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Faculty / Staff Info

Amy Abdallah is a Transition Assistant in Career Explorations. She joined the GHS faculty in Feb 2020.  She has a BBA in Business Administration – Marketing from the Carl H Lindner College of Business – University of Cincinnati.  Originally working in the area of budget and supply management, she took of several years be a stay at home mom of 3.  She returned to work as a Substitute Teacher and Job Coach in New Jersey.  She is an avid volunteer which included being a Master Gardener in NJ which is one of her hobbies. She enjoys working with the students and being on Team INcreDible.

Bert Anderson is one of the science teachers at Gulf High School. He earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Tampa and he earned an M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of South Florida. He was born in Chicago, educated in Minnesota, and lived in New York while enlisted in the Army but he has found his way to New Port Richey at last. He sponsors the Automotive Maintenance club, where students take a hands on approach to learning how to care for their cars, as well as sponsoring the Chess and Board Games club where students can play friendly or competitive games and spend a little social time away from their phones.

Andrea Balestrieri has lived in Pasco County since 1975. She hails from Bedford, Massachusetts. Ms. Balestrieri has worked for the district since 2005. She has taught all subjects to students with disabilities. She has taught at J.W. Mitchell and Anclote High Schools before coming to Gulf High School in 2017. Ms. Balestrieri has a daughter, a fiancée and 2 cute pups. She is a voracious reader in her free time.

Crystal Blatchley is a math teacher who joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, coming here from Hudson High School. She previously taught at Collins Middle School in Collins, Mississippi, and in Morgan City and Lafayette, Louisiana. She was born in Erie, Pa., and moved to Florida at age 13. She attended Gulf Middle School and Gulf High School, from which she graduated in 1990. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball at Gulf. She has a degree in Sports Medicine from Elon University in Elon, N. C.

Neil Boyle joined the Gulf High faculty at the middle of the 2013-14 school year, teaching Gaming and Simulation, and Business Education. He was born in East Cleveland, Ohio and came to Florida in 1989 after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is a graduate of The Community College of the Air Force in Logistics Management and earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Ethics from Trinity College of Florida. He has worked in the district for 11 years.

Carmen Bozolo is a Spanish teacher who has her Bachelors Degree in education from USF.  She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York. At River Ridge High School she started as a ESOL para, worked as Tech/media assistant. Ms. Bozolo is certified to teach Spanish K-12 and has taught Spanish I, II and III and Sponsored the Spanish Honor Society.

Angela Brown joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2019-20 school year. She teaches ACCESS English and ACCESS Unique Skills. She came to Gulf from Riverdale High School in Lee County, where she taught for one year. Before that, she earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from Florida Gulf Coast University. She was born and raised in Palm Harbor, FL. Angela was a competitive swimmer for 15 years, and now spends her free time weight training!

Bruno Buonsanto was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is also class of 1989 alumnus of Gulf high School. He is a Navy veteran, having served in Desert Storm/Shield on board the USS Midway CV-41 (Air Craft Carrier forward deployed Yokosuka, Japan). Mr. Buonsanto worked previously for Waste Management Inc. and managed a construction landfill in Hudson. After leaving the waste disposal industry and before joining the GHS staff in 2008, he was employed by Data-tron Communications as a project manager. He played 3 years of semi-pro football and 4 years of arena football for the AIFA (Gulf Coast Raiders), NIFL (Florida Knights), and the APFL (Florida Scorpions). Bruno starting working at Gulf High School in 2008. He is proud to say that all of his children have graduated from GHS as well. He is currently the school’s Athletic Director.

Phyllis Butler joined the faculty at the start of the 2008-09 school year. She teaches health occupations. Mrs. Butler has been an assistant director of a skilled nursing facility. She has been a nurse for eight years. She was born in St. Petersburg. She is a Hudson High School graduate and attended PHCC. She has three daughters, two of whom are students at Hudson High School.

Frances Costa is a Science teacher at Gulf High School. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2005-06 school year. Prior to GHS, she taught science to at-risk teens at PACE for four years. She has a master of science degree in biology from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is a part-time science instructor at Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Angela Cotney is the guidance counselor for students whose last names begin with C, D, and G-M. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. She has an M. Ed. degree and an Ed. S. degree from the University of Florida. She previously was the guidance counselor at Hawthorne High School in Alachua County. She attended Gaither High School in Tampa. Her father is Mark Cotney, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to 1984 and subsequently coached for two years.

Jackie Crofford is an ESOL Coach and her 3rd year at GHS. She will be at GHS 2-3 days/week to support teachers and our ESOL IA in working with our multicultural learners. This is her 16th year of teaching and it has all been in ESOL. Mrs. Crofford’s teaching certification and Master’s degree are in K-12 TESOL from UNC Charlotte. She previously taught in Concord, NC before moving to Florida (all years as an ESOL Teacher or Coach) and is a former Coast Guard “brat,” including 3 tours in S.E. Alaska and 3 years in Puerto Rico. Mrs. Crofford spent two summers in Japan in college and is an adoptive mom – her Alaska Native daughter is now 26. She has been married for 17 years to Jay, who teaches elementary music in Pasco.

Krystle D’Aquino teaches English for our Freshmen Buccaneers. A Pasco County native herself, she is passionate about the students in our District and this community. Ms. D’Aquino received her BA degree in English from USF after receiving her AA degree from PHSC (formerly PHCC). Her favorite practice is having an attitude of gratitude, especially for her Buccaneer family!

Marissa Dalimonte joined the GHS faculty at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. She has a B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. She was born in Michigan and grew up there. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked in education for the Florida Aquarium.

Sharaya De Sousa is an SSAP teacher. She is a 2012 graduate of GHS. At that time she worked in the office at Gulf Middle School during her senior year. She holds a Masters Degree in Psychology.

Elizabeth Diaz joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2011-12 school year, teaching Nutrition & Wellness and Child Development. Since then, she has taught CTE, AVID, Graduation Enhancement, and is now serving as our Career Resource Specialist. While teaching CTE, Ms. Diaz started our Early Childhood Academy in 2018. She was born in New York and came to Florida in 1989 and is a graduate of Springstead High School in Hernando County. She majored in Family and Consumer Science and graduated from FSU.

Jennifer Dixon-Fitzner began teaching in Florida in 2003 and has been teaching at GHS since 2010. She is certified to teach Art K-12, Business Education 6-12, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) K-12, Exceptional Student Education (ESE) K-12, and Social Studies 6-12. She has a Master of Education from Eastern New Mexico University and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Policy from Texas Tech University. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health (SABEH). For six consecutive summers from 2013-2018 she traveled to China and conducted professional development workshops for teachers with an emphasis on multi-modal and student-centric pedagogy.  Ms. Dixon was named “Pasco County District Teacher 2020-2021.” Ms. Dixon is the co-coordinator for the GHS Annual Veterans Day Panel Discussion and co-coordinator of a literacy project that made books available to children of low-income backgrounds. Ms. Dixon enjoys traveling and attending educational conferences. She recently traveled to India to participate in an educational workshop about Jainism, Teaching for Peace, and Gandhi’s vision of peace and global understanding.

Steve Donaldson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Bellevue University/University of Nebraska Omaha where he graduated from the AFROTC program and has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. He currently teaches Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. Government and Politics and Comparative Governments as well as International Baccalaureate (IB) History of the America’s classes, and sponsors the History Honor Club. Mr. Donaldson has been teaching at Gulf High School since 2004.  He is a retired U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer (retired Major) and former business owner. He currently resides in Starkey Ranch and has lived in the Tampa area since 1992 and Pasco County since 1999. Mr. Donaldson is married with three children and seven grandchildren.

Lydia Donato teaches World History and AP U. S. History. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. She taught for three years at the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars in East Harlem, N. Y. She is a graduate of Adelphi University in Garden City, N. Y., and she attended Long Beach High School in Long Beach, N. Y. Ms. Donato reports that she likes to travel and has visited Greece, Italy, and Ireland.

Judith Duncan joined the Gulf High School faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. She is the ESOL paraprofessional. Before coming to Gulf she served in a similar capacity at Gulf Highlands Elementary School for one year. She was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and earned a B. A. degree in Education from Chihuahua College. When she joined our faculty, she had lived in the U. S. for eleven years. Her husband, Ron Duncan, works for Bank of America. They have three children.

Steven Emerson teaches Reading. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. He had been the boys varsity soccer coach for three years, and earlier he was the girls soccer coach. Mr. Emerson taught at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School for 15 years and has been employed by the district for 19 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from St. Leo University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. Mr. Emerson was born in New Jersey and raised on Long Island. He attended Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N. Y.

Dimitrios Fakitsas teaches math. He joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. 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.

Ana Maria Florez teaches math. She has her degree in Agricultural Engineering, National University of Colombia.  She comes from Colombia South America, graduated as an engineer in 2000, and has worked as a teacher for 12 years. Ms. Florez speaks English and Spanish.

Jennifer Fugate teaches science. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. She has a B. S. degree in biology with a minor in psychology and a B. S. degree in chemistry with a minor in physics from Maryville College in St. Louis. She was born in St. Louis and grew up there. She previously taught at Ridgewood High School, and earlier taught at Zephyrhills High School for four years. Before becoming a teacher she worked for Sea World and for National Marine Fisheries.

Jeffrey Green teaches mathematics. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. He has a B. S. degree in mathematics from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., and completed the teacher certification program at Dickinson College. He was born in Philadelphia and grew up there. He has lived there, and in Sicily, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Los Angeles. He previously taught in the Central Dauphin school district in Pennsylvania and the William S. Hart school district in Santa Clarita, California.

Crystal Hernandez is our school’s registrar. She is a mother of two who enjoys painting and writing in her free time. She also has a passion for dance and enjoys teaching bachata and breakdancing. She also enjoys hot cups of tea and snickers bars!

Gary Jacobs is an Instructional Assistant-ILS responsible for the Computer Lab operations, where Gulf High students participate in selected online courses. This is his first year at Gulf High School, but Mr. Jacobs has worked in the Pasco School System for over six years. Mr. Jacobs is from Atlanta, GA where he attended college at Georgia State University and then a career in upper management and marketing for major oil companies. He accepted an employment opportunity to transfer to Tampa and now live in New Port Richey. Mr. Jacobs has a son and daughter who are both attorneys in Atlanta. Mr. Jacobs states: ‘I am very proud to be at Gulf High School and thrilled to assist students who represent our future’.

Patty Joens is the school’s Administrative Assistant and principal’s secretary. She joined the staff of Gulf High at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Mrs. Joens had been at Bayonet Point Middle School for eleven years, and was Mr. Knobl’s secretary when he was principal there. (Mr. Knobl was later a principal at GHS.) She is originally from New Jersey. Patricia Pinto graduated from Gulf High School in 1988. Her husband Jason is principal of Fivay High School.

Pam Kaplan MS CCC-SLP, MFA –  Pam comes to GHS with many years of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist.  She is a former vocal/dialect coach and taught as an Adjunct Professor at USF and Eckerd College. Pam enjoys building confidence and self-esteem in her students. She hopes to inspire them to become effective communicators.

Cindy Knowles is our Students in Transition Graduation Enhancement Coordinator and is originally from Indiana having 15 years of experience as a school counselor with a total of 20 years of experience in schools. She is proud to have assisted her previous school district with obtaining and managing a $1.2 million grant from the federal government to increase mental health services in all of their schools. She has been with Pasco County Schools since August of 2019. She also has 10+ years of experience working in social services with children in foster care and group home settings and with adults who have a mental illness diagnosis. Aside from her passion for working with youth and making a difference in them and their family’s lives, she also enjoys giving time to animal rescue efforts, spending time in the water (swimming, kayaking, etc) and enjoying time with family and friends.

Stacy Lamarca teaches Reading in the SBP program and Science with Team INcreDible. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Mrs. Lamarca was born in Illinois near Chicago. She just moved to FL. 2 years ago with her husband and two boys; as well as her mother, sister, and grandmother also made the move. She attended Downers Grove North High School, in Downers Grove, IL. Mrs. Lamarca started out teaching at Westmont High School but then taught several years at the Elementary Level. The last 10 years before she moved to FL. she was an ESE Supervisor and Principal in Des Plains, IL. She has a bachelor’s degree in ESE Education from Northern IL. University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. She also holds certifications in Director of ESE Education and Autism. She loves to be outside and spend time with friends and family.

Becky Loeffler is an IA with the InD department and works with the supportive level.  This is her 3rd year at Gulf High School and is glad to be working with her students.

Dean Lofton teaches Science. He is the Cross Country coach. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1978 and obtained his Science Ed. degree from USF.

Andrew Madeloni joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. He teaches social studies. He came to Gulf from Chasco Middle School, where he taught for one year. Before that, he taught for nine years at Hudson Middle School. He served in the U. S. Navy for 15 years. He was born in Brooklyn and attended Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, N. Y. He earned a B. A. degree in Social Science Education from USF. One of his brothers is a principal of a school in Massachusetts; the other works for the YMCA in Long Beach, N.Y.

Wanda McClellan teaches English and social studies. She joined the Gulf faculty in the middle of the 2003-04 school year. Mrs. McClellan was born in New Orleans and was raised in Monroe, Louisiana. She has a B. A. degree from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. She taught at the Renaissance Center in Citrus County for seven years. She has three children, ages 20, 18, and 15. Her husband runs the MRI Center at Community Hospital in New Port Richey. She says she likes sports, and her favorite sport is baseball. She was the Citrus County Teacher of the Year in 2002.

CDR John McGuire joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2011-12 school year. He is the Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) in our NJROTC program. He retired from the Navy after 21 years of active duty in 2007 and has been teaching NJROTC ever since. He attended the University of Florida for 3 years and graduated with a BS in Economics from Florida State University. He earned an MS in Manpower Systems Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He has two sons, Tyler (31) and Steven (29). His hobbies are boating, fishing, diving, and anything related to the water.

Thomas Morrison teaches mathematics. He served 20 years in the United States Marine Corps (1991-2011) as an Arabic linguist and intelligence analyst with several deployments to the Middle East and elsewhere. He became a teacher in 2015 and earned an MFA in Creative Writing in 2019. In his spare time, he writes fiction, poetry, memoir, and gaming content.

Gabriel Nash joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. He was an Instructional Assistant in ESE the first two years, and now he teaches Independent level InD (Algebra and Biology). He graduated high school from Fivay, and received a Bachelor’s in History from USF. In the summer, he is a camp counselor for a summer camp that is run specifically for students with disabilities. He has a wife and 3 children, and they spend every chance they get exploring new places and making great memories.

Ronda O’Dell is currently the AVID 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher at GHS.  Prior to coming to GHS, she was the AVID Coordinator and AVID teacher at GMS. Mrs. O’Dell also worked at Seven Springs Elementary as well as Cotee River Elementary. She is married with 2 sons who graduated from GHS in 2010 & 2014. Mrs. O’Dell is also a graduate of GHS (class of 79), as well as a retired flight attendant for TWA, now American Airlines. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling to their cabin in TN as much as time allows. Mrs. O’Dell says: ‘As my first year here at GHS, I am enjoying working with high school students, some who I have had since 6th grade.  I look forward to celebrating our 100-year anniversary here at GHS and look forward to seeing our current seniors graduate’.

Rachel Paganico has wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl. She is from New Jersey and moved here to Florida in 2018. Rachel has worked in elementary school for over 10 years and then decided to jump up to high school, joining us at GHS in 2021.  She has her Master’s Degree in education and has advanced coursework in the field of special education. She believes all students can be successful given the right supports and positive learning environment which she advocates for her students daily. When she’s not in the classroom encouraging students or in her office working on IEP’s, Rachel has a baby boy at home which keeps her plenty busy! She also enjoys spending time outdoors, practicing yoga, and cooking Italian food.

William Parker joined GHS at the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year.  He teaches mathematics and AVID elective. He was born in Somerville Ma. and went to high school at J.W Mitchell. He earned his bachelors degree in mathematics education from USF.

Ariel Pineyro is an Access Points InD-Supported level teacher. She has a bachelors degree in Exceptional Student Education from St. Petersburg College and is currently pursuing an MEd in Exceptional Student Education from the University of Central Florida. She is an animal lover and enjoys playing ice hockey alongside her husband in her free time as a left winger in an adult Florida hockey league.

Lorraine Pioszak joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. She previously was at Ridgewood High School (Go Rams!) and, before that, at Land O’Lakes High and River Ridge High School. She is currently an ESE support facilitator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Hodges University. A native Long Islander, she came from Hicksville and, after many years in Florida, still has her accent!

JoAnn Mothershed is a Math teacher and ESE support facilitator supporting students in their math classes. She joined the Gulf High faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year. She previously taught Math at Sunlake and Fivay high schools and has been employed by the school district since 1998. Ms. Mothershed is a USF graduate with a Mathematics Education degree. She loves the outdoors and enjoys kayaking, scuba diving, target practice, line dancing, and reading.

Jose Rodriguez joined the Gulf High School faculty at the start of the 2005-06 school year, having just retired from the Navy after 20 years of service. He formerly worked in the business administration field, as a counselor, and as a Navy recruiting supervisor for his final tour of duty. Chief Rodriguez currently teaches in our NJROTC program (Naval Science 1) and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

Heather Rulison is our school’s Learning Design Coach, English I PLC Facilitator, and IB Extended Essay Coordinator.  She joined the staff for the 2022 school year and previously taught English for ten years at Land O’ Lakes High School and three years at Rushe Middle School.  She graduated from Saint Leo University with a B.A. in Middle Grades Education, with both Reading and ESOL endorsements.  Her husband is also a teacher and all three of her children have attended Pasco County Schools.  She enjoys spending time with her family, who are huge hockey fans.

Bill Rutherford is the Gulf High School Director of Bands. His responsibilities include conducting the GHS Concert Band and Marching Buccaneers, as well as leading the GHS Jazz Ensemble and the GHS Color Guard. He also teaches Keyboarding (piano), AP Music Theory, and IB Music. Mr. Rutherford graduated from Gulf High School in 1988 and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida’s School of Music in 1994. Mr. Rutherford joined the GHS faculty in 1994 right after his graduation from USF and in the 2011-2012 school year, he was selected as Teacher of the Year for Gulf High School, VFW American Legion Post 7845, and was also chosen in 2002 as Teacher of the Year for Sam’s Club. He has also held positions as the District Chairman for the Florida Bandmasters Association’s District 5 and was the Chairperson for the Pasco All-County Jazz Band for almost 10 years. He is married to Kelly Rutherford, who is the GHS Color Guard Instructor and is also a Gulf High graduate (Class of 1987). She teaches kindergarten at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School. They have 3 children: Elizabeth (GHS Class of 2013), Brittany (GHS Class of 2017), and Andrew (GHS Class of 2023). Mr. Rutherford’s hobbies are traveling, playing/watching sports, and playing his trumpet and bass guitar.

Lexi Silva teaches English and Acting. She joined the Gulf faculty in the middle of the 2021-22 school year. Mrs. Silva was born in Tampa and was raised right here in Pasco County. She has a B. A. degree from University of Tampa in Tampa, FL. Some of her favorite things include theatre, watching hockey games and traveling.

David Smith joined the GHS Faculty at the start of the 2019/2020 school year.  He teaches the SOS program. He came to Gulf from Calusa Elementary School, where he taught for 19 years.  He was born in Providence, RI and then moved to Florida.  He graduated from Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey,  He earned a B. S. degree in Elementary Education from USF.  He is also the girls golf coach and boys baseball coach.

Kim Stager is our bookkeeper.

Tim Stevens is a PE teacher. He joined our faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Earlier he taught at River Ridge High School.

Chad Stoneking joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. He teaches drafting. Mr. Stoneking was born in Parkersburg, W. Va., and attended Parkersburg South High School. He has a B. F. A. degree in Art Education from Ohio University and a B. F. A. degree in Graphic Design from Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va.

Jesse Stringer teaches social studies. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. He has an M. A. degree in Secondary Education with a minor in history from West Virginia University. He also attended Tulane and Clemson. He was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Washington, Pa.

Ken Weightman teaches Visual Art and IB Art courses, and is the sponsor of the National Art Honor Society.

Ginger Wells is our new social worker in the Social Behavioral Program and comes to us from Virginia. She has an MSW from the University of New England, and has been a social worker for 7.5 years.