By Chris Dodge
Special to the Messenger
The Fletcher Elementary School welcomed several new teachers to the school this fall, and they have begun the school year with tremendous enthusiasm and energy.
Blythe Baskette is the new preschool special educator. Ms. Baskette earned both a Master’s Degree in Education from Saint Michael’s College, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Special Education. She has extensive experience in the field of Early Childhood Education as a childcare director and teacher. She has been a special educator and teacher at the elementary level for several years, as well as a behavior interventionist.
Emily “Lisa” Coale joins the Fletcher School as the new school counselor and PBIS coordinator. Ms. Coale earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic from Middlebury College, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in School Counseling from George Mason University. She completed counseling internships at JFK Elementary School in Winooski and Colchester Middle School. Ms. Coale was a kindergarten teacher in the DC Public Schools for two years and received Middlebury College’s Kathryn Davis Fellowship, an award that recognizes students who build cross-cultural connections and international peace through language.
Jennifer McConnell is the school’s music teacher. Ms. McConnell earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Church Music and Voice from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Castleton State College. She has been the elementary music teacher at Franklin Central School since 2004. Ms. McConnell also taught in Sheldon as the general music and chorus teacher for several years. She will share her time between Franklin and Fletcher this year. Ms. McConnell enjoys composing music and being part of a small, tight-knit community.
Michele Michalski is a new first and second grade teacher. Ms. Michalski earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University – Bernardino and a Master’s Degree in Education with a
concentration in Reading and Language Arts, also from California State University. Ms. Michalski has completed a variety long-term teacher substitute assignments, most recently in third grade at BFA-Fairfax as a third through fifth grade academic interventionist. Ms. Michalski has taught all elementary grades, as well as preschool.
Kathleen Pellegrino joins the F.E.S. team this year as a first and second grade teacher. Ms. Pellegrino earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Multidisciplinary Studies with a minor in Science from Castleton University. Most recently, Ms. Pellegrino has served as a long-term substitute in third grade in Fair Haven and first grade in Sheldon. She comes to F.E.S. with a wealth of experience with young children including being a volunteer mentor for 10 to 12 year olds.
Fletcher welcomes Phyllis Quarles as the new speech-language pathologist. Ms. Quarles will be half-time each at Fletcher and Georgia Elementary and Middle School. Ms. Quarles graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder, and alternated between working part time and raising her family. She likes to mountain bike, dance, be in nature and is committed to the practice of meditation.
Justin Wills is the school’s new sixth grade teacher. Mr. Wills is a graduate of B.F.A. Fairfax, followed by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy with a minor in Music from UVM. Additionally, Mr. Wills earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching with a concentration in Middle Level Education from UVM, and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Concordia University in Montreal. Mr. Wills has taught middle school math, science and language arts at Browns River Middle School, was a grades 5-8 middle school teacher in Williston and a sixth grade classroom teacher in Swanton. Mr. Wills has served as a volunteer in a children’s hospital in Boston, as well as a mentor and Odyssey of the Mind coach here in Vermont.
The school is also excited to have two existing staff members in new positions this year.
Lorrene Palermo, a long-time classroom teacher at F.E.S., will become our school-wide math and literacy interventionist. Ms. Palermo will work with students needing support in those academic areas four days per week. On her fifth day, she will teach library classes to all preschool to grade six students.
Denette Locke, who most recently has provided both academic intervention and teacher support with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.), will become a full-time instructional coach. She will be dedicating her time to supporting teachers in providing the highest quality instruction possible in S.T.E.M.
Chris Dodge is the principal at Fletcher Elementary School.