New Teacher Blurbs

Courtesy+of+Bill+Thompson%0A
Courtesy of Bill Thompson

Courtesy of Bill Thompson

Hannah Ni'Shuilleabhain

Hannah Ni'Shuilleabhain

Courtesy of Bill Thompson

Molly D. '18, Assistant Web Editor

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May Shen – My name is Chunemi (May) Shen and I am a Chinese III and IV teacher and freshman advisor. I received a B.A. of Mechanical Engineering from Southwest Jiaotong University in China and did my masters in Management and Administration Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. Serving as a Sunday school teacher in my church about 18 years ago brought me to the area of education. I love children and I love working with young people. I have been teaching Chinese for about 12 years, first as a part-time Chinese teacher in Plano, and later as a Chinese teacher and CSL(Chinese as a Second Language) department head for 8 years at the SMIC Private School in Shanghai, China (an international setting independent school). For the last two years (August 2014 to June 2016), I taught Chinese at IL Texas High School in Garland, and I got my Texas Educator Certificate in Languages Other Than English (Mandarin Chinese EC-12) in July 2016. I am so grateful and happy to be joining Ursuline Academy of Dallas this school year and look forward to a great year!

Hailey Hunter – Hi! My name is Hailey Hunter and I am a freshman Math teacher! I graduated from Texas A&M University where I majored in mathematics. After graduating, I went back to my hometown Austin, TX and taught at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. I love cooking (but more importantly eating), reading, being outdoors, and spending time with loved ones. I am looking forward to getting to know more of you!

Natalia Ismail – Hi! My name is Natalia Ismail and I am a mathematics teacher for Algebra 2/Trig Honors and Algebra 1/Geometry Year 2 Honors! I attended the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and majored in Mathematics for my undergraduate degree and University of Houston (Go Cougars!) for my Masters of Education degree! I enjoy cooking and exploring Dallas, as I moved to Dallas at the beginning of the summer! Before I started working at Ursuline I was a teacher at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX. I am so excited to be here and look forward to an awesome year!

Keisha Howard (Gaddis) – Hello, my name is Keisha Howard, and I am in the Personal Counseling Department. I’m a graduate from the University of North Texas where I received my Master’s Degree in Counseling. In my spare time, I love playing with my fur babies (my fluffy dogs), dancing, and traveling. An Interesting fact about me is that I’m absolutely obsessed with the color pink, and I believe that glitter makes everything better (you should see my counseling office). Prior to coming to Ursuline, I was a Counselor in Plano ISD for several years, and I also started a non-profit self-esteem organization for girls, and a Life Coaching Practice for teen girls, which I still own & operate today. I also published a character education picture book for children because I LOVE being a Counselor and helping girls is my JAM. J Please stop by to see me. I’m happy to support you!

Jamie Byrum – Hello! My name is Jamie Byrum and I am excited to join Ursuline as a College Counselor. I attended Oklahoma Baptist University during undergrad where I majored in business and then completed my master’s in education at the University of Illinois. I just moved to Dallas in June from Illinois, but I’m originally from Oklahoma. I enjoy playing golf, reading and exploring the DFW area. Before I started working at Ursuline, I worked in Undergraduate Admissions and the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. I’m very excited to be here and I’m looking forward to getting to know many of the students. Stop by and say hi!

Elizabeth Smith – Hi! My name is Elizabeth Smith, and I am the Dean of Academics. I attended Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and majored in French Language/Literature with a minor in Art History. I have two daughters, and I love to cook and bake—my advisory will get lots of treats this year! I also like to run and travel; my favorite city in the world is Paris. I have two precious dogs and two silly cats. Before coming to Ursuline, I worked at Hockaday. I’m very excited to be here and look forward to meeting everyone and having a wonderful year!

Brenda McGurgan – My name is Brenda McGurgan and I am one-third of the Computer Science department! I attended undergraduate classes at West Texas A&M University and majored in Computer Information Systems. I also have a Master’s degree from SMU where I studied Computer Science in Education. I spent the last 10 years teaching AP Computer Science and Oracle Academy at Highland Park High School. I am so excited to be a part of the continuing traditions and excellence at Ursuline Academy.

Christopher Chambers – My name is Christopher Chambers, M.S. and I am the newest Chemistry teacher at UA. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and the Biological Sciences at Southern Methodist University (’06), and my Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Dallas in Biotechnology (’10). I am a devotee of the molecular gastronomy-style of cookery and consider myself an amateur star-watcher. I wish I was an amateur surfer also. I love reading the powerful words of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche. My favorite American philosophers, besides Emerson, are John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. Count me in on any theological/philosophic debate. Before working at UA, I was a teacher at nearby Warren Travis White HS, where I taught Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy, was well a lead coaching Varsity and JV boys’ soccer there. I am honored to be here at Ursuline and look forward to a wonderful school-year!

Dave Beyreis – My name is Dr. Dave Beyreis and I teach freshman Historical Geography and AP United States History at Ursuline. I did my graduate school work at Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner. I spend my spare time reading, cooking, and camping with my wife. Every year we try to cross a couple of national parks off our bucket list. We did Shenandoah National Park in June and hope to do the Dakotas next. I taught at Casady School, Carolina Friends School, and Saint Mary’s School before moving to Texas this past summer. I look forward to busy, productive year here at UA.

Jeff Girard – My name is Jeff Girard and I teach Freshman Historical Geography, Government, and one section of Psychology. I graduated from SMU with a degree in history and I am currently enrolled at UTD finishing a Master’s Degree in History, specializing in Holocaust Studies. I will also be the Head Swim Coach, having swam 16 years on club teams, at Jesuit, and finally at SMU. I have taught and coached at Jesuit, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, JPII, and now Ursuline! I am excited to begin my journey as an Ursuline teacher. I am married to my wife, Emily, and we have a 9 month-old daughter, Lily.

Aubree Auletta – Hi! My name is Aubree Auletta and I am the Alumnae Relations Associate over in St. Joe’s. I graduated Texas A&M University this past May 2016 with a degree in Communications. Previous to college I was a graduate at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Class of 2012. I am extremely excited to be back in the Dallas area and working at my alma mater. It’s going to be a great year!

Hadil Issa – My name is Hadil Issa and I am an Arabic teacher. I worked here at Ursuline in the past for almost two years as a substitute teacher for Math, during which I really enjoyed Ursuline and loved the girls. I have a master’s degree in Statistics from UTD, but my love to my language and my culture pushed me to become an Arabic teacher. I am originally from Palestine from the city of Bethlehem, which is the birth place of Jesus Christ, my last name by the way means Jesus in Arabic.
So excited to be back and looking forward to more great times at Ursuline.

Madeline Balconi-Lamica – I attended college at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. My majors were mathematics, and sociology. Then I also received my Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my kitten, Jules, and my dog June. In the summers, traveling is my hobby. During the school year, I enjoy attending events that are offered throughout the Dallas area.

Jessica Nugent – My name is Jessica Nugent and I am a freshmen and Sophomore English teacher. I am also a proud alumnae from the class of 1999. I have a four year old son named Mason who keeps me very busy and is helping me fulfill my dream of becoming a “Hockey Mom.” I went to Loyola Marymount University and earned my BA in English and, recently, earned my Masters in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from The University of Texas at Arlington. I have been teaching high school English for nearly ten years in public schools; however, my goal was always to one day return as a teacher to the place that instilled in me the love of learning. I am honored and thrilled to be a member of the Ursuline faculty.

Beth Lenzer – Beth is the new administrative assistant at Ursuline Academy. She studied mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington. She was unavailable for further comment.

1 Comment

One Response to “New Teacher Blurbs”

  1. Hailey Hunter on September 21st, 2016 9:06 AM

    So fun to read!! I love learning more about the other new faces here at Ursuline! Thank you for putting this together and making us all feel so welcome!

    [Reply]

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