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Fessenden Welcomes New Faculty and Administrative Staff

This year, Fessenden welcomes more than 25 new faculty and administrative staff members. Learn more about them below.

Marissa Apland is Fessenden’s new Director of Arts and Vocal Music Teacher. She has a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Classical Vocal Performance from Manhattan School of Music. Marissa comes to us after spending over 10 years at the Chase Collegiate School in Connecticut. As Choral and Music Director, Lower School Music Teacher, and Private Vocal Instructor, she has worked with students of all ages, both one-on-one and in groups. Marissa is also an accomplished performer of opera and concert work in venues throughout the East Coast.

Greg Ball joins Fessenden’s Lower School as a physical education teacher. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Principia College in Illinois and a Master of Arts in Sports Leadership from Northeastern University. Greg comes to us from Principia School in Missouri, where he was the Middle School Athletic Coordinator, Head Varsity Baseball Coach, and elementary and middle school Physical Education Teacher. In addition, Greg coached volleyball and basketball, and he also played baseball professionally in Sweden.

Joanna Balla-Elliott joins the Fessenden community as a Middle School English teacher. She holds a BA in Literary Studies from Middlebury College and an MEd in Middle School Humanities Education from Boston University. Joanna has a wealth of experience teaching middle-school-aged children from her time at Shady Hill School, Roxbury Prep High School, and The Breakthrough Collaborative.

Craig Bouchard is a new addition to Fessenden's Pre-Kindergarten program. Previously, he was a kindergarten and first-grade apprentice teacher at Shady Hill School. Before becoming a teacher, Craig was the Development Director for Mass Audubon's Blue Hills Trailside Museum and Senior Donor Relations Manager for The Nature Conservancy. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middlebury College and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University and Shady Hill School. He is also an aspiring children's author. 

Michael Deedy will be teaching Middle School science. He has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from the University of Vermont. Mike joins Fessenden from the New Heights Charter School in Brockton, Massachusetts where he taught sixth grade science. In addition, Mike worked as an Employment and Training Specialist for the New England Aquarium, and he was formerly a tour guide at Fenway Park Tours in Boston.

Liza Feldman joins Fessenden as the Director of Learning Resources after a year at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, where she served as an English teacher and learning coach, and after many years as a team leader and department chair at the Carroll School in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Liza earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College. An accomplished college basketball and softball player, Liza has coached both sports at various high schools in the Boston area for many years.

Melissa Grip comes to Fessenden as a long-term substitute teacher for sixth grade math. She holds a Master of Education from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from Bucknell University. Previously, she taught math in second and fifth grades at Belmont Day School. Melissa also coached basketball at Dana Hall School and is a US Sailing Level 1 Instructor for Nantucket Community Sailing. Melissa is an avid hiker and marathon runner.

Sean Guthrie is Fessenden’s new Head of Middle School, and he comes to us after serving as Principal of the Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot School in Mattapan, Massachusetts. Prior to Young Achievers, Sean was a Principal Fellow, a Sixth Grade Team Leader, a Curriculum Designer, and a sixth grade math teacher at various schools in the Boston area. He is a two-time graduate of Boston College, earning both his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his Master of Education. An athlete of considerable acclaim, Sean was captain of BC’s football team as a senior, and he continued his football career in the National Football League.

Jenny Hanna is a new member of our learning resources department, serving as a Learning Resources Skills Teacher and Lower School Reading Specialist. She joins us from The Chestnut Hill School where she spent 12 years in various roles, including learning specialist, fourth grade classroom/language arts teacher, writing curriculum coordinator, and fifth and sixth grade teacher. Jenny holds an MA in Elementary Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver and a BS from Colorado State University. Jenny also holds a Literacy and Language Certificate of Advanced Study from the MGH Institute of Health Professions.

Kristin Harris joins the Fessenden community as the school psychologist. Previously, she was a pre-doctoral intern for Newton Public Schools. Kristin is completing her PhD and has her Master of Science in School Psychology from Northeastern University. She also has a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College and a Bachelor of Science in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University. Kristin has significant experience working with children at various ages, including in the Newton Public Schools, Judge Baker Children's Center, Scituate High School, and Tufts Floating Hospital for Children. Kristin's research has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals, and she has presented her work at a number of national conferences.

Julia Hill comes to Fessenden as a Lower School intern. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Lawrence University in New York. During her time there, she was the captain of the women’s varsity soccer team. Before joining the Fessenden community, Julia worked at The New England Center for Children, where she taught children with severe autism and assisted in developing learning programs for children with autism.

Julia Holland joins Fessenden as the athletic trainer. She holds a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Sport Studies with a Concentration in Athletic Training from Springfield College. Julia also has a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She brings a wealth of experience from her previous roles as an athletic trainer and athletic rehabilitation supervisor for Springfield College. Prior, she served as the assistant athletic trainer at Eaglebrook School.

Tyler Kelly joins the Lower School as a physical education teacher and the Upper School as a personal growth and development teacher. Previously he taught physical education at Westfield High School, Thornton Burgess Middle School, and Meadow Brook Elementary School in East Longmeadow. Tyler has a wealth of coaching experience from working with the Worcester Bravehearts as a pitching coach, Mystic Schooners as an assistant coach, and through his graduate fellowship with the baseball team at Springfield College. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physical Education from Springfield College, where he played varsity baseball.

Craig Morgan is a new English teacher inFessenden’s Upper School. He has previously worked at Shady Hill School as a middle school apprentice teacher and as an outreach and recruitment intern for Just-A-Start YouthBuild. He also has experience in various industries, including fitness and wellness, retail, and public relations. Craig has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a master’s degree in Education from Boston University. 

Laura Morris returns to Fessenden’s Admissions Office as a part-time Lower School Admissions Associate. Previously, she served in this capacity and as a Kindergarten teacher. Laura is also the Fessenden Parents Association President. She holds a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and an MS in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Kindergarten teaching team at Fessenden in 2008, she taught at Shore Country Day School, as well as at Julia A. DeBurgos Elementary School, Friends Select School, and The Episcopal Academy in the Philadelphia area. In addition to her teaching experience, Laura worked in university relations at Boston University and alumni affairs and development at Cornell University.

Elizabeth Neilson joins Fessenden's learning resources department as a Learning Resources Skills Teacher and Lower School Reading Specialist. Previously she served at The Park School in Brookline as both a literacy specialist and a learning specialist. Liz brings significant experience from her time as a language tutor at The Carroll School, academic tutor at Concord Academy, and writing instructor at Northeastern University. She has a master’s degree in English with a Concentration in Composition from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Connecticut College.

Katharine Pastore joins the Fessenden community as the arts intern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont, with minors in Studio Art and Anthropology. Kate served as the head of the waterskiing department and cabin counselor at Brown Ledge Camp in Vermont. Previously, she coached for and ran a children’s physical activity program at JJ Flynn Elementary School, and she volunteered for Burlington City Arts. Kate enjoys painting and photography, and she is conversational in American Sign Language.

Jose Powell is the new Associate Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Diversity Recruitment as well as a dorm parent in Hyde Hall. He comes to Fessenden from Brooks School, where he was the Dean of Equity and Inclusion. Jose previously spent many years at the Cate School in California as the Director of Multiculturalism and Inclusion and Associate Director of Admissions. While at Cate, he established the Young Men’s Forum. Jose also served as the Director of Student of Color Recruitment at Phillips Academy. He has a Bachelor of Science in African American Studies from Northeastern University. Jose is proficient in Spanish, and he is certified in violence prevention training through Northeastern.

Keenan Roche comes to Fessenden as a Middle School intern and Memorial Hall dorm parent, following his time teaching in an AmeriCorps program at Match Charter Public Middle School in Boston, where he was a full-time math tutor. Keenan earned his BA in History from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. During his time there, he spent four years as a tutor at the Worcester Youth Center, and during the summers he coached youth baseball on the Choate Rosemary Hall campus in Connecticut.

Heather Sebuufu is Fessenden’s human resources administrator. She holds a BS in Management from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and an MEd in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from Boston University. Heather has prior human resources experience and served as the Human Resources Coordinator, as well as the Human Resources and Administrative Assistant, at Advances Learning Center in Watertown. She has taught ESOL to adults at Cambridge Community Learning Center, Boston Higher Education Resource Center, and Brockton Assembly of God.

Janice So joins Fessenden as a Latin teacher in the Middle School. She has a Master of Arts in Classics from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin and Ancient Greek from Vassar College. Before joining Fessenden, Janice served as an Upper Division Latin Teacher for The Park School, where she was also a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She also has numerous years of experience teaching Middle and Upper School Latin and Ancient Greek at the Dwight-Englewood Upper and Middle School in New Jersey, Lower and Upper School Latin at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Pennsylvania, and Middle School Latin at Cambria School of Excellence in New York. In addition, Janice served as a Classics Course Instructor and Teaching Assistant at the University of Washington.

Victoria Stearns is Fessenden’s new Middle and Upper School visual arts teacher. She has a Master of Arts in Art Education from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Denison University. Victoria has taught ceramics at the Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington as well as visual arts at the Peabody School, Saugus High School, the Museum of Fine Arts, Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Public Schools Summer Enrichment Program, Shady Hill School, and the Children’s Arts Center in Boston. Victoria is fluent in French, and she spent time teaching English to children in both France and South Korea. Victoria’s art has been exhibited in a number of studios and galleries around Massachusetts.

Andrea Tran comes to Fessenden as a Lower School intern. She holds a BA in Arts and Education from William Smith College, with minors in African Studies and Anthropology. Most recently, Andrea served as a teacher’s assistant in the Public Schools of Brookline and a Special Education Paraprofessional at Boston Collegiate Charter School. She has taught vocational English and conducted mock interviews for adult immigrants to help them obtain and maintain employment during her time at English for New Bostonians. Also in Boston, Andrea served as an AmeriCorps Program Coordinator for Playworks, a Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Tenacity, a Career Coach for Summer Search, and an Administrative Assistant for Jewish Vocational Services.

Stacey Truesdale is a new member of the administrative staff, serving as the receptionist for the School. She is currently working on her associate's degree in Information Technology and Business Management at Middlesex Community College. Previously, Stacey spent 11 years at Constant Contact in Waltham as a Customer Support Billing Supervisor. She has actively volunteered as a co-leader with Waltham Girl Scouts for the past seven years.

Shannon Voulgaris is a new history teacher in the Upper School. She has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, with minors in Education and US History, from Middlebury College and a master’s degree in Social Science from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Shannon brings many years of teaching experience from her roles at Noble and Greenough School, Episcopal High School, Dexter Southfield School, and The Taft School. In all of her teaching roles, Shannon has also served as a coach for the past 12 years, including for hockey, lacrosse, and soccer. While at Middlebury, she was a captain of the varsity women’s ice hockey team, which won the championships for the National Collegiate Athletic Association for three consecutive years during her time.

Jennifer Whalen-Sirois is Fessenden’s new Summer Camps Office Manager and Athletics Assistant. Previously, she served as the Director of Advancement for St. Charles School in Woburn. Jenn has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Boston University, and she holds a Camp Director Certificate from the American Camp Association. A summer camp professional, Jenn has also worked as the Resident Director and Assistant Office Manager at Camp Bernadette. Having also spent time as a chief financial officer and elementary school teacher, she brings varied experience to this role.

Christopher Young joins Fessenden as the new Associate Director of Secondary School Counseling and varsity football coach. He was previously an Associate Director of Admissions, Athletic Liaison, and Coordinator of Athletic Recruiting for St. Mark’s School. During Chris’ tenure with St. Mark’s, he was also the Assistant Lacrosse Coach and Head Football Coach. In addition, he has spent many years as an Assistant Football Coach for Bentley University, Colby College, and Assumption College. He is nearing completion of his Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Boston University, and he has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and American Literature from St. Lawrence University. An active volunteer, Chris has been involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Waltham and Boston for the past seven years.

Familiar Faces in New Roles
In addition to welcoming new faculty and administrative staff, several members of the Fessenden community have transitioned into new roles for the 2019-2020 school year. Nicole Biondo has transitioned from teaching first grade to fourth grade. Haley Cook has joined the first grade team after teaching Kindergarten at Fessenden for three years. Following a year away, Cindy Metsch is the Assistant Head of School after working at Fessenden in various teaching and administrative roles for nearly 30 years. Kyra Norsigian was previously a Learning Resources Academic Tutor at Fessenden and, after one year away,returns to the position. Finally, Kaleigh White is co-teaching in Kindergarten with Greta Sanborn after serving as a Lower School intern during the 2018-2019 school year.
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