"A Tiger Welcome" to Croton-Harmon Schools
One of the many qualities that makes our district special is the sense of community and togetherness that exists within our team. In order to add to that already wonderful quality, we'd like to ensure that each new member of our faculty and staff who has joined the district during the current school year is introduced and welcomed to our district, through what we are calling "A Tiger Welcome".
Peter Halligan, CET Teacher
Peter has joined our team in Croton-Harmon as a faculty member at CET after teaching in the Garden City Park School District on Long Island. Right away, he was drawn to the collaborative nature of our schools, sharing "between working with my mentor, colleagues, and my grade level team, almost everything on my desk right now is an idea that I've gotten from someone else."
Peter has enjoyed collaborating with his "buddy class" and other teachers on a shared passion pursuit this year, which involves connecting with nature, both for the students and adults. Our district's focus on interdisciplinary learning has resonated with Peter as well, and he shared that, "the work that we do together - that feels most special to me. I'm loving the use of math stations with my students; where I can further integrate interdisciplinary work. So when we're working on finding the area of a shape, we're also incorporating art and design as we measure dimensions."
When he's not at CET, Peter tries to exercise as much as possible, and he enjoys reading (especially non-fiction), watching great TV, and is also currently taking acting classes!
Gregory Gnos, Bus Driver
Gregory spent 13 years as a Mechanic before joining our team in Croton-Harmon, and he shared that he is truly enjoying the chance to be around our district's wonderful students and colleagues. "I love it. I love my job! I really like having conversations with kids of all ages. We have a fantastic team at Transportation, and I enjoy working with each of them. Having worked other places, there's nowhere else I'd rather work than here."Gregory can typically be found driving on the Alligator bus, so please make sure to wave the next time you see him driving by!When he's not at work, Gregory enjoys martial arts, and spends time working as an instructor in this area.
Patricia Santos, Part-time Strings Teacher
Patricia brings a wealth of experience to her work with students at CET, including her work as a free-lance cellist, singer-songwriter, performing with bands, and involvement with teacher and dance projects. She is also a part of a non-profit organization which works to bring music education to incarcerated communities.A typical day for Patricia at CET involves her working with students in grades 1 - 4 who play the cello or bass. Patricia shared that "...the students are so wonderful and fun to work with. I really enjoy seeing them build relationships through music. It is inspiring to see. I feel like I'm getting in on the ground floor and teaching technique, so that they can further develop their skills over time."When Patricia is not at CET, she enjoys spending time with her husband, who is also a musician, and their two dogs, a Spanish greyhound and a Boston Terrier/Pit mix, who Patricia describes as "quite a pair".
Russell Bauer, Bus Driver
Prior to joining our team at the Transportation Center, Russell worked as a Transportation Supervisor/Safety Director for another school district and BOCES. After retirement, Russell connected with a member of the Transportation Team in our district, who helped to convince him to become a Tiger. "All my life, I've been a part of transportation. From driving trucks to dispatch, I think I've done it all. And I have to say, being here is great!"Russell works as a "floating" member of the Transportation Team, so he was able to become acclimated to most aspects of the work, and all of the bus routes, in a short period of time. "Every day I can end up heading somewhere different, but whatever the team needs me to do, I'm here to do."When he's not at work, Russell loves sports. He is a self-described "former serious softball player", and he is a big baseball fan who loves statistics and enjoys creating and updating extensive spreadsheets on player data, in addition to adding to his collection of baseball memorabilia.
Matt Lyons, Custodial, CHHS
Prior to joining our district early in November, Matt worked for Raymour and Flanigan Furniture for several years in a variety of roles, beginning as store support and ending there as operations supervisor. Matt shared that in his work at CHHS there is definitely no "regular day", but he enjoys that each day he comes to work at CHHS he gets a chance to "...review the plan for the evening, and the week", and then he gets to work - making sure that the classrooms and the entire school are clean and safe.
Matt described the feeling he gets from being a part of the team here in CHUFSD, saying "I like how friendly and inviting everyone is. All I have to do is knock on a door, and everyone welcomes you in. Everyone here is so nice. This has been a wonderful place for me to work so far."
When he's not at work, Matt, a self-described "homebody", enjoys spending time with his wife and playing with their new puppy, Koda.
Welcome to the Tigers, Matt!
Darren Santucci, Custodial, CET Elementary School
Darren joined the Custodial Team at CET this year after working as a stonemason for close to 30 years. "As I started getting older, I began thinking about what I wanted the next chapter of my life to be. It was time for something different, and I thought that being a part of helping schools would be a good fit," shared Darren.Knowing that no day as a Custodial Team member is exactly like any other, Darren spoke about what happens on a "typical" day for him at CET. "I check in with the other Custodians and we go over our game plan for the day. Then we get to work! We check in with the teachers and staff to see what they need. You never know exactly what will happen, but we're always ready for it!" He also described his experience as a new member of the team in our district, saying "I just like everybody here. Everyone is friendly and nice and eager to welcome you and lend a hand."When he is not at work, Darren likes being outdoors, fishing, walking with his family, and generally enjoying the beauties of nature.Welcome to the Tigers, Darren!
Cassie Cartaginese, CHHS Special Education Teacher
Since 2016, Cassie Cartaginese has been a part of our Tiger team, serving primarily as a Teacher Aide and also as a Leave Replacement teacher in Special Education. Beginning for this year, Cassie has joined the faculty in a tenure-track position in the Special Education Department at CHHS. "During the pandemic, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher," shared Cassie. "The landscape in schools had changed so much, and I had additional opportunities to contribute within the classroom, and I thought 'I want to do more of that!'"
Cassie loves that each day brings a new challenge and new opportunities to support and inspire students, describing her days as "...busy, but I feel like I'm really 'on the ground' with students, helping them with their learning. Helping students manage their course loads and sharing my love of books; I love what I do. I remember what it was like to be my students' age and having teachers who changed my life. I love getting a chance to do that now, for my students."
When Cassie is not at CHHS, she loves reading, going on walks around her neighborhood, and spending time with her dog, Effie.
Congratulations and welcome to the Tiger faculty, Cassie!
Lanie Oles, CET 3rd Grade Teacher
It is a pleasure to continue the "A Tiger Welcome" feature by introducing our first new staff member for this school year, Lanie Oles.
For Lanie, being a Tiger is nothing new, as she student-taught at CET and PVC and also served as a leave replacement substitute teacher from February 2020 through June 2022 before being appointed to a tenure-track teaching position for this school year. She loves being a teacher, sharing that "...one of the best things is when something clicks for a student, especially when it's something they've been working on for a long time. When they finally realize they can do it, it's such a special moment."
As a teacher of young learners, Lanie recognizes that she has a unique opportunity to assist her students as they learn more about themselves and the world around them. "It's amazing to watch students find their way as young people and learn more about what they're passionate about. It's really special." She also shared how much she loves being a part of CHUFSD and CET, saying "I love CET and the school district community! Anywhere you go, you're supported. It feels like a family. We say it, and it really feels that way."
When she is not at work at CET, Lanie enjoys exercising, walking along the River, reading (especially thrillers and mysteries), and spending time with family and friends.
Welcome to the Tigers, Lanie!