Start of school brings diverse new teachers to WHS

Science department head Stephen Ribisi prepares for his biology courses. PHOTO/ Sarah Augustine

Sarah Augustine and Casey Friedman, Editors

Since the start of the 2018-2019 school year, a large number of new faces have joined our faculty at WHS. This change is due to the retirement of many long term faculty members last spring. The diverse new group of teachers ranges from a new science department head, new language teachers, and even a new drama director.

Starting as a new English teacher and drama director is Anne Slotnick, a 2004 alumna of WHS. Slotnick recognizes the differences of her experience as a student 14 years ago to that of high school students today.

“Theater Company wise, it feels the same to me in terms of the comradery and the spirit. [However], in general, high school has changed. What I experienced when I graduated in 2004 had very different pressures,” Slotnick noted.

Slotnick specifically described the increased use of technology in the modern world and its impact on students today.

“I didn’t have a cellphone for instance; I didn’t have social media. It’s harder to be a high school student right now, but I hope Theater Company can still exist as a place where we can process through some of that,” Slotnick expressed.

Slotnick is not the only one returning through the doors of WHS. Having been a substitute teacher in previous years, Latin III teacher William Hills has returned as a part of the long-term faculty. According to Hills the open atmosphere is one of his favorite parts of working at WHS.

“The people are very friendly, the students like to learn, and the people get along well with each other. I’ve taught in a number of schools and there is a good environment here,” Hills said.

Hills addressed his main obstacle that accompanied the start of his new job as a language teacher.

“It’s always a challenge to make Latin grammar interesting and stimulating,” Hills explained.

Another new addition to the eager staff this year is new science department head and sophomore biology teacher Dr. Stephen Ribisi. Ribisi has been hired as the new head of middle school and high school science. Ribisi talked about his passions for biology and why he chose to be a teacher in this subject specifically.

“No matter who you are and what you do, you interact with biology unravelling the mysteries of life… can you ask for anything more exciting than that?” Ribisi noted.

In addition, many teachers describe the nerves that accompany the start of a new job. Ribisi openly spoke about the joys and anxieties about taking any new position in the working world.

“Anytime you start a new job, and this is true from the time that you have your first job until you retire, you’re always nervous,” Ribisi said.

Despite his nervous energy, Ribisi has a wide range of past professions under his belt. His previous careers include teaching at a high school in Braintree and working as a lab researcher.

Ribisi is excited for this year and spoke about his hopes for his new position.

“I like this position, I like all of the science teachers, and I have also enjoyed working with all of the administrators. So I am very hopeful this is going to be a good position for me,” Ribisi said.

Another new teacher with a diverse career background is English teacher Alexizendria Link who, prior to ten years of teaching, worked for the national headquarters for the Boys and Girls Club. Link’s dedication to helping others does not end with the job; she is still involved in many national organizations for churches and teachers as well. Her passion shines through not only in helping others, but also in teaching English.

“I always enjoyed education and reading, and I feel like education is the window into the world. English gives you an opportunity to learn about different aspects of society contrary to your own through other characters and books,” Link expressed.

All of the new teachers are ready to start the year off strong and begin to make connections with staff and students as the year develops. Link echoed the chorus of new staff and stated that she felt various emotions about learning all about this unique school.

“I’m excited to get to know the students and learn more about the environment here at Weston,” Link said.