November 24, 2021Gilford High School is welcoming five new teachers this school year from a range of different places and backgrounds.
Kelley Caravona, Michelle Fridlington, Azure Neveln, Desiree Smith, and Andrew Thurston are new to the school this year. Caravona, Smith, and Thurston shared some of their experiences after a staff meeting. Fridlington and Neleln were unavailable at the time.
Andrew Thurston came to Gilford from Brockton, Mass., where he was teaching marketing and entrepreneurship classes at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School. His parents live in the Ossipee area and he decided to come to the Lakes Region to be closer to family.
Currently he teaches Digital Connections at GHS, a class that utilizes current technology.
"I've enjoyed the transition into a new district, and everyone has been very supportive, not only for activities inside the classroom, but also as an individual," Thurston said. "In my growth as an educator, I'm looking forward to continuing to have an impact with students."
He said he enjoys learning about the students' lives and activities outside the classroom, such as sports, jobs, career aspirations, and more.
Desiree Smith is a school counselor at GHS. She previously worked for Riverbend Community Mental Health as a pinnacle mental health worked for two years. She then worked in the Franklin School District for 15 years, starting at the elementary level and then working at Franklin Middle School.
Smith and her family live in Gilford and she wanted to be a closer to home.
"I live here, my kids go here; I've always liked the community," she said.
Smith provides various types of counseling to GHS students.
"(I) provide emotional support to any student that may be going through some difficult times who might need an extra support at school," Smith said.
She also helps students with college and career planning.
"Helping them figure out their post high school planning and trying to set them up with opportunities that are the best for them once they graduate," she said.
Smith said the staff and students have been welcoming and positive.
Kelley Caravona is the new student assistance crisis counselor at GHS. She started in the public health field, serving the Winnipesaukee Public Health Region and working with the Partnership for Public Health and NAMI. She worked with high school students across the region and also worked in the Laconia School District for almost 10 years.
She said she wanted to be part of a school district that focused on the whole student and not just what was going on in the classroom.
"All of the high schools that I worked for in this region were wonderful," Caravona said. "Gilford, Inter-Lakes, and Franklin were three schools that stood out to me in terms of teaching the whole child and looking at family systems and support."
She said while academics are greatly important, she said she also wanted to address the different and more comprehensive pieces of students and their lives.
"We're all working collectively on behalf of these young folks and their families," Caravona said.