Welcoming new teachers to the Jaguar family

Alex Watson, Staff Writer

The start of the spring semester has ushered in new faces. LASA has welcomed three new individuals to its staff: Dr. William Barrow, Ryan Sullivan, Neno December. Barrow and Sullivan have taken positions different from what they have done in the past, but said they have enjoyed their time at LASA tremendously so far.

Joseph Oleniczak, the Biotechnology teacher, is in Finland for most of the semester on a Fulbright grant. Barrow has filled the position as a long-term substitute until Oleniczak returns in May. Principal Stacia Crescenzi said Barrow is very qualified for the job.

“William Barrow has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry with a minor in math from Georgia Tech,” Crescenzi said. “After 25 years of corporate industrial employment in scientific and IT organizations, he retired and started a second career as a high school teacher.”

Barrow always wanted to be a teacher, and after retiring from his previous full-time teaching job he still wanted to work as a substitute. He was very happy to be offered a substitute position here because he worked at a similar academy school in the past. He said he enjoyed the fact that students at academy schools are driven and academically focused.

“I wanted to keep working with those types of students in chemistry and math,” Barrow said. “I was fortunate enough to get this opportunity to be a long-term sub for Biotechnology.”

As a scientist who is passionate about his subject, Barrow wanted to work with students that shared his interest. He said he found LASA very unique because not many schools have such an impressive student body.

“The students are so nice and creative,” Barrow said. “They’re friendly, well-behaved, they work on LASA homework, and they do exactly what I ask them to do. The student body here is a pleasure from a teacher’s perspective.”

Another new staff member is health and wellness counselor Ryan Sullivan. He previously was a program coordinator at Crockett High School. He has a master’s degree in social work and previously worked as a psychotherapist in private practice. He hoped to use his previous experience to help LASA students.

“I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life,” Sullivan said. “It’s a little bit different. I feel like I get to use all my experience from all those other jobs in a unique way. Although I really enjoyed my time on Crockett’s campus, I wanted to challenge myself to new things. It was a new opportunity to work with students in a different type of community.”

Sullivan said he is excited about working with LASA students for the remainder of the school year. As a wellness counselor, his job is to focus on their well-being, and he will be able to do this better as he gets to know them.

“I’ll be working with students to identify possible challenges to being successful in school,” Sullivan said. “I’ll work together with the student to form a relationship with them and try to get their take on what may be challenging, what’s working, and come up with ways to become more successful.”

So far, Sullivan is enjoying his job. He feels comfortable in the LASA environment among the other faculty members, and he believes that they share the same sentiment.

“Everybody at LASA has been so welcoming, including the teachers that I have met and the administrators that I’ve met as well,” Sullivan said. “It just feels super comforting to know that I haven’t been here very long, but I’m welcome here.”