Helen Legare is excited to be back in the middle school classroom teaching science in Marathon. Originally, from Birmingham, England, Legare spent the past 26 years in Massachusetts before relocating to the Keys last December. She holds degrees in Geology and Education and spent the past 14 years in high school classrooms across Massachusetts. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family reading, walking and sailing.
Michael Wirsching is a Conch who ventured off to Gainesville after high school to earn his Bachelors of Architectural Design from the University of Florida before returning home to lead future generations. He will be teaching math and biology as a general education math teacher at The Keys Center for Girls and the Monroe County Juvenile Detention Center. He is excited about this year’s opportunities to help his kids gain the confidence and success they will need in the future. True to his roots, Wirsching enjoys the small town atmosphere, sense of community and beautiful scenery that surround his home.
Sarah Bare is Key West High’s newest Spanish instructor. A graduate of Bowling Green State with a degree in Interpersonal Communication and Masters in Spanish Language and Literature, this Ohio native slowly made her way south from her chilly home state.
Her favorite thing about the Keys? “Sunshine,” she quickly states.
After stints in St. Petersburg and Winter Haven, Bare happily accepted the position in Key West. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, working out and traveling.
Dawn O’Malley is a Texas native and newest kindergarten teacher at Sugarloaf Elementary. She earned her degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Texas Woman’s University and moved to the Keys in 1993. She and her husband have a 12-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. They all enjoy the tropical environment and a good meal out at The Square Grouper. O’Malley also serves as a Girl Scout leader.
Alyssa Adrian is the newest Head Start instructor at Key Largo School. After earning degrees in Child Development and Varying Exceptionalities from Florida State University and Florida International University respectively, she has spent the past 10 years teaching special and early childhood education. This military brat – “I’m from everywhere!” she proclaimed – is mother to three children ages nine, six and four.
“I’m looking forward to an exciting year full of growth and learning for me and my students,” Adrian explained.
Dwayne Reinhardt is the new chemistry teacher at Key West High School. This Kentucky native is a father of four and grandfather of three. Since moving to the Keys last August, he has really taken to the beautiful environment and warm, friendly people.
“My goals for this year include teaching my students, encouraging them and making a positive difference in their lives,” he said.
Reinhardt enjoys running, soccer, baseball, composing music and playing the guitar and piano.
His biggest surprise since his relocation? “How long it takes to travel just a few miles,” he chuckled.
Shelby Gault taught Elementary Education for 16 years in Virginia before moving to the Keys in June to accept the position as Pre-K teacher at Sugarloaf. She holds degrees in Curriculum and Instruction while her doctorate is in Teacher Leadership. She’s been married for 13 years to her husband, Mike and they have one son, Bryce Clint, who is nine. While she has been surprised by the laid back people and pace of like in the Keys, it’s also been one of her favorite things.
Alison Anderson is a Key West native and the newest Pre-K teacher at Reynolds.
“I’m looking forward to helping my students learn in a fun and safe environment,” Anderson explained.
In her spare time, Anderson loves crafting, spending a relaxing afternoon on the beach or grabbing a bite with her family at Outback.
Richichi, Mary E
Mary Ellen Richichi came to Key West from the Broward County school district in June. She is one of the newest third grade teachers at Gerald Adams Elementary. This New York native earned her Masters of Science in Reading from Nova Southeastern, and this year, she is looking to prepare her students for FCAT testing. Richichi’s also aiming for greater parent participation this year. She most enjoys the ongoing outdoor activities and pet-friendly environment with her husband and adorable daughter.
Ellen Natsitka is proud to join Glynn Archer Elementary as the new science teacher. After earning her Masters degree from Delaware State University, she taught for several years in two districts there. After relocating to Key West with her husband Michael August 1, she’s most happy about “seeing my skin again after three summers in Kodiak, Alaska.” In her spare time, she enjoys sailing and sewing. The menacing lizards around her pool have been one of Natsika’s biggest surprises in her new home.
Callie Hubbell moved to Key West from Atlanta, Ga. while she was still in high school. She returned to her home state to attend the University of Georgia where she earned her degree in wildlife science. In her first year in the classroom, Hubbell will be teaching science at Sigsbee Elementary. So, what are her classroom goals for the coming year? “Survive!” she laughed.
She enjoys a quiet afternoon under the surface spear fishing and diving.
Joanna Hughey will be teaching algebra classes at Key West High School this year. This Ohio native spent most of her adult life in Gulfport, Miss. She is also National Board Certified in Early Adolescence Mathematics. Her classroom goals for this year include high academic achievement for students in benchmarks, especially for tenth grade students taking the FCAT. Even though she enjoys the beautiful scenery, weather and casual atmosphere in the Keys, she has little free time to herself.
“With three children active in sports, I spend a lot of time at the ball fields and courts,” she explained.
Andrea Rapach moved to Marathon three years ago, and this year, she’s the newest ESE teacher in Marathon. This New York native earned her B.A. in Psychology from Lycoming College, and this year, she is hoping to create a sense of teamwork in her classroom as well as help students reach their academic potential. In her spare time, she thoroughly enjoys swimming, scuba diving, the beautiful weather and great people in the Keys.
Maria Candelario is a Key West native proud to return home after earning her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida. She is teaching second grade at Sigsbee Elementary in her first year in the classroom.
“I want to provide students with high expectations and active learning yet still have fun doing it,” she said of her goals for this school year.
Karen Coats moved to Key West in June with her husband, Kevin, and the son, Derek, and daughter, Natalie. After earning her B.A. in Education from the University of Maryland, Coats taught five years there. This year, she’s teaching third grade at Sigsbee.
“I want to ensure each child reaches and surpasses their individual potential,” Coats said of her classroom goals for this year. “My hope is for each of them to strive for personal success and knowledge.”
Alexandra Federal is proud to join Marathon High School to teach middle grades Spanish. After earning her Bachelors in Management from the University of Phoenix, she taught Spanish for a year in New Jersey. She relocated to the Middle Keys two years ago, and loves spending all of her free time traveling.
Rachel Ortueta has joined Reynolds as a Pre-K teacher. This Key West native is married to Jesse Ortueta and they have two daughters, Kaylee and Daniella. Before accepting her new position, she worked at Grace Lutheran and Poinciana Elementary. She’s excited about preparing her students to enter kindergarten next year, and she also enjoys spending her spare time with her family and kids.
Heather Teal is also a Key West native who is teaching Head Start and Pre-K at Reynolds this school year. She holds degrees in Arts and Humanities as well as Early Childhood Education. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids out on the water. Over the past 18 years, she has been surprised at the ever-increasing number of people who move to Key West.
Phillip Incarnato just relocated to the Keys and accepted a teaching position at the Department of Juvenile Justice. This New York native holds Masters Degrees in Special Education as well as Business and Public Administration. He brings 20 years of teaching experience to this new position. This year, he’s aiming for some motivational programs and proper remediation. Incarnato thoroughly enjoys biking and outdoors sports as well as traveling in his spare time.
Melanie Rasmussen is teaching second grade at Gerald Adams this year. She holds degrees in Elementary Education and Gifted Education. Originally, from Louisiana, she and her husband have one son, Brennan.
After six years teaching fifth grade, she is excited to learn all about the second grade classroom and doing the best possible job for her students.
In her spare time, she enjoys scrap booking.
Tiffany DaSilva is another Pre-K teacher at Sigsbee this year. This South Florida native holds a degree in Psychology and Specialized Child Development from Southern New Hampshire University. Her previous teaching experience includes student teaching and day care instruction. She and her husband have two children, and in her spare time, DaSilva enjoys photography and knitting.