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Faculty Focus: Joanna Norton

By Denebola
Published: December 2007

By Julia Lytle and Claire Pezza

Newton South’s newest wellness teacher, Joanna Norton, is quickly making a name for herself among students. She is grateful to have the opportunity to fulfill her goal of teaching high school students and is looking forward to her first official year here at South.
Norton grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island. Since Newton reminds her of her hometown, she feels comfortable here and has made an easy transition. Norton attended Champlaign College in Burlington, Vermont.
After two years, she transferred to Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts to pursue her ambitions of becoming a teacher. There she received her physical education teaching degree.
Norton’s teaching career took off three years ago when she began teaching at an elementary school. Last year, Norton filled in at South for Pam Riddle while she was in maternity leave. “I put a lot of time and energy into teaching and I coached, so the next year, I got the spot, Norton said.
Along with teaching wellness, Norton also coaches the track team. She has been able to bond with the team and watch all of the runners improve and grow as a team. “It’s a really rewarding experience,” Norton said.
When she is not teaching, Norton loves hiking on the White Mountains in New Hampshire. She also runs a program for girl scouts in Rhode Island, where she teaches the girls basic outdoor survival skills.
Although Norton is new at South, she has been able to make fast connections with both students and faculty. She and Alan Rotatori teach a few classes together and have learned to work well together, maintaining a positive and fun environment for their students.
Norton has also grown close to Riddle. “Pam has been a motivating factor in my life,” Norton said.
Norton’s inviting personality and encouraging attitude both in and out of class is what draws students to her. “I always look forward to her class,” sophomore Alex Orrick said.
With a full year of teaching and coaching ahead, Norton is excited to be a member of the South community.
Teaching wellness gives her a chance to interact with her students on a much more active level than teaching in a classroom. “It is such a rewarding experience to see my students make progress,” Norton said.

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