New school year, new faculty

This year, Dana Hall has had many big changes, including a multitude of new teachers in both the Upper and Middle School. Head of the Upper School Ms. Jessica Keimowitz says that she is “so excited to work with the new faculty and staff. They bring expertise and energy to our already accomplished faculty.”

A new teacher in the math department, Ms. Kathleen Shiffman has been teaching for 10 years, and she loves the gratification she feels when she gets through to students. That is one of the reasons she decided to become a teacher, along with how she likes to have student-teacher relationships with each student she teaches. Her last school was the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., which is similar to Dana. It is a private, all girls’ day school, and Ms. Shiffman really liked that Dana was also a private all girls’ school, and that it has partial boarding and isn’t 100% day. She also grew up in Wellesley, which made the decision to come work at Dana even better. The reason she decided to become a teacher was because she preferred working in a more social environment as opposed to sitting behind a desk all day. Ms. Shiffman also has a love for dogs and has her own, whose name is Potato.

One of the new teachers is biology teacher Ms. Tara Jennings, who is Mr. Gary Fadden’s sabbatical replacement. She has been a teacher since 2001, and her favorite thing about being a teacher is that every day is different. She decided to become a teacher because she worked with teachers and really enjoyed learning about their classes and how to plan for them. She decided that she wanted to be on the other side of the planning, resulting in planning her own classes and becoming a teacher. Her last school was the Pennington School in New Jersey, and she chose to come to Dana because of how great the science department is. She also has a goal to inspire more girls to go into science. Another interesting thing about Ms. Jennings is that she loves to run, and has even completed two Iron Man triathlons, which consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

For the new Latin teacher, Ms. Deanna Miserendino, this year at Dana is her first time teaching high school students, though she had been teaching college classes for two years before she started here. She had looked at other schools to teach at, but everywhere she went, Dana Hall kept coming up. She said it that Dana even came up at an interview for a job at another school, so she knew she should come to Dana. She knew she wanted to become a teacher because when she was in high school, she had an amazing art teacher who really made an impact in her life, and she says that she wants to do the same for the students that she teaches. Aside from teaching, Ms. Miserendino loves to hike, and she recently hiked Mt. Greylock, which is the highest natural point in Massachusetts.

Dana Hall also welcomes Ms. Kim Stewart in the Learning Center, who is a new learning specialist for 9th and 10th graders. Another teacher who has started in the Upper School, Mr. Grant Phillips of the math department, is not a newcomer, for he taught in the Middle School last year. Another new teacher is Ms. Anne-Laure Lehman, who is temporarily teaching in the math department while Ms. Kristin Walton is out on partial family leave.

There are also three new teachers in the Middle School: Ms. Juliette Nelson, a 6th-grade math and science teacher; Ms. Sarah Del Dotto, the new 6th-grade chorus teacher; and Ms. Amelia Herring, the new Middle School librarian. Assistant Head of the Middle School Ms. Kelly Walsh says, “The Middle School is so pleased to have these new teachers in our community. They are already involved in so many different parts of Middle School life from music to soccer to clubs and of course, teaching great classes!”

Although all of the new teachers are quite different, they are sure to bring many different ideas and teaching styles to the Dana Hall community. Caroline Safran ’17 says, “I’m eager to get to know the new teachers, and I know they’ll be a great addition to Dana!” Keep an eye out for the new teachers, and be sure to make them feel welcome!

Photo: New faculty join Dana Hall. Photo credit: Dr. Karen Keely.

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