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New Faces in Tarrytown: Sindelar Challenges Class

The following is the second in a series of introductions to new teachers and administrators in the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns. For the full series, see our New Faces at TUFSD page.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Melissa Sindelar thought she wanted to be a journalist through most of her high school and college career. She ended up finding a passion for teaching.

“Senior year in college I was like 'I don't want to be a journalist,'” she said. “So I started looking at what I could do afterwards and I joined the Teach for America program, which is what got me into education, and I just decided to stay.”

Sindelar recently joined the teaching staff at Sleepy Hollow Middle School as an eighth grade English and language arts teacher. She said her job has many aspects that appeal to her, such as spending time with kids and never having a boring moment at work.

“It kind of speaks to many different things that I'm passionate about, but the one thing that is of course the biggest reason is just being able to form relationships with these kids,” she said.

Sindelar said one of the most powerful things to watch was how kids grow and change. This is her seventh year teaching. She has previously taught at schools in The Bronx.

Sindelar said she's split on whether she prefers seventh or eighth grade, but she likes eighth grade because there's opportunities for more in-depth and analytical discussions.

“It's an interesting age, because they're really on the cusp of what adult they're going to be,” she said.

One of the many goals she has this year is to learn what the middle school and district are really about so she can become a vital part of it next year. Sindelar said she likes to be as involved as possible.

Sindelar said she wants to make sure her class is fun and entertaining. She also wants to “meet kids where they're at—challenging them regardless of their level.”

What should the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns be focusing on this year?

“I really want to make sure I challenge lower-level kids on grade level and kids who need extensions, and are ready to be working, on more high school level work.”

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