With Mrs. Nicole Bottomley on maternity leave, the administration is experiencing some temporary changes. Ms. Anne Connoni filled the position of Interim Principal and AP Biology teacher Mr. James Levasseur has assumed the role of Interim Assistant Principal.
Mr. Levasseur will work alongside Mr. Patrick Kelley, to fill in for Ms. Connoni, while she is acting as principal for the ten week period of Bottomley’s absence.
Prior to the official changes, he began working with both Mr. Kelley and Ms. Connoni to prepare for his new position.
“I’ve been working closely with Ms. Connoni to kind of find out the pulse of what’s going on in the office; the last few days before I started I was more present in the office and really defining what my role is going to be in the position along with Ms. Connoni,” said Mr. Levasseur.
Mr. Levasseur has held this position before during Mrs. Bottomley’s maternity leave for her first child. When the position became available this year, he reapplied.
“It came up again at the beginning of this year so I applied again, interviewed for it again and was given the opportunity to repeat,” Mr. Levasseur said.
Mr. Levasseur will be leaving his classes with a long term substitute while he is working in the office.
According to Mr. Levasseur, the replacement is “Ms. Steiner. She’s a paraprofessional; she’s stepping up to cover the 10 weeks in the classroom.”
Mr. Levasseur has been preparing Ms. Steiner for her work in the classroom by preparing materials, activities, and lessons for the courses she’ll be teaching. Ms. Steiner has also worked in the classroom with Mr. Levasseur before, so she is familiar with what goes on in his classes.
“She’s been helping out with the CP II Bio classes all year, so I’ve seen her in the science wing and I’ve been talking to her about what I do and how I run the class,” said Mr. Levasseur. He’s been going over “expectations… especially for AP Bio which is a challenging class. So I’ve kind of gone through what I do and I’ve prepared the entire course for her so she can kind of go and use the materials I prepared.”
Mr. Levasseur has confidence that his students will continue to thrive in class when he’s not there. He believes that they will be able to handle the material and that Ms. Steiner has a great group of kids to work with.
Said Mr. Levasseur, “I’m really lucky to have an awesome AP Bio class, really responsible kids. I honestly think that if no one was there they would learn the material and do well on the test, so that helps, too.”
AP Bio students, seniors Ben Dooley and Lexie Aylward say that Mr. Levasseur’s sureness in the classroom is one aspect of his teaching that they’ll miss.
“He’s very confident in everything so I feel confident in things,” said Aylward.
After teaching the class for 15 years, Mr. Levasseur knows the course extremely well. His students will also miss the extended knowledge that he brings to the classroom.
“I just feel like he knows it [the curriculum]… really, really well so… he knows different ways to explain things,” said Aylward.
The students found out that Mr. Levasseur was leaving immediately after he got the job and he has taught as much information as possible before leaving.
“Once I got the job I informed them of it. I’ve really been pushing to get through as much material, especially in AP Bio, as I could before I went out, so I could put less pressure on Ms. Steiner coming in,” said Levasseur.
The main concern of the students is that being in an Advanced Placement course, they will take the AP test at the beginning of May, and Steiner has never taught the AP test material before.
“He knows the AP test and she doesn’t,” said Dooley.
However after having some classes with Ms. Steiner, Dooley and Aylward are optimistic that she will be able to give them all the help they’ll need during the last weeks of the course. Since they learn a lot of the material at home before class, they’ll look to her to clarify information and answer any questions.
According to Aylward, Ms. Steiner is also very nice, an added comfort to their transition.
Meanwhile, Mr. Levasseur hopes to gain a new perspective and to find ways to help teachers in the school. According to him, his excitement centers around “going beyond the classroom.”
“As a teacher I don’t see everything that goes on. I just see my classroom,” said Levasseur. “I’m excited to see again what’s going on school-wide and district-wide… I’m excited to help teachers become better teachers, [to] give them the resources they need and help improve education in Holliston.”