New Teachers at AHS

New Teachers at AHS

Joy Herrera, Staff Writer

The 2020-2021 school year has been unusual for every staff member of AHS, but several new teachers have joined the staff to try to offset the load. We welcome Mr. Gallucio, Mr. Ghezzi, Ms. Huang, Ms. Phillips, and Mr. Plunkett to AHS.

Mr. Gallucio and Mr. Ghezzi both are joining our special education department. Ms. Huang is joining us as our new Mandarin teacher, and Ms. Phillips is joining our mathematics staff. Mr. Plunkett joins us as a part of our music department. In this time it is more important than ever to have people willing to help and who are focused on the well-being of our students.

Mr. Gallucio says that his greatest aim is helping his students find ways to communicate. Despite the pandemic, he says that they are finding ways to continue learning and growing. He wants to extend a message to all the students at AHS that when physical learning resumes, his classroom door will be open to any students who would like to help out and get to know the students in his special education class. His path to special education was unconventional, but overall he is delighted to be able to impart life skills to his students.

“The biggest hurdle of this time is working with our students who are nonverbal who have a lot of orthopedic impairments and who require a lot of hands on work,” stated Mr. Gallucio. “What I’ve done is provide response cards… and we are teaching a lot of sign language for the students to communicate.”

Mr. Ghezzi comes to AHS with a wealth of life experience from his time in the entertainment industry. He has since then worked in insurance, found a place coaching at middle schools, and finally found his calling with teaching. He currently teaches an English 11 class and assists Ms. Tedei in Algebra 1 classes by working with special education students. He wants all of his students to know that his number one priority is to advocate for them to be heard and supported. 

“I want kids to know they have a voice. I want them to know they are heard,” said Mr. Ghezzi. He says that he got into special education because he “roots for the underdog.”

Ms. Huang teaches upper levels of Mandarin at AHS. She is an immigrant from Taiwan and has had experience teaching both English and Mandarin Chinese. According to her, she wants students to walk away with the idea of “No challenge, no change!”

“I see myself as a bridge connecting the students and the subject matter, with the mission to make a smooth and engaging pathway for them,” said Ms. Huang. “I try very hard to engage my students in class activities and reward them for their efforts and progress.”

Ms. Phillips has always had an appreciation for math, and in her years teaching she has found herself enjoying the relationships she can build with students. She currently teaches Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 and is working hard to find ways to return some normalcy to students during the pandemic. Coronavirus has deeply impacted her, but she is working to find a good work-life balance with the support of her mentors on the staff. Overall she has enjoyed the welcoming environment AHS has shown her. 

“I like helping people and I really enjoy having interactions with kids every day. Honestly, every day is just new and unexpected,” noted Ms. Phillips. “I don’t think I could do a job just sitting in an office because I really appreciate the camaraderie and rapport that I am able to build with the students and the other staff.”

The performing arts department at AHS has had to make massive changes in the wake of coronavirus. This has been hard for students and staff alike. Mr. Plunkett stated that, to him, it feels like they have converted the usually communal environment to private lessons with students having to work more independently. He hopes that despite this, his students in concert band, marching band, and AP Music Theory are able to enrich their love of music and performance. 

“I really can’t wait to work with the students once we return to campus,” remarked Mr. Plunkett.

Despite the wide variety of experiences and expertise that our new teachers have, they are united in their love for teaching and hope for many long successful years at AHS.