Introducing WHS’s new teachers

Angela Park, Thomas Chan, and Nina Haines

DSC_1325-M Janina Wnorowski: Math
Janina Wnorowski, the newest math teacher at WHS, has always loved math. Her interest in teaching started when she began tutoring some of her friends and classmates in high school.

“I always thought about it growing up as a kid, but I would say about my sophomore year of college, I decided I really wanted to teach,” Wnorowski said.

Wnorowski taught at Glenrock High School in New Jersey for several years, which she claims is similar to Wayland, before coming to WHS.

Her goal for the school year is collaborative learning.

“[I want to] try and take a subject like math that everyone hates and make it a more interactive and enjoyable class for everyone,” Wnorowski said.

Wnorowski says her students have been good so far, and everyone has been really welcoming.

“Everything’s been great,” Wnorowski said. “I’ve just been really enjoying my time here, and I’m thankful to be here.”

Sara Snow: English
Sara Snow considered herself a teacher even before she was officially certified to teach. Teaching is something that’s always been in her toolbox.

“After I graduated from university, I went traveling all around India. [I went] all the way up to Nepal and down on a train,” Snow said. “I got to the end of three or four months, and I’d run out of money.”

In hopes to earn some money, Snow walked into a British school in Delhi and asked if they needed any teachers. She was immediately hired as an English and French teacher.

Before pursuing teaching as a profession, Snow worked as a theatrical agent, representing actors for theater, movies and television. She also worked for Andrew Lloyd Webber and dabbled in concert promotion. Snow decided to go to graduate school for education in 2010 and graduated as a certified teacher in May of 2013.

“I feel that I had such a good education myself that I need to try to pass it on to other people,” Snow said.

Snow sets numerous goals for herself as a teacher. She challenges herself to instill a love of English in every student and to let them know there is no one right answer, so their opinions and perspectives do matter. She also strives to show students that English can help them understand the world.

“Life throws us a lot of challenges, and I think English can help to understand and to problem solve when we get problems thrown our way,” Snow said.

Through it all, she also makes sure her students are aware of the importance of character.

“I want them to always understand that in the back of everything there’s this idea of character, who you are, and your character is just as important as being an A grade student,” Snow said.

At Wayland, she looks forward to introducing more material in her classes and is happy with how kind, helpful and welcoming everyone has been.

“If anyone wants to come have a cup of tea with me after school, they’re always welcome,” Snow said.

Xiaohui Cao: Chinese
Although some people may think learning Chinese is hard by looking at the characters, Xiaohui Cao believes learning Chinese can be fun and easy.

“There are lots of patterns. Once you get that pattern, then it won’t feel that hard,” Cao said. “The only thing is, teachers need to know how to teach the right way.”

Cao’s first language was Chinese, and she began speaking English around 20 years ago. Earlier, she was taught English in middle school, but the learning method was not effective. Lessons only emphasized reading, writing and spelling.

“We learned language like learning math,” Cao said.

She aims to not have her students learn just the language itself but also its culture, expanding their visions of the world.

“My goal is to give them another perspective of looking at this world, the culture and the people from different backgrounds,” Cao said.

Before teaching, Cao experimented in different fields including statistics, computer science and nursing, but education was the only profession she felt belonged to her.

Nicole Haghdoust: Spanish
Nicole Haghdoust combined her two favorite things through her career: Spanish and kids. She is starting her eighth year teaching Spanish as the high school’s newest Spanish teacher.

Haghdoust originally went to Worcester State University as an elementary education major, but a trip to Spain changed everything for her.

“I decided to go to Spain, and it was awesome, and I loved it,” Haghdoust said. “I changed my major to Spanish. I also went back to Spain.”

Haghdoust was teaching at Sutton High School when she heard about the job at Wayland through a mutual friend of the WHS math teachers.

Haghdoust’s goal for the school year is to get acclimated to the school culture and to get to know her department really well.

“Seeing that I’ve started a new job with all new people, I’ve had a good start to the year. I wouldn’t have changed anything,” Haghdoust said. “I really like it here.”

10698220_783761568349144_1608444626_o-M Jay Moody: Business and Entrepreneurship
Jay Moody’s teaching experience has ranged from teaching cognitive sciences to working as a TA to teaching the Japanese language to American college students in Japan. Since then, Moody has worked for companies such as VistaPrint and Intuit.

“While I was at VistaPrint, even the inside of the company did entrepreneurship. They called it ‘intrapreneurship,’” Moody said. “My role in the company, after I’d been there for a while, was to encourage other people in the company to come up with new ideas and to test them out quickly and to try come up with new products and services for the company.”

Moody worked in a range of programs teaching entrepreneurship classes. Some of these programs included Citizen Schools, Youth CITIES and the Possible Project. Citizen Schools and the Possible Project are programs directed toward underserved kids.

“I think one of the biggest problems in our society today is that not all students start at the same starting line. I was teaching adults and thought, ‘I can teach the same kind of thing that I’m teaching adults to kids who are starting at a disadvantage,’” Moody said. “I got into teaching in order to reduce the achievement gap.”

After getting a call from the school, Moody ultimately decided to start working here. Before he made his choice, however, he had to think about his children. His kids, Tucker and Oliver, are a junior and a sophomore at WHS, respectively.

“I was worried about [the fact that my children attend WHS] when I first started thinking about getting the job, and I think [Tucker and Oliver] were too,” Moody said. “I think everybody took a deep breath and said, ‘We get along well, and we can do this. It’s okay.’”

By the end of the year, Moody hopes that his students walk away as entrepreneurs.

“I don’t want [my students] walking out of the class saying, ‘I know how to be an entrepreneur,’” Moody said. “I want them to walk out of the class and say, ‘I am an entrepreneur. I have done it, and I can’t believe what we accomplished this year.’”

John Berry: Wellness
John Berry, a graduate of WHS, first discovered his passion for teaching when he was still a student at the high school.

At the age of 16, Berry got his first job at the Summer Adventure camp. It was then that Berry realized that he liked to work with kids and help them grow.

“I really liked the aspect of bringing a group together as a team and forming relationships through that,” Berry said. “Physical education was the best route for me to continue that passion, and that’s where I discovered what I wanted to do.”

After graduating from the high school, Berry attended Springfield College and graduated with a degree in physical education.

In the spring of 2007, he started working at Happy Hollow as a full time substitute teacher because the previous teacher had left. The next fall, Berry was hired to become a full time physical education teacher at Happy Hollow and Loker. He taught there for 7 years before leaving for the high school.

“Mr. Parseghian told me there was an opening here and asked if I wanted to take it. I said I’d love to after some thinking,” Berry said. “It was hard to leave Happy Hollow because I loved it so much.”

Now Berry’s main focus is on developing a program in conjunction with the other wellness teachers that will allow students to feel comfortable in wellness to take risks, to challenge themselves and to understand the importance of wellness on their academic, personal and social life.

“I loved working at Happy Hollow and love working with kids of that age, but this is just a new challenge, and I’m excited to take it on,” Berry said.

Patrick Loomos: Special Education
The following fall after graduating from Saint Michael’s College in 2009, Patrick Loomos began working at Wellesley High School. However, he still wasn’t quite sure that he wanted to go into teaching.

“It took me about a year and half to realize that it was something I was really passionate about, and I felt like I could make a difference working with the students,” Loomos said.

He worked at Wellesley for five years, finishing up his student teaching and graduating from Lesley University with his master’s in May of 2014. Loomos’ colleagues notified him of a job posting at Wayland High School, so he looked into it.

At Wayland, Loomos has been assigned all junior and senior students, so as a teacher, he wants to educate them on skills that will carry over out of high school.

“I want to do the best I can to make sure that all my students are able to access the curriculum in the best way that they can by teaching them the strategies and skills that are going to help them, not just here in high school but when they graduate,” Loomos said.

Loomos sees himself already starting to build rapport with his students, and he also appreciates the warmth and support he has received from the administration here.

“I’m just really excited to be here,” Loomos said. “It’s been a great first two weeks, and now that things have finally started to hit full stride, I’m excited.”

Diane Camozzi: Special Education
Diane Camozzi didn’t know teaching was her calling until her mentor, another teacher, made it clear for her after college.

“I had always felt that I wanted to be a teacher, I just didn’t know what direction,” Camozzi said. “Then when I started working with these students, that’s where my heart and my passion were.”

Camozzi went to Boston College for her undergraduate education and Fitchburg State for graduate school. She worked with The Education Cooperative while at BC, then at Norwood High School for fifteen years.

Camozzi was looking for a change in setting, and found the job posting on the Wayland Public School website.

“When I had my interview I thought it was a really good fit,” Camozzi said. “When I applied for the program, I was excited because Wayland has never had this kind of classroom before, with students getting more individualized programming but also getting to be a part of the regular curriculum.”

Camozzi has found it easy to adjust to the high school and hopes that she can make a difference for her students.

“[I want them to] gain confidence and work on skills that will help them in school and around the community.”

George Argyrou: Special Education
George Argyrou worked as an assistant in New York for seven years and moved to Massachusetts after graduating from Dowling College with his Bachelors in special education.

“I figured out that I wanted to teach when I was 23 years old, so I was a little late to the party,” Argyrou said.

Argyrou worked at the Wayland Middle School for six months before applying for a job at the high school.

He notices a difference in exposure here compared with the middle school .

“In the middle school I was pretty secluded. I was just with the sixth graders, so I was in the sixth grade wing the whole time,” Argyrou said. “I would say it is [different at the high school] because I go into every classroom, and I get to interact with all the different teachers here.”

Working with all freshmen, Argyrou has been helping his students transition into the new school. He also coaches freshman boys soccer outside of the classroom.

“Being new to the school, everybody’s been extremely helpful,” Argyrou said. “The school climate here has been incredible so far.”

Amanda White: Special Education
Before working at the high school, Amanda White worked at Reading Memorial High School for about 14 years. She found out about WHS’ available position through the SchoolSpring website.

“[Reading Memorial High School] was great, but it was nice to think about exploring other possibilities because it’s important to grow and to seek out other ways to build yourself,” White said.

Before working in special education, White wanted to pursue a career as an English teacher. She became interested in the English subject during high school through her participation in the National Honors Society as a peer tutor.

White later discovered there were more opportunities in the field of special education and decided to try them out.

“I applied to a school working with a particular population of students in a private school, and I found that I really enjoyed working in special education, so I pursued a Master’s in it,” White said. “I’ve been doing this ever since.”

Currently at Wayland High School, White is focusing on getting to know the WHS community.

“Everybody has been great,” White said. “I’ve really been taking the opportunity to meet as many teachers and students as I can and get to know my new community.”