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School district hires 17 new teachers

September 28, 2011 - It was a busy summer for Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Nancy Latowski as she hired 17 new teachers and professional staff into the Oxford Community Schools family.

New staff members include:

Maria Alvarez-Valero: A native of Mexico, Alvarez-Valero joins OCS as a new elementary Spanish teacher. She has a bachelor's degree from Universidad Autonoma de Coahulia in Mexico and a master's degree in teaching bilingual Spanish and K-12 Spanish from Wayne State University.

She loves teaching her native language and culture of Hispanic speaking countries, and believes learning a foreign language takes daily practice both in and out of the classroom. In her spare time, she likes to sample different ethnic foods, dance, walk, read and socialize with family and friends.

Andrew Bausack: Bausack joins Oxford High School as a special education math teacher. He has a bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University with endorsements in social studies, special education and math, and has a master's degree in special education from University of Michigan-Flint.

He previously taught special education at Atherton High School in Burton. He also coached girls lacrosse and volunteered with the music department at Flint Carman-Ainsworth High School. When he is at home, he likes to relax with his dog and watch sports.

Lauren Bordes: Lauren can be found working as a social worker for Oxford Middle School. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work from Central Michigan University.

Before joining OCS, Bordes worked for Huron Academy, a K-6 school in Sterling Heights, and worked as a clinical therapist at Vista Maria. She feels that establishing a positive rapport with students is important because once they know she truly cares about them, students will feel safe and become motivated to work together.

She lives in Lake Orion with her husband Matt and two daughters, Sophia (two-and-a-half) and Liliana (five months). In addition to her love of running, she enjoys being outside, cooking, shopping, traveling and spending time with family up north.

Ben Dong: OMS welcomes Dong as a new Chinese Language Arts teacher. He comes to Oxford from Beijing, China, where he studied at the University of Science and Technology in Anhui Province and earned a bachelor's degree in thermal engineering. He loves basketball, swimming and travel, and hopes to make lots of American friends.

Pamela Fine: Fine can be seen working with Special Education students at OHS. She has previous experience successfully implementing bullying prevention programs in both Lake Orion and Cincinnati, OH, and has worked with teens for over 20 years in a variety of roles including teacher, guidance counselor, executive director and founder of a non-profit agency for grieving children, at-risk youth counselor, crisis-team counselor, and a certified trainer of the Olweus Bully Prevention program.

She has a bachelor's degree in education from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in education from Xavier University.

She feels that if students are given information on what to do, then 80 percent of students who are bystanders to bullying can stand up and stop it from happening. She lives in Oxford.

Robin Graft: Graft will be working at Oxford Elementary as the resource room teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University and is currently working on a master's degree in special education.

She began her teaching career in Kalamazoo teaching sixth grade. She encourages an open and caring classroom environment in order for all students to feel safe and be willing to take chances. Graft currently lives in White Lake with her husband Michael and daughter Olivia and enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Krista Price: Price will be the new director of OHS's theatre program and will teach theatre, speech and stagecraft.

She has several years of experience teaching and directing theatre. In the Rockford School District, she doubled student participation in curricular theatre, directing 18 main-stage and curricular, black box shows. Before Rockford, she spent eight years in Byron Center building their theatre program at the high school. She has also spent time teaching in Costa Rica and was a camp counselor in Egypt.

She has a bachelor's degree in secondary education (theatre/speech) and elementary education from Cedarville University, and a master's degree in humanities from Central Michigan University.

Beverly Stitzel: Stitzel joins the OMS staff as a math/physical education teacher.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. She has a simple philosophy: show up, have a positive attitude and give everything your best effort - success is sure to follow.

Physical activity is important to Beverly and her family as they participate in as many activities as time allows. She enjoys traveling throughout the United States and learning about new places. Stitzel currently lives in Lansing.

Trista Tracey: Tracey will be joining the Oxford Early Learning Center as a member of their child development team. She formerly taught preschool in the Lansing School District and kindergarten in Lapeer.

She has a bachelor's degree in education from Michigan State University with a ZA endorsement for early childhood education and BX endorsement for language arts. She has a student-centered approach to teaching where each student takes an active, hands-on role in his/her own learning.

Her favorite pastimes include reading, running and traveling. She lives in Rochester with her pet turtle Jackson.

Jennifer Trombly: Trombly will join the staff at Clear Lake Elementary as a fourth grade teacher.

She has a bachelor's degree in education (science) from Wayne State University and has a DX endorsement in science from WSU. She also has a master's in education (reading and literacy) from MaryGrove College.

Trombly has coached cheerleading since graduating high school. She expects the best from her students and believes everyone can achieve. She currently lives in Oxford with her husband and daughter. She loves the outdoors and Detroit Tigers.

Tuo Zhan: Zhan joins OCS as an elementary Chinese foreign language teacher. She is a certified Chinese teacher through the Foreign Language Training Program at the University of International Relations in China, where she majored in public administration.

She is currently working on a master's degree in education from Michigan State University.

In her spare time, Tuo enjoys swimming, badminton, yoga, reading, playing piano, dancing, films and music. She is also interested in traveling and has visited Japan, Thailand, England and the U.S.

Fan Zhang: Zhang also joins OCS as a elementary Chinese foreign language teacher.

She comes to Oxford from Dandong, China, and has a bachelor's degree in editing and publishing from Liaoning University in China and is working on her master's in education at Michigan State University.

Zhang worked as an editor for a national magazine in China, then earned her Certificate of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Beijing Language and Culture University. She also taught fifth grade in Beijing, China and was an English teacher at Dalian American International School in China.

When she is not teaching, she likes to watch movies, listen to music, read, golf, play tennis and sail.

Other new hires include: Carmen Francis, a Spanish Foreign Language teacher at OMS; Virginia Gamache-Benjamin, first grade teacher at Clear Lake Elementary; Kimberly Gierahn, kindergarten teacher at Clear Lake; Michael Johnson, fourth grade teacher at Leonard Elementary and Chelsea McIntosh, a second grade teacher at Leonard.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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