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Because of retirements and new positions created, several new teachers will be joining our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Alexander Astone will be an administrative intern (one year only). He has taught for four years at Crews Lake Middle School and and year at Gulf Middle School. He is from Long Beach, NY, and attended State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia.

Todd Byers will be an ESE teacher. He will be co-teaching with math and English teachers. He has worked in Career Ready classes. He was born in Denver. He attended Colorado State University and his master’s degree is from University of Colorado Denver. He loves flyfishing and loves his wife and walks his cat on a leash.

Barbara Clarke will be an ESE instructional assistant. She worked first at Mitchell High School for 4 years in Profound Mentally Challenged, then at Ridgewood High School for two years in EBD, and for the last two years at Seven Springs Elementary in a 2nd and 3rd grade pods for support facilitator/behavior/phonics etc. She wa in business for over 30 years in New York City and Philadelphia. Ms. Clarke moved to Florida 10 years ago. She graduated from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, in Marketing/Business. She writes, “Love what I do and am ready for new adventures!”

Brianna Faint is a new science teacher at Gulf High School. She will teach physical science, chemistry, and chemistry honors. This is her first teaching assignment. Ms. Faint attended Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she majored in chemistry and minored in physics and mathematics. She was born in Kenosha. She attended George Nelson Trempor High School. Her sister, Amanda Faint, also teaches chemistry, at Land O’ Lakes High School.

Dimitrios Fakitsas is a new math teacher at Gulf. He will be teaching Algebra I and Liberal Arts Math I. Mr. Fakitsas has been teaching since 2003. He earlier taught physical education but was subsequently certified in mathematics. He taught math at the Athenian Academy in Pinellas County last year. Mr. Fakitsas was born in Lamia in Greece and lived in Athens. He attended the 40th Athens High School and the Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Schawn Flores joined our faculty in October 2015, working in the GHS on-line (EBD) unit. He is also the girls golf coach.

Dawn Daniels Hahn is our EBD social worker.

Jackie Jackson-Dean is our new school psychologist.

Andrea Knauber will be an ESE teacher. She is originally from Colombia and moved to the U. S. nine years ago. She has a B. A. in Sociology and is currently completing the last requirements for a M. Ed. exceptional student education, reading and ESOL endorsements with Saint Leo University. Ms. Knauber worked for almost 7 years in Hillsborough county with middle and high school refugee students supporting their English language acquisition, cultural adaptation, and drop out prevention, among other individualized services. Refugee services is an NGO program, sponsored by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), with grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Denise Noble is an ESE instructional assistant.

Mike Pacanowski is a new math teacher at Gulf High School. He previously taught at Swenson High School in Philadelphia and Broughal Middle School in Allentown, Pa. He recently moved to Florida. Mr. Pacanowski is a graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase. He had originally intended to become a musician instead of a math teacher. He plays the guitar. He was born in Pocono Pines, Pa., at attended Pocono Mountain High School.

Jessica Pitkoff will be an administrative intern (one year only). She has been teaching at Cypress Elementary School for the past five years, and is currently attending USF, earning her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, also from USF. She attended River Ridge High School, and her daughter attends River Ridge this year.

Dawn Smith will be an EBD/ESE teacher. She worked at Paul R. Smith Middle School for the past nine years, four as a Support Facilitator and five as a teacher in the EBD unit. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from University of South Florida and recently finished her Master’s degree from University of Cincinnati in Behavior Analysis. She grew up in Cincinnati and has lived in Florida since 2003. Her son graduated college last year and lives in Orlando.

James Washington is a new English teacher at Gulf. He comes to us from Zephyrhills High School, where has taught for the last eight years. He lives in Spring Hill, and will now have a shorter commute. Mr. Washington earlier taught in Hillsborough County for 12 years. He taught at McLane Middle School in Brandon, Rogers Middle School in Riverview, and Benito and Liberty middle schools in Tampa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and a master’s degree in reading at Saint Leo University. He attended Gulf High School, graduating in 1991. Mr. Washington has been a nationally board certified English teacher. Last year at ZHS Mr. Washington took 40 students to Italy during spring break. He has already arranged for a trip to Germany for ZHS students during spring break this school year and plans to allow Gulf students to participate. In 2017 he plans a Holocaust tour. Mr. Washington reports that he went skydiving this year over the summer for the first time. At Gulf he will teach 9th grade English honors and regular and Critical Thinking.

Robert Wilson is a new teacher at Gulf High School this year. He will teach U. S. History and World History. This is his first teaching assignment. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2014, majoring in history. He also attended Ridgewood High School. Mr. Wilson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Wilson replaces Mr. Mayer who retired. (Trivia: a former Gulf High School band director was also named Robert Wilson. He wrote the GHS fight song.)

We’ll update this page as more information becomes available. Our new teachers are encouraged to email Jeff Miller at with some brief biographical information.