School and sports news for Aug. 6

New teachers welcomed to Rappahannock schools

New Rappahannock County Public School staff members are (from left) Michelle Papa, Kaitlin Ghelfi, James Murray, Danelle Sperling, Jennifer Deal, Bailey Bennett, Bethany Bostic and Mike Sheffield.
New Rappahannock County Public School staff members are (from left) Michelle Papa, Kaitlin Ghelfi, James Murray, Danelle Sperling, Jennifer Deal, Bailey Bennett, Bethany Bostic and Mike Sheffield. Courtesy photo

As Rappahannock County Public Schools’ 2015-16 school year begins, the faculty welcomes new students and staff members. This year’s additions to staff were recruited over the past several months to match specific needs in the school system. We are pleased to welcome veteran teachers who bring their skillsets to Rappahannock along with beginning teachers who have elected to start their exciting careers in our schools.

Among their shared common interests, a dedication to community service is predominant. Our new teachers have devoted time to overseas mission trips, served as youth mentors, volunteered in nursing homes and homeless shelters, served as officers in their church, and even rebuilt homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Additionally all of our new staff have received various awards for excellence in their educational and professional careers thus far, including Honor Society and Dean’s List recognition, involvement in student government and professional organizations, and many individual recognitions for outstanding service and leadership.

Their leisure time activities reflect a preference for outdoor activities, with boating, fishing, kayaking and visits to the Outer Banks being among them. Music is a common theme as well, with chorus and band (marching and jazz) participation listed by several, including one who received all-state recognition.

Of our eight new staff members, three will be calling Rappahannock County Elementary School their new home with the other five taking up residency at the high school.

Jennifer Deal previously taught at Rappahannock for five years as a kindergarten teacher, returning to us after time spent away raising her family. A graduate of Rappahannock County High School, she earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from James Madison University with a pre-K through third grade teaching certification. She is progressing towards a master’s degree in foundations of reading and will be teaching elementary education at the primary level. Deal and her family reside in Sperryville.

Bethany Bostic comes to us from Culpeper County where she has taught pre-K, second, and third grade classes over the past eight years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Longwood University. Bostic will also be teaching elementary education at the primary level. She and her family reside in Sperryville.

Kaitlin Ghelfi has traveled the farthest to get to Rappahannock, coming to us from New Mexico where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s from the University of New Mexico. She has taught for four years in New Mexico and she is certified in special education, Pre-K through 12th grade. Ghelfi will be teaching special education in the elementary school and is living in Washington with her fiancé.

Danelle Sperling joined the high school staff on July 1 as the new assistant principal. Danelle comes to Rappahannock from Warren County where she taught for eight years. She received her bachelor’s from Shenandoah University and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Phoenix. Sperling and her family reside in Front Royal.

Michelle Papa also joined the staff on July 1, assuming the position of director of guidance for the high school. Michelle comes from Shenandoah County Public Schools, where she served as a counselor for the past seven years. She received her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York College/Oneonta and a master’s degree in school counseling from Long Island University. Papa resides in Amissville.

Michael Sheffield returns to RCHS, where he had served as a long-term substitute teacher. He has been teaching in the Warren County for the past several years and has a bachelor’s from Virginia Tech. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, where he also served as an EMS coordinator in Fairbanks. Sheffield will be joining the history department. He and his family are residents of Chester Gap.

Bailey Bennett comes to Rappahannock from Culpeper County Schools where, for the last three years, she taught special needs students with multiple disabilities. She earned her Bachelor of Science from George Mason University with a major in psychology and a minor in special education. She will be joining the special education department at the high school.

James Murray joins our high school staff by way of Loudoun County where he completed his student teaching and has served as a substitute teacher. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State at Raleigh. Murray has teaching endorsements in history and social sciences and will be joining the high school’s special education department, serving as an alternative education teacher. He will be residing in Flint Hill.

All staff at Rappahannock County Public Schools looks forward to meeting parents and students today  (Thursday, Aug. 6) at the annual “Meet the Teacher” event at both schools, starting at 1 p.m. Teachers will be ready with smiling faces and superb lesson plans next Tuesday (Aug. 11) when school resumes.