Shelburne Community School welcomes new teachers

by Tricia Kennedy

From left: new Shelburne Community School teachers Kristin Bamberger, Katie Stansfield, and Patrick Smith.

Shelburne Community School will see many new faces this year and not just those of the incoming kindergartners. This August, the school welcomed new staff members including six teachers new to Shelburne Community School (SCS). Shelburne News had the privilege of speaking with three of the new hires last week.

Katie Stansfield joins the Winton House in her second year as a lead teacher, instructing seventh grade math and sixth through eighth grade language arts. Stansfield previously worked at Lamoille Union Middle School in Hyde Park, Vt., as well as several other schools in Chittenden County.  Hailing from Sunapee, N.H., she earned her undergraduate degree in English from UVM and realized that her original goal of a career in law was not the right fit. She found herself drawn to education, and after three remarkable years working as a para-professional she became certified to teach through the Teacher Apprenticeship Program. In her spare time, Stansfield enjoys being in the woods of Vermont playing disc golf. She is also an enthusiastic baker and is heavily into baking cupcakes these days. Stansfield “simply loves working with kids” and is confident that the other SCS teachers share her sentiments. She states that “Shelburne is a lot like Sunapee, where I grew up. It’s just a really close-knit community and I’m excited to be a part of that and have that environment around me again.”

Patrick Smith, a third and fifth grade special education teacher, is entering his 23rd year of teaching. He was raised in Irvington, N.Y., and received his B.A. in psychology from Hobart College. He spent the bulk of his previous teaching days in Colorado until he moved back east eight years ago to teach in Montpelier. He currently resides there with his fiancé, who is also a special education teacher. Smith enjoys road and mountain biking, kayaking, and playing the bass guitar. He was drawn to SCS for its “wonderful reputation” and felt very hopeful about the opportunity as soon as he was given the interview.

When asked why he became a teacher, Smith spoke about his pre-teaching days where he sold falafel on Church Street.  He realized mid-November after 12-hour days and low sales, that falafel was “just not going to be the thing that made a difference in people’s lives.” He then attended Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., earning his Masters in special education. When asked what he loves most about special education, he stated, “I really like to make a difference in the kids’ lives that really need somebody to make a difference.”

Kristin Bamburger, a Wisconsin native, joins SCS as a sixth through eighth grade music and choir teacher. She earned her undergraduate degree in music education from NYU and her Masters from Bank Street College of Education where she specialized in special education, curriculum development, and educational leadership. She brings five years of music teaching experience from The Bank Street School for Children in Manhattan and prior experience teaching at a public school in Queens, N.Y.

Bamburger and her boyfriend have a Pit Bull mix, Frankie, who they adopted from a shelter in New York. She loves to bike and play softball and is currently training for the NYC marathon. She is a “huge, huge, huge” Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers fan.

Bamburger credits her own teachers as her inspiration, stating that, “the good habits and the positive effects they had on my life made me want to do that for other people.” More than anything, Bamburger is excited to “make music all day, to talk about it, to play instruments” and she feels “very fortunate” to be a part of SCS’s progressive community. She notes that SCS “felt like home immediately” and hopes that “music is exciting for people and motivating and that everybody who comes into my room can find something to connect to.”

Of the 2012-2013 staff, Co-Principal Allan Miller says, “we were really fortunate this year to have the opportunity to hire such a diverse group of new staff. Some are very experienced while others are early in their careers. Some have a wealth of local, Vermont experience and others are from outside of New England. It really helps us maintain a healthy faculty character that can connect with each and every student in unique ways. The commonality they all share with their new colleagues is a passion for teaching and demonstrated willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of kids. That gives us the confidence to predict they will each rapidly make a strong impact here at SCS.”

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