13 New Faces

Kate Guthrie, Staff Writer

      Entering the halls of Mendham High School this year are thirteen new wonderful faculty members. These new faces are flush with excitement about instructing the passionate and engaged students at Mendham. Most of our new faculty members are not new to teaching and have interesting backgrounds and experiences. Having previously taught in Florida, New York and New Jersey, Math teacher Katherine Gallaway is very eager to return to teaching this year after focusing the last nine years on raising her family. Gallaway is a mother to two children and enjoys watching her son on the baseball field, going to the horse barn with her daughter and embarking on adventures sailing with her husband.

      Strengthening the MHS English Department is at least one familiar face, one teacher from Central, and two newcomers to MHS. Thrilled to be a member of the English department, Michael Hardgrove is an alumnus of West Morris Central and was a student teacher at MHS with Mr. Ward. Hardgrove enthusiastically explains that the teachers he has worked with thus far “have been incredible and [he] can’t wait to keep learning!” Joining the English Department from Central, Joseph Geddes taught English, Theory of Knowledge and Film there for 12 years, making the transition to Mendham a smooth one. In addition, Michelle Hui joins Mendham after teaching in Queens for 12 years. Hui describes herself as “super positive and energetic” and explains that she finds joy in “seeing her students on a daily basis.” Caitlin Gillmet has had a variety of teaching experiences in New Jersey and most recently in Austin, Texas. Happy to be back in New Jersey, Gillmet teaches Freshman and Sophomore English at MHS. The MHS English department has a reputation for excellence with an incredibly devoted teaching staff. Hardgrove, Geddes, Hui and Gillmet will clearly contribute to the mission of the Department.

      Joining the Language Department is Chinese teacher Mei Sha who loves teaching Mandarin, her native language. Sha has prior experience instructing in South Korea before coming to the United States to teach. This international perspective will strengthen the language program and develop more globally aware Chinese language students. Teaching levels one, two, and three, Sha has the opportunity to weave her cultural knowledge into the course curriculum. Julia Koch also teaches foreign language at MHS. Her hobbies include teaching kickboxing as well! Koch will share her time between Central and MHS teaching French language. Koch and Sha deepen the bench for the Language Department with global and diverse experiences.

      Making her debut in the Mendham Music department is 2017 Rutgers graduate Taylor Rehe. Rehe not only has experience studying music theory/composition, but she has also worked with competitive marching bands in Central New Jersey. Her past marching experience informs her first-year instruction of the MHS marching band. Last year Rehe was named the “woodwind specialist” in her high school district with her primary instrument-the flute. When she is not playing in pit orchestras, she is powerlifting and running. Lorraine Najjar hails from upstate NY where she taught art education for several years before moving to New Jersey. Najjar took time off to focus on her family and is now very excited to be back in the classroom. The music and art department will benefit from Rehe and Najjar’s musical and artistic talents.

      With experience working in a crime lab, Dumbrill later taught for three years in NYC as a science teacher before coming to MHS this year. She teaches special education science. Christopher Carroll joins MHS from rival Chatham High School where he taught history, coached baseball and lead the Model Congress/UN Club. Carroll will supervise History & Social Sciences, Business, Family & Consumer Science. Evan Ransfield is the new Technology lead at MHS. In addition to loving everything tech-related, he enjoys hiking and painting as well. Dumbrill, Carroll, and Ransfield bring unique skill sets to MHS.

      Meg Brandt rounds out the list of 13 new faces as the new Library/Media Specialist. She has taught for 15 years most recently at the Willow School. Brandt has several education degrees and is currently pursuing a Masters of Information Program at Rutgers.

      These thirteen talented teachers hold much promise for the bright future of the Mendham School District. Their faces, some familiar and some brand new, bring deep expertise, impressive credentials and global experience that will enrich the MHS community for years to come.