’s trying to teach children to be passionate about it also.”

Going into this year, “One thing that I would like the staff and students to know about me is that I’m extremely personable and I love to talk to people,” said Cornelius. “I’m always here as a listening ear and I might try to give advice even if it’s not applicable, but I love to listen and I love to just be there and make people feel better.”

History teacher Hilary Hoffman

By: Kendall Peterson

New history teacher Hilary Hoffman is ready for her eighth year of teaching, and first at PA, bringing her side hustle of photography with her. 

Prior to PA, Hoffman taught at Green Run Collegiate and two schools in Maryland. This year, Hoffman is teaching 20th Century Topics to IB seniors, MYP U.S. History to freshmen, and VA/US History to juniors.

Hoffman said she enjoys teaching history because “it’s reinforced my passion for it. I’m just curious by nature, I like to ask questions. I’m intrigued by mysteries and unsolved cases, so I think it’s really reinforced my curiosity.”

“As far as the students, they always teach me what’s the new phrase or what’s the new thing, and they help keep my sense of humor,” said Hoffman.

So far, Hoffman has been impressed by the fact that “everybody’s super welcoming. The students are really nice and generous with their time. The staff is just really awesome. I really love it.”

Other than teaching and doing photography on the side, Hoffman has two children and a husband who is in active duty military.

This year, Hoffman is excited for “the challenge in teaching. Teaching seniors is a new thing for me. I’ve taught primarily freshmen and sophomores. I’m excited to teach seniors, who are on the cusp of attending college. It’s going to be pretty interesting for me.”

Spanish teacher Tricia Marcarian

By Kendall Peterson

Spanish teacher Tricia Marcarian is ready to bring her 16 years of education and teaching experience to PA for the new year.

Over the years, Marcarian has “taught at Phoebus High School in Hampton for eight years” as well as “taught English as a foreign language in Chile and Spain for a year.” She began her teaching career in Virginia Beach at First Colonial High for four years, and at Princess Anne Middle for two years.

This year Marcarian is teaching Spanish 5 and Spanish 1.

Marcarian said, “I know for one thing by teaching, it’s helped me with keeping up with the language and learning it – new words, new phrases – so teaching is a great way to maintain and learn more about the language.”

From teaching, Marcarian has also learned “how to better communicate and change things up depending on who is my audience.” 

“I’m excited to get back to high school because after being in middle school, I realized I do connect really well with high school students,” said Marcarian. She is excited “just to see what’s different or special and how I can be a part of it.” 

Apart from school, Marcarian said, “I like cooking and baking and hopefully, I’ll be able to share some of those things.”

Marcarian also enjoys traveling. “I just went to Spain this summer and then I went on a cruise and we stopped at the Bahamas, which was cool,” she said.

Other interesting facts about her are that although “I don’t actually play sports, I do really like watching tennis and basketball.” Also, Marcarian said, “I love dancing. I don’t really know the moves for salsa and all that, and I’ve taken classes, but I just like doing my own thing.” 

 Marcarian’s favorite part about PA has been that “everybody seems really welcoming and happy to be here, so it feels good to be in a place where people are coming to work and feeling good about doing that.” 

Math Teacher Monica Morreale

By Mackenzie Bernas

Geometry teacher Monica Morreale is coming from Princess Anne Middle School to start teaching high schoolers for the first time at PA. 

“I’m interested in high school because I came from middle school,” said Morreale who was pulled in by the diversity and location of PA. 

Morreale is excited to get to know her students and start teaching her favorite subject: geometry.

“I like how straightforward it is and I love numbers, especially geometry,” said Morreale. “You have shapes, you have all different kinds of equations that you can get with different shapes, and students can learn different little theories about everything.”

Morreale also strives to keep the ‘fun’ label on her class through different activities. “I like to have fun. I don’t like to do the same thing every single class,” said Morreale, who listed activities like scavenger hunts, escape rooms, and tasks that keep students moving instead of being tied to a desk.

So far, Morreale feels like a welcomed presence at PA. “I have liked getting to know all the staff. Everyone has been really nice.”

“I’m excited to be in a new school, and to get to know my students,” said Morreale.

History Teacher Erin Grigsby

By Dylan Stanford

Erin Grigbsy is thrilled to join the PA community and share her love of history through her World History 1 and AP US history classes.

Before coming here, Grigsby taught at Davidson Fine Arts in Augusta, Georgia. This year however, Grigsby is starting her 13th year of teaching, all while continuing her passion for history. During those 13 years of teaching a multitude of history classes, she has not only rediscovered her fondness of history, but has also come to enjoy reshaping her students’ perspectives of history until they too appreciate it. In fact, Grigbsy said that one of the best things is being able to show her students  “how interconnected the world is. Not just from a historical perspective but how history has truly built us into humanity and the world we have nowadays.” 

Aside from Grigsby’s admiration of history, one thing she was surprised to discover at PA was the sense of community. She said that her favorite part so far has been how supportive the students and staff have been, even with a simple “hello” or “how are you doing?” during the day: “You just don’t get that everywhere,” said Grigsby.

As for this year, Grigsby is excited to cultivate new relationships at PA: “I’m looking forward to establishing a new work family. You’re here at work more than you are at your home some of the days. And so building those new connections matters to me,” said Grigsby. 

Something Grigsby would like her students to know about her is that at home, she has two rescue cats (one named Taco) that both are missing an eye, which means that every now and then, the two cats will scare each other when walking too close. 

English teacher Nicole Burris

By Grace Altman

Nicole Burris is eager to take on her first year teaching and even more excited that she gets to do it here at PA.

“I love literature,” Burris, the new IB English 10 and Core 12 teacher said. “I love the idea of empowerment and using better communication skills to be a better community.”

Burris formerly worked with the SPCA in the department of Fundraising and Communications. She is ready to take on the challenge of high school English.

“We’re not just going to read books by dead white men,” said Burris. 

Already loving the culture and amazing family that PA has to offer, Burris is passionate and ready to have a great year and meet awesome new people.

 

 

Chorus teacher Katie Davis

By Grace Altman

Katie Davis, PA’s new chorus and IB Music teacher, is diving in with a “work hard play hard” mantra this year.

Davis attended Kempsville High School, where she was a student of David Prescott who retired last year as PA’s chorus teacher, before going on to study music education at East Carolina University.

After teaching middle school chorus, Davis is ready to have some singin’ and dancin’ fun at the high school level.

“There are so many great kids at PA,” Davis said. “I’m excited to do more and perform at a higher level.”

 

Biology teacher Hunter Ott

By Akaash Kamdar

After graduating from Old Dominion University in May, Hunter Ott is eager to begin her teaching career at Princess Anne High School teaching general and IB Biology, solely on A days.

“I am really excited for getting through my first year,” Ott said. “I can’t wait to meet the new students and make relationships.” 

Excited for her new teaching career, she is also ready for what PA has to offer, including the Homecoming festivities. 

“I think the SCA is really cool, and I love the homecoming and spirit,” Ott said. “I know that your school’s hallways will be one of my favorite things.” 

Having an interest in biology throughout her life, she hopes to display her love for the subject through her classes.

“I enjoy science, as it is changing,” Ott said. “There is always new information I can give to my students.” 

Ott is also an avid nerd with a passion in Marvel, video games, and comics. 

Chemistry teacher Megan Bishop

By Akaash Kamdar

Megan Bishop is eager to begin her 16th year teaching with a fresh new start at PA with MYP and AP chemistry classes. After teaching math at a Pennsylvania detention center for a year and chemistry at Green Run High School for 10 years, she is “excited to get back to teaching chemistry.” She also served as a Gifted Resources Advisor for five years at Green Run. 

“I’ve learned a lot about kids throughout my time and how to make things fun and engaging,” Bishop said. “Not all students are great at everything and I know now how to differentiate instruction.” 

She is excited to bring her teaching expertise to chemistry this year with her positive attitude on the variety of “fun things to do with chemistry” in her class.

In addition to her excitement with teaching science, she is enthusiastic about what PA has to offer. 

“Already, most people I’ve met here seem like they’re excited to be here,” Bishop said. “I’m excited for the fun and engaging atmosphere here at PA.” 

Her goal is to “create an engaging class” and demonstrate her “hands-on learning approach.“I’ve never taught IB/MYP students before,” Bishop said. “I’m here for the challenges that a new student population will bring.” 

Art teacher Sarah Lubert

By Mackenzie Bernas

Art teacher and video game lover Sarah Lubert is coming from Henrico High School in Richmond to start her first year at PA.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about this school,” said Lubert, who mentions her love-at -first-sight experience with the PA ad in the midst of her job search.

Excitement is in the air for Lubert who has listened to the teachers raving about the wonderful students. “I know my favorite thing will be my students,” she said.

Lubert not only wants to get to know her students, but she also wants to build relationships with them. “I really like to connect and relate to my students,” said Lubert, who knows it’s expected of her, but knows not all teachers value teacher-student connections. Lubert continues to talk about her connections with her previous students through their mutual love of video games. Some of her favorites are The Last of Us, Rachet & Clank, and The Legend of Zelda.

Lubert feels very welcomed by the staff, enthusiastic about meeting her students, and all the more excited to start teaching art.

“I love teaching and I love art. Perfect sense,” said Lubert.

Lubert wants students and staff to know, “I’m very approachable, don’t be a stranger, [and] come visit me.”

Algebra teacher Tatiana Hernandez

By Ana Costanzo 

The wall is barren and the classroom not yet full as Algebra teacher Tatiana Hernandez situates her belongings on the desk, this her second day at Princess Anne High School. Just like the students, the current buzz surrounding the first week of school (as well as her first year of teaching) overwhelms Hernandez, but as a mathematics teacher, she is prepared to aid her students in life and teaching.

Since middle school, Hernandez was upstanding in mathematics, wanting to apply her skills to that of students. “I figured… I can help other people. I like working with kids, seeing them understand math as not the worst thing in the world, and,  have them think logically and… understand why they are taking the class.” 

Situating herself at PA, she already is working with the Fabulous Marching Cavaliers (FMC), stating this involvement is helping her to connect with students and faculty. 

As this is her first year of teaching, Hernandez does not know what to anticipate: “Every school has their problems regardless of staff and students.”

However, she expects to build relationships with her students if she continues to treat them as young adults — “as they should be treated.”

While her main focus is to educate in the S.T.E.M. field, she also wants to prepare students for real life and help them obtain more responsibility. 

“[Because] I’m just starting and I’m a younger teacher… I can relate to the students more. Coming [here], feels good and comfortable.” 

English teacher Carole Austin

By Jillian Grinnell

Carole Austin is prepared to engage with her students through her love of literature as she joins the PA family this year teaching Honors English 12 and English 10.

Before she returned to teaching last year at Landstown, Austin worked in the medical field for 20 years. She chose to start teaching again because “teaching English is like an art… it’s something that’s always been important to me.”

When she was younger, she “didn’t get to travel much and my family had a very limited income,” said Austin. “The only way that I could go to other places through reading.”

Austin said she hopes to share her enthusiasm for reading with her students because “there’s such an amount of information and knowledge to be found in books.” 

So far, the energy of the students has excited Austin. “The students seem very engaged, and they come in and they’re active and willing to learn, and they have all been very welcoming,” she said.

She wants her students to know that “you don’t have to act too mature,” said Austin. “You just have to do what you have to do and never give up that piece of being a child no matter how old you are.” 

Senior Naval Instructor Buzz Diehl

By John Kibler

After a long career in the Navy, Erich “Buzz” Diehl has decided to return to the Tidewater area, a community he once called home, to serve as PA’s new Senior Naval Instructor in the school’s award-winning NJROTC program. His position entails leading the department and heading instruction for grades 9-12, both at Princess Anne as well as at Bayside.

Diehl’s last stop in his career saw him as the Senior Naval ROTC Instructor at Cornell University, where he gained experience in training and naval education, and specifically harnessed a meaningful understanding of the importance of social and personal development in adolescence.

“Very similar to what I enjoyed at Cornell,” said Diehl, “I have a very diverse group of students here at Princess Anne. A little bit younger [than college-age], a little more opportunity to help shape their goals and aspirations, and also help guide them as those interested in going to college, or to the military, or other work and career opportunities.”

Diehl’s career in the Navy took him to Guam twice, but he stayed for most of the time in the Tidewater area.

“My career background was as a Surface Warfare Officer,” he said, “so I drove ships—primarily cruisers and destroyers. And then the second part of my career I had command of several coastal riverine squadrons, and then a group command, and before going to Cornell I was a Task Force Commander of Navy Expeditionary Forces under Com Seventh Fleet.”

Now, tired of relocating his wife—who followed him on his tours for 31 years—to and from Guam and New York, Diehl and his family have decided to finally settle down in Hampton Roads.

“We thought, what better location when I retired from the Navy [than to] come back home, and to get back to the community that we’ve really enjoyed during our Navy tours?”

Diehl also coached sprint football at Cornell, and is planning to further involve himself in the PA community and support other activities as his time here progresses.

“I’m all about breaking down walls and really going beyond infinity,” said Diehl, after mentioning the school’s theme for the year (“Beyond These Walls”) and his nickname, “Buzz” which alludes to the fictional character Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story with the mantra “To infinity and beyond!”

“It’s doing beyond what you normally could do, and if I can inspire or coach or mentor students here at PA—not only if it’s in the NJROTC program but throughout, whether it’s athletics, drama, band, or just students who are involved in academics and clubs. I look forward to working with every student here at PA to achieve their dreams.”

Guidance Counselor Heather Steinman

By Emma Niland

PA’s newest addition to the guidance department is Heather Steinman. She is a recent graduate from Monmouth University in New Jersey, and this is her first position as a school counselor. As a guidance counselor Steinman, has been assigned all PA students with last names beginning with Q to S, and she said she is adjusting quickly thanks to the helpful nature of PA’s faculty and staff.

Steinman credits her decision to pursue a career in counseling to the strong connection she had with three school counselors while she was in high school. “They were my role models and their influence helped me fall in love with the position,” she said. While Steinman says Virginia Beach is very different from New Jersey, she is excited to “make really good relationships with PA’s faculty and students and to be active in the school’s environment.” 

Even if they aren’t specifically assigned to her, Steinman wants all students at PA to know that her door is always open, and she continuously encourages students to leave a note on her door if she isn’t in her office. “Even if they have a question about things I may not know yet, that’s a perfect opportunity for us to learn together,” she concluded.

PE teacher James Yeager

By Abby Hendrickson

The newest member of the PA Health and Sports department is PE teacher and head football coach Jim Yeager. Coming from Pembroke Elementary, where he taught PE for three years, Yeager claims it is a huge change for him. 

“It is a big transition going from elementary school PE to high school PE. It’s very different routines, in addition to all the coaching stuff,” Yeager said.

However, Yeager’s professional abilities span far past physical education. “I have been teaching for about eight years, and I actually have taught a lot of different subjects. I have not always taught PE; I have taught economics and I have taught math as well.” 

Being a new member of the staff, he is still learning about PA’s atmosphere and forming new connections with staff and students alike. “I am actually a pretty goofy person with a pretty funny side. I don’t always let on to it, but you can ask anyone who knows me well knows that I am very sarcastic,” Yeager said.