Meet the New Teachers: Mrs. Wallover and Mr. Fontana

Annabella Sueiras '22

Mrs. Rachael Wallover (’07) and Mr. Don Fontana are two new teachers at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart this year. As the latest members of the OLSH family, Mrs. Wallover and Mr. Fontana are excited to bring their talents to the English and theology departments, respectively.

Q: What are some of your responsibilities at OLSH?

  • Mrs. W.: I teach Digital Media with Mrs. Vigrass, part of sophomore English, and a junior/senior Media and Communications course. I also moderate WCHR with Mrs. Vigrass, and The Clarion.
  • Mr. Fontana: I teach freshman theology and share teaching sophomore theology with Mrs. Snatchko.

Q: Which schools did you teach at before teaching at OLSH?

  • Mrs. W.: I completed my student teaching at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6-12 School (CAPA). After subbing for a while in various school districts, I taught grades 6-12 at Urban Pathways Charter School in downtown Pittsburgh, then grades 6-8 at Holy Trinity.
  • Mr. Fontana: I taught 7th & 8th grade History and Religion at the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo (NY),  then worked for 16 years as the Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of Grace Parish in the South Hills.

Q: Why did you come to OLSH?

  • Mrs. W.: As an alum, I was excited to come back to OLSH. I loved the idea of teaching in a family-like atmosphere, as well as working alongside some of the people who inspired me on my own educational journey. It is also important for me to work in an environment that allows me to explore and share my faith; OLSH is the perfect place to do both.
  • Mr. Fontana: Teaching at OLSH was a wonderful opportunity for me to continue teaching about the love of Christ and the beauty of His Church and our Catholic Faith.

Q: What did you expect when coming to OLSH?

  • Mrs. W.: I expected some of the familiar aspects of OLSH to be the same, but I also knew that a lot of positive changes had been made since I graduated. I was excited to learn more about what OLSH does to help further student success.
  • Mr. Fontana: I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but have seen first-hand the kindness, generosity, and patience of the staff and students.

Q: How did your expectations compare to reality when you started teaching at OLSH?

  • Mrs. W.: In some ways, OLSH met my expectations. It was the same family-like atmosphere that I remembered. In other ways, OLSH exceeded my expectations. I was impressed by the academic rigor and opportunities for spiritual growth, and feel proud to be a small part of such a community.
  • Mr. Fontana: Well, I honestly didn’t know enough to have any expectations.

Q: What do you like about teaching at OLSH so far?

  • Mrs. W.: Both the faculty/staff and the students are awesome. I feel both supported and challenged, and I’m excited to grow professionally and personally as a result.
  • Mr. Fontana: It’s been a great couple months. The staff, students, and my fellow colleagues in the Theology Department have been wonderful to work with.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspects of teaching?

  • Mrs. W.: Teachers have so many responsibilities, much more than I ever realized when I was a student. For me personally, my main challenge is the work life/home life balance. However, my favorite part of my job is the students; they make me excited to come to work everyday. It’s such a privilege to be a part of their academic and spiritual journeys.
  • Mr. Fontana: The teaching has been the easiest, most enjoyable part. All of the secondary responsibilities take a while to learn and get used to.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside of school?

  • Mrs. W.: I like to hang out with my family. I have a two-year-old son named Logan, and an 8-year-old daughter named Kerrigan. It’s fun to see the world through their eyes.
  • Mr. Fontana: I have six children–three boys and three girls–so my time is spent doing “Dad” stuff with them. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work as a part-time scout with the Milwaukee Brewers for 16 years, so I spend a lot of time watching high school and college games in the spring.

 

When you see them in the hallway, be sure to say “hi” to our new teachers!