Middle School

Middle School

Jennifer Furin
Middle School Language Arts
First Year at CCS: 2011
Degrees: BA from University of Akron; MS from St. Joseph’s University; prior field: U.S. Army
What do you want your students to gain from having known you?

That it is fun to learn; that I care about them, and to always do what is right!

What are your favorite moments with a student?

When they say, “I got it!”, that makes me so excited and proud.

Who are your mentors?

My in-laws are both in education and they inspire me to be a compassionate and creative teacher.

What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

I love to read! I also have a garden and like to go to the beach!

bio-man

Russell Hendrick
Middle School Social Studies
First Year at CCS: 2017
Degrees: B.A. in History from St. Lawrence University; Masters in Social Studies Education from SUNY Brockport
What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

I enjoy competing in triathlons and cheering for the Buffalo Bills!

Who are your mentors?

Both of my parents were teachers for over 40 years. They are a constant inspiration for me.

How do you inspirte students to enjoy/love learning?

I have a deep, personal interest in history and I love to share that with my students. I have found that my own enthusiasm can be infectious and draws students in.

If you were stranded on a deserted island with just one thing, what would it be?

A hatchet! I read the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulson in 5th grade and it taught me everything I know about wilderness survival.

Lauren DeVane
8th Grade Home Room; Middle School Mathematics
First Year at CCS: 2014
Degrees: B.A. in Mathematics; Master’s in Secondary Education
What are your favorite moments with a student?

My favorite moment with students is when I can see on their faces that they understand a new concept, especially if they have been struggling. It is wonderful to see how proud they are of themselves.

How do you get the results you want each student to achieve?

I encourage the students not to quit. I will take different approaches to a topic until it “clicks.” Having students work with partners in class often helps students to make connections.

What is the most important life lesson you want my child to learn in your classroom?

I hope that your child will learn that we all make mistakes, and that is all right. We can learn so much from our mistakes (in math or other aspects of our lives) and become stronger, smarter humans. It is also my hope that your child will enjoy math when they leave my classroom.

What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

My favorite places to be are either in the mountains or on the beach. I love hiking, reading, playing tennis and being with my family.

Mini Vasquez
8th Grade Homeroom, Middle School Religion
First Year at CCS: 2002
Degrees: B.A. in Religion from the University of Mary Washington
What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

When I am not in school, I really enjoy reading, a lot! I so love to go camping–surprise! My family and I used to go growing up, and I still love to go. I also love to cook–all kinds of food, not just Indian. Lastly, I truly enjoy spending time with my nephews and my niece.

How do you get the results yo uwant each student to achieve?

This is about helping the student understand what he or she wants to achieve. If students know what they want, then it is about helping them take the steps to reach that. Second, you must give students time–time to learn and figure out and ask questions. Third, students should feel that I respect them. If respect is not there, neither my goals nor theirs are achieved.

How do you inspire students to love learning?

I try to make things relevant to their lives. If it is not connected to their lives, then often it becomes something that is not fun. Also, I try to keep a really open classroom where students can feel safe and comfortable.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?

I want them to gain a love and appreciation for their faith and one another. I also want them to gain the importance of laughter and finding perspective in all that they do.

What experiences or people had the most influence on you?

There are two people I think about who have influenced me quite a bit. First is my friend Michelle who invited me, when I was 15, to attend a youth event at church. It really helped me to start to see my faith as an integral part of my life. Second is my mom. She is this vivacious, funny, courageous, and faithful woman. She has taught me to be generous with my time and all that I have. She has also shown so much courage in all that she has endured; I feel like I can accomplish anything when I think about my mom.

John Garland
Middle School Mathematics
First Year at CCS: 2019
Degrees: BS in Math Education from Radford University/taught for 22 years at Albemarle High School
What motivated you to become a teacher?

Wanting to make a difference was a huge motivator in me becoming a teacher. In my opinion, the teaching profession is on the front-lines of being able to do just that. Every single day I get to work with young minds and see what they are capable of. I push them mathematically while asking them to analyze results with their mind and heart. I have the greatest job in the world.

What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

Music has been a huge part of my life. I started taking piano lessons at age 5, guitar lessons at age 8, and have been playing ever since. Music allowed me to develop a second profession as a wedding DJ in and around the area. Swimming and collecting sports/entertainment memorabilia are additional areas of interest. In case you haven’t seen my classroom, you should know that I love anything Superman related.

If you were stranded on a deserted island with just one thing, what would it be?

I know individually they are more than one thing, but together we are 1 unit; my answer to this question is my family! I can’t imagine life without them. They are the absolute love of my life, always supporting me unconditionally, and motivating me to be the best husband, father, son, and brother a guy could be.

Lindsay Lowdon
Middle School Language Arts
First Year at CCS: 2012
Degrees: Undergraduate Major in English, Minor in History; Master of Arts, Learning Disabilities
What is the most important life lesson you want my child to learn in your classroom?

I want the students in my class to realize that their words and actions can be a force for good in this world. Choosing kindness in all circumstances is what Jesus taught and what truly makes the world a better place for everyone. I want my students to grow in their compassion for and tolerance of others, seeking to find the similarities rather than the differences in those around them.

What are your favorite moments with a student?

One of my favorite moments with a student is when I meet him/her for the first time. I seek to make my first caring connection with the student as I shake hands and make eye contact. Establishing that personal connection helps build trust, which is the firmest foundation for true learning and exploration. Another moment I enjoy is when I can tell that a student loves a particular learning experience and is invested with his heart, mind, and soul. I have seen this many times as I watch students come to life as writers. A third moment I love is when we have lunch together and he/she shares his interests and hobbies. Knowing the young person as more than just a student in my class adds a dimension to our relationship that enriches us both.

Who are your mentors?

When I was in tenth grade, I was blessed to have Mrs. Elizabeth Norfleet as my English teacher. She taught literature with a passion and managed to achieve a personal connection with every student in her class. She made literary characters come alive, fostered deep conversations about plot developments, and taught us to write with skill and insight. She became a dear friend, and I continued to visit her and enjoy long conversations for years after I finished my high school education. I seek to emulate her in my love of literature and writing and in my desire to know my students as people. Two important mentors in my life were my parents. They dedicated themselves to caring for people and creatures, and I am doing the same.

Why did you choose to teach at Charlottesville Catholic School?

From the very first moment I met the staff at Charlottesville Catholic School, I knew this school would be the perfect place in which to teach. They were warm and engaging, clearly invested in the personal as well as academic growth of each student, and entirely supportive of my desire to bring creativity, rigor, and spontaneity to students. Charlottesville Catholic School allows for depth of learning within the structure of our Consensus Curriculum. We as educators can teach students and not standards, and I find great life and energy in that. The focus on God and the teachings of the Catholic tradition allows us to educate the minds, hearts, and spirits of the students in our classes. It is a pleasure and a blessing to teach at Charlottesville Catholic School.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?

I want students to gain in self-confidence, openness to learning, and compassion for others. It is my goal that they leave 5th grade having found that their efforts as students were encouraged and celebrated. I want them to appreciate good works of literature and important trends in history. I would like them to gain a sense of themselves as writers. As they leave my classroom, I want them to know that I gained a great deal from knowing them and that I will always be there to support them.

Michael Bruscia
Middle School Science
First Year at CCS: 2019
Degrees: Bachelors of Science Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
What motivated you to become a teacher?

I became a teacher to have the opportunity to share my passion for science.

What are some of your interests, hobbies, or passions?

I love to take pictures, cook and make furniture.

What are your favorite moments with a student or at the school?

Lab day. There is nothing better that watching a student’s reaction to experiments and STEM challenges.

Who are your mentors?

My mentor is wildlife photographer Steve Morello. He taught me composition and how to use a camera in the field.

What is the most important life lesson you want a child to learn in your classroom?

Science is a perfect subject to encourage successful collaboration.