Mill Falls Charter School Administration

executive director: MERYL LEVIN

Meryl Levin is a founder of Mill Falls and served as the School’s Founding Board Chair beginning in March of 2011 when the school received its approval from the NH Board of Education. In December 2015, after two earlier stints as an interim school leader, Meryl was selected by the school’s Trustees to serve as the Executive Director. Meryl has spoken widely on behalf of Mill Falls to legislators in Concord, on education and community panels, and as a 2013 TEDx speaker, among other venues. She is an alumnus of the Leadership New Hampshire Class of 2013 and served as Co-Chair of the Don’t Wait. Educate campaign, a 2016 initiative of Save the Children’s Action Network to bring public pre-k to Manchester. For over 20 years, Meryl has worked as a social documentary photographer with a focus on health, social welfare and political engagement. She is the author of two monographs, editor of several publications, and curator of several group exhibitions. She has guest lectured at colleges and universities around the country, and has received several grants and fellowships in support of her work. She attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and completed her undergraduate degree, at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She taught at The School of Visual Arts in NYC for seven years, until moving to NH where she was an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University teaching visual storytelling for seven years, and was deeply involved in the Service Learning Initiative there. She lives in Manchester, NH with her husband, Will Kanteres and their son.

Educational Program Director: Laura Wrubleski

Laura Wrubleski brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Mill Falls as she enters her thirteenth year in education and her sixth year at Mill Falls. State certified in NH and MA in both Elementary Education and Special Education, Laura obtained her Masters of Education in Literacy Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and her undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Keene State College. Laura taught in a variety of special education settings before completing her Montessori certification in Lower Elementary I at the Seacoast Center for Education. She taught for four years at Hill View Montessori Charter Public School aligning core curriculum standards to the Montessori environment. She also facilitated many mentor activities throughout the school. Laura was the first employee hired at Mill Falls and has helped envision, shape and lead our educational program from the start. Laura and her husband live with their two children in Manchester, NH.

Academic Project Coordinator: Shannon Helie

Shannon Helie serves both as the Academic Project Coordinator, and as the Lead Teacher in the Glacier Room. Shannon has been at Mill Falls since its founding in 2012; in 2018 she served as Interim Educational Program Director during Laura Wrubleski’s maternity leave, and as the Assistant Educational Program Director for two years. Please see Shannon’s complete bio below, in the Teaching Faculty section.

Project Manager: Grace Eaton

Grace Eaton is a graduate of the Westover School and The University of Vermont. Before joining Mill Falls, she spent five years at two independent boarding schools. Both schools taught her how to fill multiple roles at the same time: admission officer, faculty member, adviser, dorm parent, and committee member. These previous rolls have helped prepare her to take on the important tasks of Project Manager at Mill Falls. She was born and raised in the world of education and each year she continues to strengthen her love and respect for all educational models. Grace lives in Bedford, NH with her husband and their two dogs.

Office Manager: Jen Avery

Jen Avery received her Bachelors of Arts from Southern New Hampshire University. Soon after graduating, she enrolled at the University of New Hampshire to study Biological Sciences for Pharmaceuticals. She then focused on raising her young daughter. The experience of being at home with her daughter, led her to open up a small in-home daycare center, which Jen ran for about four years. She first joined Mill Falls as a paraprofessional in 2017. In the winter of 2019, she joined the Admin Team as Office Manager. There, Jen merged her love for children with experience from her her previous work at Catholic Medical Center’s physician’s practices where she was the office assistant, as well as her work in the hospitality industry.  Jen lives in Manchester, NH with her daughter and their cat, Maui.

Allison DeCesere, Bookkeeper

Allison DeCesere brings her efficiency and business expertise to her work with the Mill Falls administration in her bookkeeping role. She has extensive experience working with for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and is the owner/operator of By the Book, LLC, a bookkeeping business established in 2008. Allison received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in 1999 where she was a member of the National Business Honor Society. Before developing her own small business, Allison worked at State Street Bank pricing mutual funds. There she discovered she preferred helping small businesses thrive rather than working in the corporate world, and was soon hired as the business manager for a general contractor in Wellesley, MA. Over the next several years, she built up her bookkeeping business working with many in the construction industry at first, then broadening her client base. These days, her clientele is expansive, ranging from realtors to contractors, hair stylists to a manufacturer, as well as private individuals and families. Allison is originally from Londonderry, NH. She lives in Goffstown with her husband and their two children.

Jennifer Zedler, Technology Coordinator

Jennifer Zedler attended the University of New Hampshire with a focus in writing and journalism. After spending many years working in graphic and website design, she took time off to spend with her children. She enjoys supporting teachers, students and the school administration with their technology needs, while helping to keep Mill Falls students safe online. Jen lives in Manchester with her children.

Jody Wilhelm, Family Tech Support

Jody Wilhelm began her service work as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Boston after graduating with a psychology degree from Susquehanna University. She remained at City Year for three years before moving on to work in development for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Once meeting and marrying her partner, a fellow AmeriCorps alum, the two hit the road, working on volunteer organization and social justice activism in the music industry. Jody filled her time off the road working at schools in Concord and Manchester and serving on the alumni board of City Year New Hampshire. She joined the Mill Falls team in 2018 as our first Librarian, helping to organize our lending library and create a library program of our students. This year, Jody will be lending her support to our families as we navigate the year which includes remote learning. Jody lives with her husband, Matt, and their two children in Manchester, NH.

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MFCS Teaching Faculty

Each Mill Falls classroom has a Lead Teacher and an Assistant Teacher; the pairings are noted below.

Yosemite Room
Kindergarten Lead Teacher: Kristin Lang
Kindergarten Assistant teacher: Kayla Messana

Kristin Lang obtained her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and New York teaching license with a music concentration from Plattsburgh State University. She also has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Kristin started her career in education in Hoosick Falls, NY as a first grade teacher for six years. Before coming to Mill Falls, she worked in a Lower Elementary classroom as special education paraprofessional and then moved into a permanent Lower Elementary co-teaching position at Hill View Montessori Charter Public School in Haverhill, MA. Kristin has also worked as a Math Specialist at the Discovery Club, an academic, grant-funded after school program in the Haverhill School District. Kristin has her Montessori Primary training. Kristin’s has been the Lead Kindergarten Teacher at Mill Falls since we opened our doors in 2012. She lives in Manchester, NH.

Kayla Messana attended Hesser College with a focus in Early Childhood Education. In 2010, she began working in the field as a Kindergarten Site Director at a local YMCA. She continued her journey in education when in 2013 she became an Intensive Needs Paraprofessional in Bedford, NH. Kayla has an extensive background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and has worked for years with children with special needs. She looks forward to her fourth year at Mill Falls. Kayla, is a mom of four, lives with her family in Londonderry, NH.

Glacier Room
Lower Elementary Lead Teacher:  Shannon Helie
Lower elementary Assistant Teacher: Mel Decowski

Shannon Helie has eleven years of experience in both traditional and Montessori public schools. She has her NH teaching certification as well as her Montessori 6-9 Certification, and a Masters of Education with a concentration in Montessori from Plymouth State University. Shannon obtained her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/Psychology from Keene State College. Prior to joining the team at Mill Falls, Shannon co-taught in a Lower Elementary classroom at Hill View Montessori Charter Public School in Haverhill, MA, where she also ran the before-care program. Shannon has worked as a counselor and director at the YMCA after school and summer camp programs for several years. Shannon has been the Lead Lower Elementary Teacher in the Glacier Room since we opened our doors in 2012. Shannon lives in Manchester, NH.

Mel Decowski graduated from Castle College with a degree in Business Administration. She has over 20 years of business experience in the financial industry. While raising a family, she discovered a love of education and being with children in the school setting. Mel began by volunteering at Derry Montessori in 2007. She then transitioned to Southern NH Montessori Academy where she was part of the Design Team which developed and established the new school. She then joined their staff for three years, as the Office Administrator; she also filled in as a classroom assistant when needed. Her experience at Southern, gave her great insight into school operations. When her oldest daughter enrolled at Mill Falls in its founding year (2012), Mel volunteered both in classrooms and the front office. For two years, Mel supported our students as a Paraprofessional; this will be her fourth year as an Assistant Teacher first in the Acadia Room and now in Glacier and second as our Assistant Teacher Mentor. Mel strongly believes in the Montessori philosophy and enjoys supporting Mill Falls students as they work to achieve their own individual successes. Mel lives with her family in Derry, NH.

Acadia Room
Lower Elementary Lead Teacher: Tana Gills
Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher: Caitlin Gagnon

Tana Gills moved to Guam upon graduation from Tennessee Temple University with a bachelors in American Sign Language Interpreting and a minor in Cross-Cultural Studies. In Guam, she worked for seven years as a second grade classroom teacher, a tutor, and later as the assistant to the school’s principals. Tana joined the Mill Falls team in in 2015 as as our English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator and as our Reading Coach, supporting our K-3rd grade reading groups. In her time with us, Tana has has strongly embraced the Montessori approach and obtained her Lower Elementary 1 Montessori certification from the Maitland Montessori School in Maitland, FL. She is looking forward to a great year with Ms. Caitlin and the students of the Acadia Room. Tana lives in Manchester, NH.

Caitlin Gagnon is a certified teacher in Elementary Education, with a Masters from Southern New Hampshire University. She also holds a Bachelors in Communication Arts from the University of New Hampshire. After graduating with her undergraduate degree in 2007, Caitlin decided she wanted to follow her dream of one day working with and educating children. She first became a paraprofessional in the Manchester School District, and eventually went back to school to become a classroom teacher. After receiving her teacher certification in 2011, Caitlin worked for 1 year as a second grade teacher and 6 years as a first grade teacher at Manchester’s Hallsville Elementary and Parker-Varney Elementary Schools. She believes firmly in the Montessori method, and looks forward to her second year in the Acadia Room. Caitlin lives with her husband and their son in Bow, NH.

Denali Room
Lower Elementary Lead Teacher: Anya Morales
Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher: Lisa

Anya Morales originally fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and the effectiveness of its method while working at Cambridge Montessori School. Anya joined the Mill Falls faculty in 2014 as the Assistant Teacher in the Glacier Room, and in the summer of 2015, she enrolled at the Seacoast Center for Education where she obtained her Lower Elementary 1 Montessori Training. Previously, Anya received her bachelor’s degree in English from Keene State College. She also holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Southern New Hampshire University and is certified to teach in NH public schools. This will be her third year as the Lead Teacher in the Denali Room. Throughout her life, Anya has worked in a wide variety of educational settings, and loves working with children. She looks forward to a great year with Ms. Lisa and the children. Anya and her husband live in Manchester, NH.

Lisa DeYeso graduated from Simmons College with a degree in Economics, but transitioned into education while raising a family. She worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher for 3 years in Londonderry. Her experiences also include homeschooling her son for 6 years, volunteering in classrooms in the Derry Montessori School (preK/K) through public lower elementary, and teaching religious education. Her strong belief in the Montessori Method of schooling, combined with her desire to help students achieve success in the classroom, makes for a perfect fit at Mill Falls. As a nature lover, she happily spent many summers as the Assistant Camp Director at the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn, NH. She looks forward to her second year as the Assistant Teacher position in this, her 6th year at Mill Falls. Lisa lives with her family in Londonderry, NH.

Arches ROOM: Remote Kinder/Lower Elementary
Co-Teachers: Mindy Kacavas & Carole Beckwith

Mindy Kacavas has been a beloved member of the Mill Falls Staff since our first year. She has filled may roles here at school, beginning here as an Assistant Teacher in the Acadia Room from the fall of 2012 until the spring of 2015. Each year since, Mindy has lent her expertise to the Mill Falls team, in a variety of ways, including serving our Board of Trustees. For the last several years, she has been on staff as our Reading Coach and English Language Coordinator (ELL). She looks forward to the new challenges and opportunities of leading the Arches Classroom to close out the year. Mindy first began her work in education as a Physical Education Teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY. She later worked with younger students at UNH’s Child Study and Development Center and with adult learners as she supervised UNH Manchester education students in their field placement. Mindy majored in Psychology at St. Lawrence University and traveled to Kenya as part of her undergraduate studies. She studied at NYU’s Graduate School of Education and at UNH’s School of Continuing Education. Mindy is the proud mother of three sons, including Mr. Eli who is working with us at school this year while on leave from his studies at NYU due to COVID. Mindy enjoys playing outdoors, walking, biking, and gardening. She lives in Manchester with her husband, three sons and their beagle, Vinny.

Carole Beckwith is an experienced Montessorian, who received her Association Montessori Internationale degree for 3-6+ years’ in Milwaukee, through the Midwest Montessori Institute. She worked in several Montessori schools before opening a private school, Countryside Montessori, in upstate New York. Carole is a graduate of Wells College with a BA in philosophy and art history and holds an MLS degree from Syracuse University. Later in her career, Carole joined the faculty at River Valley Charter School, the first public Montessori school in Newburyport, MA, as an Elementary I guide. She later, became the first director of River Valley’s middle school. Always an active member of the community, Carole has served on the Board of Education in New York State and remains active in her New Hampshire community today especially in the areas of climate and environmental activism. Carole looks forward to discovering new ways to provide an authentic Montessori experience remotely as she partners with Ms. Mindy. Her hobbies include art, travel, nature, fishing, cross country skiing. Carole has seven grown children and lives with her husband in Fitzwilliam, NH.

Olympic Room
Upper Elementary Lead Teacher: Laura Blouin
Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher: Meghan Sirois

Laura Blouin received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Theater from Keene State College and has six years of teaching experience. She is certified in K-8 Elementary Content Areas and received her Upper Elementary Montessori Certification (for ages 9-12) at the Seacoast Center for Education in the summer of 2013. Before coming to Mill Falls, she taught third, fourth and fifth grade at Broken Ground School in Concord, NH. Prior to teaching, Laura served as an Americorps member, helping high school students design and implement science based, service-learning projects to earn high school credits. In addition to this year of service, she worked as a science camp instructor at Prescott Farm. Laura joined Mill Falls as our first Upper Elementary Lead Teacher in 2013 when the Olympic Room was established, and has been a key player in our Upper Elementary Program’s development. Laura and her husband, also a teacher, live in Manchester, NH.

Meghan Sirois graduated from Rivier College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, Elementary Education, and Special Education. After graduation, Meghan worked as a second grade teacher in Hudson, NH. For several years, she has been a full-time, stay-at-home mom to her children. Meghan believes that building a strong relationship with students is necessary to teach Upper Elementary-aged students. Meghan loves seeing the individual growth and development in students, and is passionate about the Montessori approach. She looks forward to this year, her second as the Assistant Teacher in Olympic. Meghan lives in Manchester, NH with her husband and their two children, who are MFCS students.

Everglades ROOM
UPPER ELEMENTARY LEAD TEACHER: Marissa Twomey

Marissa Twomey has over ten years of teaching experience. Marissa holds her Master of Arts degree in Teaching Secondary English Education from Rivier University and her bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University. She began her career at Alvirne High School in Hudson, NH and taught English for seven years. Five years ago, Marissa established her own tutoring business that specializes in working with students with dyslexia. When her son started preschool at Southern New Hampshire Montessori Academy, she spent three years there as a volunteer librarian working with students in kindergarten through sixth grade. This is her second year in the Everglades Room. Marissa lives with her husband and their son in Londonderry, NH.

Keyshumie Garcia will be joining the Everglades Room for the final weeks of the school year. She is working to complete her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and General Special Education. She will receive her NH teacher certification from Southern New Hampshire University in 2022. Prior coming to Mills Falls, Keyshumie had the opportunity to work with students enrolled in various Manchester schools where she discovered her true love of teaching and is thrilled to join the Mill Falls Team for this final portion of the year. Keyshumie was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Manchester, NH where she current lives with her family.

Zion ROOM
UPPER ELEMENTARY LEAD TEACHER: Colleen Costa
UPPER ELEMENTARY ASSISTANT TEACHER: Eli Kacavas

Colleen Costa attended Southern New Hampshire University where she received her BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in History. She is certified in K-8 Elementary Content Areas in the state of NH, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in May of 2013. She received her Montessori training in both Lower and Upper Elementary education at the Montessori Educator Teacher Training Collaborative in Lexington, MA. Before joining the Mill Falls team, Colleen taught at Manchester’s Gossler Park School, where she served as a Title 1 Certified Instructor, providing supplemental instruction to her students’ general education programming in all content areas, grades K-5. During her time at Gossler Park School she was a part of the school’s leadership team and also served as co-director/coordinator of the school’s annual talent show. Colleen’s joined Mill Falls in 2015. She lives in Manchester, NH.

Emily Roy will be joining the Zion Room for the final weeks of this school year. Emily is currently a student at Plymouth State University where she is a double major working towards her Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Art. She plans to continue her education with a master’s in Art therapy at Lesley University. Emily is a Manchester native and graduated from Memorial High School with honors. Emily has had a variety experiences of working with children over the last 5 years. She always brings creativity and fun to her teaching and looks forward to sharing her love of art with her students at Mill Falls. Emily lives in Manchester with her family.

Redwood ROOM: Remote Upper Elementary
Lead Teacher: Angelica “Angie” Pomales,
Math Teacher: Lauren Koble

Angie Pomales is currently completing her Masters in Art Education with a minor in teaching from City College in New York and working toward her NY teaching certification in K-12. She holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). As an educator, Angie focuses on guiding her students toward happiness and creativity as they journey together through the curriculum. Angie was born and raised in New York City, and grew up just a few blocks away from Times Square, making her childhood rich in art and culture. Angie’s family is her backbone. In her spare time, Angie enjoys arts and crafts, a good road trip visiting museums and thrift shops, and a nice bike ride. She currently lives in the Bronx, NY.

Lauren Kolbe has been a long-time member of our Mill Falls Faculty, serving as the Lead Teacher in the Everglades Room since 2015. She recently welcomed her second child, and has recently returned on part-time basis as our Upper Elementary Interventionist, following her maternity leave. Lauren holds her masters in Elementary Education from Lesley University and her bachelor’s degree from Siena College where she was a member of the women’s soccer team. She has her NH and MA teaching certification and has been Montessori trained for ages 9-12 at the Seacoast Center for Education. Prior to joining the team at Mill Falls, Lauren was a Lead teacher at the Clark School in Danvers and at the Belmont Day School in Belmont, both in MA. At both of those schools, Lauren also focused on athletics and youth leadership, as a coed cross-country coach and basketball coach. Before she began her teaching career, Lauren was the soccer coach at Siena College’s summer soccer camp. Lauren lives with her husband and their two children in Bedford, NH.

MFCS Student Support Faculty

STUDENT SERVICES COORDINATOR & Special Educator: Diane Harrises

Diane Harrises is an experienced educator, consultant, and trainer with more than three decades of experience in education. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell with a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Leadership and a Certificate in Graduate Studies in Behavioral Intervention with a focus in Autism. Her Bachelor’s degree from Salem State University is in Early Childhood Education. Currently, Diane is completing her doctoral dissertation in Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Over the past three decades, Diane served as a teacher for primary grade classrooms as well as special education programs. She served in the roles of Visiting Professor, Lecturer, and Assistant Professor with SNHU in their School of Education and her passion and commitment for inclusion for all led to co-organizing SNHU’s #Transthriving conference and presenting at multiple conferences on the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diane is the founder and owner of Educators Explore, a consulting business located in Manchester, NH, and she and her family divide their time between Manchester and Hampton, NH.

Special Educator: Kathleen Cline

Kathleen Cline has been teaching for twenty-eight years in a variety of educational settings and has a diverse background in both regular and special education. Kathleen graduated from the University of Vermont in 1990 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Teaching Minor in French. After teaching kindergarten and preschool, Kathleen obtained her Master’s Degree in both Specific Learning Disabilities and General Special Education from Rivier University. Since then, Kathleen has worked as a middle school learning disabilities specialist in an inclusive regular education setting and as a special education consultant, presenting workshops to regular educators and participating in compliance reviews of district special education programs. Most recently, she has worked as an independent academic tutor to students of all abilities and ages and as a Title 1 reading instructor. She joined Mill Falls in 2018. Kathleen’s greatest teaching challenge and labor of love has been the home education of all three of her children from kindergarten through grade eight. She resides in Bedford, NH with her husband, Peter, and their youngest daughter, Olivia, who is now in high school. Their oldest child, Harrison, has graduated college, and Izzy, is happily enjoying her college career.

Special Educator: Sue Lambright

Sue Lambright obtained her Learning Disability Certification from Rivier University. She also holds her Master’s degree in Education from Simmons College and a BFA with a concentration in Studio Arts from Emmanuel College. Sue is licensed in MA and NH in Special Education K-12 and Learning Disabilities. After teaching for nine years as a Special Educator in Massachusetts, she turned her focus to raising her children and caring for her family. During that time, she participated in a variety of school-based activities as a volunteer, including running the Destination Imagination program for two years and organizing school field day events. Sue has been a Special Educator at Mill Falls since 2016. She enjoys hiking, traveling (pre-COVID), kayaking, sewing, painting and all crafts. Sue lives in Nashua, NH with her husband, their two high-school-aged children and their basset hound. family.

Reading Interventionist: Sherry Humphrey

Sherry Humphrey began her teaching career as a public elementary school teacher working with first and second graders. She took some time off from teaching to raise her children and returned some years later as a substitute teacher and later as an art teacher at Bedford Montessori School, which her children attended. She later worked in the Merrimack School District, first as a substitute teacher for upper elementary school students, then as a first grade teacher at Reed Ferry School. She studied at Plymouth State College where she majored in Elementary Education and minored in Child Development, and holds a Masters of Education degree with a concentration in Literacy Studies. Sherry started at Mill Falls as the Assistant Kindergarten Teacher in our opening year (2012). The following year she became our Reading Interventionist, a position she has held ever since. Sherry lives with her family in Merrimack, NH.

MATH INTERVENTIONIST: COLLEEN LACROIX

Colleen Lacroix began her teaching career in physical education in Florida. She took some time off from teaching to raise her children and returned some years later as a Math Interventionist, teaching in Omaha, Nebraska. She completed her undergraduate degree in Physical Education and her Masters in Exercise Physiology, both from the University of Central Florida. When Colleen’s husband retired from the Marine Corp, the family moved north, back to their NH roots. Colleen joined the Mill Falls team in 2015. Colleen lives in Auburn, NH with her husband and their three children.

ELL Coordinator & Reading Coach: Mindy Kacavas (bio above)

Reading Support: Jennifer Zedler

Jennifer Zedler has been a familiar face around Mill Falls for several years. She started as a volunteer when her children began kindergarten in 2015, and has expanded her role as the years have progressed. Jen attended the University of New Hampshire with a focus in writing and journalism. Here at Mill Falls, she has taught Lower Elementary handwriting for many years, and is excited to be back to share her love of reading as the Reading Support Person in our 3rd Trimester. She will continue her work as our Technology Coordinator as well. She lives in Manchester and enjoys hiking with her two children and a brand new puppy.

Integrated Arts Instructors

Catie Brumm: Technology Instructor
Catie Brumm received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2006 and her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She has worked as an Occupational Therapist with children for 11 years, 9 of those years in elementary and middle school settings. Catie recognizes the role of evolving technology in our children’s lives, and the need to introduce technology at a pace appropriate to a student’s developmental level. She enjoys teaching our students about how to successfully use technology to enhance their academic work in a safe and professional way. This is her sixth year in this position. Catie lives with her husband, their daughter and family pets in Derry, NH.

Melissa Fortin, Art Instructor
Melissa Fortin is a graduate of Endicott College and Rhode Island School of Design with degrees in Fine Arts and Architectural Studies. She works as a freelance designer, specializing in residential architectural design. While raising her two children, she volunteered extensively in their public schools, working on various fundraising events and special art projects. Melissa has been part of the Mill Falls Team since the school’s founding, first as a volunteer, sub, paraprofessional and front office assistant. This will be her second year as our Art Instructor. Melissa lives in Manchester, NH with her husband, and enjoys visiting her two adult children who now live in California and South Carolina.

Christine Bisson, Fitness Instructor
Christine Bisson is a certified teacher in Elementary Education, with a Masters from Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of South Dakota. This degree led her to acting and directing in children’s theater throughout her home state of South Dakota, well as acting in New York City. She also spent a year in rural Japan with the JET Program teaching English as well as a year in Washington, DC in AmeriCorps NCCC. Closer to home, Christine worked as a Title 1 Intervention Teacher at Gossler Park Elementary in Manchester along with Ms. Colleen, before joining the Mill Falls team in 2015 as an Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher. Christine took a year off from our team to welcome her second child, and returned to Mill Falls in 2017 to work with Lower Elementary students in the Denali Room. She enjoyed working with the Upper Elementary Team as Assistant Teacher in the Zion Room for the past year. This year, Christine served as our Fall Upper Elementary Interventionist and as our Fitness Instructor. Christine lives with her family in Manchester, NH.

Craig Thomas, Music Instructor
Craig Thomas
is a life long professional musician, having moved from his native Washington, DC area to Southern California as a woodwind specialist and vocalist recording and touring with Aretha Franklin, Olivia Newton-John, Tom Jones, Jermaine Jackson, Michael McDonald, Johnny Mathis, and countless others along with many recording sessions for movies and television. As a music teacher, Craig has been teaching privately for close to 30 years on saxophone, clarinet, and flute in California’s Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as the adjunct professor of saxophone at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and teaching instrumental music as the band director and recorder teacher at Linda Vista Adventist Elementary School grades 3-8 in Oxnard, CA for 11 years, sending many first chair instrumentalists to The Newbury Adventist Academy in Newbury Park, CA. Craig moved to New Hampshire in the spring of 2018 and is extremely excited about his new teaching endeavor at Mill Falls.

Paraprofessionals

Deanna Andree has taught in public and collaborative school settings for 12 years in Missouri and Massachusetts as a special educator, before deciding to focus full time on raising her two children. In earlier years, she spent a year in Papua New Guinea training teachers to recognize learning disabilities and develop strategies for teaching children in a country without special education services. Deanna graduated from Eastern Nazarene College with a Bachelors of Arts in History and James Madison University with a Masters of Education in Special Education, specializing in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. In her free time, Deanna is a fiber artist who has sold wool paintings in galleries and has taught classes in New Hampshire for the past 13 years. Deanna lives in Bedford with her husband and children.

Maura Barber has over 25 years of experience in the fields of education and social services. Throughout her career, She has implemented many outreach programs to serve families/individuals in the community to address basic needs and social action causes. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1992 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and minored in Human Development and Family Studies. While living in Austin, Texas working as a lead teacher at a childcare facility, she decided to go back to school to earn her Master’s in Social Work at Southwest Texas State University. After graduation, she immediately went to work for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services with a focus on child abuse/foster care and adult abuse services. In North Carolina, she began teaching at the community college level, and in New Hampshire, she continued teaching as an adjunct at Southern New Hampshire University. In 2008, she became certified as a dance fitness instructor and continues to teach regular classes for all ages. In addition to her work at Mill Falls, Maura holds a part-time position as the Director of Religious Exploration at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester. She is the proud mom of one current and one graduated Mill Falls student, and she has volunteered as one of the coaches for the Girls on The Run program. Originally from Connecticut, Maura now lives in Manchester with her husband, four children, and one fur baby.

Christine Bisson: please see bio in the Integrated Arts Section

Catie Brumm: please see bio in the Integrated Arts Section

Angelica Kashulines attended Manchester Community College with a concentration in Child Growth and Development. She held her State of NH Water Treatment License and NH Esthetician’s license before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She has enjoyed working with various aged children in child care settings, while raising her 2 boys. Her son’s attended Mill Falls beginning in the school’s founding year. In 2018 she joined the Mill Falls Team as a paraprofessional and substitute. Angelica loves the Montessori method and the supportive teachers at Mill Falls. She spends much of her spare time as a volunteer advocate, spreading the word about visual processing disorders and serves as an admin of the information sharing FaceBook group Vision Therapy Parents Unite. She’s passionate about helping the struggling learner and is enjoying her role as a paraprofessional. Angelica lives in Auburn, NH with her husband, their two sons, and their 2 cats – Jingle Bells and Diego.

Julia Morozova-Soto was born and raised in Moldova (former USSR) and moved to the US in 1996.  She holds a BA in English and Business Communications from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  While working in corporate America in the early 2000, Julia started studying yoga and realized that teaching yoga was her true calling. She has been teaching for 17 years. When she’s not on the yoga mat, you will find her in the kitchen cooking delicious meals from around the globe with her two children and husband. Julia has been a Mill Falls volunteer parent since 2013 and as proud mom to a current and graduated Mill Falls student. She is excited and grateful to join the school during this time of transition and profound change in all of our lives.

Annabel von Weise recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a Degree in Environmental Studies and Community and International Development. She has previously been a counselor at Wright-Locke Farm Camp in Winchester, MA, where she led children ages 4-12 through farm and forest related curriculum and appropriate activities. She has been babysitting for families with children of varying ages since middle school and loves engaging them in conversation and activities. She currently lives in Burlington, Vermont with her five roommates as they complete their last year of college.

ChildCare Program

The Mill Falls ChildCare Program is supervised by Shannon Helie. Mill Falls faculty members provide the additional staffing of the Child Care Program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ChildCare Program is currently suspended.