At the close of the school year, EF Academy New York recognized five teachers for their five years of service to the students of our school. The teachers were recognized for their commitment to ensuring each student who attends EF Academy has a world-class education and truly makes the most of the experience. In a special celebration, the teachers were congratulated by Head of School, Dr. Brian Mahoney, and presented with a special gift to thank them for their service. The teachers recognized are Miriam Ortiz – World Language Department Chair, Jeanne Dansereau – Math Teacher, Dritan Biba – TOK Teacher, Cassie Marsh – Math Teacher, and Giovanni Villari – Drama Teacher and Technical Director.
Below, we asked each teacher to reflect upon their time at EF Academy and what they enjoy about teaching at our school!
Miriam Ortiz, World Language Department Chair
I started working for EF Academy in July 2009. I immediately fell in love with the cultural diversity, both within the student body and staff. There is never a dull moment in the classroom. Students are always curious, full of energy, and eager to learn. I am always in awe of how talented and brilliant our students can be. Therefore, every year I raise the academic expectations higher than the previous year for students because I have learned that they are capable of surpassing those expectations as long as someone believes in them and they are given the right tools to do so. My favorite part of teaching is seeing their smiles when they understand the language and produce it on their own, especially when it happens outside the classroom. The cultural diversity EF Academy offers allows for students to further practice Spanish outside of Spanish class. I love the fact that we can create an environment for the students to feel at home while they are physically away from their own home.
Jeanne Dansereau, Math Teacher
It has been great to see EF grow not only physically over 5 years, but to also grow as a more cohesive family of administrators, house staff, faculty and students. The staff and students here are wonderfully diverse, and I hope that we represent a mini version of the world – one in which there can be differing opinions, but at the end of the day, we can say that we respect each other and that we are really all the same.
The diversity of students and staff is what makes EF special. Everyone works well together and respects each other and has many talents to share. We work hard, days are long, but it pays off. Students are learning and succeeding here and after they leave EF.
Dritan Biba, TOK Teacher
What I love about these last 5 years at EF is the dynamic of constant change and growth in the effort to always provide the best experience for our students. I’m glad I have been able to witness how much we have learned from our mistakes and accomplishments. We have improved in defining our goals for our students – ex. college admissions. It’s great to see how the results of everyday classroom effort have a direct impact on the students’ future.
Cassie Marsh, Math Teacher
My favorite thing about teaching here would definitely be the students! I think working with the international students has been a wonderful experience and they really are what make this place. I also like working with my colleagues especially in the math department. I think we have an amazing group of individuals to work with. Everyone supports each other and collaborates together for their classes.