HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ – There are some new faces hiding behind the masks at Hasbrouck Heights High School for the 2020-21 school year as Hasbrouck Heights in welcoming eight new teachers to its ranks.
The new teachers answered some questions so the students and community could get to the know them a little better.
Anthony Dinallo, Computer Science
Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights
College(s): Fordham, St. Peter’s
Why HHHS: I grew up in Hasbrouck Heights. I know how strong the community is and I have many great memories here. I wanted to return to be part of the Aviator family again.
Hobbies: Playing bass guitar, swimming, hiking, and Painting
Favorite Meal: Eggplant Parmigiana
Favorite Book: The Fountainhead
Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones
Teaching Goals for this Year: To teach my students Computer Science to the best of my ability and be an active member of the HHHS community.
Sophie Baumann, U.S. History
Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ
College(s): Temple University
Why HHHS: I have always wanted to teach high school and Heights offers a close knit community. I am excited to get involved in the high school and become familiar with the town!
Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, traveling, exercising, reading and watching TV.
Favorite Meal: French Onion Soup
Favorite Book: The Perks of being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, and Bossypants
Favorite TV Show: Parks and Recreation.
Teaching Goals for this Year: My goals are to make connections with my new colleagues and students, and teach as effectively as possible during these strange COVID times. I can't wait to get started.
Paola Calderon, Digital Photography/Art Appreciation
Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights
College(s): William Paterson, BCC, Montclair State
Why HHHS: With my degree I can teach all art mediums, yet I majored in Photography and was very excited to see there was an opening at HHHS for a digital photography teacher. I feel that I have come full circle to teach at the High School that started my art education.
Hobbies: Travelling, spending time with family especially my 2 boys, and Art.
Favorite Meal: Blackened Shrimp over Caesar Salad
Favorite Book: Memoirs of a Geisha
Favorite TV Show: Law and Order
Teaching Goals for this Year: Becoming a stronger educator, learning as much as I can and connecting with all my students and creating a classroom of creativity, positivity and respect.
Monica Danny, Language Arts
College(s): Montclair State and NJCU
Why HHHS: I like the community and wanted to be a part of it.
Hobbies: Reading, swimming, walking, being outdoors
Favorite Meal: All Seafood
Favorite Book: Of Mice and Men
Favorite TV Show: New Amsterdam
Teaching Goals for this Year: To have my students enjoy reading and help them become the best readers and writers they can be.
Heather Downey, Subject: Math
Hometown: Roseland, NJ
Why HHHS: HHHS is small and collaborative and seems like an awesome school with great students!
Hobbies: Dance and golf
Favorite Meal: Chicken Parmigiana
Favorite Book: Journey through Genius by William Dunham
Favorite TV Show: The office
Teaching Goals for this Year: I want to try to make virtual learning as seamless as possible and get to know my students even if I can't see them in person.
Tammy Gordon, Biology / Anatomy & Physiology
Hometown: Nutley, NJ
College(s): LIU College of Pharmacy / NJCU
Why HHHS: HHHS has a great reputation for academic achievement and community support and I wanted to be a part of it.
Hobbies: Reading, Scuba Diving, Running, Yoga
Favorite Meal: Too many to pick one.
Favorite Book: The Giving Tree
Favorite TV Show: Seinfeld
Teaching Goals for this Year: I’d love to be able to instill In my students the same love of science that I have and hopefully provide them with skills/information that will benefit them in their future lives/careers.
Merrill Barbone. Guidance Counselor
Hometown: Nutley, NJ
College(s): Montclair State
Why HHHS: HHHS is an extremely tight knit community, which reminded me similar to my hometown. Everyone collaborates to ensure that all students at all levels succeed. Being part of something so special like that was important to me when interviewing at various districts.
Hobbies: Yoga, running, reading
Favorite Meal: Buffalo chicken pizza. As a matter of fact buffalo style anything, I love spice!
Favorite Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Favorite TV Show: Anything on the Bravo Network.
Goals for this Year: Advocate for my students. Collaborate with my colleagues. Enhance student achievement and help/guide all students towards being the autonomous young-adult that I know they can be.
Maurizio Balestra, Italian
Hometown: Long Hill Township
College(s): Franciscan University/ Rutgers
Why HHHS: This is a wonderful opportunity to build an Italian program.
Hobbies: Classical Singing
Favorite Meal: Pasta al Forno
Favorite Book: Le Avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi
Favorite TV Show: Lidia’s Kitchen
Teaching Goals for this Year: To allow students to explore the beauty of the Italian language and culture.
Brandon Dolce, Science
Hometown: West Caldwell
Why HHHS: Because I want to make a difference in the students' lives, especially during the ongoing pandemic
Hobbies: Video Gaming
Favorite Meal: Hibachi
Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings
Favorite TV Show: Ninja Warrior
Teaching Goals for this Year: To better myself in classroom management skills and to utilize new technology in order to enhance my lessons
(Editor's Note: Michael Scuilla, Hasbrouck Heights' Athletic Director, contributed to this article.)
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