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AYER — There is a new face in what used to be the Page Hilltop School health room. Susie Daul is joining the kindergarten teaching team due to an increase in enrollment.

Daul comes to Ayer from Amherst, Mass., where she attended both undergraduate and graduate studies.

“UMass allowed me to design my own undergraduate degree by combining both linguistics and communication disorders. I then went on and received my master’s in early childhood education,” she said. “I love children, and I love the process of language learning and the different ways that children process that learning.”

After doing two practicums — one at a public Montessori school and one in a full-day kindergarten program in Amherst — Daul decided kindergarten was for her.

“I love the age, and I love focusing not only on the academics, but also on the social emotional growth of the children,” she said. “My goal for the year is to instill in the children a love of school. I want them to leave here thinking that math is awesome and science is cool.”

Daul has ideas she is eager to put in place. She said one aspect of her teaching philosophy is that “students learn best through varied approaches incorporating cooperative, independent and teacher-directed learning as well as addressing the multiple intelligences.”

Daul, who grew up in New York and enjoys reading, quilting and hiking, said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

Her mother, Marilyn Daul, also a teacher, said, “She has always loved school. That was her favorite game when she was younger. She loved to ‘play school.’ At seven years old she finally articulated that she wanted to be a teacher.”

“I remember being in fifth grade and coming into my mother’s classroom and helping her struggling readers. I have always loved to teach,” Susie Daul said.

Her mother is retiring from her second-grade position in New York next year, so Daul is benefiting from her mother’s vast knowledge and expertise.

“My mom is giving me a lot of materials she has collected over the years like books and science materials,” she said. “I am so excited to get started.”

When looking at a variety of school districts, Daul said Ayer really appealed to her.

“This position had everything I was looking for. Two pluses were that it’s a great size and it has full-day kindergarten,” she said. “And, (Principal Robert Ackerman) has been wonderful. He has been so supportive and nice during this transition for me. The kindergarten team here has also been so welcoming and helpful. I’ve learned so much from them already.”

Daul’s classroom paraprofessional, Kristina Howard, is looking forward to working with Daul.

“We’re going to have a great year,” Said Howard. “Everything I know about Susie so far tells me that she is going to do a fantastic job.”

Ackerman echoes those sentiments.

“Susie brings a lot of knowledge and life experiences to our kindergarten,” he said. “With a diverse student body it was important that we brought someone on board who valued the whole child and brought progressive ideas to our school. We have very high expectations for her.”

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