New Teachers Bring Innovative Ideas


Photo by Noam Elfassi

New Honors English 12, AP Literature and TV Production teacher, Matthew Koval, works diligently to plan lessons for his classes throughout the day. Koval is not completely new to RHS and Montgomery County as he was a long term English substitute teacher back in 2014-15.

Kelly DiFonzo, Contributing Writer

Teachers are the pinnacle of education and are critical in creating a dynamic learning environment. RHS is welcoming 17 new teachers in a broad range of subjects, each with a unique background and skills to offer students.

In total, this year’s new staff has several years of prior work and education experience whether it be local or in other parts of the country. Social studies teacher Karen Close was born and raised in Montgomery County, graduated from Damascus HS and continued her education at Mount St. Mary’s University. Close taught at Frederick County Public Schools, as well as Wheaton HS prior to this year.

On the other hand, Honors English 12 and AP Literature teacher Matthew Koval received his education at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Koval graduated with a masters in English and education before returning to Maryland to pursue his teaching career.

Regardless of where a teacher comes from, teaching at a new school requires quick adjustment to the community, administration and department. The new staff at RHS are no exception as they work to acclimate themselves to the new environment. Spanish teacher and Johns Hopkins University graduate Lauren McShane is transitioning from Baltimore to Montgomery County.

“Communicating and collaborating with other staff members is critical to adjusting to a new environment,” McShane said. “Asking teachers how they teach in this specific environment will improve your own teaching methods.”

Transitioning to teaching different grade levels requires teachers to adjust as well. English teacher Adrienne Kelly taught seventh grade students at Roberto Clemente MS and was the English Contents Specialist for Rosa Parks MS. After 31 years of teaching, Kelly made the leap to high school.

“I have never taught 11th graders. Teaching a new grade requires more tasks to do and new literature to learn. It is an adjustment trying to figure out how students this age are alike and unlike especially since some are so close to graduating,” Kelly said. “I was always told to make the change to teaching in high school and I am glad I made the change.”

Despite all the adjustments teachers need to make in a new environment, social studies teacher Michael Celenza said a welcoming, hardworking school makes the transition smoother. He is joining the staff after three years of teaching at Watkins Mills HS.

“The most important thing is that the students understand that they are here to learn and the teachers are here to facilitate that learning,” he said. “Motivation level of the students is very high which makes your job as a teacher much easier.”

In order to be successful in any work environment, teachers and students need to be comfortable. While facilitating learning is a teacher’s number one role, RHS also values teachers with a range of passions and hobbies outside of the classroom. The new staff additions have many unique ways to spend their time.

Koval is the advisor of the new guitar and videogames club, both of which pertain to his hobbies growing up: playing video games and guitar. He loved music so much that he began majoring in music before pursuing an English and education pathway in college.

RHSa�� diverse community appreciates the various skills and backgrounds of the teaching staff. School environments are meant to be dynamic to continue fulfilling the mission of education. New teachers are essential to this development because they promote collaboration and new teaching methods.