Category Archives: Teacher spotlight

Spotlight on Ms. Matregrano

Matregrano spotlight
Welcome Yasin!

The Meadowbrook School is pleased to welcome Ms. Nicole Matregrano as our new librarian. This summer was a big summer for the Matregrano-El Gharib clan! The family relocated from the United Arab Emirates to Collegeville, Pennsylvania. For the past 8 years, Ms. Matregrano has been living in the U.A.E. working as a teacher and Head of Faculty at a local school for Emirati children. This summer was the big move back to Pennsylvania, with her husband and son, Yasin, who also attends the Meadowbrook School, is in Mrs. Langlois and Ms. Betz’ classroom. In between the move from Al Ain, U.A.E., they stopped in Egypt for 3 weeks. There, they visited family, took in the sites, and enjoyed themselves. They always love the yummy Egyptian food like Molokhiya, Ma’amar, and Mashi. They also tried to visit amazing sites in Cairo, and went to the Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx. In Upper Egypt (which is actually in the South), their favorite place to visit was in Aswan and Luxor. These are beautiful villages along the Nile River, from where the Pharaohs lived and ruled. After Egypt, they completed their move to America. Now the family is enjoying the different fall activities, cold weather, and being part of the Meadowbrook family.
Welcome, home!Matregrano Spotlight

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Suzanne Cordon

Mrs. Suzanne Cordon-World Language Teacher

1. What is one item on your bucket list? Why?

Machu Picchu.  I just have to make it there someday, and I believe in my heart that I will.  I am so fascinated by all of the mysteries behind the ruins and knowledge of this ancient civilization.

2. What book are you currently reading?

Inés del alma mia by Isabel Allende. Reading novelas in Spanish is one of my favorite pastimes. This one is a beautiful memoir of a woman looking back on her life.

3. Who is your mentor?

I have been lucky to have had many wonderful mentors at different times of my life. I had an incredible French professor in college who pushed me and encouraged me during my first years and became a trusted advocate and friend by the time I graduated. I’ll never forget the experience I had traveling with her through France and learning first-hand a lot of what she taught us in the classroom. My biggest mentor throughout my entire life though, was definitely my grandfather who passed away a few years ago. His words of wisdom are still very present in my mind and often come in handy. There are still times I wish I could ask him for advice.

4. What would your superpower be?

I would want to be omnilingual. I believe that when you understand another language and culture, you adopt a new way of thinking and I’d love to be able to understand everyone in the world’s way of thinking.  I also love the deep and meaningful connections you make when you speak a foreign language with a native speaker. It’s a wonderful thing. 

5. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

That is a very hard question. I have been fortunate and have traveled to many places. I’m torn between two; France and Guatemala. I have family in Guatemala so traveling there is like going to a home away from home, just a little more rural and tropical.  However, Mont Saint Michel, Normandy in the gulf of Saint-Malo, France is definitely the most breathtaking and beautiful place I have ever been. I love meandering through the medieval village as you make the steep climb up to the very top of the abbey on this secluded island where you stop and take in the magnificent view of the French countryside and the bay.  I remember being overcome with an overwhelming sense of peace both times I visited there. I’d love to go back!

6. If you could do any job for just one day what would it be?

When I was younger my dream was to be a multilingual interpreter for tours and travel groups. I imagined myself traveling to exotic places and serving as a multilingual guide for tourists. So that would be my dream job for a day. 

7. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am learning Russian. I have been for several months now. It is thanks to some of the wonderful families here at Meadowbrook that have inspired me and provided me with awesome books and videos to be able to study this beautiful and incredibly complicated language. I think it’s a good thing to be in the same position as my students and remember what it is like to be a learner in the field I am teaching and not only the teacher.

8. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?

Wow, I love so many things about Meadowbrook it is hard to choose just one.  I think what I love most having been a student, a teacher and now also a parent at this wonderful school is that there is always something to look forward to.  It’s the passion of the amazing faculty and staff that keep such incredible traditions alive; while also introducing new endeavors that make learning so exciting for the entire community.  

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Kristen Haugen

1. What is one item on your bucket list?
I would love to go to Egypt. I would definitely cruise up the Nile, visit the pyramids in the Valley of the Kings, ride a camel, and see Alexandria.

2. What book are you currently reading?
I love to read. I currently have three books sitting on my nightstand- Pendragon Book Five: Black Water by D.J. MacHale, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, and The Titan’s Curse in the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan.

3. Who is your mentor? Why?
My mentor was Dr. Ruth Reed. She was my biochemistry professor at Juniata College. She taught me to stand up for myself. She also went above and beyond with her support after I left college. She regularly sent me care packages when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Papua New Guinea. I actually brought home two of my favorite books from her care packages: Personal History by Katherine Graham and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. She also transcribed my hand written letters and circulated them via e-mail.

4. What would your superpower be?
My superpower would be the ability to read minds to be able to anticipate how I can be of service.

5. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?
I travel a lot. During the school year, we have a six time zone rule. We can’t travel anywhere that is more than six time zones away. My husband is always one to push limits so he has found that he can still get us on an 11 hour flight by simply going south. We have traveled through a lot of South and Central America as a result. I loved Argentina. We spent Christmas there a number of years ago. The sun was up until midnight. The country offered so much diversity. We got to swim in the desert, hike on glaciers, and visit penguin rookeries on the windy Trelew peninsula. The food was also amazing. Out at the Trelew peninsula we ate at this little restaurant where they cooked table side on a mini charcoal grill. The lamb was lovely. The seafood on the coast was outstanding, too!

6. If you could do any job for just one day what would it be?
I would work in the kitchen at El Bulli under Ferran Adria. El Bulli is located in Spain and is known as one of the most experimental restaurants in the world. I would need to work on my Spanish and my knife skills!

7. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I swam competitively through college. My specialties were backstroke and distance. I was the crazy one swimming back to back events. Luckily, both my high school and college teams ran concurrent boys’ and girls’ meets so I had a boy’s event in between the 500 free and the 100 back.

8. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?
My favorite thing about Meadowbrook is the people. The students are full of energy. The staff is very caring.

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Amanda Provost

amandaThis month the spotlight is on our new Fifth Grade teacher, Mrs Amanda Provost.

1. What is one item on your bucket list?

An item on my bucket list is to see Billy Joel live in concert. I have loved him since I was a little girl. I am hoping now that I am closer to New York City I’ll have to opportunity to see him at Madison Square Garden very soon.

2. What book are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This sci-fi story is filled with video games and 80’s pop culture. Two of my most favorite things!

3. Who is your mentor? Why?

The AMAZING Debbie Fletcher has been the most incredible mentor anyone could ask for. She has spent so much time guiding me, answering a million questions, and supporting me from the moment I started my Fifth Grade journey at this wonderful school. She has helped to make this transition an easy and exciting one. There are not enough words to express how fantastic she has been and I will never be able to thank her enough.

4. What would your superpower be?

My superpower choice is always a toss-up between flying and teleportation. Flying would be an incredible experience. However, being able to teleport from one place to another would be so handy. Think of all the amazing places I’d be able to travel to in an instant! As much as I love traveling, I think I’d have to choose that option.

5. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

The best place I have travelled has to be New Zealand. It is easily the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The landscapes are breathtaking – rolling hills covered in wildflowers, ocean waves crashing on rocky shores, deep underground rivers with nothing lighting the way except glow worms shining like stars in the sky, erupting geysers in geothermal parks, incredible mountaintops, and frozen glaciers. Everything you could possibly want to see can be found in New Zealand. Plus, I was able to visit Hobbiton and many of the other locations used in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies! (Got to cross that off the bucket list!) It was truly a vacation of a lifetime!

6. If you could do any job for just one day what would it be?

If I could do any job for a day, I would want to be an astronaut. How awesome would it be to be among the stars looking down at Earth? The idea of space travel and exploration is fascinating to me, so it would be great to experience it.

7. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

It often surprises people when I tell them I have had 141 dogs. While 137 of them were temporary, I feel that they still count as being mine. My husband and I have been working with Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue for the last six+ years. Taking these dogs into our home is the most rewarding and heart breaking experience, though the good far outweighs the bad. We’ve taken in the young and happy, to the scared and broken, and everything In between. No matter how long they would stay with us, whether it was less than a day or more than a year, I loved them like they were my own. When our fosters would get adopted, they would take a piece of my heart with them. It was bittersweet, knowing we had to say goodbye but also knowing we saved their lives and they were on their way to their happily ever after made it just a little easier. Yes, they may not have been our forever dogs, but they will be in my heart forever. So it totally counts!

8. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?

It is so difficult to pick one thing I love most about Meadowbrook. I fell in love with it the moment I walked through the doors the very first time. The list of things I love is a mile long, but I think the best thing about Meadowbrook is the sense of family here. The staff, students, and parents all come together so beautifully to make Meadowbrook feel like home. It is the perfect environment for children to flourish not only academically, but socially and creatively too.

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Wooler

 

Wooler-Lindsey-HR (1)Lindsey Wooler:  Music Teacher

1. What is one item on your bucket list?

I want to visit Jerusalem and see the rich historical sites.

2. What book are you currently reading?

Mattimeo by Brian Jacques. It’s a great story about mice, badgers, crazy rabbits, and much more!

3. Who is your mentor? Why?

My voice teacher from college, Dr. Shockey. He is a wonderful musician, teacher, and friend. I have learned so much from him about pursuing musical excellence, teaching well and clearly, and doing everything with consistency and intention.

4. What would your superpower be?

I would love to have super awesome reflexes and strength like Captain America.

5. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

That is hard to say because I have traveled a lot. If I have to pick, Venice was my favorite place. I loved the architecture, the food, and the culture! The city is beautiful and exceeded my expectations.

6. If you could do any job for just one day what would it be?

I would like to be a marine archaeologist. I am fascinated by the oceans and would love to study some of our history underwater!

7. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I have had the opportunity to visit five out of the seven continents. I’m still working on Australia and Antarctica!

8. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?

My favorite thing about Meadowbrook is definitely the community. I do not feel like one isolated teacher, but rather that I am part of the bigger fabric of the Meadowbrook school. The teachers, administrators and other staff members have been very kind and helpful to me in my first year at Meadowbrook and the students are wonderful! I wake up each day excited and I truly feel blessed to teach here!

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Mercer

britmercerMrs. Brittany Mercer

Fourth Grade Teacher

1. What is one item on your bucket list?

Travel to the Philippines to visit my husband’s family

2. What book are you currently reading?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

3. Who is your mentor? Why?

My mom because she is the strongest person I know and my best friend.

.4. What would your superpower be? 

Being able to fly so I can get to work faster and be able to visit more places in the world

5. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

Maui for our honeymoon.

6. If you could do any job for just one day what would it be?

Perform in a Broadway show

7. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I used to sing in a jazz band.

8. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?

The Thanksgiving feast where we truly come together and are thankful for everything we have at our wonderful school and in our individual lives.

New Hires Update

MarissaWelcome Marissa Rohner!

Marissa is an alumna of the Meadowbrook School, class of 2004. After graduating from Meadowbrook, she attended Springside School (now SCH Academy) and Franklin & Marshall College. At F & M, Marissa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing. In addition to her studies, Marissa played Varsity Tennis and was the founding member and First Executive Vice President of the Theta Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Marissa joins us after working as a journalist for Star & Wave Newspaper, a photographer for South Jersey Marina and most recently a program analyst for Applied Engineering Management Corporation. Eager to work with children and move into a career in education, Marissa accepted a position to serve as the Kindergarten Teaching Assistant this year. She is thrilled to be back at her alma mater!

carrieWelcome Carrie Smeltzer!

Carrie Smeltzer has accepted the position to serve as our new Early Childhood Learning Center Teaching Assistant. Carrie has been teaching at Silver Springs Martin Luther School in Plymouth Meeting as well as at the West Chester Area Day Care Center this summer. Carrie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music from West Chester University. In college, Carrie performed in the Wind Symphony and Inter-collegiate Band. As a musician, she has also been part of the Symphonic Band and Flute Ensemble, and taught children an array of music theory and music appreciation, as well as singing and dancing during her student-teacher training. Although Carrie initially applied for the vacant music position, she became really intrigued about the preschool opportunity. Based on her current work with toddlers, Carrie will be primarily assisting in preschool; however, she will also help with our school musicals and support Joyce during Extended Day. We’re very fortunate to have another versatile and enthusiastic employee.

Welcome Samantha Bradley

Samantha Bradley is a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hispanic Language and Literature. In addition to being fluent in Spanish and focusing a good portion of her studies on Adolescent Psychology, Samantha is also well-versed in technology, critical thinking, and leadership. In fact, Samantha is also well-versed in American Sign Language and the Deaf culture. Samantha will replace Dorothy as the new computer teacher, and may offer some unique skills to Meadowbrook students (ie. honors spanish) down the road. 

 

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Link

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We recently caught up with the new Mrs. Link, our Preschool Lead Teacher.

1. What is one item on your bucket list?

To go to London and cross Abbey Road

2. What book are you currently reading?

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

3. Who is your mentor? why?

My mentor is my fifth grade teacher who would later go on to become my grade partner when I first started teaching. I learned so much from her as a student, and even more as a colleague.

4. What would your superpower be?

My superpower would be to travel back in time. This way I could spend more time with loved ones that have passed on, as well as experience different time periods.

5. What is your favorite summer memory?

Getting married 🙂

6. What is your favorite thing about Meadowbrook?

My favorite thing about Meadowbrook is the close knit family feeling. From the buddy system with the older and younger students, to the family style lunches, there is such a positive, friendly atmosphere that is unlike any other school!

New Hires at Meadowbrook

 Welcome to Lindsey Wooler!

Wooler-Lindsey-HR (1)Lindsey Wooler is a recent graduate of Cairn University. Lindsey received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a Bachelor of Science in Bible Studies. At Cairn, Lindsey received the President’s Scholarship, Daisy Bell Jack Scholarship and Cairn Merit Academic Scholarship, as well as Magna Cum Laude, with a 3.85 GPA. Lindsey is a state certified music instructor, who will serve as both the music teacher and primary librarian at Meadowbrook. Along with other new teaching aides, Lindsey will maintain the traditional school musicals, but is also looking to add some new dimensions to Meadowbrook’s Music program. Lindsey completed her student-teaching at Upper Moreland Primary School, Cheltenham Elementary and Open Door Christian Academy. Lindsey has also been a private voice teacher. Outside of work, Lindsey is an avid reader who loves singing and flying kites. In accepting the position, Lindsey said, “I’m thrilled to join such a nurturing and supportive school environment.” We also share our very best wishes with Lindsey and her fiancé Dan, who were recently engaged!

Welcome to Mary Sawyer!

maryMary Sawyer assumes the primary Art position this year. Mary received her Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University in 2004, and then rushed off to New York City to make her mark before realizing that her true passion was helping children use art as a way to express themselves creatively. Thus, Mary returned to school and received a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus in Art Education from Montclair State University in 2009. Currently, Mary is certified in both Art and in Family and Consumer Sciences. Previously, Mary worked in Summit (NJ) School District, Springfield (PA) School District, Perkiomen Valley School District and Upper Darby High School before joining the private sector. In fact, Mary comes highly recommended from the Headmaster at Stratford Friends, and will share her talents with both schools this year.

Mary and her husband, Jim, a college guidance counselor at LaSalle College High School, are in the midst of moving to Montgomery County and are thrilled to join our school community. Outside of work and raising her 2 children, Mary enjoys finding ways to integrate her love of the Arts with core subjects that students are learning in the classroom. Mary feels that Meadowbrook will allow her to teach a diverse population of young, impressionable minds. Having instructed students in numerous settings, Mary is very familiar with evolving trends in the industry and also how to meet each child at his/her level. Mary will co-create the Yearbook and collaborate with Becky Blumenthal on the Winter Arts Festival.

Welcome to Diana Caramanico!

dianaDiana Caramanico, will lead the Mindfulness initiative at Meadowbrook. Diana is one of the most accomplished basketball players in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, she finished her career as the all-time leading scorer in both the Ivy League and the Philadelphia Big Five. Having been named MVP of each league three times, Diana holds numerous single game, season, and career records for both offense and defense. Most notably, Diana is the leading scorer at Penn for both men and women, and is the leading scorer among Big 5 women with 2,415 career points. As a two-time captain, she led the Penn women’s program to its first ever Ivy League Championship and appearance in the NCAA tournament. Upon graduation, Diana played professionally in Strasbourg, France for two years where she led the league in scoring both years. For the past 8 years, Diana has been substitute teaching an array of subjects at several independent schools. She has also coached girls’ teams at both Germantown Academy (her alma mater ’97) and William Penn Charter. When she ended her pro career, Diana began her own business called, Corpus Mensque (Latin for “body and mind”) to train young people in the competencies of resilience, mental toughness and well-being: skills that are vital, but infrequently taught at any level of schooling. Diana is highly talented and versatile. In 2011, Diana received her Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. The following year, Diana was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame. At Meadowbrook, Diana will offer upper school enrichment in French, support all grades in Math and provide her expertise in Mindfulness for our entire school community. Diana and her husband reside in Ardmore with their two children.

Teacher Appreciation Day by Head of School Michael Reardon

In nearly 20 years working with students, I don’t think I have ever been so touched as I was this morning. At the Meadowbrook School Assembly, a 6th grader (whose name I won’t mention, because we live in a technological era when online safety fails to protect us from the evildoers who lurk in our world-wide-web) sang an emotional rendition of, In This Moment – a song written in tribute to teachers by music composer, KC Gan. What I found so remarkable was that this student’s parents both work at Meadowbrook and knew their daughter was performing, yet, still could not hold back their tears. In fact, about 120 children from 3 years of age to 12 looked on in awe as the Shuttleworth Gymnasium transformed into a serene concert hall.

From the first note to the final, “thank you” the audience was completely mesmerized. No longer were kids asking to use the restroom or fidgeting in their seats. Teachers reached for tissues as the student body watched their role models weep all around them. Yes, for about 3 minutes (this sweet, adorable girl – who will remain anonymous) managed to express in a song what every teacher years for…appreciation! Had I heard the lyrics to this piece before, then I might not have been so moved; however, I am grateful this venue was how I was introduced to such inspiration.

I’ll keep this note short and sweet…when a beautiful singing voice is the only sound you hear in a crowded elementary school gym, then you know something magical is happening inside. Later tonight, in front of her classmates, peers, grandparents and other adults, a brave young lady will say thank you to her teachers once again…in a peaceful, delicate, emotional serenade that epitomizes her deep appreciation. We should all be as fortunate as this girl’s parents to have someone say thank you in such a profound and heartfelt manner.

Thank you, K! I share your appreciation with all my colleagues and teachers around the world.