Ruka Truong also contributed to this article.
As the new school year starts off, Malden High School welcomes many new teachers, one of those teachers is Douglas “DJ” Racette, who has joined the Social Science department of the Pathways program. Born and raised in Saranac Lake, New York, Racette went to the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York to finish his education. A little over seven years ago, he moved to eastern Massachusetts to teach.
Racette has a broad background with teaching, such as coaching track and field and even teaching in a prison, but mainly he has taught Special Education for high schools. Despite this, his largest hurdle so far has been adjusting to the size and population of Malden High, as Racette has “never taught in the school even remotely this big.” He went on to say how “this is bigger than the college [he] went to, so it [has] been a challenge that [he] was kind of looking forward to.”
Since teaching at Malden High, he has worked closely with fellow Pathways teacher, Alyson Macdonald, who had only good things to say about Racette; she made multiple comments on how he is “extremely warm, open-minded” and “super helpful.” She even went as far as to comment that “even though he [is] new to Malden high he is [not] new to teaching and he [has] shared a couple of strategies and has helped [her] be a better teacher.”
Lisa Kingsley, who is the Pathways and Therapeutic Program Manager, was directly involved in hiring him. ”Racette has had a lot of years of experience in Winthrop,” she said. Kingsley further stated that “[Racette] was teaching many different classes so he learned all of the different skills of helping students learn no matter what their challenges might be in different content areas.” Kingsley expressed that “[Racette] loves history, and his original intention of becoming a teacher was to be a history teacher.” Therefore, “once [they] met him [they] knew he was a perfect fit, and would be a good teacher for all types of learners.”
Before teaching at Malden High, Racette taught at a high school in Winthrop, MA, where he coached the track and field team. He commented that “[he thinks he is] going to miss coaching for this year, but [with] trying to move into a new district and get set up with teaching some new stuff, [he] wanted to take this year to focus on teaching.” Although he may not be involved in Malden High’s track program, he added that “[he] will be running the New York City Marathon in just under [two] weeks for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation” and “[has] ran five or six marathons in the past.”
Although the school year has only just started, Racette hopes to leave a positive impact on his students and “[is] really excited being a part of the [Pathways] team.”