With classes starting today in the Roaring Fork School District, students will take advantage of learning from a variety of multilingual and multicultural teachers.The new teachers bring a wealth of knowledge from across the state, country and world.Many of the incoming teachers are bicultural or bilingual and speak, teach or sign such languages as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Sign and Basque. Several of the teachers speak as many as four different languages. The new teachers were born in locations ranging from Iran to Japan, from Austria to Spain, and from Mexico to Thailand.The staff members joining teaching teams at various levels and positions across the district range from first-time teachers to seasoned educators and grandparents, from married couples to proud new parents. Both male and female, the teachers are avid dancers and readers; tennis players and a hockey player; outdoor enthusiasts, kayakers and hikers; photographers and a marathoner. The educators spent their summers doing everything from guiding educational tours for high school students in Europe to teaching English to Buddhist monks in India.The school district and the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley attract employees from across the United States, but several of the new teachers this year are “homegrown” graduates of Glenwood Springs or Roaring Fork high schools.The RFSD hires educators who love kids and are usually active outdoors. Many also come to the district with a master’s degree or higher. School district stats compiled in May show that 61 percent of the overall district teaching staff have earned a master’s degree.One of those highly educated teachers is Darrin Magee, who is joining the staff at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. Magee was contacted for a job interview this summer while leading a teacher training tour in China. Magee comes to the district to teach math, but the Louisiana native also speaks four languages, including Chinese. Magee earned two bachelor’s degrees – in math and French – a master’s degree in international studies and his doctorate in geography with a focus on China.The high school teacher said he sees a lot of “energy and excitement” in the school district and its staff.”From the moment the principal contacted me, I really sensed he was looking to do new things and push this school to grow and to achieve,” said Magee, who will also teach Italian at Colorado Mountain College. “Roaring Fork High School is really doing neat things, making some great strides.”The incoming teachers will be helping the district provide new offerings such as Spanish language classes at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs and a section of German language at RFHS.”So far I’m very impressed with everything that is happening here (in the school district),” said Karin Schwendtner, a native of Austria who will teach German, language arts and English language learners at RFHS. “There seems to be a good spirit. I’m excited to be working for a small school with a great staff.”Suzie Romig is the RFSD public information officer. For more RFSD information, call 384-6000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rfsd.org.
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