Before 103,000 students arrive for the first day of school on Aug. 25, a brigade of new teachers first have to be schooled.
More than 700 new and new-to-Northside ISD teachers went “back-to-school” during New Teacher Academy, an intense three-day professional development designed to share the culture and the expectations of South Texas’ largest school district.
Northside’s newest staff members are a mix of veterans from other districts, professionals who decided to change careers, and teachers straight out of college. Many are home-grown in Texas and San Antonio; others are from as far away as Maryland, Virginia, Utah, Illinois, Washington, and Puerto Rico.
The District’s theme for the 2014-2015 school year is “In Northside, It’s Personal,” and the new teachers are excited to get started and make a personal connection with the students so to help them be successful.
“I’m most looking forward to getting involved in my students’ activities, whether it’s sports or band because I want to build connections with them outside the classroom too,” says Jeremiah Reagin, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Vale Middle School.
Jeremiah Reagin, Vale Middle School
One of the things that new teachers learn at New Teacher Academy is about the support services they receive from the District, including mentorship programs and extensive curriculum and instructional resources and staff development opportunities.
“Northside ISD is well known throughout the state for its support of teachers” says Dr. Linda Mora, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Our goal is to help them be successful.”
“I can feel the support from the District,” says Erika Helferich, a new band director at Vale Middle School. “I’m very impressed and excited to be a part of the Vale Middle School family.”
Erika Helferich, Vale Middle School
Danica Lubbers is a new first grade teacher at Mead Elementary School, but she’s not new to the school. She spent last year working as an instructional assistant in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD), an early childhood special education program, and says she knows that she has a wonderful support system already in place.
“I know a lot of the teachers and staff already, and I know I can turn to anybody for help,” Lubbers said.
“My kindergarten teacher inspired me to be a teacher,” Lubbers said. “She made learning fun and that’s what I want for my students.”
Danica Lubbers, Mead Elementary School
Many of the new teachers have come full circle, having been a student in NISD, as is the case with Joseph Demario, a brand new math teacher at Clark High School.
Dr. Brian Woods served as principal at Clark when Demario was a student. Dr. Woods is now superintendent and a different Dr. (Jerry) Woods now serves as principal as Demario begins his teaching career.
“When I was a student, I dreamed about being a math teacher and I wanted to be the guy that came back to Clark,” Demario said. “It is a little weird being allowed into the faculty rooms though.”
Joseph Demario, Clark High School
Speaking with the teachers during the orientation, Northside Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods confirmed that Demario and his colleagues made the right career choice.
“You couldn’t have picked a better profession to be in,” Woods said. “The job you do is the most important job anyone can do.”