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posted: Thu, Sep 18th, 2014

New staff profiles - part one

Kristen Hare (fifth grade) – Fifth grade teacher Kristen Hare comes to CMS from Tinc Road Elementary School where she taught second grade. Ms. Hare, who grew up in Mount Olive and attended Tinc Road as a child, also taught fourth grade at Sandshore Elementary School for 12 years. In between, Sandshore and Tinc Road, she took some time off to start and raise a family of four.

"The CMS staff has been very welcoming, kind, and happy to share their creative ideas," said Ms. Hare. "I'm excited to be part of this wonderful school community."

The Long Valley resident holds a bachelor's from Lycoming College and a master's in elementary education from Seton Hall. She spends most of her free time watching her children play sports, travelling with her family, and watching Harry Potter movies with her kids.


Brittany Dungan (first grade) – Tears welled up in the eyes of CMS first grade teacher Brittany Dungan when she spoke about her inspiration to follow a career in education – her own fifth grade teacher, Patty Meyers. Ms. Meyers was a role model, a teacher who went above and beyond the call of duty, who showed just what an impact a great teacher can have in the lives of children. That same safe, caring, supportive learning environment Ms. Dungan found in that fifth-grade classroom in New Mexico is one that she hopes to engender in her own room.

Though this is the first time she’s had a class from the beginning of the year, Ms. Dungan is not a stranger to CMS. She spent 2013-2014 filling in for two CMS teachers on maternity leave. Prior to that, she did her student teaching here with Serenity Daley, the veteran first grade teacher who is now her mentor.

“Serenity is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without her,” said Ms. Dungan. “I feel so lucky to be here at CMS. Everyone is so helpful and knowledgeable and willing to share new information. It’s a true community.” 

Ms. Dungan received her bachelor’s in psychology from William Paterson University. In her spare time you can find her outdoors somewhere – hiking, rock climbing (on real rocks!) or kayaking. She recently completed a grueling eight-and-a-half mile Spartan obstacle race and last spring she even rappelled waterfalls near the Delaware Water Gap.

Learning about food allergies

Students at Chester M. Stephens Elementary School recently learned about food allergies and their seriousness through song. Kyle Dine, a singer and songwriter afflicted with a number of food allergies, entertained students with educational songs, aided by puppet friends such as EpiMan and EpiMan Jr. He made two presentations to students in the school cafeteria, one for students in grades K-2 and another for students in grades 3-5.

“With the beginning of the school year, it was important to remind students just how serious food allergies really are and how sensitive their allergic classmates can be,” said CMS principal Kevin Moore. “Mr. Dine’s assembly presentations were fun, engaging, and informative. The kids just loved him.”

Mr. Dine – who is allergic to nuts, eggs, seafood, and mustard – made audience participation a key part of his presentations. In a quiz show format, students had a chance to show off their knowledge about the most common food allergies and the symptoms of allergic reactions. 

Mr. Dine has recorded two CD’s of original food allergy tunes. He performs regularly throughout the country and has been a guest at other Mount Olive schools in years past. You can find more information about him at www.kyledine.com

According to a study published in the spring by the Centers for Disease Control, food allergies among children have increased by more than 50% over 14 years. Approximately one in 20 children (5.1%) now have a food-related allergy; that averages out to be roughly one child in every elementary classroom in America.

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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4002 Fax: 973.691.4030

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