The Purbalite

New teachers bring experience, energy

Rebecca Case, Elizabeth Solenday, and Rachel Stofanak

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Baldwin graduate Anthony Barbano, a new ninth grade history teacher at the high school, said his participation in activities as a student helped lead him to a career in education.

Barbano, one of seven new teachers at the high school this year, said the activities he was involved in during high school and the coaching he has done influenced his decision to become a teacher.

“I realized helping students grow as learners and individuals with a strong moral character was my calling,” he said.

Barbano teaches at the high school in the morning and switches to the middle school for the afternoon.
Along with teaching at both schools, he co-sponsors student council for the middle school, coaches middle school and travel basketball, and coaches lacrosse for the high school.

Michelle Malone teaches culinary arts for one period and the rest of the day she teaches afternoon preschool. Malone used to work at Jeannette High School in Westmoreland County.

“I originally didn’t want to be become a teacher,” Malone said. “But after volunteering with students I realized that I liked working with them and seeing them reach an ‘aha’ moment.”

Donna McCord, who teaches Algebra 1 and Honors Algebra 2, moved to Baldwin after previously teaching Probability and Statistics and Honors Algebra at a high school in Indiana state. McCord has an interesting strategy for keeping students alert during class. She has a jar of popsicle sticks with jokes on them that she reads periodically to her class.

“I know sometimes math can get boring, but telling a joke can help wake up the class,” McCord said.

Samantha Parks teaches Honors 9 English at Baldwin during first period, but then leaves and goes to Harrison Middle School to teach English to eighth-graders for the rest of the day.

“It’s been great so far,” Parks said. “I like getting to experience both schools in a day.”

After being a long-term substitute teacher at Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, and North Hills, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 teacher Mark Jacobs finally came to Baldwin for his first full-time job.

Jacobs also coaches pole vault for the Bethel Park track team.

“I like being able to teach and coach. It combines two of my favorite things,” Jacobs said.

Biology teacher Rachele Gentile taught at the middle school and Natrona Heights before coming to the high school.

A little-known fact about Gentile is that if she didn’t teach biology, she would want to be an art teacher.

“I just have a willingness to want to help others and to encourage them to be creative,” Gentile said.

Jason Dolak, although new to the building, is not new to the district. Before receiving a full-time position at the high school, Dolak has moved through multiple schools, including teaching at Harrison Middle School.

Dolak teaches ninth grade English, and is thrilled to return to Baldwin.

“I wanted to become a teacher in order to be a positive influence in their lives, and Baldwin is a great place for that,” Dolak said.

Outside of teaching, Dolak coaches multiple sports, including football for the middle school, and boys basketball for South Park.

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New teachers bring experience, energy