Spotlighting new staff

A fresh start to the school year means fresh faces in our Haven community. This is only half of the new team—watch for the next issue to meet the others.
ILLUSTRATION: Meet the new staff
ILLUSTRATION: Meet the new staff
Ms. Sara Fleming, Nurse
Ms. Sara Fleming, Nurse (Evelynn Lin ’25)

Fleming has been around the world, and now she’s at Strath Haven continuing to pursue her passions for health and education.

The large number of Strath Haven students proved to be an intimidating prospect for new school nurse Ms. Sara Fleming before she got to know a few of them.

Before she came to Strath Haven, Fleming worked as a nurse in Shanghai, China, and a private school in Ohio.

“This school is a lot bigger, which I think is probably the biggest adjustment,” Fleming said. “My last school had maybe 700 kids. So this one’s almost twice the size because there’s 1200 kids here.”

Despite the differences between this school and her past schools, Fleming has had pleasant experiences with Strath Haven students thus far.

“There’s a lot of you everywhere,” Ms. Fleming said. “I mean, that was it. But I have to say any student that I’ve come in contact with thus far has been nothing but nice and enjoyable to deal with. So I’m extremely grateful for that.”

The warmth from other teachers has also left a positive impression on Fleming.

“They [teachers] have been extremely accommodating for when I need to check on a student,” Fleming said. “The counselors have also been great, and when I have a concern about a student, and I call them and I say, ‘You know, I’m still learning, each individual student and their personalities, what do you think?’”

Fleming has had an interest in science and medicine for a long time, and as a hospital nurse, she enjoyed the one-on-one relationships she was able to have. Helping educate others turned out to be an interest of hers as well.

“I like teaching people how to take care of themselves and how to help themselves get over, you know, challenges or illnesses and stuff like that,” Fleming said.

She didn’t necessarily think of being a school nurse until her son went to kindergarten.

“His school nurse asked me if I’d be willing to sub for her and that time I thought, ‘Why not, I’ll give it a try.’ And I just ended up really, really enjoying it,” Fleming said.

At her previous smaller school, she would see around 15 kids a day. Now at Strath Haven, that number has doubled to 30-35 kids a day.

“But that’s why we’re here. You know, we’re here for the little stuff and the big stuff. There’s never a day where nobody shows up,” Fleming said

Mrs. Natalie Zigon, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Natalie Zigon (Evelynn Lin ’25)

Zigon shares her busy and different schedule as the new administrative assistant in the third floor office.

After hearing about an opening in the high school’s main office, Mrs. Natalie Zigon stepped up to the plate of working in the new setting.

Zigon was previously a Starbucks manager, manning the shop and making sure all was well. Now, her new task is to help run the main office and assist certain educational departments, the principal, and assistant principals.

“The biggest difference, like with Starbucks, was always my hours for work. It’s nice being on a schedule where it’s like school hours,” Zigon said. “With Starbucks, it was you’re always on at Starbucks. There’s always something that could happen.”

Zigon noted how there are similarities between the Starbucks lines and the tardy student line that have made part of her new work more enjoyable.

“I’m used to long lines and people being in a rush. So I like being busy and always being occupied. To me, it’s doable,” she said.

Zigon works closely with the administration to ensure the students’ wellbeing in the building is maintained– and to her, it has been a positive experience thus far to work alongside them.

“[The administrators] are definitely a very approachable group, both for myself with my own questions, but also the way that I’ve seen them interact with the students and the staff,” she said. “They’re empathetic people that want to listen, and then see what they can do to help.”

Zigon also notes how helpful the other students and staff have been with her arrival, especially veteran administrative assistant Mrs. Doris Ford.

“She’s been a wealth of knowledge, and she’s just fun, down-to-earth, and so helpful,” she said. “Everything from how to answer the phones or set up voicemail or get an ID. There’s so many little things. She really knows it all.”

For Zigon, the best part of her job is being busy and feeling included in the community.

“I like stuff being busy, fast-paced, and a little bit chaotic because it means you get to try to fix it or just constantly stay busy,” Zigon said. “And I keep gushing over everybody that’s here, but it’s nice talking to everyone here. Everybody seems to take good care of each other.”

As the school year starts to pick up, Zigon hopes to help contribute to all that Haven offers to its students and staff and make it a great first year.

“It’s going to be neat seeing this perspective of high schoolers’ years or seeing like the homecoming dance and what I can do behind the scenes to help with that. And then eventually there’s graduation and things like that. The little bit that I’ve helped down at the Career Center, it’s neat seeing all the college visits and all the opportunities that the students have here,” she said.

“I’d love to look back on the first year here, and how I can make things more organized and process-related.”

Ms. Lauren Kostoff, Special Education
Ms. Lauren Kostoff (Evelynn Lin ’25)

Kostoff reminisces about her past at Strath Haven while looking forward to her future at the high school.

After graduating from Strath Haven in 2005, Ms. Lauren Kostoff came back to teach Reading Intervention classes in a school that in some ways, has remained unchanged for her.

“The building was brand new my freshman year, I think,” Kostoff said. “And a lot of my teachers are still here. So good to see them all, like Mr. [Kevin] Haney, Mrs. [Amanda] Lawson, Mr. [Richard] Fould…Mr. Haney made fun of me because I kept calling him Mr. Haney.”

It was difficult for her to adjust to seeing her old teachers as her new coworkers. However, she was able to quickly adapt to other changes that have appeared since her time as a student.

“I mean, kids are a lot different now,” Kostoff said. “The technology’s new for me, to adjust to a kid on their phone all day, with their AirPods in. So just kind of setting that boundary was hard my first day.”

Kostoff works on reading and comprehension skills with her students as a reading intervention and English teacher.

She was previously employed at Las Americas Aspira Academy, which is a K-8 school located in Delaware.

“I’m used to constantly talking, asking questions, so that’s been nice, to talk to older kids and have full conversations,” Kostoff said.

At her other school, she worked with more people on a daily basis, so more team meetings and planning were involved there than here. Although she enjoys the freedom of getting to set her own pace, the theme of connection at her old school is something she’d like to see more of at SHHS.

“I know it’s different at high school,” Kostoff said. “Kids don’t really want to do all that stuff. But I think it’s important to do at every age, so it’s just building a stronger community.”

The Haven community can be strong and supportive in its own way, as Ms. Kostoff learned.

“I share a room with Mrs. [Diane] Condon, and she’s been very sweet and helpful. She’s just really kind so it’s nice to know I have that,” she said.

It can be a struggle for new teachers to get used to the block schedule, but Kostoff values the extra moments she gets from it.

“I love the starting time because I have three kids who wake up very early, so it’s easy for me to get out of the house early,” she said. “It’s been nice adjusting to it because I’m able to now get my kids off the bus, but I couldn’t do that before. So yeah, I love the block scheduling.”

Mrs. Lynelle Mosley, Athletic Director
Mrs. Lynelle Mosley (Evelynn Lin ’25)

Sports has always been one of Mrs. Lynelle Mosley’s greatest passions in her life.

I’ve always loved sports and athletics, and I’ve always known this was where I wanted to be, which is why I went back to school to become an athletic director.”

As Strath Haven’s first woman of color Athletic Director since Strath Haven opened its doors to students in 1983, Mosley has brought that love for sports into everything she has done so far for the athletes and sports so far.

Mosley previously worked as a probation officer at Delaware County Court and a part-time women’s basketball coach at Penn State Brandywine. When she made the switch to WSSD, she went from leading one sport to leading a variety.

“Coming here, it’s now not just basketball. It’s all the sports, which is kind of cool,” Mosley said. “As an athlete, I know the gist about every sport, like I know this is how they score, how they get points, but I’m learning the intricate details of all the sports now…You don’t think about all the penalties and all the things that can happen, and I’m learning so much more.”

Being an Athletic Director is a busy job with many responsibilities, such as scheduling sports games, budgeting each sport, and being a supportive figure in all that student-athletes and coaches do. Her ability to manage time has helped her significantly.

“As a basketball coach at Penn State, I was part-time, so having to juggle a full-time job, being a basketball coach, and being a parent, you have to learn to manage your time,” Mosley said. “I think that bodes well here because you can’t focus on one thing, you have a lot of things going on, so you have to learn how to budget time and give the time to each different thing that it needs and learn how to just make it all work in one day.”

Mosley has attended many of the fall sports games, and she is proud of the student-athletes who continue to commit and dedicate their time and passion to sports.

“I think it’s really exciting to watch the kids, the student-athletes, participate because I know that it’s gone beyond the field, and these lessons that they’re going to learn there are going to last way beyond just what they do [during] four years that they’re here,” she said.

Administrative Assistant Mrs. Deborah Sherman, who Mosley considers her “partner-in-crime” for her job, has helped Mosley adjust to the multitude of tasks needed to be done every day.

“She makes my job a lot easier. I wouldn’t be able to get a lot done without her,” Mosley said. “I’m able to be like, ‘Hey, can you do this for me, so then I can go and run to do this or go run and sit in a meeting.’ There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things that sometimes have nothing to do with the day-to-day sports stuff that has to get taken care of, that will set a little bit of a roadblock in my day, but we always seem to get through them.”

Former Athletic Director Mr. Pat Clancy has also lent support to Mosley, which makes her feel appreciative. Clancy now teaches Social Studies classes at the high school and assists with coaching football.

“He always stops in to make sure I’m okay,” she said. “If I ever need anything, he’s always just a phone call away. He’s been awesome, which has made it really easy to be in this seat because he has been so helping and willing.”

Mosley is excited for the remaining school year in athletics. First arriving during the Panthers’ varsity baseball run to states last spring, she can’t wait to see the opportunities that emerge for every sports team at Haven.

“I’m just really excited to see what they do,” Mosley said. “At the end of the day, I want everyone to be successful, and to take away from the sport something that they loved.

“If everyone can walk along and say they had a great year, despite their wins and losses, despite what happened, but they said: ‘You know this was great and this added to my experience,’ then I think I’ve done my job.”

Mrs. Jessica Edwards, Special Education
Mrs. Jessica Edwards (Evelynn Lin ’25)

Edwards shares her challenges in the new high school environment and her goals for the school year.

After almost nine years at a charter school in Philadelphia, Mrs. Jessica Edwards started anew by bringing her teaching expertise to Haven.

Edwards is a new special education teacher in the Haven community, coming from the Memphis Street Academy Charter School in Philadelphia.

Since arriving, Edwards has had to adapt to many changes– one of the biggest being not having a class of students for the entire school day.

“It’s been a little challenging because I’m used to teaching all day and being the main teacher,” she said. “So now, I’m just supporting other teachers and allowing them to get more done in their classroom with the students that might need a little bit extra help.”

There are many benefits to this, however, according to Edwards.

“I push into classrooms more since being here,” she said. “And at the end of the day, I do have a little block of students who are in the self-contained setting for the rest of the day, so I get to see them at the end of the day, which has been nice.”

Another challenge of being someplace new is not knowing anyone. For Edwards, it feels intimidating, but she has dealt with the scariness of it all with confidence.

“I’m coming from a school where I was at for eight and a half years, so I got to know a lot of the staff there. I don’t know anybody here yet,” she said. “Everybody that’s welcomed me has been very nice, and they’re making the transition very easy for me,It’s been easy to make connections with the other staff members and get to know the kids.”

The support from students and staff she works with has also made the change feel easier.

“Just them going out of their way to make sure I had everything that I needed to be successful, saying hi,” Edwards said. “Something as simple as that has really been helpful.”

Edwards hopes to make this school year an enjoyable and productive year that helps her students grow as learners and people.

“I just hope by the end of the year everybody has made progress, and I see relationships grow, and kids really starting to regulate their emotions and be able to go out into the real world and be successful,” Edwards said.*

Ms. Rana Mochaourab, Special Education
Ms. Rana Mochaourab (Provided)

Mochaourab enjoys the lively spirit at Strath Haven and appreciates the help from fellow teachers.

Ms. Rana Mochaourab heard about Strath Haven from coworkers at Temple University, and has been inspired so far by the energy from the student body.

“Everything so far has been great. I’m very impressed with the band,” Mochaourab said. “Just watching them play, and the level of energy and motivation that they have, is amazing to watch. It’s very uplifting …it adds to the positive atmosphere.”

Mochaourab has also noticed the positive student conduct in classes.

“I’m very impressed with the student body and so far, it’s been very good in classes, getting to know them, and I see them following expectations,” she said.

She sees this behavior exhibited during the two different classes she teaches at Strath Haven.

“My position is long-term substitute, special education teacher for learning support. And I teach two Learning Center classes,” Mochaourab said. “Also, I’m a case manager, so I also follow up on students who have an individualized education program.”

According to Mochaourab, the Learning Center classes focus on individual student goals, academic coursework, study skills, executive functioning skills and transition planning.

“The syllabus for the [Learning Center class] course is to teach executive functioning and learning skills, study skills and organization to support students with coping with the work course load and being able to manage their time,” Mochaourab said.

Similarly to many of the other teachers, Mochaourab’s coworkers have been showing kindness as she navigates her new job.

“One of the teachers helped me get a help desk ticket,” Ms. Mochaourab said. “Things like that are things that I’m not used to, but other staff members are jumping in and supporting me. That has made it a lot easier on me, especially since I’m new to the building and getting used to this system.”

Mochaourab has worked at a few other schools in the past as a special education teacher, including Lower Merion School District and the International School of Lund Katedralskolan in Sweden.

She acknowledged the positives and negatives of Google Classroom, and is excited to try something new.

“I’m looking forward to using Schoology and posting all the course materials and for the students and seeing how it works,” Mochaourab said.

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