Mount Pleasant Elementary welcomes six new staff members

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VINTON–Mount Pleasant Elementary School principal Ellen Walton has hired six new staff members for the 2015-2016 school year including a nurse, an instructional assistant, and four teachers.

Mount Pleasant Elementary has welcomed six new staff members for the 2015-2016 school year. Shown left to right are Code Sizemore, Angela Sigafoes, Mandi Gray, Danielle Crowley, Jenny Swortzel and Christine Fimbel.
Mount Pleasant Elementary has welcomed six new staff members for the 2015-2016 school year. Shown left to right are Code’ Sizemore, Angela Sigafoes, Mandi Gray, Danielle Crowley, Jenny Swortzel and Christine Fimbel.

Danielle Crowley will be teaching preschool this year at MPES. She is originally from Loudon County, Virginia.

“I moved down to Greenville, North Carolina, to attend college at East Carolina University (Go Pirates!), where I earned a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Child Development/Birth-Kindergarten education,” said Crowley.

After college, she spent one year teaching in her hometown of Sterling, Virginia, and then the next seven years teaching in Greenville.

“This is my ninth year teaching preschool, and I absolutely love it,” said Crowley. “The staff at Mount Pleasant have been so supportive and made me feel very welcome. I am enjoying getting to know the Roanoke area with my husband, Ben, and our beagle, Bailey.”

Jenny Swortzel is teaching Kindergarten at Mount Pleasant. She grew up in the area and graduated from William Byrd High School in 2009. She graduated from Radford University in 2014 with a degree in Elementary Education. This is her first year teaching, but she worked last year as an instructional assistant at another elementary school.

“I wanted to work at MPES because I had heard wonderful things about the staff, the students, and the community—and they were absolutely true,” said Swortzel.

Code′ Sizemore is teaching fourth grade at MPES. She grew up in Mount Pleasant and attended MPES in kindergarten, then Hardy Road (now W.E.Cundiff) in first through fifth grades, and William Byrd Middle School. She graduated from WBHS in 1987. She earned a degree in psychology from Roanoke College and worked in day-treatment counseling with elementary-age students. She then went back and completed her teacher certification and licensure from the University of Virginia.

“I taught at WBMS for twelve years as a sixth grade English teacher, and loved it there,” said Sizemore. “I sponsored the Character In Action Club and loved teaching and working with middle-schoolers, but decided I wanted a change to expand my teaching experiences and gain new skills.”

“I wanted to come to Mount Pleasant Elementary because all three of my children have attended the school, and I knew what a wonderful school it is,” continued Sizemore. “Everyone here is great at his or her job, and the environment is a positive one in which kids are put first, and their best interest is at the forefront. The community here is also very tight-knit and supportive.”

Christine Fimbel is the new nurse at Mount Pleasant. She graduated from the Virginia Western Community College nursing program in 2013 and is now working on her Bachelor’s degree. She has spent the past two years working at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“I have always wanted to do school nursing and after having worked in the hospital, I felt confident enough to try and go for what I really wanted,” said Fimbel. “My three daughters all go to school in the Roanoke County school system and I was thrilled when Mt Pleasant gave me this chance. I moved here from Massachusetts ten years ago with my husband Tom and my three daughters, Ashley, Lynn and Sarah.”

Mandi Gray is the newest instructional assistant (IA) at Mount Pleasant. She graduated from Liberty High School in 1993 and from Virginia Western in 1996 with an Associate’s degree in science. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from Roanoke College in 1998 and a Master’s in Community Counseling from Radford University in 2000.

“My husband and I moved to the Mount Pleasant area in 2000 and have raised our family here,” said Gray. “All three of our children have gone to MPES or are currently enrolled here.”

This is her first year working as a full time IA at Mount Pleasant.  Last year, she was a substitute teacher and a substitute IA for Roanoke County Schools. Prior to that she volunteered at MPES, was a stay-at-home mother for several years, and worked at Family Preservation Services, Inc. as a mental health therapist and supervisor.

Angela Sigafoes teaches first grade at MPES. She attended William Byrd Middle School and graduated from William Byrd High School in 1993. She attended Roanoke College, graduating in 1997 with a major in sociology with a concentration/endorsement in Education NK-8.

She taught third grade and kindergarten at Crystal Spring Elementary in Roanoke City from 1998-2001 and then first and fourth grades in Fairfax County Public Schools from 2001-2004.  She most recently taught preschool at Bonsack Baptist Weekday Early Education Center (WEEC) in the program for 2 ½ year olds.

“I love working at MPES,” said Sigafores.  “The staff and administration are wonderful.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working here and look forward to many more years to come working with such talented teachers and awesome students.”

Mount Pleasant Elementary School was named a “Distinguished Title I School” by the state of Virginia for the 2014-2015 schoolyear.