New faculty members welcomed

If this is a dream, don't wake me up!   - English teacher Kathryn Gorman

Lauralton Hall has appointed several dynamic new faculty members in the English and World Languages departments. They are from diverse backgrounds, but share a passion for teaching and learning. Kathryn Gorman, Jennifer Barwinski and Brian Tenney have joined the English Department. Miao Hwang is teaching Chinese.

Mrs. Jennifer Barwinski  
“This is my dream job,” says Jennifer Barwinski who teaches junior and senior English classes. “I absolutely love how much freedom Lauralton students are given. I've taught at schools where part of my job was to babysit and micromanage the students. Here, I can treat them like the young adults they are. My students are polite and confident; they manage their time effectively and aren't too shy to ask questions or share problems. Lauralton is a trusting and nurturing environment where students actually want to learn.”

Jennifer began her teaching career at an all-girls independent Catholic school in Kansas City. “I moved to Connecticut last year and taught at a co-ed private school but as soon as I heard two English teachers were retiring at Lauralton, I jumped at the chance! I think an all-girls Catholic school promotes confidence. The girls aren't overly concerned about their appearance and they're not distracted by guys or afraid of being ‘too smart’ in class.”

She continues, “As a huge British literature nerd, I am delighted to be teaching English Level 4 this year. I get to teach Macbeth and Pride and Prejudice!  I'm also thrilled to be reading The Crucible with my juniors as it’s one of my favorite American works. They'll be doing a literary analysis on it, so we’ll uncover the drama of the Salem witch trials together.”

Jennifer will be moderating Highlights, the school newspaper in partnership with Kathryn. Gorman. “The two senior editors have totally revamped the newspaper, and I'm excited to see what they do with it.”

When asked about her hobbies, she replies, “I love to read, of course. I also have a new dog, Scout, a 2-year-old lab mix named after the character in To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Jennifer has a BA in English from the University of Georgia and an Masters of Education from Rockhurst University, a Jesuit school in Kansas City.

Mrs. Kathryn Gorman


“As soon as I walked through the doors of Lauralton I knew I wanted to be here,” says Kathryn Gorham. “The girls are so self-assured, bright and welcoming. Several of them even say "thank you" as they leave my class. If this is a dream, don't wake me up!”

Kathryn, who teaches sophomore English, has experience teaching in both public and private schools, most recently at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden. I love teaching in an all-girls Catholic school because as an educator I can freely draw upon the core values of Christ's message and integrate them into our class work.”

Kathryn is constantly looking for new ways to engage and motivate her students as they learn more about the writing process. She loves to see them demonstrate understanding in collaborative projects. She’s also excited about her position as co-moderator of the school newspaper. “At the kick-off meeting I was impressed with their ideas for this student-driven online publication. As an undergrad at the University of Rhode Island, I double-majored in English and journalism, so this endeavor is certainly near and dear to my heart. I know that together we are going to make this a banner year for Highlights!”



 Mr. Brian Tenney
When Brian Tenney first graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in English, he never imagined he would someday be teaching at an all-girls Catholic school. “I am a product of public school and I planned to only apply to teach at public schools, but when Fairfield Teachers Agency suggested Lauralton, I said, ‘Why not?’ and I’m thrilled that I did.“

“In some ways Lauralton students are not that different from students in a public or coed private school,” continues Brian. “They are all teenagers. They all have particular brands of ‘adolescent insanity.’ But after a few short weeks at Lauralton, I was amazed by the atmosphere at the school. I often feel like a college professor. The students are so independent and they use their freedom so responsibly. When I see students lounging on couches, curled up in a stairwell, or in one of Lauralton’s gorgeous and quirky little architectural nooks, they are actually working… well most of the time! Their devotion to academia is astounding.”

For Brian, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is the "Aha" moment. “Teaching is all about showing students that they can decode a work of literature, that it’s not an impenetrable wall. I am here to show them where the footholds and handles are so that they can climb over the wall.”

In his role as a long-term substitute for Mrs. Jennifer Amore, Brian teaches freshman and junior English. His students recently read Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game”, and he was impressed with the parallels they drew with the popular Hunger Games trilogy. Both novels deal with themes of alienation and division. Brian notes how relevant this is to today’s young people. “So much conflict arises because we can’t communicate with one another. I became an English teacher because I want to teach communication, not just to talk but to really communicate and half of that is listening.”

Brian has another English-related passion—drama. “I have a strong background in theater,” he says. “My greatest strength is technical theater, specifically lighting. I’ve done over 30 productions. I feel that theater is valuable on three levels: it embodies and teaches professionalism, which is a key value in any field (but definitely in education!), it is a highly literary pursuit in which every choice made by an actor, director, musician, designer, etc. influences the text in its own way, and lastly it conveys the value of cooperation, because there’s nothing like it.”  

Mrs. Miao Hwang
When Miao Hwang first arrived at Lauralton she was impressed with the building, the shining floorboards, the friendly staff and faculty, but she was most impressed with the caliber of the students. “They are so motivated and enthusiastic about learning, which makes teaching more rewarding than ever. I attended an all-girls Christian middle school and high school—and yes, we wore uniforms too—and I will always cherish those days. Working at Lauralton Hall makes me feel like I am going home.”

Miao is passionate about teaching Chinese. In addition to Lauralton, she also teaches at Hopkins School and at the Chinese Language School of Connecticut.  She is excited about learning more about the Flip program and “smart homework.”  “Anything that helps students learn fascinates me,” she said. 

Miao also enjoys playing mahjong. “I love it because the nature of game is to brainstorm as well as chat and be sociable."

Miao received both a BS in Business Data Processing and an MS in Computer Information Science from the University of New Haven.

The Lauralton community warmly welcomes our new personnel.


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