New Hires at Chelsea’s School Include Some Familiar Faces


People / Sep. 7, 2017 9:05am EDT

By Maegan Winters

Chelsea Public School welcomed several new teachers this school year. (Herald / Tim Calabro) Chelsea Public School welcomed several new teachers this school year. (Herald / Tim Calabro) For the 2017-18 school year, Chelsea Public School welcomes seven new faculty to its staff.

“I’m quite pleased with these hires,” said Mark Blount, principal of Chelsea Public School, in an interview before the beginning of the school year. “I think we’ve got a mix of experiences, from brand new to someone who’s taught for 17 years.”

High School Science

Charles Black, no stranger to the practice of teaching, is Chelsea High School’s science teacher. His past positions in the field of science include the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union (Vt.), the Ogden School District (Utah), and Hawthorn Academy (Utah). Black completed his BS in biology from Brigham Young University in 2009 and his teaching certification from Utah Valley State University in 2010.

Grades1-2 Multi-Age

Two new hires, Mackenzie Muto and Susan Connelly, are co-teaching Chelsea’s grades 1-2 multi-age class.

During the past year, Muto was the lead preschool teacher at the Little Red Hen Preschool and Kindergarten in East Greenwich, R.I.

“I am excited and curious to teach in a first-and-second-grade cluster,” said Muto, “and I am very excited to be teaching with Sue Connolly.”

Prior to preschool teaching, she completed her student teaching at Rindge Memorial School (N.H.). Muto completed a double major in communication and elementary education from Keene State College in 2016.

“I am particularly excited to learn more about Chelsea School, the town of Chelsea, and Vermont in general,” said Muto. “I am from Rhode Island, so being able to have a new place to call home and explore is a little daunting, but exciting! I expect this year to invigorating, fun, and a learning curve.”

Connelly is a familiar face in the White River Valley Supervisory Union. She served as a special education long-term substitute last year in Chelsea for grades 1-2, as well as a long-term substitute teacher for grade 2 at South Royalton School.

Connelly and Muto met before the beginning of the school year. Of Muto, Connelly said, “She is smart, energetic, and will be a great teacher. I think we will make a great team.”

Connelly received her BA in elementary education from Johnson State College in 2004 and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Vermont in elementary education.

“I am very excited!” said Connelly. “I have already met a lot of people at Chelsea and love the kindness that is everywhere in this town.”

K-12 Music

Elizabeth Duvall, a previous choir director at Browning Public Schools (Mont.), will serve as Chelsea’s K-12 music teacher. Duvall has also held long-term teaching and substitute teaching positions in both the Hanover and Lebanon School Districts (N.H.). She received her BS in K-12 music education from Plymouth State University in 2011.

ELL and Reading

Amy Franco, also a face seen in Chelsea previously, will take on multiple roles as the school’s parttime English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and half-time middle school-high school reading teacher. Franco has already been a part-time ELL teacher in Chelsea, as well as in Lyme, N.H. She received her master’s degree in ESOL from Southern New Hampshire University in 2016.

Media Specialist

The position of Chelsea’s K-12 library media specialist was given to Alyson Mahony. Mahony recently completed her library media specialist internships at Crosset Brook Middle School in Waterbury, East Montpelier Elementary School, and Montpelier High School.

From September 1992 to January 2005, Mahony was Chelsea’s middle and high school social studies teacher. She completed graduate coursework as a library media specialist in 2017, and completed her BA in political science from Wheaton College (Mass.) in 1988.

“I have a lot to learn and can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and dig in,” said Mahony at the beginning of the school year. “I am very grateful to the librarians that have come before me. We might be small but we have a lot to offer. I am hoping to inspire everyone to read, explore, and create every day.”

Mahony said she welcomes thoughts from teachers, students, and community members about their hopes for the library this upcoming year.

PE and Health

Karen Payne has taken on the roles of Chelsea’s K-12 physical education teacher and 6-12 health teacher.

Payne is no stranger to physical education and health instruction. Prior to her recent position as an educational assistant at Richmond Middle School in Hanover, N.H., Karen was a 17-year veteran physical education and health teacher at Bradford Elementary School, 1989 to 2006. She completed her undergraduate degree in physical education and in health from Ithaca College in 1984 and master’s degree in education from Syracuse University in 1985.

“I think all of these folks that we’ve hired, they really want to be here,” Principal Blount commented before the first day of school. “They want to come and they can’t wait to get started.”

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