Michael Carbonaro

Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

A good friend of mine has a cabin in the mountains of western Maryland.  You need 4 wheel drive to get up the mountain to the cabin.  While there we hunt, fish, ride ATV’s, and relax.  We sit out and have campfires at night.  You can actually see all of the stars without all of the light pollution. It’s a great break from the congestion and fast-paced lives we all have. 

"What is the thing you like most about your work?"

The people I work with.  Many of my teammates have worked at RPES for over ten years.  We are all extended family and will go out of our ways to help each other when needed.  Having worked with them for long, there is a certain comfort level you build and that makes what can sometimes be a difficult job more manageable. 

"How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

Friends that I don’t work with say that I am pretty laid back.  There are so many aspects of being a teacher.  You have to plan, teach, grade, counsel, console, problem solve, be an accountant, and so much more.  If I allowed every part of my job to stress me out I wouldn’t have lasted this long or enjoyed my job like I do.  I try to take on one task at a time, finish it, and then move to the next.

"What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

My first probably won’t make the cut, so I’ll give two. 

Probably 18 years ago, the class was outside playing kickball.  The line to kick was creeping closer and closer to the field and I asked the class to back up a number of times.  One student didn’t listen, a ball hit him in the groin, and he said, “Ah, Mr. Carbonaro.  It hit me square in the nuts!”  I lost it.

The second:

A student went to the bathroom and came back with his pants all wet in the front.  The kids laughed, but he played it off as getting wet when he was washing his hands.  This was during dismissal, so he came to me and whispered, “Hey, Mr. Carbonaro.  Between you and me…….it’s pee”

Favorite Movie:

No matter what, if a see it on TV,  I have to watch The Princess Bride.  It’s corny, has a great cast. 

Favorite Musician:

My father liked country music and I would always listen to it when I was with him.  So I don’t think I can name a specific artist, but country music of the 80’s a and 90’s is what I like most.  Not the songs where my dog died, and my wife left, but the ones about simpler lives and family.

Favorite Quote:

From Top Gun.  “Tower, this is Ghostrider requesting a flyby.  Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.”  I use the last part of it to say no in a way that confuses my own kids and to make light of some situations.  It’s also from another of my favorite movies.

 

Ms. Claudia Zegarra - School Secretary

Favorite vacation destination/hobby

Peru and California

What is the thing you like most about your work?

I really enjoy interacting with the students and my co-workers.

What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

 I hear funny comments from students all the time - one that stands out is a kindergartner who came to the office last year and asked me for “lipstick” because his lips were too dry. 

Why do you love Ritchie Park?

I love it because of my co-workers, especially Mrs. Baum and Mrs. Black. It’s such a joy to work with these two wonderful ladies every day!

Favorite Movie

The Sound of Music” and “The Parent Trap (1998)"

Favorite Musician

I have way too many to name, but I’ll go with Michael Jackson.

Favorite Quote

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

 

Mrs. Stultz - Art Teacher

What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

I’ve been at Ritchie Park for a long time - I’m currently teaching kids of kids! 

I’m always honored and surprised when I have high school, college-aged students and some parents, come back to visit and tell me that they still have their artwork from art classes at Ritchie Park.  They’ve often kept their collection of yearly portfolios or mention that their parents still have an art wall at home displaying their Ritchie Park pieces.  I’m honored to know that Art made a positive impact on their lives.

How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

Teaching has enhanced other areas of my life by developing my organizational skills, patience, caring, and an enhanced sense of humor!

What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

There are so many funny stories, kids are great!  One that comes to mind, is that we were doing realistic observational drawings of animals.  A student was talking to his friends at his table, and they were shaking their heads no…he was shaking his head yes.  He approached me and said, “Mrs. Stultz, can I draw a turtle?”  I said, “Of course, that’s a great choice!”  He went back to his table BEAMING and said to his friends, “I told you so, she said yes!”  My curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to see his turtle.  It was a turtle alright, a Ninja Turtle! 

Why do you love Ritchie Park?

I love Ritchie Park because I work with a very dedicated staff and amazingly creative, inspiring and artistic children and their families. 

Favorite Movie:  

One of my favorite movies is Signs.

Favorite Musician: 

I’m not sure that I can pick a favorite musician.  I love all genres of music from classical, to jazz, to r & b, to rock, to hip hop, to bluegrass, to folk, to big band!  I did grow up being a major Beatles fan for sure!

unnamed.png

Alessandra E. Tsakos - 1st Grade teacher

What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

Teaching keeps me feeling young and happy. So there are personal benefits as well as benefits for future generations.   

How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

It has made me a more patient and thoughtful person.  When I look at another person, I see the child still inside and it helps me to connect better with the whole person. 

What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

I had a struggling reader many years ago, who, one day during reading group, looked at me in surprise and exclaimed, “Mrs. Tsakos!  I don’t need you anymore!”  It was the day she started to make all of the miraculous connections it takes to be a reader.  It was also a poignant moment when I am reminded again that, as much as we want to keep our children always close to us – our actual job as parents and educators – is to help our children soar on their own, without us.

Why do you love Ritchie Park?

I love the dedication at Ritchie Park – among staff, students, and parents.  It is a place where I feel inspired to be my best and do my best.

Favorite Movie: 

On Golden Pond

Favorite Musician: 

Beethoven(Fifth Symphony)

Favorite Quote:   

My favorite quote is a poem: 

Be like the bird who, 

Stopping in flight,  

On limb too slight –

Feels it give way beneath him. 

Yet sings…

Knowing he hath wings” 

Ms. Whitnee Liverpool-Cummins - Kindergarten Teacher

What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

I have learned children are like sponges. If you teach them, most of the time they absorb the info quickly.

What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?  

I once asked a student to describe what a marshmallow looked like. I was expecting a cloud, white, etc. They told me it looked like a tree and then their friend exclaimed, "I could see that, maybe even a leaf!"

Why do you love Ritchie Park?

The people!! I love the staff and the families I have met. Everyone is so warm and welcoming.

Favorite Movie

I love the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" and " Dirty Dancing"

Favorite Musician

 I don't think I have one.

Ms. Long

"What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from your years in education?"

I stopped being surprised many years ago

"What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

Why do you have elephant legs? (my pantyhose were loose and bunched beneath my knee)

"Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

There is a strong sense of community- we are in this together for all of the children

Favorite Movie:

It’s a Wonderful Life

Favorite Musician:

Bruce Springsteen

DSC_1616.JPG