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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

Getting to Know Ms. Shannon Rankin

Let's meet Shannon Rankin, Sewickley Academy's new physical education teacher!

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Topics: Faculty

Getting to Know Mr. Tim Heavner

You've met Ms. Christy Knable and Ms. Laurel Brooks, now let's meet Mr. Tim Heaver, Sewickley Academy's new choral director.

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Topics: Faculty

Getting to Know Ms. Laurel Brooks

Last week, we introduced you to Ms. Christy Knable, a new history teacher in the Middle School. Today, we head over to the Senior School to meet Ms. Laurel Brooks, the new assistant director of college guidance.

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Topics: Faculty

Getting to Know Ms. Christy Knable

We have some fantastic new faculty and staff this year at Sewickley Academy. In the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of them!

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Topics: Faculty

Getting to Know Ms. Monica Vila-Lynn

Two weeks ago we introduced you to Ms. Anna Brock, a new English teacher in the Middle School. Today we head down the hallway to meet Ms. Monica Vila-Lynn, a new Middle School French and Spanish teacher.

Monica was born in Spain, and raised in France.  A graduate of Guilford College with a bachelor’s in psychology, Ms. Vila-Lynn went on to earn her M.B.A. from the University of San Diego.  Over the last 20 years, she has worked for a number of international businesses, and because of her multilingual background, she quickly found herself providing professional development support and training.  Using her dual background in business and languages, Ms. Vila-Lynn opened her own language teaching school in Barcelona, where, in addition to teaching French and English, she also taught mathematics.  Most recently, she has worked locally as a tutor and part-time teacher at various schools and educational centers in the North Hills.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

When I moved to France at age 8, my new French classmates asked me to teach them Spanish words, phrases, games and full on conversations through our elementary school days together, and on through high school. It was a natural form of play. My friends had fun learning, and I had even more fun sharing with them what I knew. The exciting part was seeing that they always came back for more! Teaching French and Spanish to my college friends seemed just as natural. The trend continued through graduate school and through my career in international marketing. Meanwhile, I also studied Latin, German, and Italian. Teaching and learning world languages was just an exciting, lively, natural part of life. And just as naturally, when it was time to redefine myself in the first few pages of the “motherhood chapter” of my life, becoming a teacher was the answer. That was 14 years ago, when our first son Nicolas was born. But of course, the teacher in me was born (with passion) long before that!

What are your favorite moments with a student?

One of my favorite moments with a student is when he or she accepts the invitation to work hard on figuring something out, and reaches that “A ha!” moment on his/her own, by properly combining all the learned “tools” that I had the privilege to facilitate days, weeks or months prior. These moments may take place multiple times a day, and the process might take seconds, or even nanoseconds. Yet, those are my favorite magical and everlasting sparks.

What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn in your class?

Perseverance, optimism, and cooperation lead us to excellence – in any language!

La perseverancia, el optimismo y la cooperación llevan a la excelencia.

La persévérance, l’optimisme et la coopération nous mènent à l’excellence.

How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?

I am a native Spanish and French speaker and I continuously practice both languages daily with relatives and friends and read novels and news in those languages, so language fluency is permanent. Yearly , I travel to France and Spain. I read online articles and exchange ideas with peers on world language teaching methodology. I also stay tuned to major current events and trends within the Spanish and French speaking countries, so I can update students and engage them to explore those cultures.

If you were stranded on deserted island with just one thing, what would it be?

One BIG family photo of my children, my husband, my three sisters, my nephews and my parents!
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Topics: Faculty

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