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Meet Our Newest Faculty Members

Kyle Bates

"This is my first year teaching at Highland and I am so excited to meet everyone. In my free time, I like to take my dogs for walks, hike, spend time with my family, and go to the beach. I have two dogs, two cats, and a small aquarium. I am looking forward to a great year filled with learning and fun!" 

Kiley Besko 

"Hi, my name is Kiley Besko and I am one of the new teachers at Highland Middle School. I am from Poughkeepsie, where I currently live with my fiancé and dog, Ace. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, taking Ace for walks, and going to new restaurants. In 2021, I graduated from SUNY New Paltz, where I played softball and received my bachelor’s degree in Adolescence Education-Mathematics. This will be my third year teaching seventh-grade math. I am so excited to be a part of the Highland Husky family!"

Eric Fulgione

"Hi, my name is Eric Fulgione and I will be the leave replacement for Mrs. Harris, which means I'll be teaching seventh-grade Physical Science, eighth grade Life Science, and an elective called ‘The Science of Sound.’ My background is in Biology, which I studied at SUNY Oneonta before getting my master's degree in teaching. I spend my time outside of school writing music and playing gigs, which I've been doing since I was in middle school! I like to combine my two passions together, which is how I arrived at the theme of my elective course. I hope to empower my students by giving them the knowledge and tools they need to become independent, critical thinkers."

Pietro Geraci

"Hi, I'm Pietro Salvatore Geraci, and I am the new Earth Science teacher at Highland High School. I've lived in Newburgh my entire life. I earned my bachelor's degree in Astronomy with a Correlate Sequence in Earth Science from Vassar College in 2018, and I earned my master's in Adolescent Earth Science Education from Pace University in 2021. I previously taught in the Newburgh and Washingtonville school districts, and I'm excited to start here in Highland! When I'm not teaching, I'm singing in a local choir, Cappella Festiva, and playing the bagpipes for the Orange County Firefighters Pipes and Drums. I enjoy hiking, composing, and traveling. I look forward to introducing students to the exciting world of Earth Science!"

Kristina Kaisik 

"My name is Kristina Kaisik and I am excited to have been hired to fill in for School Counselor Heather Laubach from mid-September through mid-February while she is on maternity leave. I have 30+ years of experience as a School Counselor in the Hudson Valley and served as Guidance Coordinator K-12, as well. I returned to work after retiring because I still have a passion for working with students and supporting them to reach their dreams. Establishing strong connections and building trust with parents/guardians early is a key priority of mine. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, running, skiing, horseback riding, hiking, reading, and spending time with my my dog, family, and friends. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Highland Central School District and am very much looking forward to my time here!"

Jennie Letizia

“Hi, my name is Jennie Letizia and I am one of the new Kindergarten teachers at Highland Elementary! I graduated from SUNY New Paltz with my bachelor's degree in Early and Elementary Education as well as my master's in Literacy. I have always wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher and am so grateful to have the opportunity to be one this year! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé and my German Shepherd, Duke. I am so excited to meet everyone and become part of the pack!”

Victoria Minard

Hi, my name is Victoria Minard and I am very excited to teach Special Education in an ICT second-grade classroom this upcoming school year. I received both of my degrees from Marist College. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Psychology and Special Education and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Special Education. I am a Highland alum graduate and currently live in Highland. I have been working in the Elementary School for the past two years doing leave replacements and subbing. I have enjoyed teaching all grades and have made beautiful relationships within the building. Out of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I like to stay active and participate in crafting, fishing, and reading activities. Also, I like to help my family in my free time at our seasonal tree farm. I look forward to developing strong positive relationships with all my students, staff members, and parents/community. My main goal is to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all of my students. See you all in September!

Nicolette Perrone 

"Hi, my name is Nicolette Perrone and I have the pleasure of being one of the new teachers at Highland Middle School! I am so excited to be working with the incoming sixth-grade class, as well as the seventh and eighth-grade students. I earned my Master of Education at Adelphi University and went on to further my educational career at the College of Saint Rose, where I earned my additional certification in Special Education. Any free time I have I love to spend with my family and friends (and of course my toy poodle, Lola!). I come from a family of educators who helped shape me into the teacher I am today. I am so excited to further my experience within the Highland school district and cannot wait to meet all the Huskies!"

Andrew Pollard

“Hi, I'm Andrew Pollard, a new Special Education teacher at Highland Middle School. I taught English and Theater in Manhattan for six years. Born and raised in Idaho, I've now been in New York for 20 years. I fell in love with the New Paltz area and bought a home there in 2017. I received a master's degree from NYU (Steinhardt), and a bachelor's from CUNY (City), and am finishing my MFA at the University of Idaho. Outside of class, I'm either hiking with my dog in these abundant and beautiful forests, or I'm reading, writing, or attending some theater. I strive to instill confidence, curiosity, and kindness in all of my students, through whatever we're learning.”

Amy Salazar 

"Hi, my name is Amy Salazar and I am one of the new teachers at Highland Elementary School for the 2023-2024 school year. I am from Wallkill, New York and I currently live in New Paltz with my husband, two dogs, and a flock of chickens. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I graduated from SUNY New Paltz with my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in 2012. I went on to get my master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in 2015 from SUNY New Paltz. For the past eight years, I have taught both ENL and Kindergarten in a different district. I am excited to be back in Kindergarten for this school year! On the weekends, I enjoy running, hiking with my family, and curling up with a good book. Stop by and say ‘hi’ in Room 106! Have a great school year!”

Rich Seibert

"Hi! I’m Rich Seibert, and I’m excited to be a part of the Highland Middle School Special Education team. I’m originally from Long Island and the New York City metro area, but I currently reside in Cornwall with my wife and two-year-old son. I attended the NYU Steinhardt School of Education for my undergraduate studies, and completed my master’s degree at Relay GSE through the NYC teaching fellows. I’m coming from the NYCDOE, where I’ve spent the last six years teaching Special Education in the Bronx with a focus in Reading and English Language Arts. In my free time, I find myself performing music, enjoying the outdoors in whatever capacity I can, and being a loving husband and father. I’m looking forward to advocating for exceptional learners in the 2023-2024 school year!"

Tsahai Wright 

"Hello! My name is Tsahai Wright and I am super excited to be joining the Husky family at Highland Middle School as one of the seventh-grade ELA teachers. I live in the Village of Bloomingburg here in the Hudson Valley but was born and raised in Brooklyn. I taught middle schoolers in the Bronx for five years and am thrilled to be teaching now in Highland's amazing school district! I am a writer so I'm typically writing, then reading, then writing some more. My family and I share our home with our beautiful Cane Corso, two birds, two cats, and a pond full of Japanese Koi where I sit and knit sometimes. Wave when you see me, I'll absolutely wave back!"