Unitas At Austin Prep
Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented faculty and staff who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in our spotlight, Unitas at Austin Prep.
Community Spotlight: Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A.
This week we are proud to highlight Fr. Jorge as part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Hometown: I was born in Victoria de las Tunas, Oriente, Cuba and raised in a rural town named Vasquez in the North East side of the island.
Education/Degrees: I received a Catholic education, from the sixth grade to the eighth grade I went to Saint Ambrose School, in Dorchester and later attended B.C. High School. I hold a Master degree in Education (M.Ed.) with a major in Psychology and a Master in Pastoral Studies (MAPS).
Years in Education: This is my second year at Austin Prep. I was Principal of Liceo Sagrado Corzón de Jesús, (Sacred Heart High School) Villa Sagrado Corazón, Azúa, Dominican Republic, from 2013-2016; also as Pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lawrence, oversaw St. Mary’s Grammar School (2004-2012).
Describe a teacher that inspired me growing up: I will have to say that Sister Anastasia, CSSJ; she was loved by all the students, she always had a smile on her face and anyone could tell that she loved to teach and loved her vocation as a Sister of St. Joseph.
My Motto in life is: Love until your heart breaks.
Community Spotlight: Ms. Jennifer Gaudette
Hometown: Salem, NH
Education/Degrees: B.A. in English with a minor in Secondary Education from Stonehill College; M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities (5-12) from Merrimack College
Years at Austin Prep: First Year
Years working in Education: 3
Department/Area of Subject: English
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: There are too many to give full credit to here! Several wonderful educators who left a positive impact on me were Mr. Kelley, my middle school chorus teacher; Ms. Moynihan, my high school English teacher; Mr. Pastore, my high school geometry teacher; and Stonehill College professors Sarah Gracombe and Tracey Thorpe. Each of these individuals left a lasting imprint on me for unique reasons. Mr. Kelley was simply hilarious. He had this quirky charm that just resonated with the quirkiness of middle school students, and even at a young age, I was impressed by how much effort he was able to pull out of his students. It was a clear testament to the powerful relationships he built with us. Ms. Moynihan and Mr. Pastore were teachers who were both obviously enthusiastic about their content, but understood their roles as deeper than the content. These were the teachers who in every word, every action, showed you they cared about YOU. Not just you as a student, but you as an individual. It also must be mentioned that Mr. Pastore gave the best life lessons. And finally, Prof. Gracombe and Prof. Thorpe were absolutely innovative! Their creativity and empowering push for students to achieve in a similar manner were both breathtaking and refreshing in my perspective as a student. I hope to take from every one of my role models in my own career.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? “What’s My Why?” is a motto that not only drives my teaching, but that I try to fall back on throughout my daily life. A saying that was passed on to me from one of my teachers, “What’s My Why?” is both a call for deeper reflection about the greater purpose of the work that we do and a promise to students for transparency so that their education takes on a whole new level of meaning.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “Thank you for not giving up on me.” This came from a student who I had struggled to form a relationship with over the course of the entire school year. I hadn’t even known that I had made an impact on this student...just the simplest thank you can be the most eye-opening experience for someone else.
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? I love working with people, so I think I would have to be helping others in some way. Perhaps a school guidance counselor, or even a personal trainer? I have a lot of interests I would like to explore though, so I think working for a publishing company, becoming a nutritionist, or something in event planning would be fun career paths as well! I also think working outside as a park ranger would be very cool, but I was never naturally skilled with the sciences.
Accolades: Graduated Summa cum Laude from Stonehill College and earned a spot in the full-tuition Merrimack College Teaching Fellowship
Favorite Quote: “Education should aim at long-lasting learning that forever alters our grasp of the world, deepening it, widening it, generalizing it, sharpening it.”
– Donald Finkel, Teaching With Your Mouth Shut
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): My first high school job was working on Srybny Farms in Haverhill, MA. Everything on the farm had to be hand-picked, so I spent a lot of that summer picking tomatoes and green beans. To me, it was the coolest job ever at the time! I gained a lot of appreciation for where my food comes from.
Any other information you would like to share: Something I always wish for is more time in the day...there are so many things that I want to do, learn, and experience on a daily basis! Some of the things on my bucket list include: learning sign language, integrating mindfulness practices into my daily routine, taking a CrossFit class, becoming a better environmentalist and planting trees, and making a book list for next year!
In between all of that, I like to spend my free time with my friends and family, walking my black lab Brody, listening to music, staying active, and exploring the outdoors!
Community Spotlight: Mr. Adam Zona
Hometown: Milford, CT
Education/Degrees: B.A. Mathematics/Applied Sciences; M.A. in Physiology
Years at Austin Prep: First Year
Years working in Education: 4
Department/Area of Subject: Math
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: My college math teacher, Jeff Rabin, was an excellent teacher. His patience for teaching and passion for math always made learning both enjoyable and rewarding.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? “Going to school is like going to the gym. Just like NFL players work on their bench press to improve their overall strength, students work on studies in core academic subjects to train their minds to be stronger, faster, more analytical, and more creative.”
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “When I understand the basics, I master the complexities.”
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Climatologist
Accolades: Visiting Team Member, NEASC
Favorite Quote: “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.” - Robert Frost
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): When I was a student I was involved in the student government and I enjoyed helping out students with special needs.
Community Spotlight: Ms. Meghan Chapman
Hometown: Wakefield, MA
Education/Degrees: Bachelors in K-8 Math Education from the University of New Hampshire
Years at Austin Prep: 2 years
Years working in Education: 2 years
Department/Area of Subject: Mathematics
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: My 7th grade math teacher showed me what it means to learn from my mistakes. I grew confidence in my math ability that year because she believed in me.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? Treat others the way you would want to be treated. This is not only a motto I teach by, but also a motto I live by. I believe that students learn best by teachers they respect. I work every day to give my students the respect and love that I believe I deserve in return.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? A student once asked me, “Ms. Chapman why does everyone try so hard to fit in? I think it’s kind of cool to be weird.” Truer words have never been spoken.
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? I have always wanted to be a teacher but, I originally went to school to be a child psychologist.
Accolades: NHS in high school, Most Athletic in high school, Broke a school record in Indoor Track & Field, NJHS Inspirational Teacher Award at AP
Favorite Quote: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or…some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): I’m currently training for a half-marathon!
Any other information you would like to share: I also shook Barack Obama’s hand!
Community Spotlight: Ms. Anya Huston
Hometown: Milbridge, Maine
Education/Degrees: BA in Psychology, minor Philosophy - Bates College; MFA in Creative Writing (concentration in Children’s Literature) - Lesley University.
Years at Austin Prep: First Year.
Years working in Education: 15 years. I have worked in college admissions at Bentley University and Emmanuel College, worked as an independent college counselor and was Director of College Counseling at a Boston independent school prior to coming to Austin Prep.
Department/Area of Subject: College Counseling.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? Be open minded in the college process. Explore your interests, be open to learning about new colleges that you may have never heard of, and you will find the right place for you!
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “You were right, Ms. Huston, the college process can be fun!”
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Children’s book author or indoor cycling (spin) instructor.
Favorite Quote: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” - Dr Seuss
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know):
- I ran track and field at Bates College and held the Bates Outdoor Track school record in high jump for ten years
- In high school, I wrote a letter to Stephen King and he donated $30,000 to my high school track team for uniforms and equipment.
Any other information you would like to share: I live in West Newton with my husband and 2 daughters. In our free time, we love to spend time outdoors (skiing, hiking, etc.), exploring new places and experiencing new adventures.
Community Spotlight: Ms. Anjali Bhardwaj
Hometown: Reading, MA
Education/Degrees: Master of Science in Biology, Boston University, Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, Jacksonville University
Years at Austin Prep: First year.
Years working in Education: I have worked as a teaching fellow for a total of two years. I previously taught oceanography, biology II, and marine science classes to undergraduate and graduate students at Jacksonville University, Boston University, Harvard University Extension and Harvard University. This semester, I am working as a teaching fellow for conservation biology at Harvard!
Department/Area of Subject: Science: Chemistry, Marine Science, Oceanography, Topics in Technology: A Zoo Habitat
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: My calculus teacher inspired me by pushing me harder academically than any other class I had taken in high school. She had high expectations and strict rules, but also had faith in her students that motivated us to put in the effort needed to succeed. I stayed up later and studied harder than I ever had but it allowed me to become a better student and a much harder worker. She helped me see how incredible it feels to overcome a challenge and taught me that you can do anything if you put in the effort. Without the lessons she taught me, I do not think I would have had the drive or study skills to make it through two semesters of organic chemistry in college. I am so thankful she was “hard” on me and pushed me to be better!
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? The earlier you start working on something, the earlier you will get results!
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Wildlife/Marine Biologist
Accolades: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Scholar Finalist, Princeton University
Favorite Quote: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ― Jane Goodall
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): After college I was lucky enough to work with over 30 different species of birds as a bird trainer at Southwick’s Zoo and then as a penguin aquarist at the New England Aquarium. I left the aquarium in 2020 to spend more time on my master’s research but spend every weekend outside looking for, and photographing, birds!
Here are some photos of a breeding pair of red-tailed hawks I took last week in Reading:
Another fun fact: I am working on hiking all 48 of the New Hampshire 4000 footers. So far, Mt. Washington has been my favorite. I love hiking and hope to hike the entire Appalachian trail someday (Georgia to Maine)!
Any other information you would like to share: I am the #1 fan of the Austin Prep/Sage Dining homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Community Spotlight: Mr. Nick Quinn
Hometown: Woburn, MA
Education/Degrees: B.A. in Classics from Saint Anselm College, Masters in Educational Leadership from University of New England
Years at Austin Prep: 1st
Years working in Education: 15
Department/Area of Subject: Language/Latin, Theater
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: Mr. Dan Keller, orchestra conductor and teacher for 8 years, head of the tech crew for the theater department, and leader of the outing club. Mr. Keller inspired me to love the science and art of music, encouraged my passion for technical theater and stage design, and pushed me to enjoy the outdoors, especially snowshoeing!
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? Be open to other outlooks while learning. Others may learn different, teachers may teach different, societies may act different. Accepting these differences, even if you disagree with them, and appreciating them for what they are will make you a better world citizen.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “Thank you for giving me my first lead role.” - Student who is now pursuing a career in Broadway.
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Chef. I love to cook, experiment in the kitchen, and watch others try my creations.
Favorite Quote: Don’t quietly sneak into oblivion; go in screaming, with your hair on fire, face covered in chocolate, sliding head first into the grave. And as you stand up and dust yourself off, shake St. Peter’s hand, say “Man! What a ride!”
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): I am a classically trained violinist with a passion for movies, music, food, and travel. I regularly tell my wife that “if I don’t come home, you can find me on the North Shore of Crete, soaking in the sun and enjoying what life should really be like.”
Community Spotlight: Mr. Colin Kiley
Hometown: Westwood, MA
Education/Degrees: Saint Anselm College, B.A. in Sociology, Endicott College, M.S. in Sport Leadership
Years at Austin Prep: This is my second year at Austin Prep, first as part of the faculty. During the 2019-20 school year, I was an intern in the Athletics Department.
Years working in Education: 4
Department/Area of Subject: Middle School Science/Health and Wellness Instructor
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: My high school teacher and Campus Minister, Dr. Puclowski. He did an excellent job of emphasizing learning for the sake of learning, instead of memorizing. In addition, he kept his core values in class while making the necessary adjustments to ensure all his students would understand concepts. He has been a mentor for me and we continue to talk to this day.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? Servant Leadership. It continues to guide my teaching style by working together and utilizing our talents.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “I am not going to remember the topics from this year, but I will remember the people I’ve met.”
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? A career in Athletic Administration or Community Relations.
Accolades: Saint Anselm College Paul S. Coleman Senior Service Award for Outstanding Service Leadership, Saint Anselm College Meelia Center Senior Service Award
Favorite Quote: “ Every battle is won before it is fought.” - Sun Tzu, Art of War
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know):
1.) I interned with the Boston Celtics in their Community Engagement Department.
2.) I participated in Nomar Garciaparra’s Bowling Event as a kid. My brother and I were teammates with Trot Nixon (former Red Sox Outfielder).
Community Spotlight: Ms. Clarie Crane
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Education/Degrees: BA in History and Linguistics from Middlebury College
Years at Austin Prep: 2
Years working in Education: 2
Department/Area of Subject: World Languages, Mandarin Chinese
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: While I’ve been lucky to have many wonderful teachers over the course of my academic career, my 8th and 9th grade math teacher, Pascal Maharjan, stands out to me the most. We were all convinced that Mr. Maharjan was a genius--he spoke four languages, he played every instrument, and was almost definitely a math prodigy (despite also being incredibly modest). Most importantly, however, he understood that the relationships with his students often mattered more than the material in the textbook. His students were always welcome in his office. My friends and I spent many afternoons there having intended to go for “extra help” and having wound up talking about whatever was going on in our lives. For someone like me who had always felt intimidated by math, his kind, welcoming, and patient nature made such a difference. Even when I struggled with the material, he always made me feel that, if I worked at it, I could figure it out.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? I always want my students to remember that making mistakes is part of learning a language. Laugh it off. Try it again. Your Mandarin will be better for it.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “We’re honestly all a lot more similar than we are different”
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Almost everyone in my family is or has been a teacher at some point. When I was growing up, I would always say that I was going to branch out, but I don’t think that anyone was surprised when I went into teaching as well. I do love to cook (and eat) though, so if I weren’t a teacher, I would want to be a chef or food writer.
Accolades: I graduated Magna cum Laude from Middlebury College.
Favorite Quote: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela
Fun fact (about you or your past; something colleagues & students might not ordinarily know): I was a barista for 3 years. If you need some fancy latte art, you know who to call.
Any other information you would like to share: I currently live in Cambridge with my 4 year-old beagle, Addie.
Community Spotlight: Ms. Kerry Barrett
Name: Ms. Kerry Barrett
Hometown: Sayville, NY
Education/Degrees: B.A. in Biology/ M.Ed Secondary Education both from Providence College
Years at Austin Prep: This is my first year
Years working in Education: Three years
Department/Area of Subject: Science
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: I had a research class in high school with the most incredible woman. She brought me to professional conferences as a 10th grader and connected me with some really important people in science. She was absolutely brilliant in her field but more importantly for me at the time was that she had this knack for engaging students and meeting them at the level they were at. She could jump from talking with us about opening night for the Mets one minute to explaining complicated science to us in a way that made sense the next. She worked us harder than any other teacher I had in high school. There were so many late nights in the lab but it always seemed worth it because I had a teacher who was interested in me and we all knew she had our backs. She is someone that I have always wanted to be like whether as a teacher, a scientist, or a person in general.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom?
You get out what you put in.
It’s just science. You can do it.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “Sometimes I think we all worry too much about stuff we can’t control which takes time away from worrying about the things I can control…what a waste of time”.
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Genetic Counselor. Before I started teaching I did a lot of research with genetics. I love the subject and similar to teaching, genetic counseling combines my love for science with my social personality and desire to help others.
Accolades: My research is about to be published in Evolutionary Applications!
Favorite Quote: “Love is how you stay alive even after you are gone” (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Community Spotlight: Mr. Raymond Kabunga
Name: Mr. Raymond Kabunga
Hometown: Watertown, MA
Education: St. Mbaaga’s Major Seminary Kampala, Uganda, B.A. Philosophy and Theology; Boston College, M.A. Religious Education
Years at Austin Prep: First Year
Years working in Education: 8 years
Department and Courses Taught: Theology; Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures, Living as Members of the Church
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: In high school in Uganda, I had a teacher who taught social studies. He made me love the subject to the point that I would always try my best to never miss his class. One of the things I learned from him was that he was always on time for his class and he always emphasized how being on time is essential and builds character.
Do you have a motto you teach by, or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? "It always seems impossible until it’s done" - Nelson Mandela
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “Thank you for being a good listener and someone who has taught me with patience over the past four years."
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? I would be a priest.
Favorite Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” - Nelson Mandela
Fun fact about you, or something your colleagues & students might not ordinarily know: As I was growing up in Uganda, I used to like climbing trees and being able to go to the top of the trees and see the rest of the forest.
Any other information you would like to share? I am a fan of Arsenal Football Club in the United Kingdom. I am also a fan of Boston College sports. I like traveling, cooking, and hiking.