Meet the new teachers for the 2018-2019 school year

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With the new year beginning, numerous new faculty members have joined the Townsend Harris Community.

Joanna Beer is Townsend Harris’ new English teacher who  will be taking over Ms. Stillman’s English classes. Ms. Beer grew up in Brooklyn and taught high school English classes there before coming to THHS. She earned her undergraduate degree studying English at Northwestern University, and her master’s degree at Barnard. Ms. Beer fell in love with teaching in college when she volunteered as a peer tutor at the NYC public library. It was the first time she realized that guiding and instructing others was the path for her.

With no surprise, Ms. Beer thoroughly enjoys reading and writing, and her favorite book about which to teach is Antigone. She believes that Harrisites and THHS faculty are committed individuals with whom she can’t wait to work. Ms. Beer sends the  best of luck and “hope[s] that [her] students will find that they love reading and writing, regardless of whether or not they feel that right now.” She added, “I hope I can instill that in them.”

New Instructional Support Services [ISS] and English teacher Kevin Schwab is joining the faculty at THHS as well, teaching freshman, sophomore, and junior classes.

He attended Archbishop Molloy High School and Queens College, ultimately earning his master’s degree at Pace University. Before working at THHS, Mr. Schwab taught theater classes at Queens College for several years and, more recently, he also taught at Forest Hills High School. Prior to pursuing a career in teaching, Mr. Schwab worked as an actor and now runs an independent film company with his family. Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Schwab is a published author of a textbook for beginning actors and is working on a sequel. Given his theatrical background, Mr. Schwab likes to integrate creativity and drama into his lessons as well. He is eager to get involved in some of the clubs and extracurriculars that THHS offers and hopes to introduce a few theatrical or “geeky” organizations of his own into the Townsend Harris community. Previously, he led Comic Book Club, Playwriting, and Shakespearean society.

Mr. Schwab expressed his overall goal for his time here, saying, “I hope my students will produce works that they’d never quite considered before by expanding their own creativity.”

This year, Ian Morzan will be also be joining the Townsend Harris Instructional Support Services [ISS] department as a social studies teacher.

In his early years of teaching, he was mentored by Assistant Principal of World Languages and ISS Georgia Brandeis, thus developing a close working relationship with her. Before becoming a social studies teacher, Mr. Morzan used to teach science and, according to Ms. Brandeis, “went out of his way to take classes, learn the science, and teach it at his school.”

Previously, he worked at Richmond High School.

In his time there, he became involved in many of the clubs such as the horticulture club and the LGBTQ club, “Anything that anybody needed, he made sure that he was there and available,” said Ms. Brandeis.

On joining THHS, he said “I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate and learn with the students, faculty and entire THHS family.” Mr. Morzan is currently on paternity leave and will come back in mid- October.

Matthew Morello will be joining the THHS faculty as a new English teacher. He will be teaching the AP Literature and Composition classes. Mr. Morello grew up just outside of Queens, in Valley Stream, Long Island. Mr. Morello states that he took an interest in teaching because “education is a two way street….I tell my students I learn from them too and learn from their ideas.” Specifically, Mr. Morello chose to teach English because he looks forward to “sharing ideas about literature and about writing… which makes all of us become smarter about the world.”

Additionally since Mr. Morello will be teaching an AP course he says that he will “present students with challenging work.” He is “going to make sure to cover the breadth of the material while showing that literature written a few years ago has the same themes as something written 400 years ago.” Mr. Morello concludes that he is “looking forward to teaching  literature [he] never taught before and learning together with students.”

Lastly, replacing long time band director Peter Lustig is Kevin Heathwood. The Long Island native grew up in East Islip, NY. From a young age Mr. Heathwood was continually  exposed to music from his mother who played in an Irish pipe band that Mr. Heathwood would eventually play in himself. Mr. Heathwood started his musical journey in third grade on the trumpet, and since then he has learned to play guitar, piano, bass, drums, in addition to all wind and orchestra instruments. In 2009, Mr. Heathwood attended Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he majored in trumpet and music education. His first two jobs were at Hamptons Middle School and Bronx Middle School 180. At M.S. 180 Mr. Heathwood managed to grow its music program from thirty students to over one hundred and fifty. In conjunction with teaching, he completed a Masters program at Columbia University. During this upcoming school cycle, Mr. Heathwood has set a goal to raise the level of professionalism and expectations of the band program at Townsend Harris. This includes performing gigs on top of the usual school concerts at outside locations. Mr. Heathwood is teaching all the band classes from beginner band to intermediate band to jazz and concert band. He hopes to evoke a true love of music within Townsend Harris students, and he vows to not stop until it is reached.

From left to right: Mr. Morello, Mr. Schwab, Ms. Beer, Mr. Heathwood- Picture Courtesy of Katrina Dydzuhn