A Spotlight On Ms. Samantha Budelman

It is said that the art of teaching is assisting discovery, and so much discovery happens in the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center. Ms. Samantha Budelman, a kindergarten teacher there for six years, is more than happy to assist.

Ms. Budelman graduated from West Chester University with a degree in elementary education and is currently pursuing her master’s degree there to become a reading specialist. Ms. Budelman completed her student teaching in the District as well, working with Miss Wendy Clendening, a third-grade teacher at Bancroft Elementary School.

Along with instructing students in the classroom, Ms. Budelman has several other roles: “I attended SIOP [Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol] trainings and helped train other teachers. I’ve worked with teachers on creating meaningful work stations and incorporating strategies like Word Sorts into everyday lessons, along with creating and sharing several SmartBoard lessons to use with our various curriculums. I’m also a member of the Spirit Committee, where I help organize monthly spirit assemblies, order spirit wear, and assist with community-building activities.”

Teaching kindergarten comes with many challenges because it’s many students’ first time being away from their parents. “Kindergarten is the foundation for the rest of each student’s school career, and I try to provide students with tools and skills to cope with their feelings about starting school,” says Ms. Budelman. “When they leave my classroom, my goal is for them to feel confident for the rest of their school career.”

Along with challenges, there are also many rewards. Ms. Budelman recalls a moment when she was student teaching at Bancroft Elementary School and was mentoring a student who struggled with reading. “We worked to build his confidence with different activities and technologies. In my last week of student teaching, this student came to me and said, ‘Miss Budelman, I can read this book all by myself!’ When this student read with confidence and expression, tears came to my eyes. This moment made me realize that we, as teachers, have the ability to change lives.”

Ms. Budelman loves everything about working in the Kennett Consolidated School District, from the students, her colleagues, and the parents to the school community. “Kennett has provided me with wonderful opportunities to grow professionally and has become my home. I feel so honored to teach in such a wonderful district.”

Ms. Budelman is originally from Freehold, New Jersey, where her family lives, and she enjoys visiting them and spending time on the beach in the summer. She also has a dog, Jasmine, that she enjoys taking on long walks. She also hopes to return to coaching cheerleading once she completes graduate school.

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A Spotlight on Mrs. Lisa Shoemaker

It’s said that the best teachers teach from the heart, a sentiment that captures the impact of Mrs. Lisa Shoemaker, a fourth-grade teacher at New Garden Elementary School. She has taught fourth grade for five years and began her career in the District as a first-grade teacher.

Mrs. Shoemaker has her undergraduate degree in elementary education from West Chester University, where she enjoyed working with kids . While pursuing her master’s degree in reading, writing, and literacy from the University of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Shoemaker was also teaching first grade full time in the Philadelphia School District, putting all of the theory she learned into practice.

When it comes to her work at New Garden, Mrs. Shoemaker performs many roles: “I’m a mom, I’m a nurse, I’m a guidance counselor, and a teacher. I always strive to get to know all my students and make time to talk to them,” she says. “I find they always work better when there is genuine understanding.”

Teaching comes with challenges, including the changing social dynamics of children. “A lot of social struggles begin in fourth grade, and I try to give them the tools to fix it themselves,” she says.

Mrs. Shoemaker also finds rewards in her work. She strives to make her students feel important and create a safe space for them every day. “My students are like my family.” She also enjoys mentoring student teachers. “There are a lot of little moments, where I see them implementing my practices, watching them learn, and learning from them as well.”

Mrs. Shoemaker loves teaching at New Garden and hopes to stay for the rest of her career. “You feel like family. My colleagues would do anything for each other. It’s a good community.”

Mrs. Shoemaker lives in Kennett Township and has two children at Kennett Consolidated High School, Sam, who is in ninth grade, and Isabel, in twelfth grade. She likes walking her dog, reading, taking care of her plants, and spending time with her children.

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A Spotlight on Bancroft Elementary School Cafeteria Team

School lunches have come a long way since many of us were in school. Our memories of Friday pizza day and lukewarm tater tots are not the reality of today’s students. While all meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program must meet federal requirements, decisions about specific foods and preparation methods are made by local school districts and their staff.

Four women standing in school kitchen

At Bancroft Elementary School, the team responsible for ensuring that meals and snacks are nutritious and appealing is led by Mrs. Jane Davis. Mrs. Davis has worked with the District since 2006. She began working in the dish room at Kennett Middle School, moved to Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center to become the cafeteria assistant manager, and has been the cafeteria manager at Bancroft Elementary School since it opened six years ago. Mrs. Davis and her husband have been married for 34 years. They have two sons and five (soon to be six) grandchildren. She enjoys visiting the beach, crafting, cooking, and camping.

Members of the team are Mrs. Linda DiLuzio, Mrs. Anna Zavala, and Mrs. Isabell Baeza. Together, they prepare breakfast daily for approximately 70 students and a hot lunch for an average of 300 students.

Mrs. DiLuzio has been with the District for 17 years. She started at Kennett Middle School the year it opened and moved to Bancroft Elementary School six years ago to help open the kitchen. She and her husband have four children and four grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, visiting the New Jersey shore, and reading.

Mrs. Zavala joined the Kennett Consolidated School District last year. She previously worked on a mushroom farm. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and making cakes for parties.

Mrs. Baeza has been with the District for eight years; this is her first year at Bancroft. When she is not in the kitchen there, she can be found in her own kitchen making tamales for her family.

Upon arriving to work each day, the woman fall into their routine, working together to prepare the day’s meals. Mrs. Davis explains that everyone is cross-trained so that they can do each other’s jobs. From preparing fresh salads and vegetables to serving students and working the register, the kitchen is a very busy place.

“These ladies are three of the most kind, hardworking people I know,” Mrs. Davis comments. “The four of us work together to make sure that each child gets the most delicious, healthy meal every day.”

Mrs. Baeza loves her job and appreciates that every day brings something new. She especially loves seeing the students. Mrs. Zavala agrees, adding that it is a very positive work environment.

As cafeteria manager, in addition to preparing and serving food, Mrs. Davis orders and monitors inventory, ensures that the team follows ServSafe regulations, and maintains accurate records.

The team is excited that, for the first time, this year they will be incorporating into the lunch menu produce from the raised bed gardens that the elementary school started tending in 2016. The students will be able to sample Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage that they planted and watched grow.

“Children need healthy food to grow, learn, and play,” Mrs. DiLuzio says. “We work together every day to make the cafeteria a pleasant place for us and for the students.”

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A Spotlight on Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s Mrs. Marie Lawson

Mrs. Marie Lawson always knew she would pursue a career in education. Her love of learning and passion for education was awakened at an early age by equally passionate and dedicated teachers. Inspired, Mrs. Lawson embarked on a journey to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.

LawsonMrs. Lawson started by attending West Chester University, where she studied elementary education. Upon graduation, Mrs. Lawson then began teaching in the Kennett Consolidated School District. Since then, she earned her certification in English as a Second Language from Immaculata University and her master’s degree in reading from West Chester University. Now, with 13 years in the District, she teaches kindergarten at Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.

If there is one thing Mrs. Lawson enjoys more than teaching kindergarten, it is inspiring her students to become lifelong learners. Kindergarten is an important school year, and she works to build a strong foundation of social, emotional, and character development skills in each of her students.

“Each year I have the pleasure of working with a new group of students who are at the beginning of their educational career, which is a very crucial time in their lives,” Mrs. Lawson says. “I look forward to watching my students grow and explore new concepts while engaging their imagination. Over the course of 182 days, it is amazing to see how each individual student grows and matures.”

Throughout the building and the District, Mrs. Lawson is known as a warm, enthusiastic, and creative teacher who always goes the extra mile for her students. Her compassion and dedication is apparent from the moment she enters a room.

“Mrs. Lawson is an extremely creative teacher. She designs monthly displays in our office hallway that are not only eye-catching but educational for our students,” explains Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s principal, Mrs. April Reynolds. “In addition to all the displays, Mrs. Lawson finds innovative ways to incorporate curriculum into our students’ everyday environment.  For example, on sunny days, she writes sight words on the outside pavers so that students can practice reading as they enter and exit our school.”

Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Lawson is active within the District and the community. She contributes to Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center’s webpage, keeping parents and the community updated on all of the exciting activities there. Mrs. Lawson also serves on the Kennett Consolidated School District’s Technology Committee and the student success team. In her community, she is an active volunteer, dedicating her time to various committees and boards as well as serving as vice president of the Coatesville City Council.

Mrs. Lawson loves spending time with her husband, their two daughters, and their two dogs. She can usually be found outdoors fishing, hunting, and enjoys arts and crafts.

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A Spotlight on KCSD’s Curriculum Supervisors

The Kennett Consolidated School District believes in providing quality education to enable all students to reach their greatest potential. Behind each lesson plan, homework assignment, and exam is a thoughtful process that begins with District curriculum supervisors Dr. Lydia Hallman, math and science, and Mrs. Jessica Kilmetz, language arts and social studies.

As District curriculum supervisors and instructional leaders, Dr. Hallman and Mrs. Kilmetz ensure that the District’s curriculum and resources meet the Pennsylvania Core Standards. Together, they cultivate professional growth and support teachers and administrative teams, working alongside faculty to help develop differentiated learning models.

Differentiated learning involves providing different students in the same classroom with different methods for learning the same material. By considering varied learning needs, teachers can develop personalized instruction so that all children in the classroom can learn effectively.

“As District curriculum supervisors, it is our goal to improve student achievement while implementing best teaching practices,” states Dr. Hallman. “In order to improve student achievement, we focus on developing and implementing differential strategies that will allow us to better meet the needs of our students.”

Mrs. Kilmetz is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and art history. After graduating, Mrs. Kilmetz worked as an anthropologist for four years before pursuing a career in education. For 15 years she taught English as a Second Language (ESL), language arts, and social studies to students across the United States. She then earned her principal certification from Temple University and worked as an assistant principal for four years before taking her current position, as curriculum supervisor of language arts and social studies in the Kennett Consolidated School District.

Dr. Hallman attended Drexel University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. After earning her undergraduate degree, Dr. Hallman worked as an applied research chemist at Henkel Corporation in Ambler, Pennsylvania. After a few years, Dr. Hallman decided to change career paths and went on to earn her master’s and doctorate in educational leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. She began her educational career at Conestoga High School where she taught Advanced Placement and honors science classes. She also served as the school’s assistant principal. Dr. Hallman then accepted her current position as curriculum supervisor of math and science in the Kennett Consolidated School District.

Dr. Hallman and Mrs. Kilmetz play important roles in the education of Kennett Consolidated School District’s students, and it is easy to see that providing a quality education and meeting the needs of all students is their driving inspiration.

When they are not working, they both enjoy spending time with their husbands and children. Both are avid hikers and outdoor sports participants.

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Spotlight on Dr. Yvette Line-Koller, Director of Special Education

The Kennett Consolidated School District is pleased to welcome Dr. Yvette Line-Koller as the new director of special education. Dr. Line-Koller joins the Kennett Consolidated School District from the Warwick School District, where she most recently served as the director of student services.

Dr. Line-Koller is a graduate of Shippensburg University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology. After graduating from Shippensburg University, Dr. Line-Koller started working in the psychology field where her position required her to work alongside educators. After experiencing the impact that educators can have on students, Dr. Line-Koller knew she wanted a career that combined both psychology and education. Inspired and ambitious, Dr. Line-Koller received her master’s degree in school psychology from Millersville University and her doctorate in education administration from Immaculata University. She then began working as a school psychologist for nine years in the Lebanon School District before becoming the director of student services for seven years in the Warwick School District.

Dr. Line-Koller is thrilled to be a part of the Kennett Consolidated School District. She admires the vibrant and diverse schools and community.

“The diverse environment at Kennett Consolidated School District is amazing,” stated Dr. Line-Koller. “The District’s diverse population provides a great opportunity for us to learn from each other and grow together as a community.”

As the director of special education, Dr. Line-Koller established a goal to build capacity within the Kennett Consolidated School District in order to educate each student to the best of the District’s ability. She also plans on building programs to provide all students with opportunities to stay in the community.

“A like-minded commitment to the mission of the Kennett Consolidated School District, ‘to provide a quality education that increases the achievement of every student,’ is what brought me to be a part of this educational community. Along with my commitment to the mission of the KCSD, I am also focused on creating partnerships between the school, families, and community; cultivating an atmosphere where every person feels valued and secure; and removing barriers to learning for each and every student. I look forward to working with students, staff, parents, and community and the opportunity for us all to grow together,” Dr. Line-Koller explained.

Dr. Line-Koller resides in Lancaster County with her husband and two daughters. In her free time, Dr. Line-Koller enjoys running, reading, and — most importantly — spending time with her family.

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A Spotlight On Bancroft Elementary School’s Mrs. Leigh Castle

Having a love for fitness and a passion for teaching, Mrs. Leigh Castle (pictured her with one of the classes she teaches) finds her job as a health and physical education specialist both enjoyable and rewarding as she encourages Bancroft Elementary School students to embrace active and healthy lifestyles. Mrs. Castle plays a vital role in her students’ lives as she introduces and educates them on the importance of health and physical education.

Sample Image“What I love about my job is being able to provide students with opportunities to have positive movement experiences with their peers while breaking a good sweat in PE class,” said Mrs. Castle. In the health classroom, students are learning about body systems, nutrition, and steps to avoid peer pressure. Mrs. Castle stated, “I want to be impactful. I want to provide my students with the resources and knowledge they need to understand and implement healthy lifestyle choices that will pay off in their futures.”

Mrs. Castle has worked at Kennett Consolidated School District for 13 years. In 2002, Mrs. Castle began her career with the District when she was hired as a long-term substitute at Kennett Middle School. Less than a year later, she was hired as the full-time health and physical education specialist at Mary D. Lang Elementary School (now Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center). In 2011, Mrs. Castle continued her role as a health and physical education specialist for Kennett Consolidated School District when she transitioned to her current post at Bancroft Elementary School.

Mrs. Castle received her Bachelor of Science degree in health science and kinesiology from West Chester University. Shortly after completing her undergraduate work, Mrs. Castle returned to her alma mater, West Chester University, and received her master’s degree in health education.

As an advocate for the importance of healthy living, Mrs. Castle enjoys helping with extracurricular activities that promote health and fitness for her students at Bancroft Elementary School. She loves seeing students and their families come out to support the Kennett Fund Run and the Kennett Education Foundation’s Monster Mash Dash! Her students enjoy training for these races during Mileage Club in PE classes, where students earn Toe Tokens for logging laps through walking, jogging, or running. Mrs. Castle also serves on the Building Leadership Team at Bancroft Elementary School.

“Over the years, I have had parents tell me that their children are bringing healthy lifestyle messages home — whether it’s utilizing newly learned food label information at the grocery store or showing their parents how to do a burpee during commercial breaks,” said Mrs. Castle. “Those are my wow moments; that is why I love what I do.”

Today, when Mrs. Castle is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Together, her husband Erik, children Dylan and Sophie, and their dog Ruby enjoy being outside, going to the beach, and spending time on their boat in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Mrs. Castle is also passionate about CrossFit and living the healthy lifestyle she promotes.

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