faculty

Spotlight: New Faculty

Every year, The Pelican welcomes new members of the SPS faculty by providing them the opportunity to introduce themselves through our paper.

Ms. TJ Dumansky

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I am originally from New Jersey. Before I moved to SPS I lived in New Haven, CT, while I worked as a teacher and graduate student at Yale.

Where do you live in Millville?

Middle

What is your favorite TV show?

I can’t pick one! Right now I am starting the new season of black-ish, and watching a lot of nature documentaries (if you hear someone in Middle yell “baby elephants!!” it’s probably me).

What is your pet peeve?

Littering.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I’ve hitchhiked in Switzerland.

In what department do you teach?

Humanities. I am also a Chaplain. What is your current obsession? Baby elephants!!

What is your favorite sports team?

If I had to choose a team, it would be the NY Giants. But my favorite sport is tennis, so my two favorite athletes are Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal.

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

Mr. Kilfara’s childhood home in Georgia. We didn’t meet until we were in our 30s and I really want to see what he was like as a kid!

What is your favorite meal?

Is bacon a meal?

 

Mr. Randy Person

faculty 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, but, before SPS I lived in Snoqualmie Ridge, Washington.

Where do you live in Millville?

22 Jerome Ridge

What is your favorite TV show?

Game of Thrones has been amazing so far, but I’d have to put The Wire up there as well…so many options!

What is your pet peeve?

It really irks me when people say my last name incorrectly—It’s PERSON, not Persons or Pearson!!!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I’ve got eight younger sisters (YIKES)

In what department do you teach?

Humanities

What is your current obsession?

Fetty Wap (Yeaa, baby!!)

What is your favorite sports team?

Los Angeles Lakers

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

Oh, I’m for sure going back to visit whoever created Fantasy Football and wherever s/he created it. Aside from HumV lesson planning and JV Football, Fantasy sports easily take up the next most amount of time in my life.

What is your favorite meal?

French fries—always has been, probably always will be.

 

Dr. Andy Gray

faculty 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Before I came to SPS, I’d been a graduate student and teacher at Harvard and the Complutense University of Madrid since 2006.

Where do you live in Millville?

North dorm, third floor, right above the Upper.

What is your favorite TV show?

I haven’t had a TV in twenty years.

What is your pet peeve?

I’m sensitive to language and find clichés very annoying. Every time I hear about people “thinking outside of the box,” or “moving forward,” or when I read in the news about the “reality on the ground,” I cringe.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I love learning and practicing languages. On my days off, I spend a lot of time practicing them on Skype with friends around the world.

In what department do you teach in?

Languages.

What is your current obsession?

A German writer named W. G. Sebald. He died in 2001, but the books he left behind – particularly Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn – are overwhelming and truly sublime.

What is your favorite sports team?

Because I haven’t had a TV in a long time, and perhaps also because I’ve moved around a lot, I haven’t been much of a follower of professional sports. I enjoying watching sports, particularly baseball, when I get a chance, but I haven’t become a fan of any team in particular.

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

I would travel to Florence in the first years of the 14th century and try to meet Dante.

What is your favorite meal?

Spanish cocido. It’s a chickpea stew with cabbage, carrots, and different cuts of meat.

 

Ms. Alyssa Schmidt

faculty 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I am originally from Northern California, but most recently I was living in New Jersey as a student at Princeton.

Where do you live in Millville?

26 Jerome Ridge (fondly referred to as the “Womansion”).

What is your favorite TV show?

I’m not sure that I have a favorite, but I’m currently watching “Madam Secretary.”

What is your pet peeve?

When I hold the door open for someone and they don’t say thank you.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I like to wear festive socks as frequently as possible.

In what department do you teach?

I’m a teaching fellow in the Humanities department.

What is your current obsession?

Tapestries; there’s this great website called society6 with an amazing selection.

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

8 AD Rome: To interview the Roman poet Ovid, just before he gets banished from the city. I’d want to talk to him about his writing in general and about the proto-feminist messages that his works promoted to a fundamentally male-dominated society (in particular, the Heroides, a collection of letters from famous heroines to their lovers).

 

Mr. Michael Cunetta

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I spent my first 18.5 years in Seattle, Washington. I went to Yale, finished in 2014, then spent several months as a wayward traveler living out of a backpack before St. Paul’s graciously offered me a permanent home.

Where do you live in Millville?

I live with some of the other teaching fellows on Jerome Ridge. During the evening, all the routes to my house involve walking through sprinklers.

What is your favorite TV show?

I’m watching Louie now.

What is your pet peeve? W

hen people play with their phones in social situations.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

There’s a YouTube video of me falling with over 5000 views.

In what department do you teach in?

Math.

What is your current obsession?

To be honest, bodybuilding. As a teacher it’s important to have a growth mindset—the belief that intellect isn’t fixed, but malleable. Students, if they work hard, can rewire their brains to become stronger. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t have the same belief about my own muscles.

What is your favorite sports team?

Seattle Mariners.

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

I’d just go back a few years to hang out with someone close to me who died. Pretty somber, but true!

What is your favorite meal?

Salmon, asparagus, potatoes and milk

 

Ms. Jen Cotton

faculty 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I was born right here in Concord, NH and lived here until I went away to college. I lived in the Boston area (Cambridge and Somerville mostly) for the last 7 years before joining the SPS community.

Where do you live in Millville?

I live in Miller Cottage, which is the white house over by the indoor tennis courts. I live on the left side, and Mr. Cohen is next door on the right side!

What is your favorite TV show?

I love watching house remodeling shows, so I often have HGTV playing in the background while I do other things. I also love reruns of Friday Night Lights and old episodes of Law and Order.

What is your pet peeve?

I am a bit of a stickler for being neat and tidy, so I guess you could say my pet peeve is anything that needs cleaning up–dishes in the sink, unmade beds, you name it!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I sang a cappella in college (and even did a little beatboxing).

In what department do you teach in?

As a member of the Dean of Students Office, I teach LINC. This year I am working with three awesome sections of 3rd Formers.

What is your current obsession?

Moving back to my hometown means I am back in possession of some instruments from my childhood–a piano, a flute, even a ukulele. I have been trying to relearn how to play them when I have a chance, but I still need a lot of work.

What is your favorite sports team?

My favorite sports team is the Beantown Rugby Football Club. I don’t really follow professional sports and don’t generally watch sports on TV, but love playing sports. Rugby is my favorite, and Beantown is near and dear to my heart as the women’s team I played on for five years in Boston.

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

I love being outdoors, and one of my favorite ways to travel is to visit State and National parks for camping, hiking, and exploring. I also love watching documentaries and one of my favorite series is The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns. I wish I could go back and see places like Yellowstone and Yosemite before widespread commercialization or even when the movement to conserve these lands was just beginning.

What is your favorite meal?

Anything with lots of fresh produce! I am not a vegetarian, but I mostly cook with vegetables. Although I love the winter, I am going to miss having access to truly fresh and local food.

 

Ms. Kelsie Fralick

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

I’m from West Chester, PA but graduated from Connecticut College this past May.

Where do you live in Millville?

I live in 26 Jerome Ridge with the other female teaching fellows.

What is your favorite TV show?

Grey’s Anatomy

What is your pet peeve?

People chewing with their mouths open

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I’m currently playing for the Boston Pride which is one of the four teams in the newly formed NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League).

In what department do you teach?

Classics

What is your current obsession?

All things Italian

What is your favorite sports team?

Philadelphia Flyers You’ve been given access to a time machine.

Where and when would you travel to?

I would travel back to Italy at the time of Augustus (nerdy I know).

What is your favorite meal?

Anything my mom makes.

 

Dr. Steffen Poltak

Where are you from originally/ where were you before SPS?

Manchester, NH

Where do you live in Millville?

Middle House

What is your favorite TV show?

How it’s Made

What is your pet peeve?

Mean people

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I am a scientific artist, illustrator, and wooden boat builder

In what department do you teach?

Science

What is your current obsession?

Biomimicry and the search for life in the universe.

What is your favorite sports team?

SPS JV Boys Football Team

You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to?

16th Century Italy to meet with Da Vinci.

What is your favorite meal?

Galumpkis with pickled beets and potatoes.

 


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