OBEN Schools Welcomes New Staff Members
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Optimistic and hard-working, Mr. Femino brings a combination of teaching experience as a vocal, choral and general music educator and emerging administrative skills as an Arts Professional Developer and Principal Intern. He has led numerous presentations and authored music education articles for various organizations and music publications.
A first-generation college graduate, he earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College. He holds New York State certifications in School District Leadership, School Building Leadership and Music. In addition, he earned Orff Schulwerk National Certification from Hofstra University and is a certified New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) voice adjudicator. He is affiliated with several organizations, including the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), NYSSMA and National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
Mr. Femino said he is looking forward to getting to know the staff, students and community members of the District. Outside of the school day, he enjoys cooking, “I live for the Food Network Channel,” he said.
Ms. Laura McNamara joins the District as the new K-12 Supervisor for Mathematics replacing Mr. Jack Burke who took a position in another district. Ms. McNamara comes from Three Village School District where she served as the grades 7-9 Mathematics Chair at Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School, a position she held for seven years. Prior to chairing the department, she taught for eight years, the last two as the department’s lead teacher.
In her new position as math supervisor, “I can make a greater impact on students at all grade levels,” she said. “Oyster Bay is a wonderful district with the professionalism, support and opportunity that I was seeking.”
Described as dedicated, trustworthy and supportive, Ms. McNamara comes from a long line of teachers and administrators, including her parents, spouse, brother, sister-in-law, father-in-law and uncle! She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Management from Gettysburg College, her Master’s degree in Education from Dowling College and an Advanced Certificate in Educational Leadership from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has her certification in Mathematics for grades 7-12, and professional certificates as a New York State Building and District Leader. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State. Outside of the school day, she has coached girls’ field hockey and girls’ lacrosse.
A mother of four-and-a-half-year-old triplets, Ms. McNamara enjoys an active lifestyle. She likes going to the beach with her family and can often be found in the gym or jogging around her neighborhood.
Ms. Emily Ann Powell is the new high school earth science teacher, replacing Ms. Sharon Brandt who retired in June.
“I’m thrilled to join the community and have always loved Oyster Bay,” she said. An educator for 12 years, Ms. Powell was formerly a science teacher at Our Lady of the Hamptons Regional School in Southampton where she instructed students at both the elementary and middle school levels. She also taught for eight years at the Harlem Village Academies High School/Middle School where she planned and implemented an innovative curriculum using real-world performance tasks and experiential learning activities to engage students. Ms. Powell comes from a family of teachers — both her brother and sister, as well as both of their spouses, are teachers!
Energetic and diligent, Ms. Powell has experience as a science chair and in teaching college-level courses for credit. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Mary Washington, a Master’s degree in Geosciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Master’s degree in Teaching with Distinction from Teacher University at Hunter College. She has certification in Childhood Education, grades 1-6; Middle School Education, grades 5-9; Earth Science, grades 5-9; and a pending certification in General Science, grades 5-9.
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Powell said she enjoys learning new things, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Reid, have a three-year-old son named Wright, who was named “after Orville and Wilbur Wright because they were exceptional innovators and there is a history of aviation in our family,” she said. She also has a 13-year-old dog, Luna, who, she said, “still looks like a puppy.”
Ms. Heather Russell and Ms. Alison Chechakos have been hired as special education teachers at James H. Vernon School. Ms. Russell was a special education teaching assistant in the District last year. She worked briefly with kindergarten students at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School and then with students at Oyster Bay High School. Prior to coming to the District, she taught K-2 students in the South Huntington Union Free School District. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Adelphi University and a Master’s degree in Childhood/Special Education (CASE Program – Competencies in Autism and Special Education). She specializes in the assessment and instruction of students with severe disabilities, behavior management for children with autism and developmental disorders, as well as communication development and language disorders in children with autism. She is certified in Childhood Education, birth-grade 2 and grades 1-6, and Special Education, birth-grade 2 and grades 1-6.
Ms. Russell said she chose to come to Oyster Bay because “it is a district whose primary values are focused on the child and their individual needs. After working in the District for one year I got to see, first-hand, teachers sincerely dedicated to the growth of their students, which is completely in line with my teaching philosophies.”
Mr. Anthony Femino
Ms. Laura McNamara
Ms. Emily Ann Powell
Ms. Heather Russell
Ms. Alison Chechakos
Patient and dedicated, she said she looks forward to “continuing to be part of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich family. I am excited to use the skills I’ve developed over the past 10 years working with children with special needs. My greatest satisfaction comes when I see each of my students grow and reach their full potential.”
Outside of school, Ms. Russell enjoys being around nature, crafting, going on adventures with her three-year-old son, and volunteering her time to help others.
Ms. Chechakos comes to Oyster Bay from MS 447 Creston Academy in New York City where she was a sixth-grade special education teacher. There, she co-taught math and English/language arts to 30 students within an integrated co-teaching classroom. She previously taught sixth grade at Magen David Yeshivah in Brooklyn where she instructed students in all content areas. Ms. Chechakos earned a Bachelor’s degree in Inclusive Special Education from the State University of New York at Cortland, a Master’s degree in Childhood Special Education from City University of New York at Queens College and a Master’s degree in Teaching English Learners from the American College of Education. She is certified in Childhood Education, grades 1-6; Students with Disabilities, grades 1-6, Middle School Education generalist, grades 5-9; and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Outgoing with a sharp sense of humor, Ms. Chechakos is the first in her family to become a teacher, something she wanted to pursue since she was 10 years old. “I look forward to watching my students discover and learn new things this year and building relationships with my colleagues,” she said.
Outside the classroom, Ms. Chechakos enjoys playing with her dog and relaxing with her family and friends.
In addition to new hires, Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School second-grade teacher Ms. Erin Dubon has taken on a new position for the 2018-19 school year as the library teacher at James H. Vernon Elementary School. Taking her place as a second-grade teacher is Ms. Christine Rooney who was formerly an Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teaching assistant at the school. Ms. Brittany Ford will serve as a leave replacement for Ms. Kelly Hilt’s 3rd grade class. Ms. Ford has been a resident substitute in the school for several years. She has also been involved in the schools’ Drama Club, Newspaper Club and Book Club and is especially looking forward to this year’s Vernon production of Shrek the Musical, Jr., Nov. 8 and 9.