Co-written by Jordan Kliebert
(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s School welcomed six new teachers to its prodigious faculty over the summer, filling vacancies in various departments. The group ranges from experienced educational veterans to fresh, enthusiastic teachers.
“I think they’re a very talented group (of teachers) with a nice mix of experience and youthful energy,” Principal Trevor Watkins said. “I think they bring a lot of expertise to our faculty.”
Audrey Pool, while new to St. Paul’s Math Department, will not be seeing a large change in scenery, coming from a 10-year tenure at St. Scholastica Academy. While she has lived in Southeast Louisiana for 15 years, she hails from Virginia, where she got her degree at Sweetbriar College. She will be teaching Algebra I and Geometry, but did not always plan on being a math teacher. Pool will also be assisting current English Teacher Joanna Case in the moderation of Student Council. Pool discovered in her mathematics major that she enjoyed assisting her peers, leading her to follow that road to education.
“Something that I admire about (St. Paul’s) alumni I know is that they wear their (senior retreat) crosses proudly,” Pool said regarding her decision to join the SPS faculty. “That’s something that has connected me to the school and made me realize what a great school and what a great community this is.”
A former cheerleading coach, Pool enjoys spending time with her three daughters.
Caitlin Duplantis will be joining Pool in the Math Department, teaching Advanced Math and Calculus classes. Originally from Kenner, Duplantis graduated from Mandeville High School, going on to receive her degree from LSU in 2012. She comes to SPS having previously taught for two years at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans. Unlike Pool, Duplantis had been set on becoming a math teacher well before college, citing her eighth-grade Algebra I teacher (the principal of her school) as her motivation to pursue numerical education.
“I just want to be in a place that feels like home, where my coworkers feel like family and my students feel comfortable and safe,” Duplantis said about her new home on the SPS campus.
An Iggy Azalea fan, Duplantis likes to cook, read, and watch “Titanic,” her favorite movie.
Sean Santos, born and raised in Chalmette, will be teaching Athletic P.E. and American History classes this year, as well as coaching running backs on the football field. An LSU graduate, Santos has previously taught at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans and St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge. He graduated from Holy Cross High School in New Orleans, where he was drawn to education by his former English teacher, SPS Assistant Principal Joe Dickens, who described Santos as a “very good student.”
“I know that Mr. Santos is going to bring professionalism, work ethic, and creativity to the classroom and athletic fields,” Dickens said. “(He was a) solid student athlete, and I expect more of the same as a professional.”
A golfer who enjoys the movie “Rudy,” Santos says that he is “excited to become a member of the St. Paul’s family.”
Biology Teacher Ann Pfalzgraf grew up in New Orleans East. Pfalzgraf attended college at Loyola University and two years at UNO. What made her come to St. Paul’s was that she wanted to teach kids who had college goals. This year, she looks forward to helping all of her students be successful. She choose to be a biology teacher because she was influenced by her teacher, Dr. Harvard.
“I am loving St. Paul’s because I am enjoying getting to know everyone in the St. Paul’s family,” Pfaltzgraf said. “I am especially enjoying getting to know and teach all of my students.”
Pfaltzgraf’s greatest achievement in life is being a mom to her two sons, Chris and Patrick. What she is most proud of is graduating with honors from Loyola. She loves rock music, and her favorite movie is “Goodfellas.”
English Teacher Matthew Pinero grew up in the town of St. Rose, which is near Metairie. He choose to be an English teacher because he has always enjoyed the subject, especially early literature, and he enjoys writing. He attended the University of New Orleans and came to St. Paul’s because he heard it had a tremendous reputation.
What Pinero likes most about St. Paul’s is “the family aspect and the closeness of the students and teachers.”
Pinero’s favorite movie is “Raging Bull.” His favorite moment in life was when he coached his brother to a state finals in wrestling. He looks forward to working out with the SPS wrestling team.
Science Teacher Nicholas Piechocki grew up in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge. He choose to become a science teacher because it has always been his favorite subject. He attended college at LSU. His inspiration to become a teacher was his mother. What he looks forward to this year is working with the new group of students.
“So far I love how helpful the entire staff has been to help me get acclimated and up to speed,” Piechocki said. “The students have also, on the whole, been representative of every good thing I’ve heard previously. The young men here at St. Paul’s have been patient with me as I grow into my role.”
Piechocki’s favorite movie is “The Big Lebowski.” In his free time, he likes to play with his dogs and spend time with his family. His favorite moment of his life was when his daughter was born.
Another change to the faculty roster, Principal Trevor Watkins will be performing two jobs this year, splitting time as both administrator and educator. He marks his return to the classroom this year, teaching Spanish IV Honors.
“I am thrilled, and I am having a ball,” Watkins said. “I’m loving it. It’s good to be with students again. I hope they are patient with me as I get my feet back on the ground.”
Also returning to education this year is Bro. Louis Welker, F.S.C., who will be assuming the directorial role for the Liturgical Band this year. While he has lived in the St. Paul’s Brothers’ Residence for some time, he is stepping out of retirement to help make music at Masses and prayer services the best it can be. His impact has already been felt, providing what President Bro. Ray Bulliard referred to in his weekly newsletter as a “deeply moving” musical and spiritual experience in the first all-school Mass for the recent Feast of the Assumption.
(New faculty photos by Karen Hebert)