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Joel Barlow Saves Money On New Hires

REDDING, Conn. – Two of of Joel Barlow High School 's new teachers — in chemistry and physics — have lots of experience.

Paul Testa taught chemistry and physical science at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., for 25 years. Jason Schemm has 15 years' teaching experience at New Milford High School and in Boston.

“It’s extremely challenging to find chemistry and physics teachers, but they are veterans with significant experience,” Principal Thomas McMorran said.

The school's eight hires for the school year, which starts Aug. 29, came in under budget, McMorran said.

“We set aside money for replacing retirees, and it's always a cost savings to the town because retiring teachers make more money," he said. "So we allocate money up to a certain number of years experience and degrees, and it turns into a salary amount. We get a pool of money and we try to make sure we get quality without going over allowance.”

The other new faculty members are:

• Megan Zabilansky, a new English teacher, received an master's in education curriculum and instruction from UConn's Neag School of Education.

• David Voytek, an instructional technology assistant, worked as a computer technician at Fairfield Warde High School.

• Steven Rountos, a math teacher, taught in Brookfield and at Fairfield’s Alternative High School for two years.

• Liz Gold, a school counselor, lives in Weston and is finishing her master's in counseling at Fairfield University. She owned an art consulting company.

• Erin Murdoch, a social studies teacher, student-taught in the New York City public schools. She worked at a law firm in Manhattan for four years.

• Cleo Villamarin, a long-term Spanish substitute filling in for Catherine Correa, who is on maternity leave, taught Spanish for 26 years at Ridgefield High School.

A reading paraprofessional position is still open.

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