Following the passing of beloved Latin teacher Marjorie Keeley, the Mt. Greylock administration was faced with a number of challenges, one being how to fill the vacant teaching positions of Keeley’s four different classes. Principal Mary MacDonald sent out a request for a long-term substitute with Latin and/or Spanish teaching certification, but not expecting any immediate responses, the administration sprang into action, looking for in-house solutions.
Amy Turner, Greylock’s other Latin teacher, who is in her fourth year of teaching at the school, has taken over Keeley’s Honors Latin Prose class as well as her Latin II course. Andrew Agostini, a certified history teacher, will step into a larger teaching role, teaching Keeley’s former middle school enrichment class, as well as Latin III with a focus on Ancient Roman history and mythology.
The reshuffling of teachers has required change not only in the Latin department, but across other classes too. Coach Lynn Jordan, who has an artistic background, is now teaching one block of Mrs. Turner’s former middle school art enrichment class. Coach Emily Leitt has now inherited the Peer Team class, formerly run by Mrs. Turner, and hopes to continue in a leadership role of the Peer Team in years to come. Another of Mrs. Turner’s former classes, Spanish I, has been adopted by Crystal Williams, who is certified in this department. First-year Greylock teacher Alexander Davis is filling Keeley’s role as the head of the Junior Classical League.
Principal MacDonald is pleased with the administration’s ability to problem solve and come up with a solution that not only maintains continuity but still provides students with quality learning opportunities. The shifts have even saved the school $7,600. MacDonald credits the “diverse and talented staff that can step up in situations like this.” The administration and school’s ability to make quick changes has been impressive.
Sam Culver, one of Keeley’s Honors Latin Prose students, who is now taught by Mrs. Turner is adjusting to the changes: “Our curriculum changed a little bit, but we’re still reading the same level of Latin.” While it is clear that teachers are adding their own backgrounds and teaching styles to their new classes, students’ level of learning remains high as ever. Although most students would not typically prefer changing teachers in the middle of the school year, and the situation was unexpected, the solutions in place have been relatively successful so far.