The school hired 10 new staff members this year, including 3 long-term substitutes, 2 new secretaries, 4 permanent teachers and a new assistant principal.
John Allen is a new Spanish teacher who is teaching Spanish I, Spanish II and Spanish II Honors this year. Collectively, he has seven years of experience teaching the language.
“I love seeing new students learn about new languages, cultures and about experiencing something different than what they’re used to,” Allen said.
Allen is looking forward to helping students improve their Spanish abilities and encouraging them to go to the next level.
Christophe Barquissau will be teaching French II, French III and French IV AP.
“What I enjoy the most about teaching is seeing the students grow up and being able to communicate, the change from darkness to light,” Barquissau said.
So far, Barquissau said that he could not be more pleased with the administration, students and teaching staff.
“This is the first time I have felt valued as a teacher,” Barquissau said.
Martha Bills is the new senior office assistant at the school. Bills worked as a senior office assistant for the MVLA Adult Education Program, Even Start Parenting Program and in the Adults Disability Department for seven years.
She chose to work at the school when Adult Education had to undergo budget cuts.
Bills said she is looking forward to having a good year and getting to know everyone in the office.
Spanish teacher Jacob Chase is teaching Spanish II and Spanish IV, filling in for Tiffany Potter- Karow as a long-term substitute. Chase was drawn to the school because of his enjoyment of working with young people and the desire for a change of pace. He is excited for a greater breadth of experience and to see something different while working outside the city.
“I enjoy building academic skills that help young people get to the next place in their lives,” Chase said.
Chris Kratochvil is a new member of the English Department. This year, Kratochvil is teaching two sections of Survey Composition and three sections of World Literature.
So far, Kratochvil is enjoying being a Survey Composition and World Literature teacher and is looking forward to this school year.
“Every single day is different,” Kratochvil said. “There are always surprises.”
Seth Leslie is the school’s new Assistant Principal. Prior to coming to the school, Leslie was the founding math teacher at East Palo Alto Academy High School.
Leslie said he enjoys getting to know young people and being able to provide guidance and support through his profession.
“I like seeing the light bulbs go on,” Leslie said.
He is looking forward to getting into classrooms, teaching and meeting students and having the opportunity to learn more about public education.
Leslie said he is confident that he has the experience required to serve the school population well and is excited for the school year.
Kiernan Raffo is the school’s new PE teacher and field hockey coach. Before coming to LAHS, Raffo worked as a PE teacher and field hockey coach for five years at Lynbrook High School.
Raffo came to LAHS because of its great reputation, staff and her desire to grow as an educator.
“I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the world,” Raffo said. “I get to teach outside.”
Kristin Tillim is another long term substitute for the English Department who is currently filling in for Lisa Bonanno. She is teaching both Survey Composition and Film Analysis.
Tillim graduated from the school in 2000 and had such a positive experience with her English teachers that she decided to come back to teach the same subject.
“I’m here because I was so impressed with the English Department that I wanted to come back and learn from them,” Tillim said.
What Tillim enjoys most about being an English teacher is the creativity of her students and getting to know their personal visions.
Benitisha Winters is the school’s new senior staff secretary working for Leslie.
Her genuine interest in education as well as her desire for a more interactive experience with students is what brought her to LAHS.
“I’m looking for the kind of experience that allows me to participate more in the development of students’ futures,” Winters said.
As a secretary, Winters said she values neatness and organization and vows to dedicate herself to students whether it is through clubs, electives or after school activities.