A better look at two new teachers

Aug. 28, 2012

It's time for parents and students to get ready for those three words that mark the end of summer - back to school. These words, while holding meaning for students and parents, also hold meaning for professionals.

Professionals like Ashley Imperiale, who is coming to Washington Elementary from a substitution job at Wauwatosa West High School, are gearing up and getting their curriculum ready for students. Imperiale graduated from UW-Milwaukee in December 2011 and said that the West substitution job was the only realistic job she could apply for, due to her graduation coinciding with the middle of the school year.

Imperiale grew up in Greendale and is familiar with Wauwatosa through sports competitions.

"The thing I'm most excited about is to immerse myself in a new community and learn from more experienced teachers," Imperiale said. "I think there's a good mix of new teachers and teachers that have been around longer. I'm looking forward to having my own classroom and setting the tone for the year."

Imperiale is involved in basketball programs. She was the varsity assistant to West's basketball team last year and will do the same this year.

Imperiale said that one of the bigger challenges she's going to have is balancing all the things she's involved in.

"I want to make sure to challenge the kids that are more advanced while appropriately challenging the kids that are approaching the grade level that they're in and having some more struggles," she said.

Imperiale is one of 75 staff members who are new to the district or returning from elsewhere. The district had just "three or four" more teachers to sign Tuesday morning, and human resources director Daniel Chanen said he expected them to be on board as early as that afternoon.

Another new face to Wauwatosa schools is Kelly Hetzel, who will be teaching English Language Arts at Wauwatosa West High School. She comes from Kiel High School and graduated two years ago from UW-Oshkosh.

Hetzel, like Imperiale, has been working with more experienced teachers to enhance her curriculum. She has met with a lot of teachers who have taught her courses to better prepare for her work this year.

Hetzel said that she learned a lot from her first year teaching at Kiel.

"My first year I thought I really needed to plan everything out - I made lesson plans months in advance," she said. "I found out that I needed to roll with the punches and be flexible. I also learned that I made the right career choice and I'm doing what I love. I'm definitely excited to be in Wauwatosa."

Hetzel said that although teachers have summers off, teaching never leaves her mind. She carries around a notebook and any time she comes up with an idea to enhance her teaching, she writes it down.

"It's not something that you ever get a vacation from," Hetzel said.

The first day of school for Wauwatosa students begins Sept. 4.


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