Frau Gillett says good-bye to WA


Oliver Davey, Staff Writer

Kristin Gillett, who has been an integral part of WA’s German department for 11 years, will be leaving WA after this year for a new teaching job approximately two miles down the street.

Gillett will be taking the place of the retiring Lizette Greaves, who is currently the German teacher at Blanchard Middle School.

Gillett thought long and hard about making the move when she heard about Greaves’s upcoming retirement, and eventually decided the move would be best for her. She is an experienced middle school teacher, having taught in one for fourteen years in Newburyport before moving to WA.

“I knew that Frau Greaves was planning to retire in one of the next few years and so I really thought about it and I decided that I wanted to do that,” Gillett said.

Gillett, who has carved out strong relationships with many of her students in her time at WA, will certainly be missed by many. Sophomore Dylan Breen, who is one of Gillett’s students this year at the German III level ,talked about how much he would miss what she brought to class each day.

“I will miss the positive vibe that she brings to class every day,” Breen said. “I hope that the new teacher keeps her positivity and that he or she makes class interesting like Frau Gillett does.”

Breen also mentioned how Gillett uses authentic stories from her time in Germany, which were very interesting and enhanced the class. Sophomore Anshu Punreddy, who also takes German III under Gillett, echoed this by talking about how she uses material that is relatable in class.

“I hope the [new] teacher next year uses material that’s relatable instead of just using the textbook, which is what Frau Gillett does,” Punreddy said.

Fellow teachers also expressed how they will miss many qualities of their fellow teacher. German teacher Timothy Welch, who has worked with Gillett for over 6 years, praised her enthusiasm and understanding of the power of a language.

“She’s brought incredible enthusiasm for German. She’s somebody who really understands the value of […] knowing a foreign language,” Welch said.

Gillett is excited to move to Blanchard, looking forward to the enthusiasm that the middle schoolers have. She however has loved her time at the high school and will miss many parts of Westford Academy that she has become accustomed to.

“I will really miss the conversations and things we have here at the upper levels,” Gillett said. “I will really miss hearing about their future and where they want to go.”

As for who will be the new German teacher, interviews are ongoing with some fantastic candidates according to Gillett, and the new teacher should be announced at the end of May. Gillett is also prepared to help the new teacher make a smooth transition to WA.

“I’ll work very closely with that teacher to make sure they know what we have done in the past, but I am also hoping they will bring their own personality and enthusiasm. I am not looking to replace me […] but someone who will add something new and interesting to the WA German program,” Gillett said.

Welch agreed that the new teacher will bring something new to the program, but also mentioned that he hoped the new teacher emulated some of Gillett’s teaching strategies.

“I hope that they are as good at connecting with the students as she is,” Welch said.

Gillett now has to prepare for the change to middle school using the German teacher at the Stony Brook school, Colin Ashby, as a resource. While still focusing on her students at WA, she now has some extra work figuring out what the curriculum is at the middle school level, and how she will teach it next year.

Gillett also has to prepare for not only a change in curriculum, but also a change in teaching style at the middle school.

“Middle school kids are awesome, but they’re monkeys. It is going to take a lot of energy.” Gillett said.

Breen, once a student at Blanchard, talked about some tips for Gillett when she is starting at the school.

“Make class engaging for younger kids and not focus a lot on grammar, rather, watch videos or do activities that the kids will find not only interesting, but that will make them want to come to class every day,” Breen said.

Punreddy also mentioned that she thought Gillett would be completely fine in her transition to Blanchard and she thinks Gillett will be a successful teacher there.

“I hope she has a great time teaching at the middle school,” Punreddy said, “and I know the kids will love her but we’ll miss her at WA.”