This year, Stone Bridge has finally welcomed back many familiar faces, but there are plenty of new faces as well. Other than the classes of 2024 and 2025, the school has also welcomed 33 new additions to its staff, from music teachers to safety and security officers.
Many of these new staff members are not strangers to teaching, having already been teachers for many years before coming to Stone Bridge.
“This is… I don’t even count it anymore,” math teacher Robert Kenis said. “If you don’t count the year I taught overseas, I think this is 16? So 16 plus a year overseas.”
Although most other teachers weren’t teaching overseas, they still bring their own diverse experiences to the school. Some have taught before, just not in a high school setting.
“I was at a middle school [in Prince William County],” English teacher Rachel Leon said. “There’s a lot more independence in high school, and there’s more [of] a willingness to engage in a higher level of thinking… Now we’re reading books and doing deeper analysis… It’s fun to see students just take off and run with it.”
Some of the staff, though new to Stone Bridge, are not so new to the student body. Ms. Slowey-Brown previously taught at Trailside Middle School, the feeder school for Stone Bridge, as a counselor. In fact, she was the counselor for this year’s senior class through all three years of their middle school career.
“It’s been really nice to connect with the seniors and to see how much they’ve changed and the growth and development with them and hearing about all of their plans and what they’ve been doing,” Ms. Slowey-Brown said. “It’s been a real treat to be able to… see them begin their next step in education.”
Whether coming from the same district or the other side of the country, new teachers have all been adjusting to teaching at a new school.
“I’m looking forward to … learning this new world and just becoming a better teacher,” Ms. Leon said.
Though every school is different, one characteristic of Stone Bridge that is well known and which these teachers have really appreciated in the past few weeks is the school spirit.
“I think the school spirit is really nice,” Ms. Leon said. “That’s one of the things I was excited about for high school. High schoolers are really into being a bulldog.”
Even more than spirit, teachers are excited to become part of the tight knit community at the school.
“I think the students are great, so polite, so respectable,” Ms. Leon said. “I really enjoy getting to know them and their enthusiasm for being in a classroom again and their willingness to engage in the topic. The staff are really nice. It just feels very positive here. It’s a very positive environment.”
The new staff members are looking forward to great things during their careers at Stone Bridge.
“I am looking forward to learning and making sure that I am knowledgeable to be able to help and support students, to really embrace the bulldog spirit, and to continue my relationship with students and the community as a whole,” Ms. Slowey-Brown said.