Story and photos by Roxanne Pinsky, staff writer
Many of these new teachers transitioned from Huron or from other Ann Arbor buildings. Suzanne Biermann, the new speech therapist, says, “There are many new – and old – staff members here that came from Huron with me, so I had the comfort of something familiar when encountering something new.”
The new teachers say they are happy to be here as they are teaching the subjects they love. “My major was geology and earth science, so being able to teach classes in that area is a real pleasure,” says Douglas Damery, a new science teacher.
And they say building veterans have been great helpers in getting the new ones settled. “Mr. Weaver, Ms. Brower and Mr. Conley were a great ‘Welcome Committee’ and were big helps in getting me settled into my new classroom,” says Dana Cesarz, new special education teacher.
The district also set up new programs in order to ease the transition into the school for new teachers. “The transition was rather smooth.” says Dustin Quandt, a new science teacher. “Mostly everything was already set up for me and the new teacher programs the district has helped me with everything else.”
Everyone is trying their best to give support to the new teachers. “I feel like I have the support I need to grow as an educator and, in turn, make sure that I help my students grow in their understanding of science,” says Damery. “The people here have all been helpful and understanding. I have always felt welcome and truly feel that the people around me are glad that I am here.”
For the most part, the teachers are finding the building wonderful, but a bit large. “The walk from the end of E-Hall to the office is really far,” says Elaine Mitchell, the new health science teacher.
Many of the teachers appreciate the extra features the building presents. Quandt jokes, “It’s hard to complain when you have a greenhouse attached to your room.”
The teachers seem to enjoy the learning environment Pioneer provides. “I am really impressed by how engaged everyone here is in the process of learning while still getting in good socialization,” said Biermann.
Biermann also enjoys the traditional way the school is run. When her daughter first toured Pioneer, “She noticed that Pioneer looked and felt just like a school you see in the movies,” she said.
All the new teachers are excited about the year to come and have high hopes for what they can accomplish in their new positions. “I am looking forward to learning more great things about Pioneer as the year progresses,” says Cesarz.