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FHS touts 22 new teachers

Knox County Schools held an orientation session Thursday, Aug. 5, for the some 350 new teachers joining the system.

Teachers were informed of county policies and procedures, then treated to a box lunch and a performance by the doo-wop singing group, Five Dots and a Dash, led by Knox County Schools superintendent Dr. Charles Lindsey.

“It gives the new teachers a chance to see a different side of the superintendent,” said

Scott Bacon, KCS supervisor of business partnerships.

Two new teachers will be seeing a different side of Farragut High School as they move up the ranks from FHS teaching interns to staff members. Clare Kersey and Melissa Salvaggio were hired to join the Social Studies Department after getting to know the school as interns last year.

Kersey will be teaching United States history, ancient history and film studies after interning in the English and history departments.

Being asked to join the staff, she said, was “such a relief.” Kersey’s internship prepared her for the job. “It’s nice to already be familiar with the teachers,” she added.

As an intern, Kersey also became familiar with the challenges of teaching at FHS. “There’s a lot more kids and expectations are high,” she said.

Kersey has a broad range of interests, which is one reason she chose to specialize in history. It encompasses subjects such as literature, sociology and psychology. “There’s not just one thing to learn,” she said.

Kersey first considered teaching at the college level but said that between research and other collegiate responsibilities, “teaching is almost secondary.” Instead, she looks forward to working with teenagers. “It’s so much fun to watch them interact,” she said. Kersey wants her students to be comfortable in her classroom. “I want them to feel like they can be themselves,” she said. “I want them to be excited to come to class each day. I’m looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm for the material with them.”

Kersey is also looking forward to after-school activities. “I can’t wait to go to football games,” she said.

Joining Kersey at those games may be friend and fellow new teacher Salvaggio, also a former FHS intern. Salvaggio joins the staff as a government and Bible history teacher. “Class is going to be extra fun because it’s an election year,” she said. “I want my students to understand how important it is to vote.” Salvaggio described her internship last year as “a year-long interview.” She was impressed with the students she taught. “They were fun and smart and motivated,” she said. “They kept me constantly on my toes. I hope I make government interesting for them.”

Salvaggio will be sharing a mobile classroom with Wes Edmonds, the new FHS economics teacher. He and Salvaggio got to know each other at the University of Tennessee teaching program. Kersey graduated from the same program. Edmonds interned at Gibbs High School.

He said he is happy to have been offered the job at FHS. “I know there’s a limited number of spots for a big group of people.”

Edmonds intends to get students involved in the learning process. “I don’t want to lecture to them all day, ” he said.

He understands the challenges associated with teaching seniors. “During my internship, I had a class in the last semester, last class of the day,” he said. “But seniors need economics to graduate. I want to show them how it relates to their lives.”

He also hopes to get to know his students. “It makes class better,” he said.

With a political science degree, Edmonds is also interested in government and will be an advocate for one of Salvaggio’s teaching objectives. “I’m big on voting,” he said. “I think citizenship is important.”

Edmonds, Salvaggio and Kersey will all teach classes beginning at 7 a.m., a measure started to help ease overcrowding. It’s a schedule they said they will like once they get used to it. Most teachers on that schedule leave earlier as well.

However, Salvaggio said, “I don’t wanna be one of those teachers who always leaves at two-fifteen.” As an intern, Salvaggio worked with the rugby team even though she said she didn’t know anything about the sport. “It was fun. The reason I wanted to be a teacher was to be around my students. I think that is part of being a teacher.”

Additional new FHS teachers are: Zach Best, drama; Ramona Drew, business; Erica Durnin, math; Emily Garman, English; Candace Hess, Spanish; Jeff King, math; Allyson Lynch, English; Trent Mayo, math; Josh Nelson, science; Alana O’Rourke, math; Lori Parks, business; Eva Peters, guidance; Rebecca Redding, intervention; Rachel Scalf, English; Ryan Shoup, business; Bill Silvers, English; Julia Sims, Latin; Andrea Smith, English and Maria White, CDC.

To meet FHS teachers and administration, the community is invited to an open house scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9.


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