"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".
Kristen Aviles, CET 1st Grade Teacher
Kristen Aviles joined our team in Croton-Harmon this year as a 1st Grade Teacher, with prior experience as a teacher in Chappaqua Schools. She has known for a long time that she wanted to be a teacher, and she shared that "...my dream has finally become a reality. It's a long road to become a teacher, and when you do something challenging and finally get to where you want to be, it feels great!"
Managing a busy classroom of 1st Graders, along with all of the new responsibilities of being a first year educator can be a daunting challenge, but Kristen shared that she "...couldn't have asked for a better first year. I've really connected with my students, and I think that they feel that connection as well. I can't imagine these students not being in my class." The support from colleagues at CET has been helpful for Kristen as well, as she noted "...everyone has been so great - offering support and guidance. That kindness has come from the community as well."
When she's not at work, Kristen enjoys being healthy, spending time outdoors and being active. She also describes herself as a "foodie" and is always looking for recommendations for great new places to eat in the area!
Stacey Beitler, CET Reading Teacher
Prior to joining our district, Stacey was a 1st Grade Teacher in the Rye City School District, and also has become a children's book author and illustrator, including "Willy Goes To The Farm" and "Willy Helps A Friend". When the opportunity to join our team in Croton-Harmon came up, Stacey shared that she "...jumped at it." Her work at CET involves facilitating reading groups for students in Kindergarten through 4th grade focusing on using decodable texts, as well as writing groups for students in 3rd and 4th grade. Stacey shared, "I feel like every stage of my life I learn something new, and I'm enjoying this chapter right now."
When she's not at work, Stacey loves being a mom to her five sons, and she shared that they keep her busy "on a field somewhere" every weekend as she watches them play various sports.
Maria Salvi, Database Specialist
As our district's Database Specialist, Maria's role involves working with data in several ways, including electronic records management, processing information, analyzing data and conducting quality control. Maria shared, "I love data and working to make sure that our information is 'clean' and well allocated within our system."
Prior to joining our team in Croton-Harmon, Maria worked for the Mount Vernon School District doing similar data-related work. In speaking about her experience in our district so far, Maria said, "I feel very welcome. Everyone is very friendly. I like the open heart that everyone seems to have. I like developing relationships with the people that I work with, understanding what they need and how I can help. We are growing together."
When Maria is not at work, she loves spending time with her son, hiking and being outdoors. She also loves to exercise and be active. Welcome to the Tigers, Maria!
Gina Fitzsimons, CHHS Nurse
Prior to joining our team in Croton-Harmon, Gina Fitzsimons gained experience as a School Nurse in the Peekskill, Yorktown, and Mahopac school districts. However, she shared that it is here with the Tigers that she feels the most "at home". "I had always heard wonderful things about Croton and the connection of the schools to the community. It's really what I wanted to be a part of. More than just a job, I wanted to feel part of a family."For Gina, there is no "typical day" at work, and she shared that her focus is "...more than medication and first aid, the job is about meeting the varied needs of our students - talking to them, listening to them, helping them to know that they are supported here." She credits the staff and Nurse's Office Assistant Maria Miele with helping her to feel so comfortable at CHHS. "It doesn't feel like work. All the people here really care about our students."When she's not at work, Gina is a yoga instructor and is part of a "very busy" family, including her husband who works for the FDNY's Marine Division, and four children. She also loves knitting, cooking, and baking.
Ian Murtaugh, Bus Driver
As a CHHS alumnus, parent of 4 CHHS graduates, and former Village Board Trustee, Ian Murtaugh has been a part of our school district community for many years and was excited to have the opportunity to join our team as a Bus Driver this school year. "I saw an advertisement for becoming a bus driver and worked on getting trained right away," Ian shared. "It makes it so special to drive our students on the same streets that I learned to drive on when I was young. I look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work. I'm up before the alarm because this is so much fun."
Before joining our team, Ian spent 45 years in the sales industry, including 25 years working for Brooks Brothers in Manhattan. He described his transition to driving a school bus as "...a lot of fun. Our kids are so respectful, and they really take care of the bus and each other."
When he's not on the roads driving our Tigers to and from school, Ian enjoys taking his motorcycle on multi-state trips. This summer he and some family members are planning a "music tour", including stops at Graceland and the Grand Ole Opry.
Ruth Matute, CET Aide
Prior to joining our district in January, Ruth worked for Mount Pleasant Schools as a school monitor and a teacher aide. When asked about her work as a Teacher's Aide at CET, Ruth shared that her favorite part of her job is the opportunity to work with and support our students. "I love watching the students make progress with their learning and their language skills," Ruth shared.
In addition to working with the students at CET, Ruth also spends time in the school's Visitor Center, where she is often the first person that parents and guests interact with as they enter CET. "I love learning new things, and I feel very comfortable in what I do each day. Everyone is so nice and kind here. It is great to be part of this school district."
When she's not at CET, Ruth loves spending time with her daughter, who is attending college, and her son, who is in elementary school.
Kaylen Ward, PPS Office Assistant
Prior to joining CHUFSD in November as an Office Assistant in the Pupil Personnel Services Department, Kaylen worked for the Tarrytown School District as an Account Clerk. Kaylen shared that she has felt a warm welcome since joining our district, noting "everyone is so nice here. It's definitely a team environment, and everyone is very knowledgeable and willing to teach what they know." In her daily work, Kaylen collaborates with our school psychologists to schedule meetings for students and parents, and ensures that our faculty and staff have the materials necessary to meet the needs of all of our learners.When she's not at work, Kaylen enjoys crocheting, and shared that she has made several blankets over the past year. In addition, she likes to bake, and spend time with her ten year old Rottweiler, Greta.
Robert Keehn, CHHS Science Teacher
Rob Keehn is a new member of the Science Department at the High School, teaching the Tigers in AP Biology, Science Research, and Ecology. He joins our district after 4 years as a teacher at the New York City Department of Education, and prior to that, Rob spent 20 years in marketing and financial services. Asked about his experience in our district so far, Rob shared "...everyone you meet here is amazing. They all have such wonderful experience, and the information that everyone has shared with me has made me a better teacher." Rob described how he felt comfortable here beginning with the interview process, where he learned that "...in going through that (interview) process, it made it clear to me that my teaching philosophy was one that is espoused here."
When Rob is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his husband, John Paul, and is getting back into long-distance running. Rob also describes himself as a self-taught, and "still improving", tenor banjo player. Please join us in sending A Tiger Welcome to Rob Keehn!