Q&A with teachers who attended WHS

Nandita Subbiah and Jay Abdella

Ryan Black

What year did you graduate from WHS?

When you left as a student, did you have teachers who are here now?
Yes, I had [science teacher Mary] York for biology, [chemistry teacher Corrine] Lowen for Chem, [science department head Ken] Rideout and [physics teacher Paul] Shiffler for physics and AP physics respectively.

Did you have any other teachers for other subjects?
I had [teacher Erin] Lehmann for a couple of social studies classes. I had [history teacher Sean] Chase for freshman year. I had [math teacher Kirsten] Lahey and [math teacher Hannah] Marton for math. Am I forgetting anyone? [Band director Joseph Oneschuk] for band, of course.

Did you take classes in the new buildings as a student?
No, [the new buildings] came a few years after, like two to three years later.

What do you find different about the new buildings versus the old buildings?
It seems a little cleaner. It seems more contained. The old building had much more space for students to congregate as students, and here it seems like there’s designated spaces for that. It’s more teacher-friendly and its technology is pretty great. There are no more overheads, like transparencies, we have the digital overheads and that’s great. I like how, with the science office being the exception, the teacher offices are open and inviting.

What would you say is the one solid difference going here as a student and coming back as a teacher.
The stress.

More stressful as a student or as a teacher?
As a teacher of course, and I had a less stressful time as a student. I certainly didn’t realize how much effort and planning there is from day to day as a teacher coming in.

Do you think that the homework or the homework intensity has changed at all since you were a student?
I don’t think so, and it varies from teacher to teacher, but for me, I really just met the Science department and it seems like they’re still doing the same thing they did when I was an student.

Where did you go to college?
I went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for four years.

What did you do after?
I got a bachelor’s of science in physics and that was four years, and after that I moved down to Houston, Texas, and worked for a little over two years as geophysicist.

So this is your first teaching job?
Yes, [my first] full time teaching job.

Sean Chase

What year did you graduate from WHS?
I graduated in 1995.

Did you graduate with any other teachers?
No. [Wellness director Scott Parseghian] was a senior when I was a freshman, but he was in college when I graduated.

Did you know any of the teachers that you went to school with?
I knew [Parseghian], obviously. I didn’t know [Latin teacher Lee] Krasnoo directly, but because I wrestled, I knew his name. My mom used to babysit Mr. Krasnoo, it’s a small world. [Wellness teacher John] Berry was in my brother’s grade at WHS. I knew Berry when I first started teaching and they were all in high school, but I never went to school with him. [Math teacher Jeff] Brewington I taught and coached as an old man. I guess I’m an old man now. [Guidance counselor Dennis] Doherty was also a senior when I was a freshman, but I knew him because we grew up in Cochituate and both went to St. Zepherin’s Church and we both worked summers together.

When did you come back to Wayland as a teacher?
It’s not a roundabout route, but I’ve been here for a long time. In the second semester of 1999, the winter and spring of 1999, I was a student teacher as a senior from Boston College and I started coaching here and as well. I’ve been a paid coach since 1999, so that means for 19 years, I’ve been coaching at the high school. The next year when I graduated college, I worked a year at Natick High School and I worked for two years teaching eighth grade in Lincoln. After three years of teaching elsewhere, I came back to Wayland. I’ve been teaching here for 15 years.

When you came back as a teacher, were there any teachers you had as a student that are here today?
[History department head Kevin] Delaney hired me, I never had him as an student, but he was here when I was a student. But about half of my teachers were here when I came back. What happened was is that I represent the next generation of teachers. There was a massive wave of teacher retirement. There were teachers who started teaching in the 60’s and 70’s and stayed all the ways until 2000. I was that next wave of teachers that came in. I ended up taking over for my freshman teacher. [When] he retired, I took his job and started teaching freshmen. [Don] Benedetti was his name, great guy.

What do you feel is the biggest difference between the new high school and the old high school?
First, there’s a new building, the staff is younger, it’s a entirely a different staff now and there are actually more students now. When I graduated from Wayland High School, it was the lowest year in terms of enrollment. We only had 600 kids [in the school]. My graduating class only had 142 kids in it and we weren’t the lowest. Wayland [High School] actually dipped below 600 people. The town population didn’t change, but we dipped below 600. Now we have 800 to 850 kids. So that’s a big difference just the sheer size of the student population.

Megan Smith

What year did you graduate?

What did you do after graduating?
I went to Clark University as an undergraduate. I started teaching and then I got my master’s from St. Louis University in Madrid. I had been teaching for twelve years [before beginning at WHS], and I have been here for ten.

When did you graduate from college and graduate school?
I graduated from college in 1995 and that is the year I started teaching. The graduate school program was a summer program geared towards teachers. I finished and defended my thesis in 2001 [after four summers].

What has changed since you went to WHS?
The building is different. The schedule is a little bit different. In general, the high level of academics is the same, the clubs are the same and the teachers who care about students are the same.

Was Spanish your favorite subject in school?
No, biology was, but I took French and also Spanish, and I had a really good experience with French, which made Spanish really easy.

Are any of the teachers from your time at WHS still here?
There is only one left, [drama teacher Richard] Weingartner, and apparently my first year as a freshman was his first year teaching ever.

What is it like teaching at a school you went to?
It’s fun. It’s very comfortable. When I started teaching, there were more teachers still here that were my teachers and it was exciting to be able to be an adult with them. They were really helpful and supportive but they have all retired.

What is the best part of teaching at a school you went to?
You know where the kids are coming from in terms of what they expect from the school. I grew up in this town so I know what it’s like to be a Wayland person. I had Wayland parents. I knew what that was like, and in terms of the stress and requirements for after school activities and building your college resume, I get that.

What extracurricular activities did you do?
I [participated in] yearbook, field hockey, cross-country skiing, softball and drama.

Did you know any teachers when you were at WHS?
They were either older or younger. [Latin teacher Lee Krasnoo] I knew from temple, just being in the town. Mr. Doherty was the same age as my younger brother. No one from my graduating year is here, except for [Wayland Police Department] Officer [Shane] Bowles – we graduated together.

Lee Krasnoo
What did you do after graduating from WHS?
I went to Bowdoin College in Maine for two years and transferred to Wesleyan University.

From right after college, did you return to Wayland?
No, I worked in higher education for seven years, collegiate university for 7 years in admissions.

What year you came to Wayland to teach?
I came to Wayland [to teach] in 1999.

As a student at Wayland High, what activities did you participate in?
I wrestled for four years, I was on our class executive board for four years and I was on student council for three years. I sang in concert choir for four years. It wasn’t a class, but an extra-curricular. They didn’t have a cappella.

Coming back as a teacher, what the biggest change to you at campus or in student life in general?
I think students are very, very involved, more involved than they used to be. Kids, most kids did sports or drama or music or the arts, now they can do just about everything. People are much more spread out in their interests.

When you were a student, how was the workload compared to today?
I would say workload was about the same, the expectations were about the same.

When you were a student, did you know any of the teachers you would be working with today?
I worked with a number of teachers who were there when I was here. Not to many of them are around today. Mr. Carrel was here, but he’s gone now. Most of them are probably gone now, but some of them were here when I started teaching.

So you came in 1999 so you’ve been here for 17 years?
Yes, my former teacher brought me back to Wayland.

What subject?
Latin. My Latin teacher was the one who recruited me. She became the department head and recruited me to teach.

Since 1999 have there been any major changes in student life?
The building, the schedule has changed since i’ve been here. We went from straight 8 periods to the block schedule.

Which schedule do you like better?
I liked the eight period one.

Moving into the future do you think there could be any big changes at school?
I don’t think so, it’s always changing.

Jeff Brewington

What year did you graduate?

Where did you go after graduating?
I went to Williams College in Western Mass., in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

What did you major in?
I was a math and chemistry double major.

What led you to teach math versus chemistry?
When I joined Teach for America, I actually got certified to do both, but they needed more math teachers than science teachers down in Oklahoma so I got placed there.

How long did you teach there?
Two years.

Did you have any teachers as a student who are still here?
Yeah, just alone in the math department, I had [department head Barbara] Coughlin and [Megan] Forsberg and [Carolyn] Crary and [Hannah] Marton. I believe all my history teachers are still here.

What are any changes that you have noticed coming back here as a teacher?
It’s not a realization that I had here, but going back here as a teacher, I didn’t think that it would be this much work. On the other side of it, I always thought that you just give the assignment and the students just have so much work, and it was very egocentric of myself to think, ‘I have the most work and the teacher is not doing that much.’ Being on the other side, the teacher does a lot for preparation and that’s something that I have definitely learned.

Is there anything that you are looking forward to as a teacher?
Nothing really specifically, just kind of going with the flow. Is Winter Week still a thing? I am excited to see that from the other side now.

When you were a student, did you participate in any extracurricular activities?
I played football four years and basketball all four years and I did track for two or three years.

Do you have siblings at the school?
I have my younger sister who is a senior this year and then I have a younger brother who is a freshman. I have an older brother who is an alum; he graduated in 2007.

What is it like to teach at a school your siblings go to?
It’s not as weird as I thought it was going to be. I don’t see them nearly as much, but it is good that I can be around if they need me. My little sister talks to me more than my brother does. I also coach my little brother so I see them both a healthy amount.

Were there any students you went to school with that are now working at Wayland High?
I went to high school with [physics teacher Ryan] Black, who graduated in the same year.

Scott Parseghian
Wellness K-12 Director

What year did you graduate from WHS?

Where did you go to college?
Plymouth State University, for four years.

When did you start teaching?

Did you have any of the the teachers who are here now?
I had [drama teacher] Weingartner [and English teacher Martha] Gowetski. [History department head Kevin] Delaney was here, [science teacher Jay] Chandler was here and [language department head Melissa] Bryant.

What extracurricular activities did you do as a student?
I played football, wrestling and lacrosse. I was part of SADD and student government. I was an E-board representative.

Have you lived in Wayland your whole life?
I have. This is home to me. Sophomore year, I told the superintendent and principal that I’ll be back to teach and coach here. It’s been a great ride.

What was your first teaching job?
It was here at the high school. One year, I was a [physical education and health] teacher at the high school and then I spent the next eight years at the middle school teaching health and then the last eleven years as assistant principal and now I’m back to teaching and I am the director of Wellness here for the district.

What has changed the most?
Obviously, the new school is pretty noticeable. Other than that, I think teachers have changed changed, there’s been a lot of turnover with people retiring, so new teachers. New demands on teachers. As a student to a teacher, I guess I didn’t really know [the teachers’] world.

Has the workload changed?
I think it all depends on the classes you take. If you’re taking honors and AP classes, the workload is going to be there.

Did you take those classes?
I was not that kind of student. I was a college prep student, most of my classes were college, so I always felt like I had time for everything to balance sports, class government and classes.

When did you start coaching football?
1996. My first year, I was the freshman football coach. This is my 16th season as the head coach, so I spent five years as the freshman coach and assistant to the varsity coach. [I have also coached] wrestling since ‘96.