By Brianna Naderpour, Bradley Cusnier, Santiago Rodriguez and Elizabeth Carres
OCT 10, 2016
At the beginning of this school year, St. Thomas Aquinas (STA) welcomed 12 new staff members to the Raider family. There are new additions to the Science, Social Studies, Theology, English, World Languages, Physical Education and Guidance departments.
Mrs. Diane Enten and Dr. Natalia Romero joined the Science Department. Mrs. Enten has a diverse background that spans over 27 years. She teaches Biology, Robotics I Honors, and Independent Research Honors. Mrs. Enten has obtained most of her experience from working in the field of medical device designs and manufacturing at Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. She is grateful for this experience because it gave her the knowledge to help her students connect “…biology and robotics to real life problems and examples.” Mrs. Enten enjoys a variety of extracurricular activities that include pottery, book club, and bike riding with her family on the weekends.
Dr. Romero has been teaching for 20 years and started her career as an instructor for Tandar Laboratory and Research Center for Modern Physics. She teaches physics, calculus and statistics at STA. She has previously taught in the college and graduate programs at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Although she is not currently teaching at FAU, Dr. Romero is still involved with the university by contributing research. Aside from teaching, she loves to travel, participate in regattas, crossfit training, camping, and salsa dancing.
Mr. Arlee Pabustan and Mr. Joseph Straub are the most recent additions to the Social Studies Department. Mr. Pabustan has been teaching for 24 years. Currently, he teaches World History to freshmen and Economics to seniors. He was drawn to STA because he used to teach in the high school department of a Jesuit University (Ateneo) back in the Philippines. After teaching in junior high schools in Florida for 13 years, he decided that he wanted to go back to teaching high school students. He said he ultimately chose to teach at STA because he wants “… to be part of the rich tradition and excellent academic history of this institution which is deeply rooted in Catholic faith.” He spends his free time engaging in outdoor activities. Mr. Pabustan said that, “Gardening keeps me busy. I grow vegetables in my backyard, mostly green and leafy vegetables. If possible, every summer my family and I visit the national parks, historic places and landmarks. Do you want to see America the Beautiful? Go see our national parks!”
Mr. Brian Straub has been teaching for four years. He was recruited to coach the girls’ lacrosse team, and he also coaches junior varsity football. He teaches World History Honors and American History this year at STA. He enjoys relaxing during his spare time.
Mr. Israel Diaz joined the Theology Department this year. He has been teaching for 17 years and currently teaches Sociology and Church History to sophomores and Ethics to juniors . Before realizing that theology was his true area of interest, Mr. Diaz taught history and geography. He now has two masters in theology. Mr. Diaz was friends with many of STA’s theology teachers, and they influenced his decision to join the Raider community. He said, “ I liked their approach to teaching religion and their vision of what it should be. I was impressed with the liturgy programs at STA. It spoke to me, so I applied because I wanted to be a part of it.” Mr. Diaz is also a musician and enjoys playing guitar. He also enjoys doing home improvement projects and spending time with family.
Dr. Regina Ruiz is the newest Spanish teacher in the World Languages Department. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Austin and has been teaching for 24 years. She spends her free time working on her art.
The Guidance Department welcomed Mrs. Ashley Walters and Mr. Adam Nyswaner to their team. Mr. Nyswaner obtained his masters degree in 2014. Before joining STA, Mr. Nyswaner did his internship at local high schools, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and volunteered as a guidance counselor for career fairs. Mr. Nyswaner loves participating in watersports. He stated “ I am not a person to sit on the beach, I like to go onto the water.”
Although it is Mrs. Walters’ first year at STA, she has been a counselor for three years. Mrs. Walters’ interests include cooking, baking and taking photographs. Since her younger sister is going to college next year, Mrs. Walters is currently enjoying as much time with her as possible. Both Mrs. Walters and Mr. Nyswaner had heard amazing things about STA and couldn’t resist the opportunity to be a part of the Raider community.
A new recruit in the Physical Education Department, Mr. Joey Wardlow, taught social studies for 20 years at Nativity. For the past six years, he taught health and physical education at Nativity and now teaches these subjects at STA. He is also an assistant coach for varsity baseball. Mr. Wardlow finds that being a high school teacher is “… a new challenge”, and he added, “It’s nice to have a little difference once in awhile.” When he’s not in the classroom, Mr. Wardlow enjoys fishing with his family on his boat.
The English Department welcomed Ms. Misty Tabon, Mrs. Mary Kate O’Mara and Mr. Casey Golden. Ms. Tabon has been teaching for 12 years, seven of which were spent teaching language arts. She is now teaching freshman English at STA. Ms. Tabon stated, “It is known that STA is a very prestigious school with a rigorous college prep program.” She added that nearly everyone, whom she has met, so far, “… loves coming to work every day. That says something about the quality of administration.” Ms. Tabon’s favorite recreational activities are fitness training, cooking and enjoying the outdoors.
Mrs. O’Mara has been teaching language arts, literature, and writing for the last 23 years. Mrs. O’Mara has five children and her oldest son is an STA alum. Mrs. O’Mara wanted to join STA because she has always held this school in high regard. Previously, she taught in a middle school, so the dynamics of this job are very different compared to her former position.
Mr. Golden is teaching World Literature to sophomores and British Literature to seniors. He graduated from STA in 2003 and knew that, if he decided to become an educator, STA was the only school at which he would consider teaching . Mr. Golden said that he “…previously worked in LA’s entertainment industry and the two are very different and incomparable.” Mr. Golden enjoys playing indoor volleyball and attending music festivals.
Raiders extend a warm welcome to the many wonderful new additions to this school’s community.