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Meet The New Teachers

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Holderness happily welcomes some amazing new teachers, coaches, and dorm parents this year.  Below are a few questions and answers to help the community better know our some of our new great faculty members.

 

Ms. Lacasse:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“I really like the community. I have the opportunity to interact with students through various different channels which I think is really incredible. It’s also great to be able to work and play in a community that is passionate about not only education, but student, faculty, and staff wellbeing.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“I really like that I have the opportunity to teach a variety of classes. Right now I’m teaching English 9 and AP Language and Composition, so I’m working with students of different ages and levels and I feel that I’m really supported by other teachers who want to help me grow and better my teaching practice.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

“Rock climb!”

Do you have any pets?

“Yes, a dog and two cats who are the loves of my life… oh and also my fiance…”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

“To fly for sure!!!”

And why?

“Why not?! ‘Cause then I could travel the world for free and it would feel so insanely liberating.”

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

“Being a travel journalist.”

What’s something not a lot of people know about you?

“I dropped out of college the first time around, and it took me almost 3 years to go back.”

 

Dr. Villafane and Dr. Martinez:

Dr. Villafane:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“I think my love of history really. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to tell everyone everything, so I think the classroom is the perfect way to share my love and my passion for history.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“Living on campus, and just being around the students. It feels like an actual community.”

What’s a funny story about yourself?

“My brother is 6’10” and he’s a basketball player, so whenever we hang out people are like ‘Oh you’re a basketball player,’ then they look at me and are like ‘What happened to you?’”

Who do you most admire?

“Socrates.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

“Go back in time and go to all the places I’ve studied and all the time periods.”

What’s your favorite movie?

Jaws. I make a point to watch all shark movies.”

Dr. Martinez:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“To be completely honest, my husband is Mr. Villafane, and he his full time here. I fell in love with the Senior Thesis program. I had never heard of a school teaching students how to research. When they needed people to teach it, I was like ‘ooh me, me!’”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“Getting to know the students and what they are interested in, and the opportunities the school gives.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

“Read! I love to read and take photographs of nature.”

Who do you most admire?

“My grandmother. She’s like the most compassionate person, and I try to emulate her. She gets along with everyone. Fantastic woman.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

“Fly, I guess, because I love birds and I think it would be really cool to see the world from above.”

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

“Being up in space. I originally wanted to be an astronaut.”

 

Ms. Song:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“I chose to become a teacher because when I was in middle and high school, I met some terrible teachers who did not know how to teach or how to interact with students, so I wanted to do something differently. At the very beginning, Ms. Pfenninger reached out to a friend of mine who already had a job and referred me, so I talked to her and decided it was the right place for me.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“The small class size. I have eleven students total across four levels. In my level one class, the four kids are all international. It’s a very diverse classroom.”

What’s your favorite book?

“My favorite book so far would be Language, Literacy, and Education Research… yeah it’s a book.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

“I would like to have a Google Translate in my eyeballs so I don’t have to translate in my head so I would know what people are talking about.”

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

“I traveled 5 hours for food once.”

 

Mr. McMillan:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“My parents were both teachers. I was a faculty brat at a boarding school. I knew I wanted to teach. I wanted to do history. I really liked what I saw at Holderness. It’s a good department.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“Honestly, I get to learn a lot of new things. The way curriculum is built, I get to read and research, and kids’ presentations are really educational for me.”

What’s a funny story about yourself?

“One time last summer when I was in France, I was supposed to take train to Geneva, Switzerland. I don’t speak French or German, and I took a nap on the train. When I woke up, all the signs were in German. I had accidently went all the way to Germany. I had the spend the night at this dude who worked at the train station’s house, then he drove me to an international train station, and I got to Geneva.”

Who do you most admire?

“Probably my grandfather on my dad’s side. He was a prisoner of war in World War Two.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

“I’d teleport so I don’t have to wait in traffic… ever.”

What’s something not a lot of people know about you?

“I have a pilot’s license for helicopters. I’m also scared of heights…”

 

Ms. Mulcahy:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“Well, Bruce and Max are here, which is a pretty obvious reason,  and I’ve known Mr. Peck for many many years.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“The kids.”

What’s a funny story about yourself?

“I failed 4 years of gym… I’m just  not coordinated in that way…”

Do you have any pets?

“Yeah… Misty the Golden Retriever.”

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

“I spent a year teaching in Austria in a small mountain village kind of like this.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?

“I wanna have extendo arms like Elastigirl. The kids in my class would tell you that … I think it would be really great to help me explain functions in math class!”

Mr. Saunders:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

“Well, first of all, I went to school here. I was studying for the MCAT last winter, and the original plan was to go to med school, so I needed to fill a year. I heard about the position ‘cause House was going on sabbatical, so I applied, and, well, here I am.”

As an alum what is it like to come back as a teacher?

“Um, it’s pretty weird. All my old teachers are still here, and now they’re my colleagues. It’s fun though… really fun.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching here?

“Teaching. I love being in a class with kids and seeing them learn. Especially teaching a subject that I struggled with, I love seeing them succeed.”

What’s a funny story about yourself?

“I once started a people watching club here. I think I started it as a joke because I needed something for my college application. I made an announcement at sit down as a joke, and like seventy people showed up, so we watched Ecc for like fifteen minutes, and that was it.”

Do you have any pets?

“Nope. I feel like I should have a dog to fit in though.”

What’s your spirit animal?

“Narwhal… the unicorn of the sea.”

Mr. Steer:

What made you choose to become a teacher at Holderness School?

Ms. Devine had floated the idea of teaching an upper-level music class to me last year after AB. I agreed that it was a great idea and was honored to be considered as possible faculty. I began teaching drum lessons here while in college back in 1998. I’ve also been a guest artist for Artward Bound for three or four years. To answer the question, I guess the school chose me.

What is your favorite thing about teaching here? The community. Everyone here is well rounded, well-intentioned, and welcoming. Also, my students. To be able to teach something you’re passionate about and to have your students share the same passion, that is special and extraordinary.

What is most different about being a teacher at Holderness than being a guest artist on AB? As a teacher versus a guest artist, I find that there is more time and room to explore and create. Teaching a full semester allows for more opportunities to dig into other related subjects that help enhance the overall musical experience. There is also more time to get to know the faculty and students individually; to be part of the community versus being a sub-contractor for hire.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time? Being with my family. Second would be in the woods either mountain biking, skiing or hiking.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Witnessing my children being born.

Who do you most admire? That’s a tough one, there are many that I admire. Some figures would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Willie Nelson, those that stand up for what they believe in and won’t accept anything less, and my family and friends who help to remind me of who I am and continue to inspire me every day.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why? The power to spread love, light and positivity. We all deserve to be loved. It does wonders.

What’s your spirit animal? The Owl

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing? Mountaineering

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