Meet Our New Staff!
Essex Elementary School
Sheila McAdams |Interim Principal
I am pleased to introduce Sheila McAdams to the MERSD community. Ms. McAdams has extensive experience as a school-level leader, having recently retired as principal of the Winthrop Elementary School in Ipswich, after serving in that role for 14 years. Most recently she held the position of interim principal for Wilmington Public Schools. Ms. McAdams brings high energy, intellect, a collaborative approach, and a proven track record in instructional leadership.
Lori Baker |Teaching Assistant
Lori Baker is a familiar face joining us in a new position. After several years working as a substitute teacher and, most recently, a Reading Teaching Assistant at Essex Elementary, Lori joins us as a member of the Ace Program Team. Her experience supporting students as they cracked the reading code makes Lori a welcome addition to our team.
Danielle Demetri |Grade 5 Classroom Teacher
With a master’s degree from Endicott College in Early Childhood and a second master’s from Lesley University in Counseling, Danielle is excited about this new professional adventure. From SWING, to SAIL, to ACE, Danielle steps into the classroom after spending the last four years working with our most vulnerable populations. Her peers describe her as creative, engaging, and dedicated.
Colleen Shannon |School Adjustment Counselor
Colleen is a licensed clinical social worker who has joined Essex Elementary from The Children’s Place in Arlington, where she has served as Assistant Program Director of Youth and Community Outreach. Colleen has worked as a counselor with children, adolescents, and families for over 20 years and specializes in helping children cope with grief and loss. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy from Lesley University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Salem State University. She is an adjunct professor for the Smith College School of Social Work.
Manchester Memorial Elementary School
Callie Doane |SAIL TA
Callie is starting her first year as a Teaching Assistant in the SAIL program. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Studies. Prior to being self-employed, she was a preschool teacher in the Sunflower Classroom at Lil’ Sprouts in Essex. She is thrilled to be a part of the MMES family.
Savannah Farkash |Student Teacher Preschool
Lauren Harkins |Sail Teaching Assistant
Lauren is a teaching assistant joining the SAIL program. Lauren is a recent graduate of Westfield State University. She graduated with a bachelor's in both Early Childhood Education Prek-2 and Psychology. Lauren is excited about starting her career at MERSD. She is looking forward to working with her students to help them become confident learners. She can’t wait for the school year to begin.
Stephanie Houde |Pre-K Teaching Assistant
Stephanie has been in childcare for the past 8 years, working as a nanny. While working as an in-home caregiver, she completed her degree in Early Childhood Education and more recently graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development. She has enjoyed helping children navigate their development and providing them with the support they need to create a strong foundation for their future and looks forward to sharing this with you all during the 2022-2023 school year.
Manchester Essex Regional Middle School
Kelly Benson | Middle/High School Nurse
Kelly is joining middle/high school after seven years in the private healthcare industry. Kelly has worked as a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, Children’s Hospital in Boston, and Beverly Hospital. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Rhode Island.
Michelle Carrancho | World Language
Michelle has worked with MERSD since 2012 as a world language teacher at the elementary level. This year, she is transitioning to middle school and will teach world language classes in Grade 7. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and German from Drew University, and she has done coursework in foreign literature, language, and culture at Harvard University.
Kristen Degnan | Social Studies Teacher
Kristen is a current employee of MERSD. She worked during the 2021-22 school year as a long-term substitute teacher in Grade 8 English. This year, Kristen is transferring to a full-time teaching position in our Grade 6 social studies class. Kristen has several years of experience as a fifth and sixth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania. She has also worked as a substitute teacher for Hamilton-Wenham public schools. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Elementary Education from Gettysburg College and a Master of Arts in Education from Pennsylvania State University.
Ashley Gilson | Long Term Substitute, Grade 8 English
Ashley is a current MERSD employee. In addition to working as a daily and long-term substitute in a variety of classrooms, she spent the 2021-22 school year as a teaching assistant in our sail program. This year, Ashley transitioned to our grade 8 English classroom as a long-term substitute teacher. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the savannah college of art and design.
Kristen Harding | Teaching Assistant
Kristen is a current MERSD employee. She is transitioning from a daily substitute teacher/recess monitor at Essex elementary to a teaching assistant position at the middle school. Kristen has been with the district since 2018. She holds an associate degree in arts of health sciences from North Shore community college.
Ryan Hayes | Teaching Assistant
Ryan has experience working with students of diverse ages and backgrounds in both small and large settings as a camp counselor and paraprofessional. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University.
Jacqueline Hurley | Teaching Assistant
Jacqueline has worked at the preschool and elementary levels as a special education intern, literacy tutor, and reading interventionist. Most recently, she worked at Lake View Elementary and Northport Elementary in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Alabama.
Jan Jonsson | Recess Monitor
Jan is a retired educator with a background in social studies and psychology. She holds various degrees and certificates from Salem State College and Cambridge College.
Jessica Shaw Marzi |Occupational Therapist
Jessica has many years of experience working as an occupational therapist. Most recently, she worked at the Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Bradford, MA. Since 2015, she has worked as an OT Clinical Education Coordinator at Project CHILLD in Beverly, MA. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Saint Michael’s College and a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire.
Laura Meekins | Reading Specialist
Laura is a current employee of MERSD. She has many years of experience as a reading interventionist and instructional assistant. Prior to working at Memorial Elementary School, she worked at the Roosevelt School in Melrose as a Title I Reading Tutor. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Salem State University and a Master of Reading Specialist from American International College.
Stephanie Quinn | Special Education Practicum, SAIL
Stephanie is a current MERSD employee, working as a teaching assistant at Memorial Elementary. Stephanie will be joining the middle school SAIL team to fulfill her practicum requirements as she pursues a Master of Education, with a focus on students with moderate disabilities, from Cambridge College. Stephanie also holds a Bachelor of Science in communication disorders from the University of Central Florida, and an Associate Arts degree in general education from Seminole Community College.
Nova Reilly | School Adjustment Counselor Intern
Nova has several years of experience working with students as a special education teaching assistant, counselor, and coach. She has worked in the Somerville public school district as well as at the PHA Charter School, and Isaac Sprague Elementary School. Nova is currently enrolled in a Master of Education program specializing in school counseling at Salem State University, and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University.
Ian Whitney |School Psychologist
Ian has many years of experience as a school psychologist in New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Most recently, he worked at Salem Prep High School in Salem and the Triumph Center in Reading, Massachusetts, as a school psychologist and private sector psychologist. Ian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Hofstra University.
Manchester Essex Regional High School
Barrett Alston | Business Teacher – Long Term Substitute Teacher
Mr. Alston earned his undergraduate degree from Bentley College and his graduate degree from Nichols College. Mr. Alston has a significant business background that will support the MERHS business program.
Theresa Celona | TA SWING Program
Theresa earned her undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire. For the past year, she worked as a long-term substitute teacher in Equine Science at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School.
Nicole Meuse | Social Studies Teacher
Ms. Meuse earned her undergraduate degree in history from Assumption College and her graduate degree in history from Salem State University. For the past seven years, she has taught social studies for Chelsea Public Schools.
Heidi Pallo |Special Education Teacher
Ms. Pallo earned her undergraduate degree from Gordon College in recreation, sports, and wellness. She also earned her graduate degree from Gordon College in special education. Ms. Pallo worked as a teacher's assistant at MERHS for the past two years in the SWING and Transitions programs.
Chris Petrie |Math Teacher
Mr. Petrie is moving from middle school to high school. Mr. Petrie’s background in special education and mathematics will help support high school students in mathematics.
Alicen Shaw | Math Teacher
Ms. Shaw earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Marist College and her graduate degree in education from Boston University. She has taught mathematics for both Mystic Valley Regional Charter School and Salem Public Schools.
Lauren Woodcock | Math Teacher
Ms. Woodcock received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from UMass Lowell and her graduate degree in math education from UMass Boston. She attended Gordon College to become a math specialist. Ms. Woodcock has taught mathematics at both Beverly High School and Jordan School District in Riverton, UT.
Manchester Essex Regional School District Central Office
Sean Kucharski |Operations Administrative Assistant
Sean Kucharski is MERSD's Operations Administrative Assistant for the District Office and assists Athletics, Facilities, and Transportation. Sean comes to Manchester Essex from Greater Lawrence Technical School, where he spent a year as the Field Support Services Assistant. Prior to that, he was at Austin Preparatory School as their athletic intern. Sean played club baseball in college at Merrimack, where he earned a double major in History and Education. After completing his Bachelors, he went to Endicott College to get his MS in Sports Leadership. He can be reached at Ext. 1049 or via email at: KucharskiS@mersd.org.
Tom Landry| HR Manager
Tom Landry is MERSD's HR Manager, a new position in the Central Office. In this role, Tom will oversee the onboarding of new hires, benefits administration, leaves of absence, retirement/pension, background checks, coordination with DESE on licensure, and personnel-related record keeping, among many other responsibilities. Tom has more than fifteen years of HR experience in the healthcare and retail industries and can be reached at extension 1007 or via email at: LandryT@mersd.org.
Amy LeJeune |Central Office/Superintendent's Administrative Assistant
Amy LeJeune is MERSD's new Central Office Administrative Assistant. In this role, Amy supports the Superintendent, District Directors, serves as the office manager, supports coordination and preparation for school committee meetings, and supports district communication and marketing efforts. Amy has more than twenty years of administrative support, event planning, and communication experience in the performing arts fields and real estate, and she can be reached at extension 1017 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jocelyn Sanborn |Accounts Payable
Jocelyn joined MERSD in 2021 as an Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable Specialist. In this role, Jocelyn manages all purchase orders, invoice payments, vendor management, and processing incoming payments (e.g., fees, grants, donations, etc.). Jocelyn comes to us from the City Auditor’s Office in Gloucester, where she was a general ledger accountant with oversight over bill payment and has prior experience in the Town of Saugus treasurer’s office. Jocelyn can be reached at extension 1004 or via email at: SanbornJ@mersd.org.