The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet Carlisle School’s new staff members

Name: Kevin Maier
Current Position: Instrumental Music Teacher
Previous Position: Middle School Band Teacher, Yonkers, NY
Education: Masters in Music and Teaching, Manhattanville College

Maier joins the Carlisle School after successfully bringing back the band programs to four schools in Yonkers, New York, after the programs had been cut due to budget issues. He said he is excited to be in Carlisle “where the arts are flourishing.” Before working in Yonkers, he taught band at the Highlands Middle School in White Plains, New York. Growing up on Long Island, Maier was involved in the pit orchestra at his school as well as the marching band, where his main instrument was clarinet.

His first few weeks of transition in Carlisle have been smooth. “Everyone has been wonderful,” he said. His mentor is Physical Education teacher Lynne Carmel. He will be directing the Symphonic, Concert, Fifth-Grade, Fourth-Grade and Jazz Bands as well as giving instrumental lessons. He is as excited as the fourth graders are to start the fourth-grade band. “They have met the instruments, and some have picked theirs,” he said. “My main goal is to bring excitement to the band,” he said. “I want to get students to love what they are doing.” Maier plans to bring band performances into the community at different events to highlight their work.

When not at work he enjoys training for the New York Marathon. He is also a rock climber, using the “Traditional” or “Trad” method, placing anchors and lines as he goes. He is also a “big opera fan,” he said, and his favorite composers are Puccini and Verdi. Maier lives in Worcester.

Name: Amy Fichera
Current Position: Music Teacher, K – 3, long-term substitute
Previous Position: Canton Public Schools, Music Teacher, Substitute
Education: Bachelor of Music, Gordon College

Fichera’s transition has been “really, really nice,” she said. “Everyone has been extremely helpful.” She is substituting this year for Angela Monke, who is on maternity leave. Fichera grew up in Rowley, where music was a family affair. She continues to sing in a band with her father, who is the drummer for the band. She has performed in numerous theatre productions, last appearing in Charles Gounod’s 1859 comic opera “The Doctor in Spite of Himself,” which is based on the play by Molière.

Fichera said she is particularly excited to have her own classroom, since most schools at which she worked had traveling music departments or “departments on carts.” The music teacher would travel from class to class, bring instruments and materials along. “It is huge to have our own room and an office. And it’s nice to have two others in my department.” She said she is excited about focusing on grades preschool to grade 3. She incorporates movement in her classes, she said, such as clapping out the rhythm to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which helps students feel the beat in their bodies. She also will include “Listening Lessons,” an active form of listening to music such as the William Tell Overture, in which students may move, draw, write or sing in response to what they hear. Her mentor is Physical Education teacher Margaret Heigl.

Fichera, who lives in Woburn, is the musical director of Byfield’s “That’s the Spirit Players.” One of her hobbies is New England history. “I love looking up history,” she said.

Name: Katie Rupprecht
Current Position: School Psychologist, Grades K - 4
Previous Position: School Psychologist, Brookline
Education: Masters in Psychology and Education, Northeastern University

Rupprecht was raised in Sandusky, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. She attended the University of Miami in Ohio for her undergraduate degree before coming east to attend Northeastern University. Her transition to Carlisle has been “wonderfully warm,” she said, and she has felt welcomed by staff, students, and parents. “Patrice Hurley and Karen Slack have been great at getting me set up,” she added. Her mentor is second-grade teacher Jody Kelley. She has visited classrooms, with a goal to “make herself visible to students.” She has reached out to new families, and has had “face-to-face” time with students.

A change to the staffing structure has Rupprecht supporting five grades (K – 4) instead of K – 2 as was the case last year. Her goals include being present and available for every student and to respond to issues as they happen.

Friendship groups will be “as needed,” she explained, and she anticipates one per grade level. Teachers will “nominate” students for the friendship groups, she said, and she expects many students will cycle through. She will also be holding full class friendship groups. “I’ll be able to see more students that way,” she explained. The groups will be more focused, covering issues such as friendships and bullying.

Rupprecht lives with her husband in Brookline, where they are considering getting a puppy. “We are doing research for the right dog,” she said. One of her hobbies is Yoga, which she would like to offer to students as a relaxation method. When asked about the further future she said she is considering getting her doctorate in either psychology or school administration.”

Additional new hires

New support staff members include: Michael Clapp, Cynthia Mulligan, Kristie Ridick, Tracey Cody, Jason Smith, Angela Murphy, Jane Abata and Permanent Substitute Bradlea Raga. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito