New Staff Join MH

Adithya Vinod, Contributing Writer

With the new school year comes the arrival of several exciting additions to the Morris Hills community. Some of the most important of these additions are the new Morris Hills faculty members! These four new members of the Morris Hills community were interviewed so that we could all get to know them a little better. 


Question 1: How long have you been teaching? 

Ms. Nicole Occhipinti – This is now my 3rd year teaching. 

Mrs. Stacey Feiss – I initially taught for 5 years, and then 12 years off so that I could stay at home and raise my family, and now I’ve returned to teaching for the past 7 years. 

Ms. Michele Melendez – I’ve taught for 5 years now. 

Ms. Jenna Miller – This is my first full-time teaching job, but during graduate school, I taught 9th grade World Literature at New Providence High School.


Question 2: What do you teach?

Ms. Occhipinti –  I teach English, SAT prep classes, and ESL. 

Mrs. Feiss – I’m here as a reading specialist at the moment.  

Ms. Melendez – Right now, I teach English, as well as special education classes. 

Ms. Miller – I travel back and forth between both high schools. On A day’s I teach English 9 and 11 at Morris Knolls. On B day’s I tutor for AVID classes 9, 10, and 11 here at Morris Hills.


Question 3: What college did you attend? 

Ms. Occhipinti – I went to Nyack college, in New York.  

Mrs. Feiss – I’m a Temple graduate, and I went to Fordham for my post-graduate degree. 

Ms. Melendez – I did my undergrad at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and then went on to study at William Patterson. 

Ms. Miller – I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University. I completed a 4+1 program, so I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Literature in four years, and my Master of Arts in Teaching a year later.


Question 3: Where did you work before coming to Morris Hills? 

 Ms. Occhipinti – I’ve worked in Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley, and at Eisenhower Middle School. 

Mrs. Feiss –  I have taught classes at New Rochelle, Brookdale Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Ocean County College. 

Ms. Melendez –  I taught at Byram Intermediate School, and I’ve actually been in-district for the past 2-ish years.  

Ms. Miller –  I was working as an Assistant Coordinator for Conference Services at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.


Question 4: Where are you from and how long is your drive?

Ms. Occhipinti – I am from Hawthorne, and I have to endure a 35 mile drive every day! 

Mrs. Feiss – I’m from Marlboro, which is in Monmouth county. My drive is 55 minutes on a good day.  

Ms. Melendez – I live in Flanders, and I have to drive around 20 minutes to get here.

Ms. Miller – Now I live in Jersey City, so my commute is about 45 minutes each way. 


Question 5: What are your hobbies?

Ms. Occhipinti – I’m actually planning my wedding at the moment, and as you can imagine, that takes up most of my free time. 

Mrs. Feiss – I enjoy reading and baking whenever I can, and going to my kids’ sporting events. 

Ms. Melendez – I love reading and writing the most, and I especially love travelling – England is her favorite place, I can never get enough of it!   

Ms. Miller –  I love doing yoga, playing volleyball, and volunteering at the animal shelter in my spare time. I have also taken up baking (thanks to the Great British Baking Show) and recently made my first cheesecake!


Question 6: How are you finding the community and the environment at Hills so far? 

Ms. Occhipinti – I think everyone’s been awesome. Everybody is very welcoming, and none of my classes have any bad kids yet!

Mrs. Feiss – Everyone is so welcoming, and I feel like I’m a part of the family already

Ms. Melendez – I’m actually a former graduate, so I have firsthand experience of the amazing people here. I love that everybody is there for each other, and it’s good to know that people will always have my back. 

Ms. Miller – I find the community and environment at Hills to be very welcoming and supportive. Everyone you meet is more than willing to help you. I believe that attests to the administration’s genuine desire to provide students and staff with opportunities and connections that will drive their success in the future.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed your introduction to these wonderful additions to the Morris Hills community this year. If you happen to see any of them in the halls on in a class, make sure to give them an extra-warm welcome!