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New Teachers Excited to Start at Shawsheen Tech

Crop of first-year teachers bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the administration of Shawsheen Tech.)

welcomed 14 new teachers to its team this summer including a pair of former Shawsheen students.

Jennifer Elwell of Tewksbury was initially hired as an aide for the 2009-2010 school year. Four years later, she has been hired full time as an English Language Arts teacher.

Elwell is a 2004 graduate of Shawsheen Tech. She was a three-sport athlete at the school, but was best known for her skills as a softball pitcher. After helping the Rams compete for the Div. 3 state championship throughout her career, Elwell went on to pitch four years of college softball, two seasons at Suffolk University and two seasons at Endicott College. She helped Endicott reach the NCAA Div. 3 tournament during those final two years.

Elwell graduated with a degree in education and initially planned on teaching at the elementary school level, but a year of working as a substitute teacher at her alma mater convinced Elwell to work with high school-aged students.

She helps coach both soccer and softball for the Rams.

Shannon Spinosa is a 1989 graduate of Shawsheen Tech and the school’s newest Medical Assistant teacher.

The Billerica resident brings plenty of experience to the table.

She studied health as a student, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and became an LPN. She eventually turned to education, interning for a year at Shawsheen Tech before earning a full-time position this fall.

She is happy that her first teaching job is in the same building where she fell in love with the health field.

“It’s like being at home,” she said of teaching at Shawsheen. “My oldest son graduated from here and I have another son at the school now. It’s amazing what Shawsheen Tech does for kids. I want to give back.”

Kristen Lamarre is a Westford native and a new science teacher.

She graduated from Plymouth State University in May with a biology degree. She is happy to be following in the footsteps of her mother, who is also a teacher.

“I’ve worked with kids my whole life,” Lamarre said.

Lamarre was a three-sport athlete at Westford Academy playing field hockey and lacrosse while also competing in gymnastics.

Julie Anne Kroner is a new support services teacher.

A native of Burlington, Kroner graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. before earning Master’s degrees from Simmons College and Endicott College in organizational management and educational leadership.

She brings 10 years of teaching in special education to her new job.

Kroner’s hobbies include swimming and figure skating.

James Bagtaz is the school’s newest Business Technology teacher.

A Wilmington resident, Bagtaz has degrees from Northeastern University and Fitchburg State College.

When Bagtaz isn’t teaching, he might be found in the nearest music studio. Bagtaz is a drummer than has toured with a band throughout Europe. He even helped open a concert for the Dropkick Murphy’s.

Joseph Sorrentino is a new Metal Fabrication instructor at Shawsheen.

Sorrentino grew up in Everett and earned a degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology before running his own business for more than 30 years. After using cooperative education students from Lynn Tech, Sorrentino decided to start a second career as a teacher.

“There is a great sense of fulfillment working with students,” he said.

Sorrentino is a 33-year resident of Wakefield.

He was a three-sport athlete at Everett High playing football, hockey and baseball.

Catherine Peterson is a new English Language Arts instructor.

She was an aide at Shawsheen Tech for two years before becoming a full-time teacher this fall.

“This is a great school,” she said. “I’ve had an awesome experience here. I can’t wait to begin.”

The Wilmington native attended the University of New Hampshire and Salem State University.

Stacey Stadler is a new drafting teacher.

An Andover native and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Stadler started at Shawsheen Tech last March before earning full-time status this fall.

“I have a passion for the industry of architecture and design,” said Stadler. “To share that with students is unbelievable.”

New Support Services instructor Joshua Takis comes to Shawsheen from Tewksbury Middle School, where he taught special education as well.

A native of Georgetown, Takis went to Bishop Fenwick High School where he played football and hockey and was also a member of the spring track team.

Takis attended Merrimack College and then earned a Master’s degree from American International.

The Lawrence resident wasted no time becoming a part of the sports world at Shawsheen as he will be an assistant football coach for the Rams this fall.

Kerry Croteau is a new electronics instructor.

Croteau is a veteran of the classroom, having taught electronics for the previous 13 years at Greater Lawrence.

Along with teaching at Greater Lawrence, Croteau also started an Extreme Sports Club at the school, an activity she is interested in starting at Shawsheen as well.

Patrick Reed will be a new English Language Arts teacher, but his path to Shawsheen has been an interesting one. The Bedford native taught English for four years in the District of Columbia School System.

Reed enjoys sports and played lacrosse during his days as a student at BHS.

Jeffrey McGrath is also from Bedford and will be a new math instructor at Shawsheen.

McGrath was substitute teaching at Bedford High before joining the Shawsheen team halfway through the 2011-2012 school year. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, McGrath was a successful athlete at Bedford High playing baseball and football for four years. Last year, McGrath helped out coaching football at Bedford.

Peter Udstuen is Shawsheen’s newest history teacher.

The recently-married Chelmsford resident is an experienced teacher, but has been pleased with his experiences thus far at his new school.

“I am really impressed with everything they offer here,” he said.

A native of Bellingham, Udstuen played soccer and basketball in high school before playing rugby in college at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Gwendolyn Cardoos is another new teacher at Shawsheen Tech and will be the school’s newest dental assistant instructor.

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