Though Jennifer Huettner is a new face among the faculty at Staples High School in Westport, she's no stranger to the world of teaching.
"I'm starting my 29th year of teaching," said Huettner, 50. "I cannot believe it."
The new Latin teacher at Staples, Huettner came to Westport from Newtown High School, where she spent 11 years. She replaced longtime Latin teacher Dan Sullivan, who retired this year at the age of 80.
"It was a hard decision to leave my students, and I hated doing it, but I couldn't pass this opportunity up. I still keep in contact with them, though, thanks to this thing called Facebook," Huettner said.
A native of New Jersey, Huettner said she was talked into a teaching job in Oklahoma after college and stayed for 17 years. For seven years, Huettner taught at a private school in Tulsa. The other 10 she spent as a teacher at a magnet school in Tulsa.
But wanting to be closer to her dad, who has since died, Huettner headed north in 1999, settling in Brookfield, where she currently lives.
Armed with a sense of humor and a love of her subject, Huettner, the only Latin teacher at Staples, said she is ready.
"I plan on continuing some of the great things Mr. Sullivan did in his classes, like lots of oral repetition, and whatever else the students liked," she said. "I want to keep promoting that."
But Huettner plans to add her own personal touch. She will bring "Latin Moment Mondays" to her classes: a fun exercise in which students share modern words that trace back to Latin.
Though Westport is "an excellent school system with an impressive support system," Huettner has one minor concern.
"I just hope I remember the student's names," she laughed.
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