Meet the Staff: New Teachers Making an Impact

Erin Patterson and Zarin Mahmud

Despite being away from school for over a year, multiple new teachers have entered the Dulaney community. From many different teaching backgrounds to inspirations to different hobbies, these teachers are ready to give their all for Dulaney students. It is the first time in the building for many of them, but they are nonetheless ready to take on this year with a storm.

Integrated physics and chemistry (IPC) and honors chemistry teacher, Leah Luciana, is entering into her second year at Dulaney and 11th year teaching overall. Luciana previously taught in Baltimore City, Howard County and Gilman School after graduating from Wilson College in Massachusetts with a major in biochemistry and a minor in philosophy. Outside of her teaching life Luciana is invested in running, painting, reading, yoga and cycling. 

Luciana said, “I am looking forward to getting to know some more of the staff memebers and meeting students in person. I met a lot of people last year but it will be nice putting faces to the dots on the screen”. 

Also new to the science department is Michael Lashley. Lashley fell in love with teaching partly due to the opportunity to visit the beach during the summer and the connections he made with students after long-term substitute teaching. After growing up in Iceland, Lashley attended Towson University where he originally majored in pre-med to be a general practitioner. He switched career tracks and received a teaching degree through Goucher College. Lashley has previously only taught at middle schools making this year at Dulaney his first real high school experience. 

Lashley says, “I’m excited to see basketball, football games, seeing the sports and fun activities associated with high school such as prom.” 

Heather Schaefer, a woman with many talents, is thrilled to be teaching IPC and work as a special educator at Dulaney. She is a volunteer firefighter during her free time and loves to go camping, specifically in Tennessee

She expressed her inspiration for teaching when saying , “I had a teacher who was very energetic and passionate who encouraged me to use my love and share it with others leading to education and teaching falling into place”. 

Schaefer has previously taught at Hereford High School and at the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA). Before teaching, Schaefer fit cattle nationally for different farms, and was a project manager for an electrical contractor. 

Continuing with new science teachers, Doctor Christopher Newton joined the science department last year. Coming from teaching at Friends School of Baltimore and coaching squash, he is delighted to be teaching at Dulaney. Newton teaches living systems and anatomy and physiology following his career in research science. 

Newton described his experience at Dulaney by saying, “the science department is just incredible…the students are a very nice mix of talents and abilities which has been great in the classroom”.

First year teacher Callie Stewart joined the Dulaney history department this year teaching 9th grade government and world history honors. Growing up in the Towson area, Stewart attended St. Joseph’s University then returned to Maryland to teach.  During quarantine she loved to go on hikes with her dog and practiced running. Stewart has always wanted to become a teacher after watching her mother and father as educators despite the small period of time she either wanted to be a marine biologist or an interior designer; her decorating skills certainly are outstanding based on her classroom decorations.

Stewart said, “I think part of the reason why I wanted to be a teacher was because all of my favorite teachers were for the most part history teachers. They found a way to make the content relatable, fun and engaging”.

Adam Sutton is happy to be teaching high school coming from teaching at Cockeysville Middle School. Originally from upstate New York, he has been teaching for 12 years.  After COVID, this year he has been focusing on staying targeted at work to leave relatively early in order to spend more time with his family. Sutton teaches history after being inspired from one of his strong minded history teachers in high school. 

“It’s really gratifying to see all of these kids that I knew in middle school…most of the time when you are a teacher you see a brief snapshot but I’ve been able to teach them for a 3rd time now,” Sutton said.

English teacher Raquel Dove-Natale would love to be an author, but in her eighth year of teaching, says, “I just always loved English and reading and literature, so that’s what I wanted to do in college and kind of, share my love for the subject with my students.” 

Growing up in the Harford area, Dove attested to the immense impact her tenth grade English teacher had on her decision to teach; her teachers pushed her to start teaching herself. Throughout her many years of teaching Harford County schools, Dove had loved coaching soccer, but for now, she absolutely loves seeing her students in person. Despite still gauging the norms of this school, she enjoys interacting with her students so closely.

In her free time, she relishes spending time with her daughter and watching “Survivor.” She strives in “just choosing happiness and trying to shed that on other people.” A new addition at Dulaney, she lives by this motto and passes it onto her students.

Joining us on her first ever teaching venture, English and special aid teacher Emily Fox is quite the equestrian. After experiencing the virtuous knowledge of quite a few English teachers in high school, she turned her passion of being a veterinarian into that of a teacher. Fox obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from Towson and then a master’s degree in the same subject as she grew to realize her love for working with kids.

“I started by just peer tutoring in high school, and then once I was in college, I would help others with their work,” revealed Fox, as she described her inclination to teach.

Here at Dulaney, Fox is involved with the Asian Culture Appreciation club, which she notes has really been a pleasure to be a part of. In her current year at Dulaney, though she misses spending more time with horses, Fox enjoys interacting with her “kind and excited” students and is beyond excited to gain yet another year of teaching under her belt!

Kollette Kaschak joins us from Hereford High to teach Algebra and Calculus classes at Dulaney. Having graduated from college with a mechanical engineering degree and later made a swift career change to teaching, Kaschak has been teaching for over nineteen years, much of them spent in northern Baltimore County. Though she does indicate concern for the fluctuating temperatures at Dulaney, she is absolutely loving teaching kids face to face this year.

Describing her goal in teaching, Kaschak states, “I just always loved math in particular. My high school math teachers [were really admirable]. They were adults that made me feel comfortable in their classroom and I wanted to be that teacher for high schoolers. I wanted to be a teacher where kids could come into my room and say ‘I’ve always been horrible at math’ and walk out of my room saying ‘I’m not horrible at math anymore.’”

With her “one day at a time” positive attitude, Kaschak is looking to spend her year getting to know the community, as she continues to act as co-sponsor for SPECTRUM. 

Yet another new face in Dulaney’s mathematics department is Algebra and Geometry teacher Cheryl Muriel. A career changer with a bachelor’s degree in business, Muriel returned to school to obtain a master’s in education to allow herself to better connect to her children.

“The teachers I had never paid attention to me, and I don’t want students to feel bad like that. I wanted to make a difference with kids in a way that no teacher has ever made a difference for me,” describes Muriel, as she characterizes her journey into teaching at Dulaney. 

In her sixteen years of teaching, Muriel has taught at Aberdeen High School as well as St. James Academy, ultimately choosing to work at Dulaney due to how welcoming she finds the community and administration. Aside from Dulaney, she also continues to expand on her immense passion for physical health. An animated teacher, Muriel cannot wait to spread her positivity into Dulaney classrooms.

With each and every new teacher at Dulaney comes a new sense of place for students, for teachers, and for the school community as a whole. Dulaney is looking forward to spending many more years with our wonderful new teachers of this past year as we transition back into a system of normalcy in the school building!