This year we have three new teachers, and a counselor / interventionist. We have two new English / Social Studies teachers for the Middle / High School – The Dilliplanes. Mr. and Mrs. Dilliplane have Masters Degrees in English from Loyola Marymount University where they both taught Freshman English for LMU. Mr. Dilliplane will be teaching concurrent enrollment Composition 121 and 122 this year at Branson in partnership with Trinidad State Junior College. Mr. and Mrs. Dilliplane will also be overseeing our drama program with Mrs. Schor assisting them.
We have also hired Jason Starinieri as our new 5/6 grade teacher. Mr. Starinieri comes to us with a wide and varied background and has extensive experience teaching and coaching kids. Mr. Starinieri has a Masters of Science degree in Counseling, a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a reading emphasis and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Concordia University.
We have strengthened our faculty with the addition of Vickie Cooper. Mrs. Cooper has a Masters of Science in Counseling, a Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with an elementary education emphasis, and a Masters of Education in School Administration. Mrs. Cooper has over fifteen years of experience as an elementary teacher, a secondary English teacher, and a behavior strategist. In addition, she has been a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Mrs. Cooper will be assisting our elementary teachers as a literacy interventionist. In addition to her interventionist role, Mrs. Cooper will be our BAM Counselor and will be assisting with the design and creation of our new Career Pathways Initiative. Mrs. Cooper is redesigning our ninth grade careers class to encompass career explorations and availability, personality and career aptitude testing, field trips to area career areas, and a project based design, requiring students to chart their learning needs from the tenth grade all the way through to entering into the workforce.
I would also like to address some exciting changes to the crown jewel of THE Branson School – Our Agriculture Program. For the first time, our CTE Agricultural teacher, Maral Howell, has a full schedule of Ag classes – teaching at every grade level from 6-12. We are also offering an elective project-based, secondary Ag class that will allow secondary 6-12 students to do individualized research and design. Mrs. Howell has obtained a grant to allow us to construct a greenhouse. My goal is that we can eventually grow food in that greenhouse that hits the plates of our school lunch program.
We believe our role is to support the unique needs of each individual student. Thanks to the support of our community and parents, and the excellence of our teachers and support staff, we are confident that our school will continue to be highly successful. We are encouraged by the commitment we see in our Branson family and look forward to keeping you informed about our school. If you have any concerns or suggestions, come by the office and I will buy you a cup of coffee and we can talk. My door is always open to you. I am positive that we have the best school in the nation. I am humbled and honored that you chose me to lead THE Branson School.