New science teacher Amanda Pastel brings compassion and confidence to GHS


Treely Dowd

GHS welcomes new science teacher Amanda Pastel


Many students taking biology, life science, or environmental science this year have been lucky enough to meet one of GHS’ newest teachers, Ms. Pastel. A lifetime resident of Massachusetts, Pastel said where she grew up affected her interest in science.

“I’ve always been geared towards the outdoors, growing up in western Mass,” Pastel said. “I was outside all the time, we had woods in the back of my house, and I was just always playing in the dirt and being outside.”

Pastel has a history of science education—she completed a degree in biology at Salem State University, with a minor in chemistry and a concentration in environmental science, but this is her first time being in front of the classroom.

She knew she wanted to be a teacher when she went back to college as an adult. One of Pastel’s goals for the year is to create a welcoming environment for her students, since she didn’t always have that in high school.

“It was a painful experience getting through high school,” she said. “And when I went back as an adult, it just changed me. The knowledge that I gained, my view, my perspective of the world, my self-confidence, it all came from education and finishing college.”

“I fell through the cracks,” Pastel said. “I hope that by mostly just making them feel seen, I want to be able to communicate with all my students. I don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks.”

After high school, instead of going straight into college, Pastel earned a license to practice massage therapy. For the past three years, she has owned a private practice for it here in Gloucester. She claims that her passion for it is connected to her love for science.

“[Massage therapy] was still biology-related to me, like anatomy and physiology, looking at the musculature, that was always really important,” she said.

Although Pastel is new to full-time teaching, she has been part of the Gloucester community for several years now. She, her husband, her daughter, and their dog are glad to be living here.

“We just love the community. I love the variety of people that are here. It’s obviously beautiful,” she said. “And I did my observation hours during my undergraduate degree here. So I’ve been coming in and having connections with the school for maybe three or four years.”

Pastel shared that she is especially excited to be doing lab activities with her classes. Currently, some of her classes are culturing the bacteria from their hands in order to compare the effectiveness of hand-washing and hand sanitizer.

For the future, Pastel wants to stay here in Gloucester.

“I knew this was the school,” she said. “I plan to get my feet underneath me, there’s a lot to learn as a first year teacher.”