Author: Stella Evans

Meet Vanessa Visners Supervisor of Special Services AND new Redding resident

Vanessa and Reinis Visners chose Redding for their new home, they ere excited about the bucolic setting and the excellent schools where their two young children would be treated as individuals, not as numbers. At the time, they had no idea that Vanessa’s dream job would become available right in our school district.

And, Vanessa is the perfect fit for the position of Supervisor of Special Services.

She knew she wanted to be an educator early on after watching her mom teach in Buffalo, NY. Her uncle was deaf and she shared that “witnessing his experience had a profound impact on my decision to work with students with disabilities. I want every child to experience their full potential, feel empowered by their strengths, and achieve independence.”

Vanessa has been a Special Education Teacher in every grade from Kindergarten through seventh in NYC and Massachusetts. She was able to use her two masters in education & education policy & administration (From Mercy College and Boston College) as an Assistant Principal in NYC for almost 5 years. Upon moving to CT, she did IEP Compliance in Stamford K-age 21.

Ms. Visners has an office at John Read Middle School over in the 5th grade wing. It is spacious and cheerfully decorated. Highlights are the photos of her family. Her husband, Reinis, is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at a Public Charter school in Mount Vernon, NY.

Vanessa speaks in a straight forward manner that is bound to put any child and parent at ease. She appears patient, dedicated and caring, just the combination needed for this important position.

When asked to describe her job, she said, “I chair Planning & Placement Team (PPT) meetings and work with all stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan to meet each students’ individual needs grades 5-8 in Redding & Easton. I also observe and evaluate staff in both districts pre-K-8, ensure staff are receiving timely and pertinent professional development, work with families to address concerns, collaborate with building administration to address concerns related to Special Services, and work closely with the Director of Special Services to ensure policies & procedures are in place to maximize transparency, efficiency, and services for students. We just created an IEP Manual for both districts to help us align practices which is very exciting! No two days are the same which is one reason why I love this work!

Interim Director of Social Services MaryLou Torre and Vanessa Visners were both new in July.  They believe relationships are the most important part of their work, therefore both are taking time this year to establish relationships with colleagues, service providers, students, and families in order to determine the priorities for the department. Vanessa said that they are focused on building on the current strengths of the staff while simultaneously building capacity across the four schools. Visners and Torre are both are very excited about the future of Special Services in ER9.

She added, “I’ve been fortunate to work in the communities in which I lived for most of my career. It’s important to me to see students & families outside of the school setting, around the community. I believe it strengthens the relationships I develop with students and families.”

Vanessa is equally delighted with her new community. She says that, “Redding’s reputation for excellent schools combined with the bucolic setting were deciding factors for us. When I toured RES, I was blown away by the tight-knit community feel, opportunities available to students to explore varying interests, and the “old school” feel of going cross-country skiing/snowshoeing in P.E. We knew that the schools were a perfect size for our children. That was very important to us. I grew up in a  more rural suburb of Buffalo, NY, and Redding reminds me very much of home and the childhood I had. Similarly, my husband is reminded of his fond memories in the Catskills and wants our children to experience the outdoor lifestyle. During our homebuying process, I was able to watch the BOE meetings and follow community discussions around the budget. We were consoled by the outpouring of support for the schools in the community- especially current/future parents.”

For family time, they enjoy cheering on Buffalo sports teams, the Knicks, going for walks, exploring ther new surroundings, and having dance parties.They are looking forward to trying out the rink at the RCC.

Buffalo? Our current weather probably makes the Visners family feel right at home.

Vanessa Visners can be contacted at vvisners@er9.org

Local Business Clinical Massage and Sports Therapy Super Star

Chris Kieras has the magic touch.

This former Marine and Redding resident is the owner of US Sports Therapy specializing in Clinical Massage.  He is trained to evaluate and help athletes with performance techniques to prevent injury and also provides therapies for both athletes and non to get back on their feet after an injury or surgery.

I was frustrated with my slow recovery after my total knee replacement in April. After 4 months of Physical Therapy- double the average- my knee still refused to straighten. I felt like the tin man needing his oil can.

The muscle groups around my knee were tight bands. The stress on my other knee and on my back was very painful. I was fatigued from the strain and couldn’t stand for more than 10 minutes.

Chris Kieras was recommended to me as someone who had worked with people with my kind of injury. I was concerned that he wouldn’t take me on because I wasn’t an athlete. I envisioned him working in the corner of a sweaty old gym, barking orders like a Marine Sergeant at Boot Camp!

I filled in the comprehensive information form with trepidation and sent it to Chris before our first appointment.

I was surprised to pull up to a charming building not far from the Westport Train Station.  Up the short flight of steps (good practice for me!) to a lovely and serene waiting room. Chris’ wife, Maria Kieras shares the space for her wonderful Day Spa.

The three treatment rooms are lovely. Chris built the interiors himself. They are comfortable and not at all clinical.  And, certainly not a sweaty gym… although full disclosure: there is a gym on the second floor of the building where Chris works with athletes on technique.

Once I was settled on the comfy treatment bed, Chris got to work. He is intuitive and knowledgeable, having trained extensively in his field. He was able to determine that scar tissue was the culprit and started a deep massage to the area. I could feel a difference almost instantly. We’ve also discussed some dietary changes to help along my healing.

Chris gave me a routine to do daily and we still have a lot of work to do together. But, now I am feeling confident instead of frustrated about my full recovery.

I give Chris Kieras my highest personal recommendation!

At US Sports Therapy, Chris specializes in:

  • Injury Prevention: Movement analysis and new techniques to perform without the risk of injury
  • Sports Enhancement: Discover your inner strength with performance techniques to take you to the next level
  • Injury Recovery: Therapies customized to your specific needs to return to flexibility and mobility
  • Training: Specialized programs to enhance performance to reach your specific goals

Us Sports Therapy Of Westport | 38 Franklin Street | Westport, CT 06880
http://www.ussportstherapy.com
203.341.8988

Congratulations Varsity Softball!

The Barlow Varsity softball team, 2017 Class l State champions, will be receiving their championship rings this Friday, January 12th during half-time of the girls basketball game at Barlow … Come out and cheer on the Falcons and tell as many friends as possible … Game time is 7:00pm

Congratulations team!

New Pond Farm Programs

Winter Astronomy at New Pond Farm

On Saturday, January 20th starting at 6:30 p.m. New Pond Farm (101 Marchant Rd., West Redding) will be hosting an astronomy program open to the public.

On “Astronomy Hill” we will use our telescopes to view craters and seas on the 4-day-old moon and view the Orion nebulae, star clusters, and the planet Uranus. Our astronomy volunteers will also point out and discuss the winter constellations of Orion, Canis Major and Minor, Gemini, Taurus, and Auriga. Attendees with a smart phone can try their hand at taking a photo of the moon.

For those interested, there will be an optional preview in the Learning Center classroom at 6pm, this will give participants, especially children, a better understanding of what they will be viewing out on the hill.

Please dress for the outdoors, there is a warming building next to the telescopes, and please bring a flashlight for the walk to and from the observatory.

The program is $4 per New Pond Farm Member, with a maximum of $16 per Member family an $6 per non-member, with a maximum of $24 per family.

Registration is required. Please register online or by calling (203) 938-2117.

If the skies appear cloudy, please check our website after 4 p.m. for program status.

———————–

Shakespeare Workshop for Actors Going into Grades 7 – 12

Monday evenings January 22 – March 26 (excluding Feb. 5 and 16), 7-9 pm
Accomplished actress and educator Julia Levo will create an exciting and positive environment in which actors will delve into a comprehensive exploration of scenes and monologues from some of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, Macbeth. We will explore this play in an intensive eight-week acting program designed exclusively for middle and high school students.

Students will develop skills in character development, vocal technique, acting craft, and text analysis. Key scenes and monologues (using non-traditional casting) will be woven together and performed for an invited audience during the last class.

This eight-week program is $250.00 per New Pond Farm Member and $275.00 per Non-member

Registration is required, space is limited. Please register online or by calling (203) 938-2117.

Mark Twain Library Closed Until Further Notice

by Mark Twain Library

The Mark Twain library has been without heat for three days. It was determined yesterday (Wednesday) that the furnace will be replaced.

The library will remain closed for at least a few days while this situation is being addressed.

Patrons registered for upcoming programs. Please keep an eye out on your email from further updates. The Sunday Hermes Art Series Program, Glass-ical Music, has moved to the First Congregational Church in Redding (25 Cross Highway, Redding, CT).

Patrons wishing to return items while we are closed: The Library drop has been sealed to prevent further cold air from entering the building. Please hold onto your items until we are able to re-open. All fines for overdue items will be forgiven when we re-open. We very much appreciate your patience and look forward to welcoming you back into the building as soon as possible. Thank you, Mark Twain Library

BRRR its cold!

Henry Polio sent in this photo of the temps hitting zero this week.

Please stay warm, drive safely and check in on your neighbors who may live alone or are elderly.