New teachers and staff members this fall are blending in at St. James School in Biddeford. From left are, Christophe Goebel, Alana Saunders, Ashley Ogden, Racha Al Tesini and Debra Pizzuto. Not shown are Katie Herbine and Kim Lauzier. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — The newest members of the faculty and staff at St. James School in Biddeford say that are adjusting to their new surroundings and enjoy working with the students there.

Teachers Ashley Ogden (fourth grade), Christophe Goebel (French), Debra Pizzuto (middle school mathematics), Racha Al Tesini (music), Katie Herbine (physical education), Kim Lauzier ((educational technician) and Alana Saunders (educational technician) are well into their third week of classes at St. James, which is a Catholic school that integrates faith, service and learning in a value-based education to ensure every student has the fundamentals needed to succeed in any path they choose in life.

Teaching French is something Goebel said he enjoys, seeing as it is his native language. Goebel moved to the United States from France in 2004 and joins the St. James staff after spending 12 years teaching at the private Sparhawk School in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

He said great teachers need to be consistent in their work.

“You have to believe in what you are doing,” Goebel said. “You have to believe in success for you and your students and have integrity and a real passion for the job.”

Al Resini is actually entering her first full-year at the school after joining the staff in February and said that she hopes to help St. James students to improve their singing, thinking and ability to read music during this school year.

“I want to help students to improve their knowledge,” she said. “I want to keep improving myself as a teacher and continue to help my students to love music.”

Saunders said that she is fortunate to be working this year at St. James School along with another new ed tech, Kim Lauzier.

“Everyone here is so welcoming and they put their students first and have a love of God,” she said. “They love helping our students accomplish their goals.”

After earning her Associate of Arts degree, Saunders said she wanted to work as an Ed Tech to gain more practical experience before going on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education.

With a 30-plus year career as an educator, Pizzuto said that being a teacher has given her a genuine sense of accomplishment.

“I love the sharing of knowledge with my students and watching them blossom,” she said.

She spent all of the last school year as a substitute teacher at nine different school districts in Maine and previously taught math at Freeport High School.

Ogden joins the St. James faculty after teaching at Sanford Junior High School and said making the transition from public school to a Catholic school has been fun.

“I enjoy getting to know the students and their personalities,” she said. “I’ve always taught at the middle-school level before. I’m having fun getting to know my students’ likes and dislikes and how to get them more interested in learning.”

St. James Principal Nancy Naimey said Katie Herbine will lead physical education classes for students from pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade and also teach middle-school health.

“Mrs. Herbine has an abundance of experience with wellness with all different age groups and is the Biddeford High School girl’s basketball coach,” she said. “We are excited to have Mrs. Herbine on our team.”

Naimey said all of the new teachers and staff have enhanced an already dedicated faculty at the school.

“We have such an amazing staff this year and are so blessed to have these new additions join with our veteran teachers and staff members,” she said. “The climate at our school is awesome and the school is growing and everyone’s happy.”

Now in its 27th year of operation, St. James School was founded in 1992 by combining three local Catholic schools into one, St. Joseph’s, St. Andre’s and Saint Mary’s. The first letter of each school of those schools was used which created the name James and St. James School was named after the saint James the Greater.

In 2010, Notre Dame de Lourdes School in Saco also joined St. James to create the only local Catholic preschool and K-8 school in Biddeford and Saco.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected]       

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