With the school year in full swing, you've probably noticed a few new faces among the Elmwood Park High School faculty.
Besides our new assistant principal, Ms. Kyleen Coia, and our new dean of students, Ms. Katie Plum — both of whom you've met through earlier articles — we have four faculty members: Ms. Kathryn Battista, science teacher; Ms. Olivia Bell, art teacher; Ms. Amanda Shafer, English teacher; and Ms. Agnes Stankiewicz, school social worker.
In case you haven't met them yet, here's an introduction to our new faculty in alphabetical order. Welcome to EPHS!
Kathryn Battista, Physics Teacher
► Your hometown and high school? Park Ridge; Maine South High School.
► College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? Northern Arizona University, B.S. in biology; National Louis University, M.A.T in secondary education.
► Years of teaching experience? Ten!
► Previous teaching jobs? A lot! Some of the schools in the area include Resurrection College Prep and Maine West High School in Des Plaines.
► Your EPHS job? I teach Physics I.
► Why education as a career? To provide students with an environment to grow in science.
► Challenges and rewards of being an educator? The students are the best part as well as having a school year come full circle and celebrate the growth we shared.
► Why EPHS? It's a community school. The more we are in this together, the better off we are.
► Your impression of EPHS so far? Great people who will help you whenever you need it. Just ask; even if you don't, they will still help.
► Your goals for the year? To grow as a physics educator. It is a hard but rewarding subject.
► Anything miscellaneous you'd like to share about yourself? I have practiced yoga for six years!
Olivia Bell, Art Teacher
► Your hometown and high school? Plainfield; Plainfield South High School.
► College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? Loyola University of Chicago, bachelor's in visual communications; North Park University, master's in teaching of the arts.
► Years of experience working in education? One year.
► Previous education jobs? Safe Harbor School in Manteno (2017-18).
► Your EPHS job? Art teacher.
► Why education as a career? I really enjoy building our youth's confidence and self-image through art skills. It is really rewarding to see students progress in a subject matter that most would consider they are not good at. For me there's no better job than teaching and challenging young minds to reach the heights they never knew they had.
► Challenges and rewards of working in education? A challenge in the education world is definitely that first year where I am trying to gain a routine and get the schedule down so the students can trust in the schedule I give them at the beginning of the year. A reward is definitely the mounds of opportunity to interact with the students and becoming a part of a community.
► Why EPHS? Everyone seems so friendly and welcoming! I have been looking for a school where I can feel like I am a part of a family and my support system is strong. EPHS also has so much to offer in terms of after-school programs. So, I am excited to be a part of more than just my art class.
► Your impression of EPHS so far? The energy everyone brings to work is awesome! The staff here are welcoming and supportive.
► Your goals for the year? For my students to have fun as well as to make a good impression on my students.
Amanda Shafer, English Teacher
► Your hometown and high school? Skokie; Niles West High School.
► College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? Illinois State University, bachelor's in English education with a minor in psychology.
► Years of teaching experience? This is my first year as an English teacher.
► Previous teaching jobs? I student taught at EPHS last fall with Jessica Leonette.
► Your EPHS job? I am a part-time English teacher. I will be teaching 9th-grade Effective Writing and English 9.
► Why education as a career? I chose education as a career because I want to do something meaningful with my career. Each and every day I try to have a positive impact on every single one of my students.
► Challenges and rewards of being an educator? Challenges: Keeping up with the many changes education is constantly going through. Rewards: Watching students achieve goals that they never thought they were capable of. I love the look on a student's face when they are so proud of themselves for accomplishing a goal.
► Why EPHS? I really enjoy the Elmwood Park community and the staff at the school. When I student taught here last fall I was welcomed by everyone. EPHS felt like home right away!
► Your impression of EPHS so far? I love the direction the school is going in. Everyone here is constantly trying to improve the school. There is a great amount of dedication from each and every staff member.
► Your goals for the year? My main goal for this year is to make a positive impact on each and every student. I don't expect every student to fall in love with English as subject, but I do hope that each student enjoys coming to my class each day and that they learn something meaningful.
Agnes Stankiewicz, School Social Worker
► Your hometown and high school? I was raised in Mount Prospect and attended Prospect High School.
► College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? I completed my bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in social work and a minor in sociology. I completed my master's degree in school social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
► Years of experience working in education? I have two formal years of experience working in education.
► Previous education jobs? I spent the past two years at Old Quarry Middle School in Lemont, Ill., as their school social worker. Prior to this, I spent my social work Internship year at Ridgewood High School — an EP rival!
► Your EPHS job? School social worker.
► Why school social work as a career? I believe that we are called to a collective responsibility to raise lifelong learners and thoughtful citizens. Regardless of specialty or subject area, we have an amazing opportunity to impact and inspire our youth. I love school social work because I am able to be an educator of friendship, respect, collaboration and empathy — things not found in a textbook.
► Why EPHS? I find that the mission of District 401 parallels my personal and professional vision as a social worker.
► Your impression of EPHS so far? The EPHS staff has been incredibly welcoming and kind. They are professional and team-focused.
► Your goals for the year? My goal for the year is to help students realize that they are the driving force in their own lives and that they are all deserving and capable of personal success.
► Anything miscellaneous you'd like to share about yourself? I am also the freshman girls volleyball coach. Go, Tigers!