Mrs. Geri Esposito ~ Science
Geri Esposito holds a degree in Science and a Higher Diploma in Education from University College Galway, Ireland, along with a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Rutgers University. Mrs. Esposito taught courses in biology and physical science at the High School level for 10 years before coming to MTMS where she has taught science since 2000. “I really enjoy working with Middle School students. I love their enthusiasm and curiosity. Teaching science is different every day and my job is never boring.” says Mrs. Esposito. Mrs. Esposito also enjoys her role as MTMS yearbook advisor.
Ms. Franziska Dragon ~ Language Arts
Mrs. Dragon earned a dual Bachelors degree in English-Literature and Secondary Education from William Paterson University along with completion of an Honors Thesis through the university’s honors program in 2017. She began teaching in the Passaic Public Schools District as a 7th grade, 8th grade, and 8th grade honors ELA teacher for gifted and talented students. Mrs. Dragon aims to instill an appreciation for the beauty of literature and writing while also teaching her students about the important role these skills play in everyday life. She loves to incorporate creative and authentic activities into her daily classroom routine, so as to not only share her love of language arts, but to enable students to leave behind a creative footprint wherever they go! When she is not teaching, Mrs. Dragon enjoys traveling the world, not just reading about it!
Mrs. Catherine Gustavsen ~ Language Arts
Catherine Gustavsen began teaching at Mendham Township Middle School in 1998 and currently teaches 6th and 7th grade Language Arts. She received her B.A. in English from Rutgers College and earned separate Master’s degrees in Special Education, the Art of Teaching, and Literacy. She is also a certified reading specialist. She hopes to continue to share her love of reading by hosting a book club after school. Mrs. Gustavsen enjoys going to the beach, discussing books with her students, cheering for the New York Giants, and supporting MTMS students in their extracurricular and sporting events.
Dr. James Haggerty ~ Math
Dr. James Haggerty Prior to teaching Grade Seven Mathematics and Grade Eight Geometry at Mendham Township Middle School. Dr. Haggerty practiced law, worked on Wall Street, and taught mathematics and language arts in the inner city. Dr. Haggerty acquired his passion for mathematics from his mother, a former mathematician at Bell Labs. He is certified in English, his college major. Like his father, a former attorney and sitting judge, he enjoys reading all genres of writing in his spare time. Dr. Haggerty also coaches the MTMS boys soccer team. He recently accepted a position tutoring mathematics and writing at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.
Mrs. Elizabeth Hollman ~ Spanish
Mrs. Elizabeth Hollman is a native Spanish speaker and is excited to join MTMS. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with minors in English & Ethnic Studies and her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Bloomsburg University. Throughout Mrs. Hollman’s teaching career, she has taught grades K-12. When not teaching, she enjoys reading, photography and spending time with her family.
Mr. Fernando Rivera ~ Social Studies
Mr. Rivera graduated with a Bachelors of the Arts in Psychology from Kean University in 2017. He then enrolled into the College of St. Elizabeth where he received his teaching certificate for Elementary Education and Middle School Social Studies. Mr. Rivera believes that inclusion, hard work, and setting clear goals and expectations are key to having a successful year. Mr. Rivera likes to keep up with current events and is always looking to connect the past with the present, which he believes is essential to learning history. Mr. Rivera takes his passion for education in the classroom out on to the soccer field where he is an assistant coach to the Bernard's High School Boys soccer team.
Ms. Sara Samaan ~ World Language
Mrs. Sara Samaan/Señora Samaan joined MTMS in 2011 and currently teaches 6th and 7th grade Spanish. She is from Bogotá, Colombia and holds a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Mrs. Samaan earned her Spanish Teacher Certification after meeting all the requirements established by the State Board of Education and completing Methods of Foreign Language Teaching course at Rutgers University. Mrs. Samaan began her teaching career in 2004 at Wardlaw-Hartridge School teaching Spanish III and AP Spanish. Señora Samaan loves teaching and brings native fluency and enthusiasm about the Spanish speaking world into the classroom.
Mrs. Christine Yawger ~ Language Arts
Mrs. Yawger has been teaching seventh and eighth grade language arts at MTMS since 2010. Mrs. Yawger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Middle School Endorsement in language arts from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. She then went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in English Writing from Seton Hall University. While at Seton Hall, Mrs. Yawger taught several first year English courses. She just recently finished a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership at Montclair State University. Teaching language arts has always been Mrs. Yawger’s passion, and middle school is her absolute favorite age group to teach. She loves being able to guide all of her students to grow as critical thinkers, readers, and writers so they can apply these skills in all that they do!
For many years, the seventh grade unit on the Holocaust has culminated in attending an in-school performance based on the life of Anne Frank. In this one-woman play, called “Through the Eyes of a Friend”, the actress interacts with a realistic video in a riveting and emotional account of young Anne’s life.
Improving students’ public speaking ability is an important objective of the seventh grade curriculum. To help achieve this goal “The Speech Doctor”, who has a Doctorate in public speaking and teaches at the college level, instructs our students on the major requirements of delivering successful presentations.
One of the highlights of 7th Grade Life Science is the frog dissection that is done as part of the animal unit. Students get to practice their skills with dissection tools including scalpels and dissection needles. Should any student opt-out of dissecting the frog they have the opportunity to perform a virtual dissection using the on line program Froguts.