Multi-Grade Specialists

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Multi-Grade Specialists

Michelle Banaszak
Media Specialist
First Year at CCS: 2011
Degrees: B.A. & M.A. from Northern Michigan University & Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TEACH AT CHARLOTTESVILLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL?

God has called me to share my passion for learning and to use my talents to serve others. I love that I can share my faith with my students and fellow teachers in a caring Christian environment, living out my faith daily.

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO GAIN FROM HAVING KNOWN YOU?

My desire is that all of my students leave our class time together knowing that God has a plan for all of us and that we are called to show God’s love to others with our words & actions.

HOW DO YOU KEEP CURRENT WITH THE SUBJECT AREAS YOU COVER?

I am a voracious and speedy reader, tackling dozens of books over the summer and even more throughout the school year! Many weekends you can find me in the bookstores, searching the shelves for recent publications. I also take continuing education courses to keep my teacher certificaiton current and attend library conferences each year.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS WITH A STUDENT?

I love when a reluctant reader starts to really thrive with their reading. When a child gets hooked in a book or a series, it’s so exciting! I especially love “Book Talking” and recommending books for my students. When they come back and tell me how much they have loved it, it makes me glow!

IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERTED ISLAND WITH JUST ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would have to have my iPad, with an unlimited dollar amount in my iTunes account to buy more iBooks!

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Heather Bryan
Assistant Learning Specialist
First Year at CCS: 2015
Degrees: B.S in Psychology & Minor in Biology; Graduate work in Special Education & completing Masters of Arts in Theology
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A TEACHER?

Teaching found me! A placement in a school for children with physical and intellectual disabilities surprised me, and I found a passion for helping children to feel safe, worthy, and be who God wants them to be.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK AT CHARLOTTESVILLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL?

Working at CCS is a dream come true! To work in an educational setting, with like-minded people, and helping young people grow is a joy! Add to that a Catholic environment where we can call upon God for everything to support one another can’t be beat!

HOW DO YOU KEEP CURRENT WITH THE SUBJECT AREAS YOU COVER?

In addition to reading educational books constantly, I take classes. Also, since I have the privilege of working throughout the school with all subjects and with all ages, I find my current involvement with the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Institute (LEMI) through the Richmond Diocese very valuable. In addition to completing a M.A. in Theology, we must pursue human spiritual and pastoral formation through retreats, workshops, and spiritual mentorship. I apply my training to every child I see in order to show love, support, and teach them according to their individual God-given strengths.

WHAT EXPERIENCES OR PEOPLE HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOU?

I have worked with many wonderful people who have taught me much. One special educator taught me that we are the hands and feet of Jesus. The application of that is awesome!

HOW DO YOU APPLY THE LATEST LEARNING RESEARCH IN YOUR CLASSROOM?

I have worked in Special Education in public school for over 6 years, and later found myself home educating my 4 kids. In that time, I became extremely interested in how children learn. I have attended workshops on learning styles, disabilities, and techniques during that time and have tutored kids, led programs for all ages, and I feel that one of my strengths is knowing how to help each child. They teach me what they need!

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Vanessa Devlin
Art
First Year at CCS: 2017
Degrees: B.F.A. in Art Education from V.C.U.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INTERESTS, HOBBIES, OR PASSIONS?

I love home renovation and gardening! My husband and I recently renovated a ninety year old home in the city and took it down to the studs. Oh mercy, the dust!!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS WITH A STUDENT OR AT THE SCHOOL?

Some of my favorite moments with students have been at the end of year Art shows. Seeing students find their work on the wall and proudly showing their parents brings me such joy!

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS?

My primary mentors are my parents. My father was a teacher in the Albemarle county school system for over 30 years. Although now retired, he still applies the principles that guided his teaching to his daily life. He constantly challenges me to listen, have patience, stand up for justice, and make room for grace. My mother has been an example of steady faith and service. Her love for God and faith in His plan has shaped my identity as a daughter, mother and teacher.

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO GAIN FROM HAVING KNOWN YOU?

The knowledge that they are loved. That their voices should be heard. That they are all co-creators of this world around us, building up their communities with their talents and gifts.

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Tamara Dias
3rd – 8th Grade Spanish
First Year at CCS: 2017
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts – Spanish Linguistics ; Master of Teaching: Foreign Language Education
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A TEACHER?

I really love the Spanish language. As a student, I had really great teachers who motivated me to be the best student I could. I’ve met so many people who have bad experiences in their World Language courses, and I wanted to change that!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INTERESTS, HOBBIES, OR PASSIONS?

I love reading and running. Unfortunately, I can’t do both at the same time! But, I’m grateful for audiobooks.

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS?

I have a local mentor named Melanie, and she is so supportive and understanding. I learn a lot from her, and she always helps me grow as a leader.

IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERTED ISLAND WITH JUST ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

My Apple watch! I sure hope there’s a place to charge it up on that island.

Kaitlyn Ziegler
School Counselor
First Year at CCS: 2018
Degrees: B.S. Human Development at UC Davis, M.Ed. Counselor Education at UVA
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INTERESTS, HOBBIES, OR PASSIONS?

I love dogs, being outdoors, jogging, traveling and going on outings in the community. My ideal Saturday would include a trip to the farmers market, a hike, playing with dogs at the park, and making dinner with friends or family.

HOW DO YOU GET THE RESULTS YOU WANT EACH STUDENT TO ACHIEVE?

As a school counselor, my goal is to address any barrier that is not allowing a student to reach their potential. These barriers can include stress, anxiety, lack of coping skills, interpersonal concerns, and many more. I love being able to provide a safe space for students to overcome a social or emotional obstacle so that they may return to the classroom and shine!

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU WANT A CHILD TO LEARN IN YOUR CLASSROOM?

The most important lesson that I want students to know when we interact is that they are loved, heard and important. I hope to create a foundation of trust so that students feel comfortable when we work together to be vulnerable and learn new skills.

Andrew Pitts
Physical Education, Athletic Director
First Year at CCS: 2018
Degrees: BSED in Health and Physical Education
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A TEACHER?

I wanted to make a difference and instill a love of physical activity in all students.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INTERESTS, HOBBIES, OR PASSIONS?

I enjoy running marathons, and I am currently training for the Richmond Marathon in November. Also I enjoy taking my dog, Oliver, hiking on the many wonderful trails in the area. Another passion of mine is live music and you can find me at many local shows in town.

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS?

One of my professors at George Mason University inspired me to become a teacher and has instilled a life long love of learning and I hope to instill the same in my students.

IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERTED ISLAND WITH JUST ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would want a record player with an endless supply of albums. I understand that is two things but I feel that they go hand in hand.