11 new teachers arrive at Ann Richards


The science teachers throw balloons out to the crowd, led by Ms. Sauter. Teachers were introduced by their subject area in the Monday assembly.

ARS welcomed 11 new teachers on Monday. The school now has 60 teachers, more than it has ever had before.

To many of the new teachers, Ann Richards made a very good impression.

“I loved the Starwalk,” said Ms. Collins, the new Algebra I teacher. “The front entrance where all the cheerleaders were inviting everyone in this morning [was] fantastic!”

Ms. Poirier, the new French teacher, enjoyed the energy at the first morning assembly as well.

“I think we should start every day with the marching band and a dancing star. It was awesome!” she said.

Ms. Wiersema starts the Starwalk. This is a tradition ARS has carried on since its opening in 2007.
Ms. Wiersema starts the Starwalk. This is a tradition ARS has carried on since its opening in 2007.

New ARS teachers said they love ARS students as well.

“I was really impressed with student behavior and their willingness to take chances on the material,” said Collins. “I gave some of my Algebra I students some fairly challenging problems today and they did very well, so I was very impressed.”

However, with a larger population and the same-sized campus, ARS has had some growing pains. Ms. Poirier and Mr. Ward (who teaches seventh grade math) don’t have classrooms this year, instead switching every class period to classrooms whose teachers have planning periods.

“I’ve had to change classrooms three times, so that was a bit chaotic, but it will get there,” said Poirier.“I’ve got some volunteers that are helping me with my travelling cart and travelling easel.”

Ms. DiCuffa, one of the original teachers at ARS when it opened, knows of these kinds of challenges.

“I usually tell [new teachers] to be as flexible as they can be,” said DiCuffa. “Our schedule, you know, gets out of whack all the time.”

New teachers also said they find all the things going on at ARS overwhelming.

“There’s just so much going on!” said Poirier. “There’s so much to do…so many places to be at one time. I have like 150 students…just getting to know everybody [will be a challenge].”

This busy-ness isn’t just because the school has grown. In fact, Ms. DiCuffa remembers the most hectic day in Ann Richards history: the first day the school opened for the original stars, with only 250 students and 16 teachers.

“It was the first day of the school being open so there were news reporters everywhere, people everywhere, and parents everywhere,” said DiCuffa. “None of us knew what we were doing at all and it was very crazy and hectic, and when the students came into the classroom we were so happy.”

Since that day seven years ago, Ms. DiCuffa still believes that all the craziness pays off when the students arrive.

“Last week we had professional development and meetings all week long and it was really exciting and we got really jazzed,” said DiCuffa.  “But then the students get back and it just makes [us] happy.”