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Meredith Locascio and Lauren ReedWhile students don’t start school until Aug. 9, 30 new teachers and instructional assistants came to the middle school Thursday (July 27) to get a head start.

Superintendent Chuck Winkler greeted them, as did School Board Chair Carol Carr and Board member Perrie Johnson.

The group spent the day getting acquainted with each other, the administrative staff and building principals.

Here is a snapshot of most of the new teachers:

West Central Primary School/Central Elementary School

Meredith Paxton Lacascio: Special education teacher
Paxton holds a Master’s in elementary education PreK-6 and a minor in special education. She taught for two years in Norfolk and spent the last two years in Louisa. Paxton was a Division I lacrosse player in college and has coached in local schools.

Lauren Fender Reed: Special education teacher
Reed grew up in Fork Union and is a 2006 honor graduate of Fluvanna County High School. She has a Master’s in education. Reed started teaching in 2012 in Louisa and was nominated for teacher of the year for 2015-2016.

Mary Turner: Special education teacher

There are no new teachers at Carysbrook Elementary School this year.

Fluvanna County Middle School

Mark Brennan: Math teacher
Brennan has a Master’s in engineering and environmental management. While serving many years in the Marine Corps, he learned leadership, teaching, training and mentoring skills. For the past 20 years he also helped his wife homeschool their eight children.

Carolyn Farruggio: Math teacher
Farruggio is the former business owner of The Plant Lady in Charlottesville and a substitute teacher with Fluvanna County Public Schools (FCPS) for the past eight years. She also drove a bus for Fluvanna for the past 11 years and worked as an instructional assistant focusing on math remediation. Farruggio earned her Master’s in elementary education in 2015.

Colby Goodson: Health and physical education teacher
Goodson earned his Bachelor’s in health and physical education and began as a student teacher in 2013. He taught in Stuarts Draft and Augusta.

Cassidi Hall: Special education teacher
Hall holds a Master’s in special education. She started her teaching career in Greenbrier County Schools in West Virginia. Hall was an intervention specialist. She has volunteered with Special Olympics since 2010.

Claiborne Hammond: Health and physical education teacher
Hammond has a Bachelor’s in English and one in health and human performance. She started teaching in 2013 in Powhatan County Schools and served as the athletic director. Hammond is a 4-H leader, camp counselor, and horseback riding instructor.

William B. Peters: Math teacher
Peters has 22 years of teaching experience in both public and private schools. He earned a Master’s of Business Administration and has teaching endorsements in math, physics and chemistry. Peters’ philosophy is to promote a positive learning environment that enables students to develop logic, reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

Monica Reese: Instructional assistant
Reese has a Bachelor’s in elementary education and was a third grade student teacher in 2014 at Carysbrook Elementary School. She worked as a substitute teacher for the past two years.

Emily Swope: Music teacher
Swope is a 2017 graduate of James Madison University (JMU) with a Bachelor of Music degree in instrumental music education. Throughout her college career, she was a clarinet drill instructor with the Marching Royal Dukes and counselor at JMU’s summer band camps.

Fluvanna County High School

Taylor Aylor: Special education teacher
Aylor graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in special education. For the past three years she has been teaching in Madison County Schools and has experience working with a multitude of disabilities including autism.

Susan Brodie: Art teacher
Brodie earned a Master’s in English education in 1996 and has taken several classes in studio art, ceramics and art history. For the past 12 years, she owned and promoted art via Susan Brodie Art in Charlottesville.

Kate Chidester: Culinary arts teacher
Chidester is a 2009 graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in pastry arts. She worked as an executive pastry chef at Foods of All Nations as well as an instructor at Culinard.

Sarah Cooke: School counselor
Cooke has a Master’s in counseling and earned her post-graduate Certificate of Professional Counseling. She has been a school counselor for more than 11 years. Cooke’s experience includes working with Governor’s School programs and at-risk student programs.

Justin Dovel: Social studies teacher
Dovel received his Master’s in teaching and began his teaching career in 2013 in Montross, Va. He comes to Fluvanna after two years a middle school in Disputanta, Va. Dovel is dedicated to his career and is a strong motivator to his students.

Mary Catherine Gardner: Health and medical sciences teacher
Gardner is a 1996 University of Virginia graduate with a Bachelor’s in biology. She has 13 years of teaching experience with Fairfax County Schools and Stafford County Public Schools. Prior to teaching, Gardner spent several years as a paramedic with the city of Alexandria and as an emergency medical services (EMS) trainer.

Karen Green: Health and medical sciences teacher
Green attended Piedmont Virginia Community College, majoring in nursing. She started her career as a pediatric nurse in 2011. Since then she has been involved in a range of mental and physical care positions. Green comes to Fluvanna with a history of hard work, dedication, and overall compassion for people.

Victoria Harris: Instructional assistant
Harris is a Fluvanna graduate and was a substitute teacher at the high school. She also worked as a transportation aide, helping special needs children on their commutes to and from school.

Kimberly Mayfield: Special education teacher
Mayfield earned a Master’s in early childhood education in 2017 and will complete a Master’s in Special Education K-12 in 2018. She has a motivating philosophy for teaching and a belief that every child has the right to learn.

Sandra M. McCoy: Special education teacher
McCoy has a Bachelor’s in education and has an extensive teaching career in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. She focuses on student growth and leading young learners into becoming successful individuals.

Meghan Meader: School counselor
Meader earned a Master’s in counseling. Prior to teaching, she helped with community and workforce programs for seven years. Meader was a school counselor at Nelson County Middle School for three years.

Michael F. Morris: Art teacher
Morris is a 1995 Fluco graduate and earned a Bachelor’s in art in 2000. He was a residential counselor and basketball coach at Oakland School in Keswick and a residential dorm aide and art instructor at Little Keswick School. Most recently Morris was an art teacher in Wise County. He has extensive computer and software knowledge and skills.

Judy Raviotta: Math teacher
Raviotta has a Bachelor’s in math and has more than 40 years of experience teaching general math, algebra I, advanced algebra and geometry. She played a leadership role with many projects preparing students for college.

Blair Steele: Assistant principal
A Fluvanna County High School graduate herself, Steele began her career in Fluvanna as an English teacher in 2006. From December 2016 through March 2017, Steele worked as the acting assistant principal at the middle school.

Richard K. Wood II: Math teacher
Wood earned a Master’s of Engineering Management and has over 20 years of instructional and leadership experience culminating as the director of officer development and program manager for the U.S. Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC). He comes with an extensive background as a math and physics teacher and as a commanding officer at naval bases in Norfolk and Guam, a resource officer at the Pentagon, and a university level professor of naval science.

Christopher Zema: English teacher
Zema is a recent graduate of University at Albany-SUNY with a Master’s in secondary education.
In addition to teaching English, he has worked with special education self-contained and inclusion classes and English language learners.  Zema worked with the Boys and Girls Club and was a volunteer basketball coach.

Abrams Academy

Saami J. Shaibani: Math teacher
Shaibani earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. He has more than 20 years of mathematics teaching experience at the secondary level. In 2012 Shaibani worked at NASA as a master teacher, and as an instructor with Roanoke Valley Governor’s School.

Megan Chittenden: Instructional assistant
Chittenden first came to FCPS in 2005 as a bus driver. She will earn her Bachelor’s degree with Liberty University in 2018.