Meet the new teachers

New+teachers+and+faculty+members+pose+with+their+NDB+shirts+in+the+Moore+Pavilian.+

New teachers and faculty members pose with their NDB shirts in the Moore Pavilian.

For the 2020-2021 school year, nine new teachers and faculty members have joined the NDB community. The Catalyst talked to these new members of the NDB staff to get to know them and their goals for this year.

Amy Jobin, Director of Mission and Ministry.

This year, NDB welcomes Amy Jobin as the new Director of Mission and Ministry. Jobin has worked in ministry for over ten years, with a background in community service.

“I would say that the one really strong thing that influenced me to go into ministry was living in Haiti for two years,” said Jobin. “I lived in a community with Catholic sisters and other volunteers and spent two years there working with a local community, and that’s when it finally gave me the push and I moved into ministry.”

Prior to coming to NDB, Jobin worked at Notre Dame de Namur University for six years, and so was familiar with St. Julie and the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. This year, she is excited to be a part of NDB.

“I really love the community. I just have the sense that everyone is supporting each other. I just really appreciate the sense of welcome and kindness.”

For the 2020-2021 school year, she hopes to help students, faculty, and staff find new ways to serve their communities despite the coronavirus pandemic and educate themselves and others on social justice issues.

 

John Ahlbach, Spiritual Life Department Substitute teacher.

The Spiritual Life Department welcomes new Social Justice teacher John Ahlbach. Ahlbach has been an educator for over thirty years, most recently teaching English, History, and Religion at Archbishop Riordan until his retirement a year ago. In addition to teaching, Ahlbach was a director of the National Stuttering Project.

This year, he has come out of retirement to fill in while members of the NDB Spiritual Life Department Ynez Manalo and Kristen Kelly are on maternity leave.

“I like to think of this as a course that is never done,” said Ahlbach. “You know, that I hope that what we do in the class will continue to think about and live out, you know, and learn from. I like to say that, you and me, too, we get our social justice grade at the end of our life, you know, based on how we’ve treated the others and, in our lives but I hope I, you know, open up new ways of thinking to you.”

This year, he is looking forward to covering social justice topics, in particular human rights defenders and the concept of utopias, with the junior class.

 

 

Stacy La Duke, Guidance Counselor.

NDB’s next addition, Stacy La Duke, has joined the Counseling Department. She acts as a General Guidance Counselor as well as working with the Empowered for Success program at NDB. This will be La Duke’s twenty-fourth year as a school counselor, having worked in middle and high schools in Santa Monica.

Outside of school, she runs a private college consulting business, having students in Northern California, Southern California, and Oregon. This year, she is looking forward to getting to know NDB.

“Everyone is just so welcoming and kind and supportive, and I’ve never been in a place like this before,” said La Duke. “Everyone’s just so helpful and great.”

Having previously run an anti-bullying program called “Upstanders Club,” she hopes to be able to introduce this to the NDB community. She is also on the Health and Wellness Board and is helping to organize plans for Suicide Prevention Month. Over the next few weeks, La Duke will be virtually visiting Spiritual Life classes in order to introduce herself and get to know the students better.

 

Matthew Hankins has joined the History Department as the new U.S. History and AP Government and Economics teacher. Before coming to Notre Dame, Hankins taught social studies at an international school in Manila in the Philippines. He is currently living in Southern California, but is moving to the Bay Area soon.

Matthew Hankins, History teacher.

“My wife and I decided that we were ready to come back to the U.S,” said Hankins. “We really enjoyed our time abroad and had some really great experiences, but we were getting a little bit homesick, and I missed our friends and family, and wanted to come back to California…When I saw that Notre Dame was hiring, I jumped at the chance.”

This year, he is excited to be able to be moving to the Bay Area and getting to know everyone at NDB. Although joining a new community can be challenging over online platforms, he looks forward to all of the creative opportunities that distance learning offers.

“I think that this year we have a really unique opportunity to develop some really different types of assessments. Usually, when working in class we’d be doing a lot of traditional tests and multiple choice and long answer and short answer tests. But the challenge this year is coming up with assessments that are a little bit different, so I’m really hoping that me and the rest of the department can accomplish some cool projects.”

 

Leonardo Bardomero, Math teacher.

The Math Department welcomes new teacher Leonardo Bardomero. Bardomero has worked at middle school, high school, and college campuses in the Bay Area. He has taught many levels from Remedial Math to Calculus and worked coaching students for the MathCounts competition, a nation-wide competition series for middle school students.

“The part that I gravitated towards [about NDB] was that it is a school that focuses on academics and academic rigor,” said Bardomero. “I’m all about rigor and so I figure that based on my background, my educational background and work experience, I figured that I could be an excellent fit for a school that prides itself on academic excellence.”

This year, he is looking forward to going back home to the Dominican Republic for Christmas break to visit family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Rosalind Le, Math teacher.

NDB also welcomes fellow new math teacher Rosalind Le. Le worked as a teacher for ten years, teaching Outdoor Education.

“I was teaching math for ten years and then I left teaching for three years. And I was doing what’s called outdoor education where I take students like backpacking and rock climbing,” said Le. “And then after the three years, I was like you know what, I want to return back to teaching.”

She previously worked at Notre Dame San Jose. She is excited to get to know students and take part in NDB’s fun environment.

 

 

 

 

Christina Christenson, Guidance Counselor.

The Counseling Department also welcomes Christina Christenson, a new counselor and EFS support. She has previously worked in education for the past six years, helping all different grade levels around the peninsula.

“ I started in the classroom, working with students who have learning disabilities,” said Christenson. “And then I went on to become a school counselor, which I really love, and then coming to Notre Dame I get to do both pretty much where I’m supporting the EFs program and being a counselor.”

Christenson is looking forward to meeting everyone in the new community and getting to know people.

“I look forward to just getting to know everyone. I think a lot of my students I haven’t me yet. And so I’m trying my best to meet with everyone. And for them to get to know me, I’m really open and want students to meet with me.”

 

 

 

Kathryn Blanchard, Spanish teacher.

Finally, Kathryn Blanchard is joining the NDB community, as a new Spanish teacher.

Blanchard said that her favorite part so far is the connection between students she’s met. “I am so impressed with how kind they are, how supportive of each other they are, how diligent they are,” said Blanchard. “They care a lot about their work but they also care a lot about their peers. And so I’m really impressed I can’t wait to actually meet you guys in person. Because I can already tell just online, you know that it’s a really strong community.”

Blanchard is looking forward to getting on campus and getting to know what everyone’s life is outside of school.

“I mean, number one I’m most excited about actually getting to go to Notre Dame, and because of such a beautiful campus and so I’m excited to actually be there with everybody,” said Blanchard. “And then just see all the extracurricular stuff. I know you guys are all involved in a lot of things so you know I’d love to see all the other things that you guys are doing outside of the classroom.”

 

NDB is excited to welcome every new faculty and staff member to our community this school year.

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