When the 2015-2016 school year starts on September 2, twin sisters Alexandra and Bretton Keohane will be five doors down from one another at Quashnet Elementary School.
It might be the farthest they have ever been apart.
Alexandra and Bretton are identical not just in their looks, but in almost every other aspect of their lives. They grew up in Carver. Both coach figure skating. Both attended Stonehill College and later each earned a master’s degree from Boston University, where Alexandra studied curriculum and Bretton studied reading education. In July, they purchased their first home in Sagamore Beach, where they have matching master bedrooms.
"Our personalities are so similar, so our paths were pretty much the same," Alexandra said.
But when the time came to start looking for jobs in May, both sisters thought it best to strike out on their own. They agreed to apply for jobs at different schools to avoid "stepping on one another's toes," Alexandra recalled. Their plan was not built to last, however. Alexandra made a strong impression when she interviewed with assistant superintendent of schools Patricia M. DeBoer, who hired her to teach 4th grade at Quashnet in May. When Ms. DeBoer learned she had a sister, it was not long before Bretton also was hired, to teach 3rd grade at the school.
"I thought, 'Why didn't she apply,' " Ms. DeBoer said. ”I told [Alexandra], 'Get her down here.' "
"We didn't think they'd want two Ms. Keohanes," Bretton said.
The sisters say they take after their mother, who also teaches. Their inroad into education came not through the classroom, but rather the ice skating rink. Both girls have been figuring skating since they were 18 months old and were coaching children in Falmouth, Bourne, and Hyannis by the age of 16.
"I always wanted to do something with kids," Alexandra said. "When we started coaching, we knew we wanted to teach."
The newly minted teachers were among 20 new teachers to the district who took part in new employee orientation at Quashnet Tuesday afternoon, August 18, where they got their school ID badges and met some of their co-workers in the district. With just two weeks until the start of the new school year, reality is beginning to set in, but both sisters say they are excited about starting their careers together.
"We've worked well together for so long," Bretton said. "Why change a good thing?"