New teachers are welcomed
New District 128 teachers and their mentors attended a breakfast and ice-breaker meeting Aug. 15. Superintendent Dr. Prentiss Lea welcomed all the new staff members. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 12:12PM
LIBERTYVILLE — Community High School District 128 Superintendent Prentiss Lea and other school officials welcomed new teachers to Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools during a new teacher orientation held recently.
Classes at the two schools was set to start with a shortened day Wednesday, Aug. 22.
During brief remarks at the Aug. 16 teacher orientation held at Vernon Hills High School, Lea told the new teachers the important role they play in the school district’s future and in helping students grow.
“You are really important to us and we are committed to your success,” Lea said in welcoming the new teachers. “We cannot be successful unless you are successful. We’re really happy to have you here.”
District 128 ranks near the top 2 percent of public high schools in the state and country, according to Lea. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Libertyville High School 16th and Vernon Hills High School 18th among all Illinois public high schools.
Lea said the reason for that success has been the hiring of quality teachers and staff at the schools.
“When I say you’re among the best and the brightest, you are among the best and the brightest anywhere,” he told the new teachers.
Lea said in some cases new teachers to the district may be starting their first job out of college; in other cases they may be more veteran teachers who are coming from other school districts.
In preparing new teachers for their new responsibilities with the school district, veteran teachers for the district act as mentors for all incoming teachers.
Matt Thompson, a world history teacher at Libertyville High School for the past seven years, is mentoring a new teacher in the world history department at LHS.
Thompson said he received mentoring help when he arrived at the district and he thinks it’s important in preparing new teachers for the challenges that lie ahead.
“It’s always nice to have someone to go to if you have questions or concerns,” he said. “In our department we all work pretty collaboratively in terms of helping people out.”
Tara Young joined the English teaching staff at Vernon Hills High School after five years as a teacher at Zion-Benton Township High School. Young said veteran English teacher Sioban Szabo is mentoring her during her transition to a new high school.
“Even though I’ve been teaching at another high school for a number of years, working at a new school you have new systems to learn so it’s kind of nice to have somebody who can answer questions for you,” she said.
Young said she’s initially impressed by the staff and quality of education at VHHS.
“Everybody I’ve met is very excited to be here,” she said. “It just seems like a very collaborative place to work. It seems like they have a lot of opportunities for teachers and students to grow.”