The Milton Independent asked the same get-to-know-you questions of new teachers hired in the Milton Town and Georgia school districts this year. In Milton, elementary school guidance counselor Tracie Hultgren did not respond by our deadline Tuesday.

Responses were edited for style and length.

Colleen Crowley-Griffin

Colleen Crowley-Griffin

Colleen Crowley-Griffin
Milton Elementary School

Position: Early Essential Education (EEE) teacher
Hometown: I am proud to be a Vermonter and have lived in Milton for 13 years.
Hobbies, interests:  I enjoy working on creative projects with my kids, cooking, running and spending time with my family and friends.
College(s) attended: University of Vermont
Experience: Worked as case manager for HowardCenter and for South Burlington School District as a behavioral interventionist.
Worked as paraprofessional in Milton’s EEE program last year.

Why this career? I have enjoyed working with children for as long as I can remember, and it was the reason I majored in elementary and art education at UVM. I particularly enjoyed when my own children reached their preschool years and saw their love of learning develop. It is incredibly rewarding to watch young children grow and find joy in their interactions with peers and daily accomplishments.

Why in Milton? My children attend MES, and I have spent time volunteering in their classrooms and working as a substitute teacher and support staff member in the district, so this position feels like a natural progression.

What are you most looking forward to? I am so lucky to be working with the EEE team. They are such a strong group of teachers and support staff. I look forward to continuing with them in my new role, as we guide Milton’s youngest learners on their own educational adventures.

Christine Huleatt

Christine Huleatt

Christine Huleatt
Milton Elementary School

Position: Counselor, 3rd and 4th grades
Hometown: From Windsor, Conn. and currently live in Milton
Hobbies, interests: When I’m not working, I likely am spending time with my fiancée and our dog, Sawyer. I enjoy being outside, especially at the lake, drawing, knitting, running and just being around town meeting and chatting with new people.
College(s) attended: I received my B.A. in sociology from University of Vermont and received my masters in counseling from Johnson State College.
Experience: Completed school counseling internship at Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School. Worked for HowardCenter’s INCLUSION Program as behavior interventionist. Worked for Lund Residential Program supporting families as a residential counselor.

Why this career? I have a history and passion for supporting children and families to achieve their goals. As a school counselor, I support students as well as families as they potentially face and overcome personal/social, academic and career challenges. I am excited to provide students with the opportunity to grow through individual, small group and classroom lessons. Being a school counselor gives me a great opportunity to make a positive difference in the school community.

Why in Milton? I am able to support this wonderful community that I also happily call “home.”

What are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to getting to know Milton students and families. I am also looking forward to working with and getting to know more of the amazing MES teachers and staff.

Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson
Milton Elementary School

Position: Special educator, 3rd and 4th grades
Hometown: Barre City
Hobbies, interests:  Reading, hiking, hearing people’s stories, learning new things and spending time with my children.
College(s) attended: Boston University, Johnson State College
Experience: During my graduate program, I had the chance to work with 3rd graders in Barre City and 5th and 6th graders in Barre Town – in both schools with some great teachers.

Why this career? I like work that’s challenging, interesting and rewarding. I also love building relationships with kids and helping them discover their strengths and accomplish their goals.

Why in Milton? Milton Elementary has a commitment to inclusion and values each student. Everyone I’ve met so far has been very friendly and welcoming, and I’m looking forward to getting to know both the school and town communities in the coming months.

What are you most looking forward to? Getting to know my students and their families. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from each other!

Tammy Spear

Tammy Spear

Tammara (Tammy) Spear
Milton Elementary School

Position: Kindergarten teacher
Hometown: West Swanton
Hobbies, interests:  Cooking/baking, gardening, reading, walking/hiking, skiing, traveling and spending time with my family.
College(s) attended: University of Vermont
Experience: Five years as a reading specialist and two years teaching kindergarten.

Why this career? I love to learn, and I love to see how children light up when they have done something for the first time. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.

Why in Milton? I came from a school where I was the only kindergarten teacher for my grade. I love to collaborate with others, and being in a community with five other kindergarten classes allows me to work with others. This community is the perfect match for me!

What are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to working with a wonderful teaching staff and meeting new students and families.

Erin Brady

Erin Brady

Erin Brady
Milton Elementary School

Position: Special educator
Hometown: From Winsted, Conn.; live in Grand Isle.
Hobbies, interests:  Reading, hiking, swimming and Irish dancing. I teach summer swimming lessons at the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, and I dance with the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance in Williston.
College(s) attended: B.A. psychology & global studies minor St. Michael’s College (2009) and M.Ed.- special education, SMC (2011).
Experience: Student-teaching at John F. Kennedy Elementary in Winooski (2012-2013) and special educator at Smilie Memorial Elementary in Bolton (2013-2014).

Why this career? As a psychology major, I knew I wanted to work with kids. I had always enjoyed teaching swimming and dance lessons, and my parents are both teachers, so I think I was naturally drawn to teaching and working in schools. School is a very important place in kids’ lives, and as a special educator, I can help make school an accessible place for all students and help them get what they need to reach their potential as students and people.

Why in Milton? Milton is a much larger school than where I previously worked, and with a more diverse population. I enjoy working in that kind of environment. It’s also much closer to home!

What are you most looking forward to? It’s hard to pick just one thing. Right now I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and getting started with the school year!

Cara Lovell

Cara Lovell

Cara Lovell
Milton Middle School

Position: Speech-language pathologist
Hometown: Burlington
Hobbies, interests:  Writing, reading, violin, hiking, biking, boating, gardening
College(s) attended: Middlebury College, Upper Valley Educators Institute, MGH Institute of Health Professions
Experience: Outpatient clinics, tutoring, classroom teaching, outdoor teaching

Why this career? Being a speech and language therapist allows me to connect with and support students so they see that I’m on their side. I love the puzzle of breaking down the steps to a task and thinking about everything a student needs to do. I get to help people communicate, which is so important and so fun.

Why in Milton? I was impressed with the quality of the teaching and curriculum in Milton. Every staff member I met was bright, energetic and committed to student success.

What are you most looking forward to? Meeting the students! I look forward to hearing their stories.

Michael Bustamantes
Milton Elementary School

Position: Guidance counselor, K-1st grade
Hometown: From St. Ansgar, Iowa; live in North Ferrisburg.
Hobbies, interests:  Hobbies: Fishing, kayaking, cooking, playing softball, collecting hats. Interests: Youth/collegiate/amateur wrestling, live music, gardening, football.
College(s) attended: University of Arkansas, B.S.E.-primary education; University of Vermont, M.S.-mental health counseling (2004).
Experience: Previously a K-4 teacher at a private elementary school in Arkansas. Post-masters degree, worked for HowardCenter as school-based clinician and outpatient therapist for children and families, which was included in an initiative to bring trauma-informed care to VT. As such, I received training on developmental trauma’s impacts on children and families. Also have consulted with community mental health agencies, schools and state agencies.

Why this career? I have been fortunate to be an educator and counselor for children for about 18 years, some as a teacher and most as a mental health counselor. After working with the spectrum of youth 4-21, I found I prefer working with younger children and believe that this is the most crucial time for making a positive difference within a child’s life. My wife is also a special educator and works a school schedule, so I guess it fits nicely!

Why in Milton? Why not? It’s a great community, great school, excellent staff. Lake Arrowhead is pretty cool; I like to fish there.

What are you most looking forward to? I am most looking forward to getting to know the students and families at Milton Elementary, getting to know and working with MTSD staff and having an excellent first year!

Emily McCreary

Emily McCreary

Emily McCreary
Georgia Elementary and Middle School

Position: 7th grade science and language arts
Hometown: Williston
Hobbies, interests:  Baking, Jazzercise (I’m an instructor in Williston!), horseback riding, reading
College(s) attended: University of Vermont (2008-2012, bachelor’s degree in nutrition & food science); University of Vermont (2013-present, masters of arts in teaching)
Experience: This will be my first year teaching! I spent last year student teaching on a 7/8th grade team at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington.

Why teaching? I have always been interested in teaching, specifically at the middle level age. I moved while I was in middle school and had wonderful teachers who helped me grow and built my love of learning. I hope to do that for my students.

Why in Georgia? I have heard wonderful things about GEMS and am excited to join the Georgia community.

What are you looking forward to? I look forward to meeting my students and working with the Georgia community in the coming year.

Mariah Mandigo

Mariah Mandigo

Mariah Mandigo
Georgia Elementary and Middle School

Position: 5th grade
Hometown: Rome, N.Y.
Hobbies, interests:  Reading, writing, hiking, and mostly anything that involves being outside :)
College(s) attended: St. Michael’s College
Experience: This will be my first year teaching, and I can’t wait!

Why teaching?  Teaching is such a rewarding job. As a teacher you have the ability to incite a spark for learning in students and be a part of a child’s journey to discovering new concepts. I love children, and I love working with them and demonstrating to them that learning is fun!

Why in Georgia? Georgia seems like the perfect fit for me. Everyone here is determined, kind and has a love for what they do. I look forward to working with this supportive team of teachers and staff.

What are you looking forward to? I am most looking forward to meeting my new students and forming connections with them. I can’t wait to start showing them how fun reading can be!

Jenifer Hardy

Jenifer Hardy

Jenifer Hardy
Georgia Elementary and Middle School

Position: 6th grade math
Hometown: Georgia
Hobbies, interests:  Scrapbooking, sewing, fishing with my kids, gardening
College(s) attended: Johnson State College
Experience: 10 years in Bakersfield and Montgomery.

Why teaching? It’s a great job; every day is different.

Why in Georgia? Rural, but close to my husband’s business.

What are you looking forward to? Getting back into teaching after several years off.

Anything else? I feel blessed to get an opportunity to teach in the same great community that I live in and the same school that my children attend.

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Christopher Whitaker
Georgia Elementary and Middle School

Position: 6th grade science
Hometown: Winchester, Mass.
Hobbies, interests:  Hiking, biking, percussion, sailing, automotive restoration, welding, carpentry, the list goes on and on.
College(s) attended: University of Massachusetts Amherst (B.S wildlife and fisheries conservation), Lesley University (M.Ed middle school math/science)
Experience: 3 years teaching environmental technology at high school, 5 years teaching middle school science at Hale Middle school in Stow, Mass.

Why teaching? It’s a very rewarding experience. I enjoy helping students collaborate and learn new things. I also enjoy sharing my love of science and the natural world.

Why in Georgia? Coming from out of state, I heard wonderful things about the Georgia school system. I love the area and look forward to becoming part of the community.

What are you looking forward to? Meeting my new students and starting the school year.

Barbara Hughes
Georgia Elementary and Middle School

Position: Half time special educator, half time literacy specialist
Hometown: Essex Jct.
Hobbies, interests:  Yoga, walking, hiking, biking, and snow shoeing
College(s) attended: Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. for my B.A. and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for my master’s in education.
Experience: 30 years

Why teaching?  I have always loved teaching ever since a very young age. My father was a teacher and I followed in his footsteps.

Why in Georgia? I was hoping to move to this area in the next few years, so this is a perfect fit.

What are you looking forward to?  I am looking forward to learning more about the school and the community.

Anything else? I have been a Girls on the Run coach in the past and was hoping to continue this program here in Georgia.