Alumni
The Mount Magazine
Summer 2020 Issue

New Faces

Meet The Mount's New Teachers

We have quite a few new faces on campus this year! We are excited to welcome six new teachers to our school community. Get to know them and find out what they'll be bringing to The Mount as we begin the 2020-2021 school year.

Mr. Barry, Science

Meet Mr. Bob Barry! Mr. Barry will be working in the Science Department, teaching Chemistry 510 and College Prep Chemistry 535 to 10th graders and College Prep Physics 545 to 11th and 12th graders.

List of 6 items.

  • Provide a brief description of your professional background and education.

    I studied education as an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University. After receiving my degree, I taught physics and chemistry for five years at Palmer Trinity School, an independent school in Miami, FL. I was also a member of the varsity football coaching staff. I had great experiences at Palmer Trinity School but desired to return to the mid-Atlantic region and to apply my teaching experience in the pursuit of a master’s degree. For the past year, I have been enrolled full-time at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and I graduated with a Master of Science in education with a concentration in independent schools just before the MSJ school year began.
  • Why did you choose to come to The Mount?

    I was looking for an opportunity to make a positive impact on students in the Baltimore/D.C. region and explored several schools. I was drawn to Mount Saint Joseph because of the school’s history of academic and athletic excellence. Additionally, every person I have met who is associated with The Mount speaks glowingly of the school community and has been very friendly and helpful. 
  • Why do you teach?

    My primary goal in life is to make an impact. Education is a career that gives me great opportunities—perhaps even great responsibilities—to make an impact on the lives of students. High school is a time of growth and change, and as a teacher, I have the ability to positively influence students’ development by forming personal relationships with students, serving as a role model, and facilitating intellectual growth. I choose to teach physics because I believe it is important to understand, because it includes opportunities for demonstrations and interactive learning, and because it provides me the opportunity to influence students. However, not all development occurs in the classroom, so I coach football as another opportunity to influence the positive growth of young men.
  • What are some ways you keep your students engaged and motivated in your class?

    It is important to have strong relationships with individual students and to understand their unique strengths and interests. Relationships facilitate honest communication and can make it easier to identify when a particular student might be struggling or losing focus. Knowing the strengths of each student allows class activities to be designed and delivered in such a way that they complement these strengths. Knowing student interests—such as music, sports, art, food, etc.—allows instructional materials and examples to be catered to these interests so that students are more intrinsically motivated to learn.
  • What are your hobbies or interests outside of school?

    I am a huge sports fan! I played football, basketball, and lacrosse growing up. I try to stay active and healthy, even though I don’t have the opportunity to play organized sports as much as I would like. I enjoy watching both college and professional sports. I support all Penn State teams, especially football, and the major professional teams in the D.C. area (Nationals, Capitals, Wizards, and the newly-renamed Washington Football Team).
  • What is your favorite quote or saying?

    I love quotes and sayings, and I am planning on continuing to post a “Quote of the Week” board in my classroom, a tradition that I started at my previous school. My favorite short saying is: “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” My favorite longer quote/short speech is “The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt: 
     
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, for there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Dr. Obniski, Science

Meet Dr. Rebecca Obniski! Dr. Obniski will be teaching Honors Biology and Honors Genetics to 9th graders and a biotechnology elective for upper classmen. She also has a sophomore homeroom and is excited for the chance to get to know students from all grade levels.

List of 6 items.

  • Provide a brief description of your professional background and education.

    I studied chemistry and music as an undergraduate at The College of William and Mary (Go Tribe!), then moved to Baltimore for a PhD program in biology at Johns Hopkins. As a graduate student, I used fruit flies to investigate how diet influences stem cells and cancer development. My team discovered that the fats in the food we eat can actually modify the proteins in our stem cells and affect the type of cells that they become! Outside of the lab, I taught high school and college classes ranging from Developmental Biology to Earth Science. 
  • Why did you choose to come to The Mount?

    Without fail, everyone that I talked to while interviewing at MSJ talked about two things—community and mission. That united approach from faculty and staff paired with the tradition of academic excellence that I knew from my time in Baltimore was the winning combination for me.
  • Why do you teach?

    To me, there is nothing more rewarding than empowering students to face what challenges them. I teach because I love mediating that transition from “I can’t do it” to “I did it.”
  • What are some ways you keep your students engaged and motivated in your class?

    I incorporate projects and group problem solving to show how the material students are learning in class can lay the groundwork for them to solve real problems like world hunger and real emergencies like the current pandemic. So much of what was science fiction in the past is possible today, and the discoveries of the future are truly limitless. 
  • What are your hobbies or interests outside of school?

    I enjoy volunteer work and finding ways to use music to give back to my community. For the past year, I’ve been the music director at Saint Joseph’s Monastery Parish, which has been incredible. Music has the ability to unite, to comfort, and to inspire. It’s also a great way to get to know my students. Not everyone comes into my class with an opinion about science, but they all have an opinion about music. 
  • What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies?

    Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead—a book that weaves faith, doubt, and love into a brilliant adventure, What If by Randall Munroe to promote out-of-the-box thinking, and The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein

Ms. Diacopoulos, Science

Meet Ms. Briana Diacopoulos! Ms. Diacopoulos will be teaching 9th-grade biology and 10th-grade chemistry.

List of 6 items.

  • Provide a brief description of your professional background and education.

    I graduated from UMBC with a bachelor's degree in environmental science. I have a master’s degree in water science and policy from the University of Delaware and a Master of Arts in teaching from Towson University. My professional background includes working as an environmental scientist at an engineering and consulting firm in Maryland. 
  • Why did you choose to come to The Mount?

    Growing up in the Baltimore area and having attended NDP for high school, I knew of The Mount and its great reputation. I chose to come to The Mount because of its values, tight-knit community, and strong commitment to educating young men. 
  • Why do you teach?

    I am passionate about science and enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences with my students. As children grow up in an increasingly technologically- and scientifically-advanced world, I believe being scientifically literate is more important now than ever before. I want to help develop students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills and instill curiosity in my students. I was inspired by many teachers throughout my time in school, and I strive to bring the same passion and energy into my own classroom. Teaching is impactful and important, and I want to guide, support, and help students believe in themselves.  
  • What do students need to do to be successful in your class?

    To be successful in my class, students need to come prepared to class, ask questions, participate, avoid distractions, and find a study method that suits their learning style. Most importantly, students need to have positive attitudes and willingness to learn, be comfortable with making mistakes and learning from them, and focus on themselves rather than compare themselves to anyone else. 
  • What are your hobbies or interests outside of school?

    I enjoy hiking, traveling, foraging, spending time outdoors with my dog, and learning about the natural world. 
  • What is your favorite quote or saying?

    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Coach Damico, Physcial Education

Meet Coach Dominic Damico! Coach Damico is our new varsity football head coach, and he will be teaching 9th-grade physical education.

List of 5 items.

Mrs. Stender, Science

Meet Mrs. Stacy Stender! Mrs. Stender will be teaching Forensics Science to juniors and seniors. 

List of 6 items.

  • Provide a brief description of your professional background and education.

    This will be my 17th year teaching mathematics and science at the high school level. I have earned a master’s degree in mathematics and in distance education teaching and training, and I hold a bachelor’s degree in physics.
  • Why did you choose to come to The Mount?

    I am returning to The Mount after having been away for 10 years. I have always appreciated that The Mount is a school where every student who looks can find their place. Students are encouraged to become amazing people while being challenged to expand their brains. I am also happy to be returning to Baltimore, as this brings me closer to family and friends.
  • Why do you teach?

    I teach because I have a deep love for mathematics and science and truly enjoy sharing this with students.
  • Describe your teaching style or teaching philosophy.

    I believe the role of a teacher is to facilitate learning that encourages a growth mindset, creativity, perseverance, and empathy, while challenging students at their learning level.
  • What are your hobbies or interests outside of school?

    Outside of school I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, crocheting, and geocaching.
  • What is your favorite quote or saying?

    Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R Tolkien  
    Nothing is Impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m Possible’” – Audrey Hepburn

Ms. Foerg-Spittel, English

Meet Ms. Rebecca Foerg-Spittel! Ms. Foerg-Spittel will be teaching 10th-grade Honors American Literature and 11th-grade College Prep British Literature this year.

List of 6 items.

Mount Saint Joseph High School

Mount Saint Joseph is a Catholic, college preparatory school for young men sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.