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Meet our six new teachers

 

Our reporters caught up with Malvern’s six new faculty members.

newteachers

peslakMrs. Laurie Peslak
Aidan Khalil ’19

Laurie Peslak will join Dr. Joan Dlugos this year as a new advisor for Student Council as well as teach physics.

Peslak will serve as a physics teacher and substitute biology teacher this year. So far, everything seems to be going well for her.

“My first week at Malvern was fantastic,” Peslak said. “I have really enjoyed my classes and all of my new colleagues. Everyone has made me feel extremely welcome.”

Peslak formerly taught Physics at Rush and Henrietta, a school in the Rochester area for five years. She then moved to the Malvern area to teach at Valley Forge Military College.

Peslak grew up in Rochester, New York and went to Pennfield High School. Following graduation, she attended University of Scranton for her undergraduate degree and Saint John Fisher College in Rochester for her graduate degree.

Outside of school, Peslak’s favorite things to do are spending time with her three year old daughter and going to amusement parks.

“I am looking forward to a great year— having fun classes where we can experiment a lot and try new fun labs and be as involved as I can in the entire Malvern Community,” she said.

sheets

Miss Kim Sheets
Nick Li ’17

New middle school social studies teacher, Ms. Kim Sheets has a goal for her time at Malvern. “I want to become a better educator, and allow students to get the skills to be able to survive in world,” she said.

The 2016-2017 school year marks Sheets’ second year teaching in the greater Philadelphia area. Sheets grew up in central New York and spent most of her life there.

For her collegiate studies, Sheets attended the State University of New York (SUNY) in New Paltz and received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies Education for grades seven through 12. After she received her Bachelor’s degree, Sheets pursued her Master’s Degree at SUNY Cortland in the field of Literacy Education grades five through 12.

Sheets first moved to the greater Philadelphia area because her family moved there. She spent her first year teaching middle school in the Rose Tree Media School District. Prior to Rose Tree, Sheets taught in New York state.

“I [first encountered] Malvern while working at United Sports last fall,” Sheets said. “I thought it was an awesome group of kids, and when I saw the job opening in the summer, I said, ‘Wow, they have really great experiences; I really want to teach there.’”

So far, Sheets said the year has gone smoothly. During middle school orientation, Sheets was able to get to know the kids. She was able to adjust to the new experience of being around all boys and was able measure each student’s knowledge.

Currently, the 8th grade is studying the economy and consumption, and Sheets is making it a focal point of her class.

“I want to make the students aware of their consumption, and how things move through the global economy,” She said. “My goal is to have students build on their self-awareness skills, higher order thinking, depth of knowledge, and [in the end] to be better prepared for the real world.”

As for personal goals, Sheets wants to become a become a better educator. She considers herself a lifelong learner, so she is always determined to better her craft. She also wants to integrate herself further into the Malvern community. She would like to get more involved with service trips and other activities as time goes on.

Outside of school, Sheets loves to run. She participates in events such as half marathons and 15k races. In addition, she loves to go on hikes with her dog and hang out with family and friends.

gould

Ms. Valerie Gould
Dan King ’19

As students, new and returning, come to Malvern for another year, they are welcomed by new teachers and faculty like middle school music teacher Ms. Valerie Gould.

Before coming to Malvern, Gould taught music in Delaware, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. She began her teaching career at a charter school in Delaware where she taught middle school students. Since then, she has been working in urban education.

“I did band, I did general music, I did choir,” Gould said. I’ve done everything from little guys— pre-k, like two and a half years old— all the way up through college at some point.”

Now she is back teaching at the middle school level right here at Malvern. As a music teacher, Gould has a passion for her craft.

“I’ve been playing since I was in the fourth grade. I was 9 or 10 years old, so yeah you could say that it has always been a passion,” She said.

Her main instrument is the flute; however, she also admires the french horn.

“If I had an opportunity to do my music career all over again I would definitely pick the french horn,” she said. “Once in awhile I think, hey I should learn bass guitar because I could be in a rock band.”

Gould played her flute in mass as part of the Middle School “God” Band. Although Gould has only been here for a short while she has expressed her love for the school and has really enjoyed her time. She enjoys the students and loves seeing them everyday.

“I love the kids, my students are very bright and eager to learn,” she said. “They’re very curious, they pick things up and play them. It has been really fantastic.”

friendMrs. Kathy Friend
Kyle Leonard ’19

Mrs. Kathy Friend looks to help students make friends with science as the substitute teacher in place of Biology Teacher Mrs. Anna Geider, who is currently on maternity leave.

Friend went to St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she majored in Biology. She then moved to this area and received her Masters in Education at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania. She taught at Springford High School last spring, and prior to that, she helped run an 8th grade development clinic.

Mrs. Friend is ecstatic about teaching biology in Mrs. Geider’s absence. “I’m excited to share science with other people,” Friend said. “I love the sense of discovery, and if I can get someone else to be interested or to look at the world in a different way, to me that’s very satisfying.”

Friend is also looking forward to getting to know the freshmen she is teaching.“I am already enjoying the learning and interaction in such a warm and supportive atmosphere that we have here.” Friend said.

Outside of school, Friend is training to become a unit commissioner for the Boy Scouts to help different camps that need assistance. However, her passions lie with her family, especially with her three sons, ages 12, 20, and 22. All of her sons are interested in the sciences, sharing interests with their mother.

“I tried not to influence them, but they’re all interested in discovering new things,” Friend said. “I thought that was pretty neat.”

 

hoeyMr. John Hoey
Garrett Hallinan ’19

Mr. John Hoey believes that his main job as the new sixth and seventh grade theology teacher is “trying to get students a little bit closer to God so they can discover His will in their lives.”

Originally from Drexel Hill and St. Bernadette’s parish, Hoey is the youngest of five. He has two brothers and two sisters.

“We all went to St. Bernadette’s, and we lived close enough to walk to school,” Hoey said.

As a kid, Mr. Hoey aspired to be a musician.

“I am a drummer,” Hoey said, “and I never wanted to be famous. I just wanted to play with other people.”

After St. Bernadette’s, Hoey followed in his brothers’ footsteps and went to Monsignor Bonner because of their strong, Augustinian tradition. After four years at Monsignor Bonner, Hoey went on to Villanova University where he received his degree in Religious Studies. Throughout his days of high school and college, Hoey also studied music.

“I never wanted to teach music but I played music professionally for a long time,” Hoey said. “I have played for and traveled with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Russ Morgan Orchestra, and the Mills Brothers.”

Along with playing in these bands, Hoey has his own band band called the John Hoey Orchestra.

“My orchestra plays swing music from the 1930’s and 1940’s as well as rock and funk from the 1960’s and 1970’s,” Hoey said.

Going into college, Hoey’s intended major was Theatre and minor was Theology. After his first semester of sophomore year, Hoey switched Theology to his major and Theatre to his minor.

“I had a class that changed my life. It was called the Christ Question and the professor’s name was Dr. Emily Binn,” Hoey said.

In this class, Hoey asked many questions about Christianity and Jesus and learned many answers. It was this concept of inquiry and answer-seeking that Hoey really liked and that is what made him switch his major to Theology.

After college, Hoey played music full time and was a substitute teacher.

“Every once and awhile someone would call me and say, ‘We need a religion teacher, can you come in and teach for us if you are not on the road?’,” Hoey said. “So I did that a couple of times at St. Elizabeth’s down in Wilmington, West Catholic in Philadelphia, and Monsignor Bonner in Drexel Hill.”

Last year, Mr. Hoey was a substitute teacher at Bonner. He liked it so much he was considering staying there if Bonner needed him. At the end of the year, they did not need him anymore. This did not stop Mr. Hoey from teaching.

“In August, this job as the Middle School theology teacher opened up,” Hoey said. “So I applied for it, and with the grace of God I got it.”

How does Mr. Hoey like working at Malvern so far?

“I love every aspect of it,” Hoey said. “I can’t wait to get here every morning and I really do not want to leave in the afternoon.”

trexlerMs. Lori Trexler
Owen Preston ’19

Ms. Lori Trexler joined Malvern’s Science Department this fall where she will be teaching middle school Environmental Science, and Ecology to 8th graders.

Trexler’s alma mater is Susquehanna University. There, she received her undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Science with a Minor in Secondary Education. She later received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in Educational Studies with a focus on Earth and Space Science.

Trexler explained why she became a teacher. “I always loved science and I wanted a way to share it with kids and others,” she said.

She taught for a total of six years before coming to Malvern Prep. Trexler worked at the Howard County Public School System where she taught science, and she also worked and Longwood Gardens as the coordinator for school programs.

However, Malvern was attractive to Trexler. “I wanted to be involved in a student center of learning,” she said. “I also wanted to be a part of Malvern’s collaborative environment.”

Trexler said she is settling in nicely and that everyone has done a great job making her feel at home and comfortable. She also has some goals for her students.

“I want to get my students excited about science and to get involved in nature,” she said.

 

 

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