Meet one of our newest additions to the TCS teaching staff, Nicole Serianni. She is new to the staff but a veteran of TCS, as she attended Timothy from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Her first job was working at Summer Quest when she was in high school! After graduation she attended Messiah University where she received her bachelor’s degree in English with a Secondary Teaching certification. This year she teaches 10th grade World Literature and 6th grade English. Let’s hear from her some of the reasons why she loves being back at TCS!

Describe one of your favorite memories of TCS.

Since I attended TCS from kindergarten through graduation, there are countless memories I could share of my time here, and I can’t pick just one favorite. When I think of my time here, I think of Mrs. Susanj in first grade taking us to the apple orchard and teaching us how to make apple pie after in the home-ec room, and Ms. Ramunda in second grade, simulating a trip to space complete with a space station and spacesuits. I remember Mrs. Jankowsky in fourth grade celebrating New Jersey day with us, and sixth grade, where Miss Hopper had us read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and literature became truly exciting for the first time. I think of Mr. Stawick in seventh grade always making a sarcastic joke that made the entire class laugh and made learning fun for us. I also think of all of the amazing experiences in high school- the Jr/Sr fair, the Jr/Sr banquet, Biology with Miss McKay, playing “Senior Assassin” with

 water guns and wearing goggles to class to be “immune,” my best friend breaking her foot and being on crutches throughout the entire Dominican Republic trip, Winning riot night twice, playing on the golf team, and the thousands of small moments that happened in between these big ones. Most of my adolescent memories were made at TCS!

What/Who inspired you to take up teaching?

My biggest inspirations for becoming a teacher were the teachers I had here at TCS. I saw the way that they loved what they did, and the impact they made us on beyond the academics, and I wanted to do that too. More specifically, I found my place in an English setting in Mrs. Nelson’s classroom in ninth grade, and grew my passion for it throughout high school because of the encouragement and support I experienced.

Because of her, I felt encouraged and supported to follow God’s calling on my life beyond high school- and now that I’m back, I get to call her a mentor and friend!

Why did you choose to teach at TCS?

I chose to teach at TCS because I have a passion for Christian education. During student teaching in college, I found that the experience felt incomplete; I didn’t feel like I couldn’t fully connect with my students and felt disheartened that I couldn’t share the gospel with them directly, especially when they shared their difficult experiences and struggles with me. This is what confirmed that I wanted to come back to TCS. I wanted to be able to reach students holistically, not just academically, but also spiritually. I enjoy the fact that my students know they can ask me questions about faith and we will make room for those kinds of questions in the classroom.

What do you love most about TCS?

I love the fact TCS is such a close-knit community! The class sizes are small, so students are known by their teachers. Most students participate in some sort of extracurricular activity. Many students are acknowledged for their various achievements, in all areas- sports, robotics, art, writing, drama etc. There is room for everyone to shine.  Everyone knows each other’s name! It’s very difficult to fly under the radar at TCS, which I think is something to be celebrated.

What is one word that best describes the school? Why?

One word that describes TCS is commitment. Teachers are committed to the ministry of TCS, to excellence in teaching, and to the students. Students are committed to academic excellence, to doing the best on the field, on the stage, in the choir, in the band, and anywhere else they find themselves with their talents on display. As a school, we are committed to instilling Biblical values.

How are faith and learning integrated at TCS?

Faith and learning are integrated in every aspect! Specifically in my classroom, I aim to intertwine topics of faith naturally into daily classroom discussions. This is very easy in the humanities. We often discuss the morals, character, and decisions of characters in the stories that we read, which opens us up to the opportunity to compare these decisions and worldviews to the Christian worldview. Many fruitful conversations, and even debates, on faith topics have emerged out of discussions about novels we have read in class.

In what ways are you preparing students for life beyond TCS?

I believe I have a unique opportunity to prepare students for life beyond TCS as an English teacher. Communication skills, specifically written communication, have always been essential and they are even more important now that much of the communication in our world is digital, rather than verbal. Teaching students how to communicate effectively is one of the most important aspects of the world beyond TCS that I can prepare them for. In this same vein, teaching students how to analyze others’ communication, judging its effectiveness and understanding their purpose is important, especially as they enter a world that is constantly telling them what they should think and why.

What would you tell families to encourage them to send their children to TCS?

I would say that TCS is an incredible investment in your child’s future. The foundation that was set at TCS were the building blocks of who I am today. The biblical literacy I have compared to peers who did not attend Christian school is notable. I walked into college feeling confident in my faith and equipped to hear new ideas and analyze them rather than simply accept anything as truth. Beyond that, the community aspect is remarkable. I felt supported and known by my teachers, which enabled me to ask questions and grow, because of the small class sizes. I was encouraged to do extracurriculars and join sports teams I might not have had the opportunity to in a larger school. I also developed quality friendships that, 5 years later, are still going strong. I truly believe attending TCS is like being part of a family, and I’d encourage anyone to be a part of that family.