New year, new faces, new faculty


Vivian Chiang

There are a number of new staff and faculty members this year at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (SPFHS) including Dr. Joan Mast, Superintendent of Schools, Detective Rich Hernandez, School Resource Officer, and all the new teachers!
Dr. Joan Mast has worked in education for 18 years and ascended to the position of superintendent in August 2019 after serving as assistant superintendent for many years. She believes that the hardest part of being a superintendent is designing student-focused school environments. 
“We know that society keeps changing [and] we know that schools prepare kids for life, but life is different than it was five to ten years ago,” Mast said. “So the challenge for the system [is] to keep up with students’ needs, and at the same time that requires supporting teachers and administrators differently; so, finding the best support to put in place for our schools to work for kids is really the soul of the work.” 
However, Dr. Mast is not the only new staff member in town. After being a member of the police force for seven years, Detective R. Hernandez is now pursuing his dream of working with kids as the new School Resource Officer. As he continues his work in this district, he hopes to one day have a class of his own to teach about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. 
“I’ve always wanted to work with kids […]” Hernandez said. “I did the lead program which is law enforcement against drugs I taught fifth-graders about peer pressure, the dangers of drugs and alcohol and when this position opened up I was very interested in it. I expressed my interest to the chief and he gave me an interview and I was lucky enough to get the position.” 
And last but not least, the high school is welcoming new teachers.
Ms. Cynthia Raices and Ms. Morgan Beach are both English teachers. Raices teaches English II and English IV for sophomores and seniors, as well as Dystopian literature for half the year while Beach teaches Academic English to juniors. This is Raices’ first year of teaching while Beach has been teaching for a total of seven years. Both teachers agree that the best part of being at SPFHS is the students.
“My students are very enthusiastic to learn, which helps create a positive classroom environment. All of my colleagues have been so helpful and welcoming since the moment I arrived. It’s been a really smooth start, and I look forward to a wonderful year ahead!” Beach said.
Mr. Colin Boyle teaches five sections of US History I to freshmen. For the past two years, he has been working at an international boarding school in Salzburg, Austria as part of a team of people running the dormitory. 
Mrs. Sonali Barve teaches Algebra II, Math Analysis and Pre-Calculus for grades 10 through 12. She graduated from SPFHS and has a nephew who also attends. She has been teaching for ten years.