Meet WHS’s new teachers

Sammy Keating

Kevin Vibert: English

For Kevin Vibert, teaching English combines all the things he loves — teaching, reading and writing. Vibert found his interest in teaching when working at a school for kids with autism. He had family who worked in special education, and they introduced him to teaching as a summer job.

“I really realized around the time that I managed to successfully teach one of my students how to call home, which was an entire summer’s worth of effort, that I really liked to teach,” Vibert said. “I just realized that the only thing that would make me like it more would be if I was specifically teaching things that I really liked to do anyway.”

Vibert found out about the job at WHS from his student teaching mentor, who had recently moved to Wayland. After hearing good things about the town, he followed up on the job.

“I’ve really liked everybody that I’ve met, it’s been kind of weird actually,” Vibert said. “Usually you just say that as a polite thing, so that the person you’re talking to doesn’t get really offended.”

Right now, Vibert is focusing on settling in at WHS, especially trying to get to know everybody better.

Kelsey Pitcairn: English

Kelsey Pitcairn always knew that she wanted to work with books, but she always imagined working as a publisher, not as a teacher.

“I interned at a publishing company in college and ended up hating it because I spent my day rejecting people’s books,” Pitcairn said.

It wasn’t until helping her younger brother with an English paper that Pitcairn found her interest. After encouragement from her father, who is also a teacher, she began pursuing teaching, getting her masters in teaching at Tufts University after graduating from Yale University with a degree in literature.

Pitcairn’s father has been an inspiration for her.

“He’s definitely my role model as a teacher. He’s just always very conscientious about his students and has a lot of great advice,” Pitcairn said. “I called him before the first day of school this year and said ‘Well Dad, what do you have for me?’”

Pitcairn is looking forward to many of the activities at WHS, especially the football games and the a cappella concerts. So far she has enjoyed being at WHS and is excited for the coming year.

“As a first year teacher, it’s been great to be welcomed to a community that’s so supportive,” Pitcairn said. “As someone who’s really looking for a community to be part of as a teacher, I think that it seems like so far I’ve found a home at Wayland.”

Dana Sharry: Wellness/Administration

Dana Sharry, a 2007 graduate of WHS, now works with the teachers who taught him. Sharry is taking over the disciplinary dean duties for sophomores and juniors and is teaching some freshman wellness classes as well.

Sharry went to Elon University and then transferred to Bentley University, where he took some classes that caught his interest in teaching.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to be [when I grew up]. I still don’t really know,” Sharry said. “This is the first job I’ve had where I feel like I’m in the right spot, so that’s a good thing.”

Sharry is particularly excited to get to know teachers and students that he works with.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know students and a lot of teachers, either ones I had or ones that were here while I was in school,” Sharry said. “Getting to know them on a professional level is a cool opportunity as well, so I look forward to that.”

Besides getting to meet people, Sharry is also looking forward the football season, as he is a new coach for the team.

Judith Lilienfeld: Math

After working in structural engineering and in the software industry, math teacher Judith Lilienfeld decided to spread her love of math.

“I wanted to do something where I gave back, and I’ve always wanted to teach, so I have the opportunity now to do that,” Lilienfeld said.

Before teaching at WHS, Lilienfeld taught eighth grade in Westford, Massachusetts. She found out about the Wayland job through a childhood friend whose daughters attended WHS.

Lilienfeld’s interest in math came from liking a lot of her math teachers in high school, particularly her calculus teacher. Her father, also a teacher, was an inspiration for her as well.

So far Lilienfeld has enjoyed being welcomed warmly by the math department and the students.

“This year I’m looking forward to all of my students getting A’s,” Lilienfeld said.

James Chiarelli: Transition Counselor

James Chiarelli was an English and history teacher for nine years at Colebrook High School, but after awhile, he realized he liked working with students on counselor type activities rather than instructing them in academic classes.

Chiarelli decided that he wanted to be a guidance counselor and graduated from graduate school last spring.

Chiarelli has taken over as the Transitions Director for WHS, a program for students returning to WHS after being out of school for a long period of time. Chiarelli has replaced Benjamin Buffa, after Buffa was offered a position as a guidance counselor last year.

“Those are pretty big shoes to fill,” Chiarelli said of Buffa. “He’s great. He’s really been helpful in explaining what he was doing with students last year and what I should expect this year.”

Chiarelli is impressed with students’ focus on academics at Wayland as opposed to other schools.

“I had the pleasure of sitting in on one of Ms. Sacramone’s freshman seminars,” Chiarelli. “I am a teaching fellow for a class at Harvard, and the kids here were much more engaged than my students at Harvard.”

Chiarelli is looking forward to learning as much as he can about WHS this year so that he can do his job to the best of his ability.

Kirsten Toomey: Special Education

WHS’s newest special education teacher, Kirsten Toomey, worked at both public and private schools before she came to WHS.

Before coming to WHS, Toomey worked in Pembroke and Boston, but she did not always want to be a teacher.

“I started off in business, and then I worked as a guidance counselor, and I really loved that,” Toomey said. “Once my kids got into school, I started to get into the education field, and I got my masters in education.”

Toomey is interested in the way the faculty treat the students of WHS with a lot of respect and involve the students in the administrative process.

“I think that the freedom that students are allowed at Wayland is really unique and refreshing,” Toomey said.

Judith Schmidt: Media/Library Specialist

Judith Schmidt, WHS’s newest librarian and media specialist, has worked in libraries her entire life.

While attending Framingham State University for her undergraduate degree, Schmidt fell into library work as it was her work study job. Schmidt went on to obtain her library degree from Simmons College in Boston, as well as her communication management masters from Emerson College.

Schmidt began her career in corporate and public library work as the assistant director of the library at Emerson College. Before coming to Wayland, Schmidt spent 13 years at the Medfield High School library.

“In Medfield, students didn’t have any free periods,” Schmidt said. “It was hard to get them to come to the library unless I was working with a teacher.”

Schmidt is very happy about her move to WHS.

“I love Wayland. I keep telling everyone it’s beyond my wildest dreams about perfection,” Schmidt said. “I feel like I landed in heaven; everyone is so nice, the facilities are so great, all the systems seem to be working, everyone is so supportive; I hardly feel like a new teacher here.”

Schmidt will be teaching information literacy this year, a semester course required of all freshmen.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the freshmen, but I think my real goal is about four years from now when I’ve had everyone in the school, and I can get to know them all really well,” Schmidt said.