Sara Benis joyfully tore up the applications she had for Giant Eagle and other retail companies in Pittsburgh recently.
Benis was able to nix finding a job in retail as she is among the new faces students will see today. Benis is one of a few full-time new hires, as the school board approved her to become a social studies long-term substitute at the middle school at the end of June.
Although school just started for students today, the new eighth-grade civics teacher said she has enjoyed her first few days on the job at Chartiers Valley.
“The staff and administration have been very kind, understanding and helpful,” said Benis.
This is Benis’ first full-time teaching gig. Before coming to the middle school, she served as a substitute teacher in the Plum, Franklin Regional, East Allegheny, Propel and Penn-Trafford school districts. Additionally, she was a teacher at Pittsburgh Public's Summer Dreamer's Academy at Obama High School.
Benis said one of her favorite things about Chartiers Valley is the direction the district is heading.
“Unlike many districts, Chartiers Valley works together to place the students' learning first,” she said.
Benis is from a small town in Pennsylvania called Jersey Shore, between State College and Williamsport. She graduated from Grove City College where she initially went as an undecided major.
“I planned on majoring in English and history until some very excellent professors opened up my eyes to the value of understanding and the joy of learning,” said Benis. “I then decided the most fulfilling thing I could do would be to aid students in that process and I majored in history.”
Benis did her student teaching at Rocky Grove High School in Franklin, PA. She and her husband moved to the Pittsburgh area a year ago.
“During the past year, I was also able to travel around China and spend a few days teaching at an international school in Chengdu,” Benis said.
Benis has a lot of goals as a teacher for this upcoming school year.
“I plan to learn from fellow teachers' organizational strategies, teaching methods and experience,” she said. “I will strive to actively engage my civics students in beginning the practice of good citizenship while they are still in school.”
Additionally, Benis hopes to become involved in some of the districts extracurricular activities.
Benis, who loves to travel, believes her first year as a full-time teacher holds challenges, fun, learning and great students.
During her free time, Benis enjoys dabbling in music, exploring different ethnic foods, hiking and playing racquetball.