Chantilly helps its newest members transition into the community

Math teacher Jalil Andraos expresses his excitement to be a part of the Chantilly community.

Priya Viswanathan, managing editor

This school year, Chantilly welcomed 21 new faculty members to the school community. These individuals come from a myriad of different backgrounds with a variety of experience, some having taught before and others beginning their teaching careers this year.

It can be difficult to start at a new school for veteran and first-year teachers alike, and therefore transition programs are offered at both the county and school level to help new faculty members establish their footing. One such program is the mentorship program, in which each new teacher is paired with a returning teacher.

“Each new teacher at Chantilly gets a mentor, and that is the person who is going to work most closely with them throughout the year to help acclimate them to Chantilly,” lead mentor and social studies teacher Angie Rollet said. “Typically, it’s someone in their content area that they can work with.”

Since the new teachers do not meet their mentors until the school year starts, an orientation is held over the summer. This year’s orientation included a welcome breakfast and lunch, an introduction to the staff and a tour of the school led by students.

“[Lead mentor and special education teacher Wendy] Lawson and I plan the new staff orientation and invite anyone who is new to Chantilly,” Rollet said. “[We] get them started with what we hope is going to be a great year.”

Although new to Chantilly, some of the recent additions have taught elsewhere. For example, some of the new faculty members previously served as substitutes.

“I’ve been subbing and long-term subbing for different classrooms for half a year or a quarter, so I’m really excited to be with a group of kids for a whole year and build relationships with them,” biology teacher Allison Prell said.

Some of the new teachers have not taught before, but do have job experience in the subjects that they will be teaching.

“I come from [the] industry, so I have a background in zoological conservation and veterinary technology,” animal sciences teacher McGlensey Antonucci said. “I’ve worked in zoos, wildlife parks and veterinary clinics.”

Like Antonucci,sports marketing teacher Shawn Heubel has also worked in the marketing field, providing him with first-hand insight into the subject he teaches.

“I used to be a social media manager for [a company] that owns a bunch of hotel chains in the D.C. area and Florida [before I started teaching],” Heubel said.

Because of the Chantilly community’s positive reputation, many of the new teachers decided to teach at this school.

“I heard nothing but great things about Chantilly, so I’m excited to be here,” mathematics teacher Jalil Andraos said.

Whether they are first-time teachers, career switchers or veterans to the profession, the new Chargers have been welcomed with open arms and have the support of the school mentoring program, colleagues and students alike as they embark on a new chapter in their teaching careers.