Cherry Hill East welcomes new teachers

November 2, 2020

Cherry Hill East welcomes a number of new faces to the faculty for the 2020-2021 School Year. Four new full-time teachers have been added to departments across the school and they are excited to welcome students despite the challenges of this year, bringing their own skills, interests, and motivation to the Cherry Hill East school building. To learn more about Mr. Cesare, Mr. Petrillo, Mr. Metzger, and Mrs. Peiera, read below.

Mr. Dominic Cesare


Courtesy of Dominic Cesare

Mr. Cesare starts his first year at East in a virtual setting.

The Home of the Cougars welcomes a new teacher, Mr. Dominic Cesare, to the Social Studies Department for the 2020-2021 school year.

Cesare has great familiarity with his profession seen through the eight and a half years of prior teaching experience at various schools since attending college. With the opportunity to come to Cherry Hill East, Cesare began a successful yet ongoing transition.

By teaching United States 1 Accelerated and Financial Literacy this school year, Cesare aims to ensure that students will be able to have a deeper understanding of our country and about how the foundation of our democracy operates. Teaching Financial Literacy, Cesare hopes to guide students in major decisions while also instructing them on real world skills they can apply outside of the classroom.
“There’s a purpose for and why we are learning it. And I want them to understand that the skills that they learn can help them for anything . . . they do past that class or past high school,” Cesare explained.

While growing up, the teachers and coaches that taught Cesare inspired him to pursue his passion of teaching. In his virtual and in-person classroom, his students are expected to have a teacher who brings a different type of commitment and excitement to his hands-on and project-based lessons.
“Students take part in what we’re learning and it’s not just coming from me,” he emphasized.
Cesare is still adjusting to the twists and turns of joining a new school, in addition to adapting to a virtual classroom setting. He wishes to meet students in-person in the future, and wants to foster an environment that feels as similar to an in-school experience as possible. With his passion for teaching and helping students reach their full potential, it is clear that with all of the great teachers he had in his life, Cesare will be one for the students here at Cherry Hill East, whether it is through google meets or in the classroom.

Mr. Ryan Petrillo

Amid the pandemic, the patience and resilience of East’s staff is tested greatly. However, Mr. Ryan Petrillo must face the additional challenge of transitioning into a new school. Petrillo, 9th grade English teacher, joins Cherry Hill East from abroad in Rome, Italy.

In the past, he had lived in Italy for 12 years and traveled to numerous locations within Spain. When he was in Italy, COVID-19 had struck and many restrictions were put in place, causing serious health concerns. His teaching job was at a school in Rome named Marymount International School. He says the students there were very culturally diverse, many of which were able to speak 3-4 languages.
Before spending time abroad, Petrillo had lived in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. He explained that coming to New Jersey had not been too difficult because of his past familiarization in the area. Because he attended Bishop Eustace, he has some friends from Cherry Hill as well. Evidently, he did not have a very hard time transitioning to Cherry Hill.

“It didn’t feel like I had to change. I like the challenge of new changes,” Petrillo said.

He explained how East stood out to him because of the wide range of various extracurricular activities. Petrillo is very interested in topics along the lines of film and music. In the past, Petrillo had mainly taught in smaller schools, but he liked the new idea of coming to a bigger one. Petrillo noticed that with a bigger school, there are more students in which he can learn new and creative ideas.

As the 2020-2021 school year began, he acknowledged that despite teaching in a whole different school, it definitely differentiated this year from the others due to COVID-19. Petrillo explains how upon entering East, the teachers that he met were all very inviting and kind. He could notice that the students, despite being in a virtual setting, were eager to start the year learning brand new information. Even though teaching remotely alongside COVID-19 restrictions has definitely been difficult, Petrillo portrays his consistent persistence in his strong dedication for teaching.

Mr. Robert Metzger

Mr. Robert Metzger is joining the East team this year and he is excited to inspire a whole new class of students. Metzger is joining the Cherry Hill Public School District as he is co-teaching Intro to World Civ, US History, and English 10 for the 2020-2021 school year. However, Metzger isn’t a stranger to the district. Before his experience at East, Metzger taught at one of the schools in the district for around twenty years.

After seeing his successful daughter graduate from Cherry Hill East, he decided that it was the right time to make a positive change in his life and stepped forward to make the change. As of right now, Mr. Metzger is enjoying his time at East. He confesses that East teachers couldn’t be more helpful and that the students are welcoming. Transitioning from a new school is sometimes difficult, but for Metzger, he is really enjoying himself and the atmosphere is great.

Additionally, Metzger has lived in Cherry Hill for 20 years and hopes to one day retire in the world’s most well-known summer vacation spots, Cape Cod.

Metzger has many unique hobbies including his enjoyment of gardening, decorating and finishing furniture, and working with textile fabrics. He also loves traveling, recounting that in the last six years, he’s been to Europe three times and has recently just come back from a visit to Costa Rica.

Once students return to the building, Metzger can’t wait to start engaging with his classes in person and form a deeper connection with the students in his new building.

Devastated that he can’t interact and get to know all his students right now, he’s had to adapt and “pinpoint” the key things that he wants to teach because class time is limited. Metzger hopes we’ll adapt to the new conditions and see the positives in the world that has been greatly affected by the Coronavirus. He hopes that students and their families won’t get too overwhelmed, but students still get the education that they need and can focus on that. Although learning online and through the hybrid schedule, Metzger hopes he can help his students through the tough transitions this year.

Metzger recommends that students look around and notice the many opportunities around them, embrace them, and partake in everything that might be an interest to them.

“I think every kid has something, there’s something there for every kid,” he says. Metzger wants to help his students appreciate the small things in life and have an amazing school year despite the difficulties that the world is facing.

Mrs. Katherine Pereira


Courtesy of Katherine Pereira

Mrs. Pereira takes a selfie of her virtual work station.

Cherry Hill East greets one of the new faces of the East Staff, but this year- through the computer screen. Mrs. Katherine Pereira is the new teacher of East’s science department, teaching Chemistry 1H and 1A.

Mrs. Pereira is currently teaching her 12th year in education as she has experienced different positions such as a District Administrator to a school Assistant Principal. However, as she worked in education at the office and administration in the most recent years, she adds how it had been a while since she got to work in a classroom teaching students.

“What I was really missing was being with students in a closed and fun setting.” says Pereira who is excited for what this year has in store.

As Pereira holds certification in all areas of math, chemistry, and psychology, she applied in those subjects to return back to teaching in a classroom with the environment of students, the atmosphere she had missed. Chemistry was the class she accepted.

Although she looked forward to meeting her new students in the new school, the recent virus took an unexpected turn in her plans. Mrs. Pereira elaborates that her purpose of being back at the classroom was to teach interactively, but was hindered by the lessons taught through the computer. “It’s no lie, it’s hard,” she says.

Through the struggle, she has been able to manage and adjust to the new transition that she explains was what everyone was going through together. Now passing weeks since the first day of school and Mrs. Pereira’s first day at East, she finds it hard to believe the tremendous progress.

Feeling the glimpse of returning to the classroom with the students despite it online, she says, “Being able to teach children again felt really good to be back,” and “[she] has fantastic colleagues who [she] [does] not think [she] could have done it without them to be successful.”

With the help of the department and the hard work on her end, Mrs. Pereira tries to ensure the “fun and interactive” in her daily lessons, differing in ways from her previous years of education. She views the current situations as a learning curve and as a positive learning experience.

In the times where Mrs. Katherine Pereira is not found teaching or planning her lessons, she is seen at the court, coaching volleyball. Through volleyball, she says, “I had actually had a little bit more exposure to the Cherry Hill family through my time helping to coach. “

She is optimistic about the upcoming season and hopes all goes well, encouraging everyone to support the East Girls Volleyball team in February. Pereira cannot wait for the season to get to know the players and also for the days she meets her students in the building.

Mrs. Pereira hopes to meet East beyond the screens and in the hallways soon and encourages students to come visit her on the third floor.

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