Faculty: High School

“The feedback from teachers has been more complete and thorough than any feedback we have gotten from public school teachers. Academic criticism is always constructive and many times my child has been offered the opportunity to resubmit work, utilizing the feedback. This has enhanced his learning tremendously.” ~OM parent

Our high school faculty is a diverse yet collegial group of professionals who share a love of teaching and educational values. They develop positive working relationships with their students, providing individualized support and feedback through detailed lesson comments and comprehensive semester evaluations.

Many Oak Meadow teachers are professionals and experts in their field, bringing unique insights and perspectives to their coursework. Julia West, an Oak Meadow science teacher since 1992, is a great example: She took a field course for teachers in Denali National Park on understanding and teaching climate change, and she used that experience to develop new curricula that addresses climate literacy. As the first distance teacher ever selected for NOAA’s “Teacher at Sea” research project, Julia chronicled her journey as she assisted with a NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service plankton survey in the Gulf of Mexico; one of her blog posts was named in NOAA’s top-ten 2015 Teacher at Sea posts. She used her experience to help inform Oak Meadow’s new Environmental Science for a Changing World course.

Meet our K-8 teachers, too.

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Alan Fortescue, High School Director

Alan Fortescue holds a PhD in Education and Leadership from the University of Virginia, and he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in literature. Alan has extensive experience in teaching and leadership in higher and experiential education. He was the director of education for Earthwatch Institute from 2005-10, and has been a consulting editor for the Journal of Environmental Education since 2007. Alan has served as a consultant for UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), where he was also a cofounder and steering committee member for the North American Alliance for Sustainable Development and Education. He has consulted for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, Discovery Channel Education, and WGBH Public Television. Alan enjoys exploring new ways to empower and inspire students to gain awareness of themselves, others, and the world around them. In addition to his accomplishments as an educational professional, he is an award-winning painter and skilled mountaineer. Read Alan’s high school welcome letter.

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Keri Arsenault, School Counselor
Keri has worked at Oak Meadow as an educational counselor, curriculum development assistant, and K-8 teacher working specifically with students at the Widad Center in Dubai, UAE. Now she’s added a new title to her name: school counselor. With a BA in psychology and an MEd specializing in school counseling from Keene State University, Keri will create counseling policy and protocol and initiate support and intervention for students of all ages who need extra guidance. In her spare time she loves to travel (most recently to Argentina) and dance tango, do yoga, read, hike, boat, camp, and spend time outdoors.
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Sarah Boggia, Science

Sarah Boggia has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree in Environmental Education from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. A naturally inquisitive person who is passionate about learning, her areas of expertise include biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth science. She taught high school science in public and private schools for seven years and served as an advisor to a chapter of the National Honor Society. She has worked as a field ecology researcher and as a horseback trail guide, but is always drawn back to the delightful challenge of teaching students. In her free time, Sarah enjoys hiking, cooking, art, and spending time with her family.

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Allison Butler, Social Studies

Allison Butler is a lecturer/advisor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, teaching courses on media and cultural studies, media education, and youth identity development; and coordinating the UMass Media Literacy Certificate Program. She holds an MA and a PhD from New York University and is the author of numerous articles and two books on media literacy. Allison also co-leads the grassroots organization Mass Media Literacy, developing legislation and curriculum for Massachusetts K-12 public schools.

In her free time, Allison prefers to be anywhere outdoors, hiking with her dog, running, cycling, or rock climbing. She has climbed the cliffs of Otter Creek at Acadia National Park and is currently training for backpacking and climbing New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

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Lakshmi Dasari, Math

Lakshmi came to Oak Meadow after teaching math for 20 years at the high school level in independent schools, first in San Francisco and Seattle and most recently in Spain, France, and England. She earned her BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and an MS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Lakshmi now lives in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she is pursuing her musical interests, including playing the cello, and enjoying tennis.

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Catherine Domareki, English

Catherine earned her BA at Yale and has completed coursework towards a Masters degree in Medieval History at the Pontificia Università Antonianum in Rome, Italy. For the last 10 years she has taught English, Latin, French, and history to high school students, and she gained one-to-one experience as a private tutor. She’s an accomplished actor and ballet dancer who toured with the National Theater of the Performing Arts, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity. Catherine has two young daughters who keep her busy, as they were born running! In her spare time, she loves to read, hike, and sing. Before moving to Vermont, she lived in Los Angeles, New York, and Rome. Learning foreign languages and traveling have always been passions. Some of Catherine’s favorite cities are Quebec, Prague, Budapest, Heidelberg, Assisi, and Manali, India.

 

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Shanta Lee Gander, Social Studies

Shanta is a photographer, writer/poet, and bellydancer with a multi-faceted professional background. She is the director of development at the Windham Child Care Association in Brattleboro, Vermont and a self-described media & publicity maven/ marketing consultant/buzz generator who has worked on several projects including the annual Slow Living Summit. Shanta’s background includes extensive educational and professional background creating and implementing workshops for many different audiences, such as an organizational-wide effort for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England that focused on helping the agency discuss justice issues within reproductive health.

Shanta earned an MBA and undergraduate degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, is a trustee of the Arts Council of Windham County, and regularly contributes to various blogs including Ms. Magazine Blog and her own blog, Real Talk. View Shanta’s artistic work at storieswetellphotography.com. Shanta loves writing, travel, and capturing unique moments with her camera lens. She is piloting a new social justice discussion course at Oak Meadow.

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Yanis Knets, Math

Yanis Knets earned his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Religious Studies from Oberlin College in 1996. Before working at Oak Meadow, Yanis taught and tutored students in mathematics in a variety of contexts from Sylvan Learning Centers to Holyoke Community College, and as a private tutor, working with students of all ages from five to adult. His focus as an educator is to work collaboratively with students of all levels and abilities, helping them traverse a path from a place where mathematics might feel difficult or burdensome to one where mathematics starts to feel enjoyable and surmountable. This includes helping students who have basic math facts and fundamental skills to develop into mostly or completely independent students of mathematics working at at an advanced level.

In his spare time, Yanis enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and chess, hiking, bicycling, and baking (especially pies!) He enjoys engaging in discussions about all of his interests, especially the unique challenges and rewards of helping students develop a greater degree of joy around the study of mathematics.

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Rebecca Larkin

Rebecca has been a high school teacher for 25 years, mainly in Springfield, Vermont. Her classroom was always the noisy room, with lots of activities, art supplies, and (usually) food. She still likes to find ways to bring fun to learning, even if it’s from afar!

Rebecca earned a BA in history at the University of Michigan, and her MEd at UMass Boston. She’s also earned graduate credits in teaching, psychology, neuroscience and special education. She enjoys living in the Upper Valley of NH, with its easy access to movies, nature, interesting restaurants, and proximity to Boston. She loves to travel, read, listen to music and NPR, as well as traveling to attend all of her 18-year-old’s athletic events. An outdoors person, Rebecca also likes to cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, swim.

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Alex Loud, Humanities

Alex earned an MA in History from Smith College and spent most of his teaching career in experiential education: roaming the Northeast while building and facilitating ropes courses; guiding children to an understanding and appreciation for their environment; working with high school students at the Northfield Mount Hermon School Farm. Recently, he has taught writing and social studies—focusing on critical thinking and communication—to diverse students at the Northfield Mount Hermon School and to boys identified with language-based learning disabilities at Linden Hill School. Alex lives in Northfield, Massachusetts, with his wife, Sarah, and their three young boys. He loves to spend time helping his sons sell flowers from their garden and incubate chicken eggs for their burgeoning chicken farm.

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KD Maynard, College Counselor

KD’s professional experience has revolved around assisting high school and early college students to find a fit in their choice of college and academic program, thereby enabling them to engage fully and to successfully meet their goals. She has held roles in college admissions, college counseling and financial aid, academic advising, teacher training/curriculum development, and a variety of administrative/leadership positions. The institutions she’s worked for include Brown University, World Learning, Marlboro College, The Putney School, Community College of Vermont, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. KD’s liberal arts background (AB from Brown in Linguistics and Classics, and a MALS from Dartmouth focusing on Women’s Studies and writing) provides her with a worldview that seeks to make connections between and among people, ideas, and a sense of a greater good. She loves living in southern Vermont, spending free time in nature (hiking, kayaking, etc.) when she’s not working, volunteering with the homeless, and spending time with her brand new grandchildren.

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Sara Molina, World Languages

Sara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Sociology-Based Human Relations from Connecticut College and a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Vermont. She has taught social studies, Spanish, and ESL in independent, public, and university classrooms for many years. She developed and teaches a distinctive new course at Oak Meadow, ESOL: English for the American Classroom. Born in Madrid, Spain, Sara grew up in a multilingual and multicultural home in Vermont. Sara’s passion is travel and she has had the good fortune of spending extensive time in Europe and South America, including a month-long hike along the Camino de Santiago in Spain and three years living and working on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. She hopes to foster this love of travel in her students.

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Jacquelyn O’Donohoe, Math

Jacquelyn earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Bachelor of Arts in French, and a Master of Education in Math Education from Plymouth State University. She has more than a decade of experience tutoring students of all ages, has been teaching and creating mathematics courses at Plymouth State University since 2007, and has been teaching at Oak Meadow since 2012. Jacquelyn is passionate about encouraging students to develop an appreciation for the beauty and relevance of mathematics in the world around them. Jacquelyn lives with her husband and their five daughters on a small farm among the picturesque lakes and mountains of New Hampshire. She enjoys homeschooling her own children, gardening using permaculture principles, playing board games, creating geometric quilts, and designing scrapbook pages to chronicle her family’s adventures.

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Colleen Rice, World Languages

Colleen earned her BA at Colgate University and her MA and PhD at University of Wisconsin-Madison, winning several academic honors along the way for her study of the Classics. She has teaching experience at the elementary, secondary, and college level. While a graduate student, Colleen was an instructor for an independent high school student preparing for the Latin International Baccalaureate exam, a private Latin tutor for both primary and secondary school students, and a mythology instructor for a summer program for gifted elementary students. She loves to travel and has studied extensively in Italy and Greece. Colleen now lives in upstate New York with her husband and young daughter and enjoys running, cooking, and spending time outdoors.

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Marnie Rogers, English

Marnie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Education from Smith College, and received graduate credit in English from the University of Kansas, doing her Master’s thesis in poetry. She has been teaching high school English at Oak Meadow since 2000. In addition, Marnie has worked as a classroom teacher, bookstore manager and school librarian. Marnie loves literature and believes that students can learn about themselves and the world in the pages of a book and through putting their own experiences into writing. Marnie is an avid bibliophile, gardener, cellist, and the mother of three grown boys.

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Peter Siegel, Music

Peter Siegel holds degrees in music and political science, as well as an advanced degree in environmental studies. His musical credits include publication in Sing Out! magazine and the fiddle tune compilation, The Portland Collection, Grammy award winning mandolin tracks on the Best Children’s Album of 2010 and a guest appearance on the nationally syndicated, Etown. He’s been privileged to have played venues around the country, including Newport Folk Festival, Clearwater Revival, Falconridge, Champlain Valley, Solarfest, The Iron Horse, and the Kennedy Center, and to have shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Dar Williams, Bread and Puppet, and many more. Peter also often leads stringed and vocal workshops in Americana music. As a certified music teacher, he brings to Oak Meadow his musical expertise and his teaching experience in the Orff and Kodaly methods. When he’s not performing or teaching, Peter can be found making music with his two children in southern Vermont.

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Cydney Smith, Health

Cydney holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Environmental Science. She has earned additional certifications in permaculture design, Integrative Nutrition, and is a certified health coach. Cydney was a professor of environmental studies at Southern Vermont College. She founded an online health and lifestyle coaching service, and has experience teaching health and life skills, as well as coaching and mentoring teens and young adults. Cydney appreciates that self-reflection and personal application are integrated into the Oak Meadow health course, and she is happy to be supporting teens as they learn about health and fitness. Cydney loves adventure, and has taken extended solo backpacking trips in the wilderness of Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her two daughters, and they are always sharing adventures together.

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Lydia de Faveri Spiegel, World Languages

Lydia de Faveri Spiegel holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Francophone Studies from the University of Massachusetts. She previously graduated from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, with a degree in Human Geography. Lydia has taught French and Italian courses at the high school and university levels for the past twenty years. Of Italian and Swiss origins, and a native speaker of Italian and French, Lydia has always been intrigued by language and culture. She enjoys motivating and guiding students to make connections between their academic studies and life experiences. She takes great interest in collaborating with colleagues to provide an interdisciplinary approach that makes learning more dynamic and effective. Lydia lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with her husband and her two children, and she enjoys traveling, walking, and the company of friends.

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Tara Sullivan, Art

Tara Sullivan received her BFA from the University of New Hampshire, her MFA from Southern Illinois University, and K-12 certification from Franklin Pierce College. Tara has taught art to students ranging in age from preschool to elders, and in a variety of settings from formal classrooms to camp sites. In addition to receiving a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, she has done artist residencies at The Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and The Vermont Studio Center. Tara feels that her role is to share her knowledge of art and to facilitate students’ discovery of the creative process. Learning to express one’s self visually is both an adventure and a thoughtful process of discovery. Tara engages in the creative process in many ways, including drawing and painting, sewing, gardening, cooking and parenting. In the spirit of adventure, Tara has traveled extensively, lived in Alaska and Ireland, and now calls Brattleboro home, where she lives the adventurous life of a creative mom.

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Jessica Turner, Brattleboro School Without Walls

Jessica, the director of Brattleboro School Without Walls, received her BA in physics from Bryn Mawr College and an MA in teaching with a concentration in Montessori mathematics education from Antioch University. She has 17 years of teaching experience at the middle school, high school, and college levels in a variety of schools and educational settings. She is also a mentor teacher and education consultant; as well as a mom, outdoor adventurer, and singer. Jessica is committed to supporting adolescents through meaningful academic engagement and real-world problem solving. She lives in southern Vermont with her energetic family.

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Julia West, Science

Julia graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science/Fisheries Biology. She has been with Oak Meadow since 1992, teaching high school science and Health and Fitness. She has strong interests in alternative energy, gardening, music, fitness, and outdoor activities, such as cross-country skiing, paddling, hiking, and biking. She is on the PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Educational Staff, and has ACA (American Canoe Association) certification for whitewater kayak instruction. In developing our new health course, she was committed to integrating a fitness element because physical exercise is proven to enhance mental clarity and mental health, and is a vital part of any healthy lifestyle. Most recently, Julia became the first distance-learning teacher chosen to participate in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Teacher at Sea research program. She lives in North River, New York, where she homeschooled her three children, two of whom have fledged the nest.

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Antony Yaeger, Social Studies

Antony received his undergraduate degree in Poetry and Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and his Masters of Science in Education and Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College, New York. Antony spent four years at the East Bay Waldorf High School in Berkeley, CA teaching poetry, photography, literature, and directing school plays. In 2009, Antony graduated once again from Sarah Lawrence College, this time earning a Masters Degree in poetry and creative writing. He encourages students to use writing as a tool for self-exploration, and to gain clarity and perspective on world events by examining issues from new angles. Antony currently lives with his wife and twin boys in Point Lookout, where he enjoys writing poetry and journeying into New York City for soul-inspiration.

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