Welcoming New Faculty for the 2020-21 School Year

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ENTERING FACULTY & STAFF, 2020-21

RAY BARTON - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL MATHRay Barton2

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I went into teaching because of my father.  He taught mathematics at Olympus HS for 27 years before I took his spot. From an early age I remember his former students getting together to come visit him at Christmas. I loved to see the deep regard he and his students had for each other.  He could tell me what his students were doing professionally many years after they graduated.  Many received Ph.D’s in mathematics. All credited him with igniting their passion for math. John Warnock, founder of Adobe systems gave him a great tribute in a commencement speech for the University of Utah this year. I wanted to try to make a difference in students’ lives the way my father did.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
Biking, running, mountains, astronomy.

What is your favorite dessert?
Pumpkin pie. I have progressed from being a consumer to becoming a producer.  I grow pumpkins and each Thanksgiving I make homemade pies with my grandchildren.

Favorite childhood memory?  
Visiting Johnson Space Center and getting the VIP tour of the original Apollo flight control center.  Okay, I wasn’t a child but the tour took me back to my childhood.

 

 

JILLIANE COOK - LOWER SCHOOL ARTJill Cook

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
The only thing I love more than making art is teaching!  I chose teaching because  I am passionate about helping spark a love for art, encouraging curiosity and helping young artists gain confidence in their skills. I l cannot imagine a more rewarding profession.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
I like mountain biking,  yoga, origami and traveling anywhere with a good art museum.  I also like learning new skills and solving creative problems.

Best book you read this summer?
It’s a tie between: 
The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

How have you been making the most of quarantine?  
I spent a couple of weeks sewing in pursuit of designing to perfect face mask.  I’m not quite there yet.  I also enjoyed creating online lesson plans for my previous teaching position.

 

DEREK CRANE - MS/US MUSIC

What is your favorite music album?​
My favorite album is Kids by The Midnight or Blue Train by John Coltrane.

Best book you read this summer?
I've been reading Harry Potter 5 in Portuguese!

What is your favorite dessert?
I do love a good cream puff or a handful.

How have you been making the most of quarantine?  
I've been making videos about saxophone gear.

 

BENJAMIN GOLDSTEIN - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL MATHBenjamin Goldstein

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?
I started to think about teaching during my senior year in high school. I was helping a lot of my friends with their math homework, and I found that I enjoyed that kind of interaction and sharing of what I knew. When I got to college the next year, I decided to enroll in the teaching certification program. I've been a teacher or tutor ever since finishing that program.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​

I practice aikido, a Japanese martial art. With Covid, that's on hold at the moment, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back to it. I like to hike, but I am learning that I am a long way from being "outdoorsy" by Utah standards. I also like to play board games, and I've been getting into that hobby more lately.

Where is your hometown?
I'm from outside Chicago: a small suburb called Glencoe.

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at Waterford School?  
After two years of tutoring, I'm just looking forward to being back in the classroom again.

 

Rebecca Husain REBECCA HUSAIN - LONG-TERM SUBSTITUTE, CLASS III

Do you have a pet? 
Yes! We have one super sweet mini goldendoodle named Stella. We are obsessed with her and the kids love taking her on walks around the neighborhood.

Favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is riding bikes with my best friend to each other’s houses and all around our hometown in the summer. One of our favorite places to go was to Hawaiian Shaved Ice. We ate way too much sugar and put a lot of miles on those bikes!

How have you been making the most of quarantine? 
We have been spending lots of time outdoors biking, hiking in the mountains, paddle boarding on the lake and swimming. One of our favorite vacations we took this summer was to Jackson Hole, WY. There were so many amazing bike paths, beautiful scenery, and we had fun on a white water rafting adventure! We have also just been spending more time together as a family playing board games, cooking together and playing ping pong. I have also been making a dent in all of the books I’ve been wanting to read!

What are you most looking forward to about being at Waterford School?
I’m so excited to be teaching as part of an amazing third grade team this year! And I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the students back in the classroom (whether they’re at their desks or over Zoom) and being together again as a community.

 

REBECCA KATZ - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL LATINRebecca Katz

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I've always enjoyed learning new things and sharing them with others. Classics in particular has been a passion of mine ever since I was kid, when I used to read about the Greek myths and dress up as a Roman for Halloween. Studying Latin is deeply fulfilling on a personal level, but being able to teach it is what I find truly rewarding.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
Outside of the classroom I enjoy traveling, photography, and working on the computer that I built.

Where is your hometown?
I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.

What is your favorite childhood memory?  
My favorite childhood memory is spending time with my grandparents.  

 

LORI QIAN - CLASS III TEACHER

Lori QianWhy did you get into teaching?

I got into teaching because I knew from personal experience how transformative education is, and how important and influential teachers are.  I think teachers have a tremendous chance to empower students and guide them in academics as well as in the everyday lessons of life. I have had some very influential teachers in my life, most of whom left a positive mark and others who, quite honestly, did not. I know the impact teachers can have, and that powerful influence in the lives of my students is what motivates me to do all I can to contribute to their learning and well-being, as well as to this profession.  If you asked my family or friends, they would likely say that the reason I got into teaching is that I like to be in charge of things, and there is probably a little truth to that.  From the time I was in lower school, I was organizing recess clubs and playing school, always appointing myself teacher or principal. I do love schools, and I suppose the final reason is just that---I love schools and it is energizing for me to be a part of a school environment. I’m thrilled that my new teaching environment will be Waterford.

What are your favorite hobbies?

My favorite hobbies include working in our yard, watching movies or sitcoms with my family, eating delicious food (favorites are Italian, Thai, and Chinese), and interacting with my three kids, all of whom are teenagers now. I published my first book last year and I really enjoy giving talks about writing, especially personal narrative.  I also enjoy reading---mostly realistic fiction and personal development.  I do enjoy hiking and exercise, and even more than that, I enjoy trips to the beach whenever possible!

Do you have any pets?

I do have a pet.  Our family pet is a mini golden doodle named Kai.  Kai means “happy” in Chinese and he is the happiest, most spoiled dog ever, and we all love him. 

Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Chicago, but I spent a total of thirteen years living in Guangzhou, China, so I consider that my hometown, as well. 

Favorite Childhood Memory?

My favorite memories of childhood are winters in the Midwest.  We lived in what felt like the middle of nowhere and my dad fashioned a make-shift ice rink in the yard, every winter, and we would skate and play hockey.  My mom made the best bread and we would often come in from playing outside and bask in the smell of bread just coming out of the oven. I think those memories are why I still get very nostalgic about winter.

 

RIYA SAHASRABUDHE - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL THEATERRiya

What is your favorite book that you have read this summer?​
The Hate You Give

What is your favorite dessert?
A nice classic chocolate chip cookie

What is your favorite childhood memory? 
When me and my brother were young we would wake up early on Saturday mornings and my dad would make a whole scene of the three of us stealthily ‘sneaking out of the house’ before my mom woke up, and he would take us to McDonalds for breakfast.  I now realize we likely weren’t stealthy nor were we ‘sneaking’ anywhere. This was just his way of making sure my mom got to sleep in on Saturdays.  Either way, a win win.

How have you been making the most of quarantine?
I directed a piece in an online theater festival which was definitely a first for me and a very cool experience.  I’ve also been playing a lot of board games with my family, painting, and doing my fair share of zoom catch-ups with friends.

 

HEIDI SOMSEN - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL ARTHeidi Somsen

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
I always loved doing creative projects with my three children and their friends, but they weren’t always as interested as I was, so I started teaching in different capacities: The Visual Art Institute, Eastmont Middle, and the U.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?
I enjoy mountain biking, road biking, hiking, making healthy food, art, and music.

Do you have a pet? 
Yes, a 10 year old pug named Lola, and we just adopted a new puppy – a husky mix who still needs a name!

How have you been making the most of quarantine?  
I have been throwing pots on the potter’s wheel, spending a lot of time outdoors, reading, and now puppy training!

 

KATHERINE STOKES - SCHOOL NURSE & WELLNESS COORDINATOR

Katherine StokesWhat are you most looking forward to about being at Waterford?

Caring for the students. I am passionate about advocacy for children. Children inspired me to go into nursing and have been the focus of my career. Waterford provides an environment conducive to health and wellness. I hope to compliment and grow that aspect of this community.

What is the best book you read this summer?

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. Oliver Sacks is a neuroscientist that  happens to be a creative. His storytelling is warm, engaging, and humorous. In this book he shares tales of how music impacts the brain. By using real life case studies, he informs as he entertains. Wonderful piece of non fiction writing. 

Do you have a pet?

I have an elderly poodle type mutt, Luke. He is my first ever small breed dog. Before him, I had no idea how rugged they could be. At 15 years old, he still goes strong on our outdoor adventures. His true love, however, is snuggling with my doting daughter. I also have a young 2 year old dog, Regina. She is a rescue mutt that is a wonderful dancer. We have 2 chickens-Momma and Fluff, who provide hours of entertainment. 

Who is the most interesting person  you have met?

Jane Goodall. Her life and legacy are unparalleled. She informs while cultivating hope. 

What is youur favorite childhood memory?

When I was curled up to a good book during a rainstorm on my Grandpa's farm. His cabin had a tin roof. The sound of the rain of that roof is my happy place to this day.

 

KARLA STUCKER - MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOL SCIENCEKarla Stucker

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?​
Teaching has always been my passion.  In fact, my first teaching "job" was in third grade, when I asked my school principal if I could be a substitute teacher. She humored me and had me fill out a substitute teaching application and do an interview with her. She then arranged for me to teach a second-grade reading class. I've more or less been teaching ever since! Even during vet school, my graduate research program, and my post-doc, I always found ways to teach, whether it was for undergrads, vet students, high school interns, or colleagues. I made the switch to being a full-time high school science teacher five years ago and love it! 

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?​
I love being outdoors and spending time with my dog. I also love to travel, to see the natural beauty of our world, to learn about other cultures, and to meet new people and learn about their lives. Although I haven't had time to travel internationally in recent years, I have been to 5 of the continents in the seven-continent model.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?
Probably the biggest draw for me is the fact that some of my family members live in UT. I'm also excited to explore the surrounding national parks and natural areas and to finally have four full seasons again, complete with enough snow for Nordic skiing!

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at Waterford School?  
Moving to a K-12 school and getting to teach in both the middle and upper schools will allow me to get to know students earlier in their grade-school careers and then follow their journey through graduation, hopefully allowing for stronger relationships to be built that can enhance their learning along the way. I'm also excited to learn from and teach using the impressive vertebrate collection in Waterford's Science Department! I was impressed by the members of the Science Department when we met virtually in March, and I look forward to working with all of them. I am eager to meet the rest of the Waterford community soon, and hopefully in person!