Foreign language teacher, Twin Valley High School
Virginia “Ginny” Knapp will be teaching French and Spanish at TVHS this year. Previously she has taught at Hinsdale High School, Northfield Mount Hermon, Keene High School, and Keene State College.
Knapp has traveled with students to Montreal, France, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
Her teaching style emphasizes learning the language through a cognitive and conversational style, and, she said, “I love to see students using the target language!”
“My goal is to see students grow in the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking,” said Knapp. Cultural elements such as music, history, cooking, costumes, and holidays are also included in the curriculum.
Knapp said that she is happy to be teaching at TVHS because “It is small with a friendly student body and a supportive staff and administration.” Knapp referred to the Deerfield Valley as a “beautiful region of Vermont,” and remarked that although the area was badly affected by Tropical Storm Irene, people have shown a “strong resiliency and determination to rebuild.”
Foreign language teacher, Twin Valley Middle School and Twin Valley High School
Jobi Dan’Sy will be teaching French and Spanish at both TVMS and TVHS this year, with mornings at the middle school and afternoons at the high school. Previously she taught for two years at the Greenfield Center School. She has also taught in Rabat, Morocco, and Panajachel, Guatemala.
Dan’Sy said, “At the heart of my teaching is the knowledge that we are all successful language learners.” She added, “I aim to make the most of what scientists know about the natural language development process. As a language teacher, my job is to choose our comprehensible input wisely, to help you understand what you’re hearing and reading, and to help you use your new language with confidence, accuracy, and fluency.”
Dan’Sy’s wide range of interests include rock climbing, hiking, traveling, eating chocolate ice cream and M&M’s, and watching, learning, and teaching circus.
In addition to seeing her at different times at the two schools, Dan’Sy said, “You might occasionally find me hanging from the rafters in the middle school gymnasium demonstrating various circus feats.”
Math teacher, Twin Valley High School
Brian Wuoti will be teaching math 3, math 4, and pre-calculus (primarily to juniors and seniors) this year at TVHS. He has previously taught for six years in Massachusetts schools, most recently at Wachusett Regional High School.
Wuoti said that students taking his higher level mathematics will be able to learn more advanced skills to solve complex, real-world problems. He said, “One of my primary philosophies in education is learning from mistakes. I have my students write corrections next to their incorrect work and we hold onto it throughout the semester.” Wuoti also said that he will ensure that he is available for students to provide any extra help that is needed.
Wuoti and his wife wanted to move to this area because of their love for outdoor activities such as backpacking and snowshoeing. They are also expecting their first child in December. He said, “We like the idea of being involved in a small community.”
Art teacher, Twin Valley High School
Christy Abraham will be teaching art this year at TVHS. Previously she has worked at TVHS in special education and as a substitute teacher. She has lived in the Deerfield Valley for nine years, and said, “I am in love with this community and can’t imagine working or living anywhere else.”
Abraham will be offering a multitude of classes, including: ceramics, drawing, painting, digital photography, stained glass, metalsmithing, and printmaking. She said, “My goal is that every student keep an open mind and explore each medium with enthusiasm.”
“I truly believe that art can be taught, and I love nothing more than when students surprise themselves by producing a piece of work they could have never imagined. That’s why I teach,” said Abraham. “You don’t need to be an ‘artistic’ person to be successful in art.”
Abraham said that when she’s not teaching, she enjoys skiing/riding, snowmobiling, hiking, hunting, camping, traveling, taking pictures, and reading.
Special education teacher, Twin Valley High School
Robbe Marra will be teaching special education this year at TVHS. Last year Marra worked as a para-educator at TVHS. She said, “I love the school, and I love the community.”
Previously she taught for 24 years in Maryland in a variety of special education programs.
Marra said that her teaching style incorporates a lot of humor. “I like to just be real,” she said. Her focus is primarily on teaching students life skills. “I want them to be independent, and to grow, and to get as much content as they can,” she said.
Rather than separate students with physical or special learning needs, all students at TVHS are included in regular classes together. Marra accompanies her students to their classes, and she helps modify the curriculum to fit their abilities and learning needs.
Marra said that she and her husband bought about 50 acres of land in Searsburg and began transitioning to Vermont from Maryland about four years ago. She said that her husband’s mother and grandmother lived here, and his family’s roots go back about 200 years. In the future they may use their land for educational purposes.