Stephen R. Mahoney, Ed.D.  - Principal


Dr. Mahoney is the founding principal for the Springfield Renaissance School.  This is his 8th year in Springfield Public Schools and his 25th in education.  He holds degrees from Brown University (BA) Stanford University (M.Ed) and Boston College (Ed. D), as well as Loyola Marymount University, and California State University, Los Angeles.   Dr. Mahoney is the son of a social worker and a teacher, has been married to the Lovely Ruth for 21 years, and is the proud father of 3 sons, all of whom attend Renaissance.   His motto for school is “Be nice, work hard, get smart.”

 Freeman Stein – Asst. Principal (M.S.)

Stein F

Freeman Stein is a founding member of the Springfield Renaissance School and has worked in innovative programs in the Springfield Public Schools since 1986.  He has played a leadership role in the transition from junior high school to middle school at Chestnut and was the lead planner for the development of the middle school at Zanetti Montessori.  Freeman received his B.A in English Literature from the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University and his Masters in Educational Leadership from the department of Humanistic and Behavioral Studies at the School of Education at BU.  In addition to his enjoyment of working with students, teachers, and families, Freeman enjoys hiking, biking, tennis, cooking, and spending time with his two grown sons and his wife.

 Robert Fernandes – Asst. Principal (H.S.)


Robert Fernandes began his teaching career at West Springfield High School teaching instrumental and vocal music. He has spent the last 25 years as a teacher and administrator in the Springfield Public Schools at the high school and elementary school levels. He holds degrees from The University of Massachusetts (B. Music Education) and Springfield College (M. Educational Administration). Born and raised in Ludlow, Massachusetts, he has called western mass his home all of his life. Bob is currently married with two grown children and he enjoys boating (power boating and kayaking), downhill skiing, golf (former golf coach at Central High School), working around the house doing home improvements and music. He began performing music professionally at age 15 and continues to perform with his company After Five Entertainment. He hopes to continue to work in education helping students reach their maximum potential.

Sacha Garcia-Mailloux – Asst. Principal

 Born and raised in Holyoke.  B.A. at Bates College in Lewiston, ME where I did study abroad to Spain and France.  Traveled to Africa, Mexico, Italy and the island of Sardinia by way of Bates.  M.Ed. at UMASS Amherst in Education Administration.  Taught middle school for eight years.  Currently Assistant Principal for 8th and 9th grade.  Proud wife of Paul and mother to Lukas and Nadya.


Karen Grant – Senior Clerk

Grant Karen


 Camian Harris-Foley – Attendance Clerk

Foley C.


Deidre Cuffee-Gray – Guidance Counselor

Cufee-Grey D.

 I have been involved in education all of my adult life. I was born and raised in Hartford, CT and graduated from The Hopkins School in New Haven, CT. I got involved in education because of all the great adults who taught and supported me in essential ways as an adolescent. Were it not for those individuals I wouldn’t be the person I am today. What I decided from those important relationships was that I wanted to be that kind of adult in young people’s lives as well. That is why I taught American Studies to middle and high school students and then went on to become a school counselor. I am happy to find myself at an Expeditionary Learning school where the adults I work with are passionate about their work and the idea that students learn best by doing. I am excited about working with students and helping them to understand and pursue their own passions. I feel like college access for students is a question of social justice and equity. I want to do all I can to work on ensuring students that from urban high schools are prepared to get into and successfully graduate from college. In my free time I am a volunteer at The Garden, a support group for grieving children and teens in Northampton, I’m a runner, I love Ultimate Frisbee, I write poetry, I enjoy hiking and camping, fiddle with technology and I’m learning to play the mandolin. My partner Libby and I spend time traveling, cooking and hanging out with family and friends in the area. I have roots in Springfield, MA as my mother and her eight brothers and sisters were born and raised in this town. My oldest aunt was a member of the first graduating class of the former Classical High School and working with what will be The Springfield Renaissance School’s first graduating class feels like coming full circle! More than anything, I am honored to be working at a school that values “collegeboundness”, and has the goal of 100% college acceptances. I received a B.A. in Economics and Government from St. Lawrence University and a M.A. in English Literature from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and a M.A. & C.A.G.S. in School Counseling from University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

 Verba Fanolis – Adjustment Counselor

Fanolis V.


Verba Fanolis is a founding staff member at the school. She grew up in the Hungry Hill section of Springfield and attended Glenwood Elementary School, Van Sickle Junior High School and graduated from Classical High School. Ms. Fanolis received a BA in Sociology from Western New England College and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut.  As the School Adjustment Counselor, Ms. Fanolis supports students to reach their full potential in academics and as contributing members of the school community. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening and walking her dogs.

 Latoya Wilson – Guidance Counselor

 Wilson L.


I am a native of Jamaica and grew up in Springfield attending Springfield Public Schools. I gratuated from Westfield State University with a BA in Psychology and Social Science and from  The University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Masters of Education with a concerntration in School Counseling. I have worked in Springfield Schools since 2003 in the areas of Special Education Teacher and School Counslor. I have also worked in higher education in Admissions and Academic Counseling. I believe that all students can become successful with support, guidance, and encouragement.

  Patricia Grant – Guidance Clerk


I am a native of Jamaica and grew up in Springfield attending Springfield Public Schools. I gratuated from Westfield State University with a BA in Psychology and Social Science and from  The University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Masters of Education with a concerntration in School Counseling. I have worked in Springfield Schools since 2003 in the areas of Special Education Teacher and School Counslor. I have also worked in higher education in Admissions and Academic Counseling. I believe that all students can become successful with support, guidance, and encouragement.

  Rebecca Jackson – Math ILS

Jackson R.

Rebecca Jackson is a founding teacher of the Springfield Renaissance School, where she has taught mathematics, crew, and physics.  She developed her mathematics skills first in the kitchen with her math-major mother, and then was blessed with the fabulous teaching of Carolyn Trigg at Columbus Alternative High School and Gene Klotz at Swarthmore College.  She fell in love with teaching under the guidance of Uri Treisman at U.C. Berkeley and learned how to do it well at Homewood Flossmoor High School under the mentorship of Ginny Franklin and Jack Wayne.  She has also studied at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Cornell University and Western New England College.  Ms. Jackson sponsors Renaissance’s Phoenix Astronomy Club, Mathletes, and Talon newspaper, and also runs a scrappy GED prep program at First Park Memorial Baptist Church.  Although she vociferously (look it up, kids) pines for the city of Chicago, she has come to love the Pioneer Valley’s u-pick farms, the proximity of dark night skies, and the continuing challenge of Expeditionary Learning.  When she’s not crafting some diabolical math task, you’re likely to find her kneading pasta, tending the jungle she refers to as a “garden,” or curled up with a cat and a good book.

 Lindsay Slabich – EL Lead Teacher

Slabich L.

Lindsay Slabich is a founding teacher at the Springfield Renaissance School.  She received her BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University.  She received her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She has taught in the Springfield Public Schools since 2003, first at the High School of Commerce and then at Renaissance.  She taught social studies for four years at Renaissance and is now the school’s Expeditionary Learning Resource Teacher.  Lindsay loves being with her family, the outdoors, yoga, cooking, and all of the Renaissance students and faculty!

Craig Wisniewski – ELA ILS

 Wisniewski C.

Hi, my name is Craig J. Wisniewski and I am the English/Language Arts Instructional Leadership Specialist (ILS) here at Renaissance. I have worked in education now for almost 15 years; the last seven in Springfield. I was born and raised in Queens, New York and earned both my Bachelors and Master’s degree in English from Queens College.  As the ELA ILS, one of my responsibilities is to support both students and teachers in our reading and writing initiatives to ensure all students will be successful in college. When I am not working, I enjoy spending most of my time in New York City visiting friends and going to museums, Broadway shows, and sporting events.

 Teresa Pfeifer – Librarian

Ms. Pfeifer holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, Boston; as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is active in the library community as a book reviewer and readers’ guide writer, and she has served as a judge for the Massachusetts Center for the Book. A past recipient of a Massachusetts Artist Grant, her poetry has appeared in journals such as The Massachusetts Review, Verse, and Crazy Horse. A Springfield native, Ms. Pfeifer enjoys hiking in the woods, and walking with her dog, Morris.

 Lindsay Regier – 6th Gr. ELA

Regier L.

Lindsay Regier is the 6th grade ELA teacher at the Springfield Renaissance School. She is a recent graduate in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and loves spending her time exploring the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. When not teaching she is traveling, reading, and discovering new and unique coffee shops to visit. 

 Nicole Ghaname – 6th Gr. Social Studies

Ghaname N.

 Nicole teaches 6th grade Social Studies and 7th grade Crew at the Springfield Renaissance School. Nicole grew up in Boston and completed high school in Western Massachusetts.  She returned to Boston to study International Affairs and Political Science at Northeastern University.  During and after college, Nicole was privileged to have had the opportunity to live, study, work and travel around the world, with Lebanon, South Africa, and Scotland retaining special memories for her.  After returning home to Western Mass., she obtained a Master of Education degree from UMass Amherst and started working at Renaissance, where the students, faculty, and staff continue to inspire and push her to be a better teacher and person.

 Sommer Gray – 6th Gr. Special Education

Gray S.

Sommer Gray is a sixth grade Special Education teacher at the Springfield Renaissance School; the 2012/2013 school year is their third year at Renaissance. They also taught for two years at the Alfred G. Zanetti Montessori School. Sommer grew up basking in the Florida sunshine and swimming in rivers and lakes.  They attended Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with minors in Zoology and Teaching English as a Second Language. Sommer then attended Smith College and earned a Master’s degree in Deaf Education. Sommer has one sibling, Stacia, who spends her time working to help make people’s lives healthier.  Sommer spends most extra time with their chosen family and friends, taking bike rides, reading, swimming in rivers and volunteering at Food For Thought Books, a not-for-profit workers’ collective bookstore that specializes in radical and progressive media. Sommer believes that all people can work to make this society a more equitable and just place and that our school is a shining example of this.

Maria Ekmalian – 6th Gr. Math

Ekmalian M.

I was born in Chaves, a small village in northern Portugal. My parents often received news from relatives who had immigrated to the United States and found their new country to be truly the land of opportunity. At age three, my parents moved my seven siblings and me to the United States where we planted new roots in Springfield, Massachusetts. I still live here with my husband and four children. After high school, I went on to receive my licensure in cosmetology from Kay Harvey Academy. Having four children got me involved in school extracurricular as a  leader in girl scouts, P.T.O. as treasurer, then secretary, and finally as the president, and S.C.D.M., the School Centered Decision Making team. Growing with each of these experiences, I discovered that I wanted to make a career change and become a teacher. With the help and support of my husband, family and the guidance of a few great educators, I returned to school once again. In 2004, I graduated from Springfield Technical Community College with an associate in Liberal Arts, Mount Holyoke College 2007 as a Francis Perkins Scholar with bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education, and American International College 2011 with a Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics. My goal is to continue my education by earning a doctorate in education.

While attending these colleges, I had the opportunity to work alongside of some of the finest faculty from college level math, special education, preschool level and work with children most at risk of failure. I joined a research team for two years at Putnam Vocation School in the nursing program where I was able to help students with their academics, and prepare them for college or the work force. Most of all I helped them to help themselves. Beginning my teaching career, I started as a substitute teacher for the Springfield public schools while I waited for my next door to open. On this road to adventure, I discovered Springfield Expeditionary Learning School, a school where I could learn and grow with students and staff. For fun and relaxation, I stay balanced by pursuing varies interests with my family. I love exploring the outdoors through camping and hiking, rollerblading, watersports, sewing, knitting and crocheting, reading SHORT books and cooking. Thankfully, I have the energy for all the things that matter in my life and the support to continue on my career path.

 Brent Dillard – 6th Gr. Science

Dillard B.

Brent Dillard is a certified teacher in General Science 5-8. He received his undergraduate degree from Springfield College. He majored in Athletic Training with a minor in Biology. Brent will complete his M.Ed from University of Massachusetts in Science Education Online (SEO) for middle school teachers in the spring of 2013. Brent has teaching experience in both the private school and public school system. He has taught high school and middle school at Valley West School, a private day school for students with social/emotional challenges whose programming within a public school setting has been unsuccessful. Brent has also taught Ecology, Chemistry, Biology, and Physical Science in the Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, and Springfield School districts. He also holds a second job at The Renaissance School; Brent is a Certified Athletic Trainer for all Renaissance athletic teams. His role is to prevent, evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate athletic injuries. Brent will work with the nurse at the school to make sure all student-athletes are cleared for sports. He is certified in CPR/AED and Concussion in Sports.

Brent has played sports his whole life. He played professional indoor soccer for the Lafayette Swampcats in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League (EISL) where he won a National Championship. He also played professional indoor soccer for the Massachusetts Twisters in the American Indoor Soccer League (AISL). Brent holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma. He runs a year-round youth soccer program and summer camp called Gold Star Soccer.

Some leisure activities Brent enjoys is traveling with his wife and two children to the beach, taking day trips to various locations in New England, and playing golf.  One of Brent¹s proudest accomplishments is raising awareness to Neuroblastoma while completing the 2012 Boston marathon for a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He also raised money for Griffin¹s Friends.

  Jessica Engebretson – 7th Gr. Science

Engebretson J.

Born in Germany and raised in the land of Garrison Keillor, Ms. Engebretson earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin and her Masters of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.  When not geeking out over biological functions with seventh graders, she loves to spend time with her partner Matt, their beautiful little daughter, Lilah, and her trusty canine companion, Rudy. The outdoors has always been a key component to Ms. Engebretson’s life and she enjoys communing with nature while mountain biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. She can also be found creating something in the kitchen, working on endless projects at her craft table, or knitting while listening to music.  She is excited to share the classroom with students where she is an equal partner in learning something new each day.

Katie Barsevich, 9th Gr. ELA


Ms. Katie Barsevich is thrilled to be the 9th grade English teacher at The Springfield Renaissance School and a Crew leader for the class of 2017!  Ms. Barsevich first came to Renaissance as a student teacher in the spring of 2013 to work with 8th grade English teacher Ms. Cote while completing her Bachelor’s degree at Springfield College in English and Secondary Education with studies in Social Justice.  In addition to teaching Early Start at Renaissance this past summer, she had the wonderful opportunity to be trained by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers at their institute in Long Beach, California.  Ms. Barsevich is originally from the southwestern part of Connecticut, but she is proud to call Springfield her home now.  She lived and studied abroad in Ireland in the fall of 2011 and loves to travel.  Ms. Barsevich is also a fanatic reader and looks forward to founding and advising a book club at Renaissance.

   Teisha Thomas – 7th Gr. ELA

Thomas te

Springfield has always been my home. I have attended and graduated from The High School of Science and Technology, Springfield Technical Community College, and Westfield University. I have always wanted to work with children and play an active role in the improvement of their lives. Teaching gives me such a luxury with the benefits of my work reaching far beyond my classroom. Before being hired to teach 7th grade English Language Arts at Renaissance, I taught English Language Arts, Reading, and Read 180 for grades six through eight at New Leadership Charter School for four years. Here at Renaissance I have had opportunities for individualizing my curriculum and making more community connections.  I have also had the opportunity to meet colleagues who are like minded and who care about the success of our students and who are committed to making a difference in our community. I am a mother of a super smart, charismatic, athletic nine year old boy. Occasionally, he makes guest appearances in the halls. He is definitely a chip off the old block. Between my responsibilities at Renaissance and commitment to my son (who plays every sport available for his age bracket), my days and nights are full.  When time permits I also create and perform spoken word pieces, play paintball, exercise with Zumba, maintain a modeling internship, and reign as the Scramble and Words with Friends champion. If our expectations (and our support) are high, students will rise to meet their challenges. Here’s to a great year!!!

   Judy Carhart – 7th Grade Math

Carhart J.

Mrs. Judy Carhart is married to her husband Scott Carhart for 25 years. She has 4 children Zachary 23 yrs. old, Tiffany 21 yrs. old, Gret 17 yrs. old and Troy 15 yrs. old. Judy graduated from The King’s College with a major in Mathematics. She received her Master’s in Education from AIC in 2012. Judy taught Math at a private school in East Longmeadow for 3 years before teaching at Springfield. She has been at The Springfield Renaissance for 5 years, this coming will be her 6th. Judy has taught every grade at The Renaissance except 9th grade. Her hobbies consist of watching her kids play baseball or lacross, drinking coffee and for outdoor activities she has been a co-director with her husband for a youth program at her church called AWANA.

    Gina Brown – 8th Gr. Science

 Brown G.

Gina Brown is currently the 8th grade science teacher here at Renaissance.  She attended Westfield State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in secondary science education and taught for 4 years in a rural school district.  Then, after stumbling across Renaissance school and LOVING the Expeditionary Learning Curriculum- she has been here ever since! Gina lives in Sturbridge with her husband, Chris Brown (no, really:-) and enjoys watching the food network and cooking delicious, healthy meals for her family and friends.  If she’s not teaching or cooking…you can surely find her in her massive, color coded closet!

   Jonathan Galanis – 8th Gr. Social Studies

Galanis J.

Mr. Jonathan Galanis is in his seventh year as a Springfield teacher and currently teaches 8th grade United States History. He grew up in Walpole, MA and then moved to western Massachusetts to attend UMass, Amherst for undergraduate and graduate studies. Following a brief stint at Chestnut Accelerated Middle School as a practicum student, he taught for two years at the Elias Brookings School prior to joining the staff at Renaissance. In addition to teaching 8th grade and managing a crew of 6th graders, Mr. Galanis is also 8th grade class advisor, powderpuff football coach, and master of planning the most physically draining intensive courses possible. Aside from teaching, Mr. Galanis enjoys spending time with his lovely wife and their dog at their South Hadley Falls home as well as running, cycling, swimming, watching basketball, and reading.

Denise Cote – 8th Gr. ELA

Cote D.

Ms. Denise Cote is proud to be the eighth grade English teacher at The Springfield Renaissance School as well as Crew leader for the Class of 2017. Ms. Cote came to Renaissance in 2008 and has taught in the Springfield Public Schools since 2005. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her Master’s Degree from Western New England University. In addition, Ms. Cote is a Freedom Writer Teacher, trained by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers at their Institute in California. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Cote is the founder of and advisor to the Phoenix Archives yearbook and in 2012, Ms. Cote began an international travel program at Renaissance when she, along with two faculty chaperones, and 24 high school students traveled to England and Paris over Spring Break.

In April 2013, she will be leading a tour to Greece.

Campbell Stevenson – 8th Gr. Math

Stevenson C.

My name is Campbell Stevenson, for the past four years I lived in Waterville, Maine and attended Colby College where I recently graduated from. I played soccer and rugby at Colby, and also spent much of my time tutoring in the local Waterville Schools. In the summer I work as a sailing instructor at Camp Winaukee in New Hampshire. It is my first year at Renaissance and I am incredibly excited and honored to be working at such an important and respected school.

Angela Sullivan – 8th Gr. Special Education

Sullivan A.

Ms. Sullivan is in her second year with The Springfield Renaissance School. She earned her B.A. from SUNY Albany, where she studied psychology and political science and is is the process of completing her M.Ed. at Western New England College. Before pursuing a career in education, she spent several years working as a Geriatric Case Manager in Northampton. Ms. Sullivan lives in Florence with her three children and enjoys reading, playing tennis, discussing politics, and cooking. Ms. Sullivan ardently believes that education is the key to empowering individuals to transform their own lives and the lives of others by promoting positive changes in society.

 Lorie Letellier – M.S. PE/Health

Letellier L.

Mrs. Lorie LeTellier was born and raised in Norton, MA. She holds both her B.S. degree in Movement of Sports Studies and M.Ed. degree in Health Promotion and Wellness from Springfield College. She has been teaching in the Springfield Public Schools System for 12 years now, but has been teaching at Renaissance for 5 years. She strongly believes, “physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, but it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity,” by John F. Kennedy. She is passionate and dedicated to helping students find a balance between a healthy diet and regular exercise.

 Joni Sullivan – M.S. Drama

Sullivan J.

Ms. Angela Sullivan is in her fourth year with The Springfield Renaissance School. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Albany and her Master’s Degree from Western New England University. In addition to teaching, Ms. Sullivan is also the Advisor for The World Affairs Council Academic World Quest Team. Ms. Sullivan ardently believes that education is the key to empowering individuals to transform their own lives and the lives of others by promoting positive changes in society.

   Daniel Pear – 9th Gr. Math

 Pear D.

Mr. Daniel Pear is one of the founding educators of the Springfield Renaissance School.  During his tenure here, Mr. Pear has taught both 6th grade and 8th grade mathematics.  Mr. Pear has served as the head coach of the boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams since their formation.  Prior to joining the Springfield Renaissance School community, Mr. Pear taught in Weymouth, MA and in Charlotte, NC.  Mr. Pear is fortunate to be supported by his wife, Kara Noonan Pear, and his two children, Gabriella and Owen.

  Lauren Hotz – 9th Gr. ELA

Hotz L

Lauren Hotz teaches 10th grade English and 11th grade Crew. She has been teaching 9th grade English at Renaissance for the past three years. She graduated from UMass with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2010 and with a Master of Education in 2011. Mrs. Hotz likes to travel and recently went on a cross country road trip to 35 different states. In 2011, she chaperoned a group of 25 students to England and France, and this past summer returned to England to participate in a Shakespeare program for teachers at the Globe Theater in London. In 2012 she went on the annual freshman Outward Bound trip in Maine. She lives in Easthampton with her husband, cat, and dog.

Make sure to check out her 10th grade ELA website:

     Karen Milch – 9th / 10th Gr. Special Education

Milch K.

Karen Milch has been teaching for 12 years in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Fitchburg State College with a B.A. in Special Education and Sociology and Framingham State College with a Master’s in Literacy and Language. She is currently working on earning certification as an administrator. In her free time, she likes to read, golf and travel to Cape Cod and Florida. She lives in Northampton with her partner, their 2 children and the family dog.


Mr. Eric Levine, 10th Grade Biology Teacher


Mr. Levine joined the Renaissance staff this year as the 10th grade Biology teacher.  A New England native, Mr. Levine has lived in Western New York for the past nine years working as a Museum educator, and high school teacher and administrator.  He brings many years of experience with Expeditionary Learning Schools – most recently as a founding staff member of an EL high school in Buffalo, New York.  Mr. Levine enjoys spending time with his family – his wife, and their three children. Together, they hike, ski, camp, eat ice cream, and most recently explore the frog pond behind their

 Meagan Magrath-Smith – 10th Gr. Social Studies

Magrath-Smith M.

Ms. Magrath is now Mrs. Magrath-Smith! She joins the Renaissance for her sixth year, as the 10th grade history teacher. A Western Mass girl, she grew up in Springfield and Amherst and now lives in Holyoke.  She graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Government and has a Master degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts.  She directs the Renaissance Players and coaches Student Council and can’t wait for the new school year. In her spare time, she loves to read, drink tea, garden, and travel.  Meg and her husband Dave just married this past summer.

  Keith Wright – 11th Gr. Chemistry

Wright K.

Before becoming a teacher Keith Wright was a U.S. Army intelligence analyst and Czech linguist, a paralegal for the U.S. Department of Justice, and a newspaper reporter. He has also held positions on two presidential campaigns, worked as a free-lance writer, and conducted research as a wetland scientist. He holds an M.Ed. in secondary science education, an M.S. in natural resource conservation, and a B.A. in political science. Mr. Wright is in his 9th year of teaching and is a founding faculty member of the Springfield Renaissance School.

 Ben Stein – 11th Gr. ELA

Mr. Ben Stein

Ben Stein is in his second year of teaching 11th grade ELA and AP Language and Composition. He earned a BA in English from SUNY Geneseo, an MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University, and an M.Ed. from UMass Amherst’s 180 Days in Springfield Program. He leads a Senior Crew and advises Apples on a Lemon Tree, Renaissance’s literary magazine.

Timothy Sossa, 9th Gr. World History

Mr. Sossa is one of the new teachers here at Renaissance. Entering his second year of teaching, he is coming from Worcester, Massachusetts after completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Clark University. After having taught in Worcester for a year, he has found a new home out in Western Mass and at Renaissance teaching 9th grade World History. Born and raised in New York, he is Massachusetts at heart. While he may be a history geek, he enjoys film, basketball, football, kayaking and mountain biking.

Hilary Ducharme – 11th Gr. Math

 Ducharme H.

After growing up in northern California, Mrs. Ducharme attended The University of Tampa in Tampa, FL where she majored in Marketing Management and double minored in Fine Arts and Advertising. She played volleyball for The University of Tampa and was named twice to the Division II Second All America Team.  After graduating with her Bachelors of Science, she moved to western Massachusetts in 1999, where she began her finance career with MassMutual in Springfield.  After 3 years of working with a Certified Estate Planner doing advanced case design, management, and event planning, she helped start The 401k Coach Program, a consulting firm in Springfield.  As the Director of Marketing, she helped grow membership to the Program from 25 to over 500 financial advisors.  The 401k Coach Program holds quarterly meetings in regions across the country for financial advisors looking to work with businesses to put retirement savings plans in place and to educate employees about the importance of saving for retirement.  In 2006, Mrs. Ducharme went back to school while consulting and earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Elm’s College in Chicopee, MA.  She began teaching 8th grade math at Renaissance with Mr. Pear in 2008, and then transitioned to Algebra II.  With a strong background in financial literacy, Mrs. Ducharme strives to present math through as many real world applications as possible, like The Car Project, where students research either their realistic or dream car and perform calculations for three financial scenarios around financing the purchase of the car and around the depreciation of the value of the car over time. “In the last five years, I have learned so much about the world, our nation, our community, and myself from being a part of the Renaissance family.  I learn something new each day from my students and my fellow teachers.  They help me keep it real and push me to make math accessible at all levels.” Mrs. Ducharme coaches the Girls Varsity Volleyball Team at The Springfield Renaissance.  She also referees at the high school and local Division III collegiate levels.  She is currently working on becoming rated as a referee at the state and then, hopefully, national level.  Mrs. Ducharme loves to work in the garden, travel, camp with her husband and three-year old son, and teach Zumba!

 William DeVos – 11th Gr. Social Studies

DeVos W.

Prior to Renaissance I have taught World, American, and IB History at the High School of Commerce for seven years and one year at Northampton High School. I am excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to continuing teaching in the Springfield Public Schools. I was born and raised in Lenox, MA and attended Lenox Public Schools. After graduating High School I attended Berkshire Community College and transferred to the University of Massachusetts where I completed my bachelor’s degree in History. Following graduation I traveled across country with a friend and lived in San Clemente, CA. Upon returning from California, I moved to Boston where I lived for eight years, and after six years being out of school I decided to continue and complete my Master’s degree in teacher education at the University of Massachusetts/Boston where I also worked as a tutor. During my time in Boston I met my wife Jennifer and we had our first child, Michaela, in 2002 (the same year I finished my student teaching at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School). We decided to move back to Western Massachusetts to be closer to our families and to raise our own. In August of 2003, I interviewed for two teaching positions in the district, closed on our house, and became a parent of twin boys (Nate and Will) all within twenty four hours. I have enjoyed living and working in the city of Springfield and look forward to my teaching experience at the Renaissance school.

 Jean Graziani – 11th / 12th Gr. Special Education

Graziani J.

Jean Graziani was born in Springfield, MA and grew up in the area.  She is a graduate of Wells College, Aurora, New York where in 1971 she earned a BA in the History and Philosophy of Religion.  After graduation, she spent the summer exploring Europe and decided to stay in Italy where she spent the next two years teaching English. When she returned to Springfield, she earned a Masters of Business Administration at Western New England College while raising her daughters, Catherine and Alessandra.  She was active in the community and helped establish the East Forest Park Civic Association.  She also served on the Boards of Directors of The Massasoit Montessori School, The Pioneer Valley Montessori School, and the Women’s Symphony League.  Professionally, she worked for a local accounting firm and eventually joined her family’s business as the Business Manager. The sale of her family’s business in 2002 prompted her to look for a new career. She began her teaching experience as a long-term substitute for a 5th grade class at Elias Brookings School. Since then, she has taught 7th and 8th grade science, but found her home in special education practicing the inclusion model.  She looks forward to working with the students, parents, and staff of the Renaissance School as we move into our seventh year.

 Michael McCormic – 12th Gr. Science

McCormic M.

“Mike” teaches Foundations of Physics to Renaissance seniors. He came to the Springfield Public Schools after several years of teaching at Amherst-Pelham Regional High School and at alternative high school programs in Amherst and Holyoke. He holds a Master of Science degree from Westfield State University in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an Associate of Science from Mount Wachusetts Community College. He participated in field research on an inland sea that covered much of the western American continent during the Cretaceous Period and he is listed as a co-author of a professional paper on the study’s findings. Mr. McCormic comes to teaching after working for the several years as a member of the professional field staff for the Boy Scouts of America where he served as an area administrator for different parts of the country. Prior to that, he served the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller and on-the-job training instructor for new controllers. After high school he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and later he served in the Marines. Together, with his wife Karen, they raised three sons who are now married and pursuing careers that include: teaching high school, tattooing, and regional planning aspects of environmental economics.

 Lise Krieger – 12th Gr. ELA


Lise grew up in Weston, Connecticut, playing in the woods, swimming in rivers, and riding her bike.  Many years and many colleges later (Cornell University; the University of California, San Diego; Fairfield University; and  Fielding Graduate University) her own love of learning inspired her to become a teacher. After teaching English for 19 years at Norwalk High School in CT, Lise was fortunate to start working at the Renaissance School in the summer of 2007. Lise’s passions include almost anything that requires being outdoors and exploring new places.  She loves to bike and ride her horses and spends a lot of time riding about discovering new places.  Her favorite indoor hobbies are reading and writing.Lise shares her home with her partner, Jo, their dog, Samurai and cat, Bodhi.  In her backyard live her horses, Dudley and MaeMae, and three minis, Monkey, Nick,  and Belle.


 Marilyn Sanchez – H.S. Spanish

Sanchez M.

Marilyn Sanchez is currently the high school Spanish teacher at the Renaissance School. She was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico and the age of 10 came to Springfield, MA. She received a high school diploma from Springfield Central High School in 1995. Sra. Sanchez received a BA in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA in 2000 and a MA in Education with a concentration in Curriculum Planning and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2005. Sra. Sanchez has been teaching for 12 years going on 13. She worked for 2 years as a Spanish teacher at Kiley Middle School, 4 years at Mary M. Walsh Elementary School as a Science teacher for grades K-2 and a Spanish teacher for grades 3-5. Sra. Sanchez decided to change her field of teaching and became one of the ELL teachers at Boland Elementary school for 3 years. She learned a great deal and made a lot of great friends at the elementary level but her heart wanted to go back to middle school which is and has always been her love and passion. Sra. Sanchez became the middle school Spanish teacher at the Renaissance School in 2009 and in 2011 she became the high school Spanish teacher. She loves the dynamic of the school and the communication between the staff and the staff/ students/family. She is the proud mother of 2, a girl that’s currently in 10th grade at Renaissance and a boy that is currently in 5rd grade at Brightwood School. Sra. Sanchez has been married for 16 years and counting. She loves to dance, eat, read, walk, and to be with her family. She is an animal lover. Sra. Sanchez currently has a beautiful boxer name Precious, which is the love of her life, and a handsome cat name Sunny.

 Herbert Holland – Latin

Holland H.

Herb Holland, born in California in 1972, traveled the world (even spitting off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a child) before permanently settling in New England at age 15.  Mr. Holland, who is married and has five wonderful children, received his BA from Albertus Magnus College, where he double-majored in Latin and physical sciences, in 1996 and his MAT in Latin and Classical Humanities from UMass Amherst in 1998.  After teaching in upstate New York for almost a decade, Mr. Holland joined the Renaissance faculty in 2007. The 2012-2013 school year will be his sixth at the school.

 Bridget Camara – H.S. Drama

Camara B.

Bridget Camara grew up in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and earned a BA in History from UMass, Amherst in 2000.  After working in Boston for two years, she moved to Western Massachusetts where she took courses at Westfield State College, obtained her teaching license, and joined the faculty of the High School of Commerce.  She taught Drama at Commerce for seven years, sharing her extensive experience performing in and supporting high school, college, and local theatre company productions.   This included her 1996-2001 tenure as a member of the Industrial Theater Company, which staged many productions in both Taunton and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  At Commerce, she has directed productions ranging from musical theatre to Shakespeare to original student works, and she is thrilled at the opportunity to engage Renaissance students in similar pursuits.  Ms. Camara lives in Springfield with her husband, Kevin, and two year old daughter, Chloe.

Michael Gillane – Art

Gillane M.

I grew up in Simsbury, CT. and graduated from Simsbury High School in 1983. After earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in1987 I completed the Master Printer Training Program at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, N.M. Pratt Institute in Brooklyn N.Y was my next educational destination and from there I received my Master of Fine Arts in printmaking in 1991. I completed the Teacher Licensure Program at Westfield State College in 2006.

I have successfully undertaken many career adventures ranging from studio manager at an art school on the Cape, to gallery manager, to wait staff to owner of a small gardening business. Through it all I maintained a love of art, a dedication to art-making, and the desire to teach others what I know.

Teaching, and especially teaching art, is great fun in addition to being an awesome responsibility. As a founding teacher at the Springfield Renaissance School, I am proud of what our community has accomplished and I look forward to year seven and another opportunity to foster our student’s ability to use the visual arts to explore themselves and the world we share.

 Lissette Vazquez – ELL/Read 180

Vazquez L

Hola! I have been teaching for over 20 years and I am still excited about being able to work with students. I am married to the wonderful Wilmer and we have 4 beautiful children. I started off my journey teaching in Puerto Rico. I then came to Massachusetts were I obtained my master in education at UMASS. I have taught throughout Springfield, but nothing has been more rewarding than the work I do at the Springfield Renaissance.

I continue to learn from the students and at the end of the day I feel blessed. Being a teacher is very rewarding and I enjoy every bit of it!

 P. Natasha Mitchell – Zone Sub

Mitchell P.

Mrs. P. Natasha Mitchell has been a part of the Renaissance family since 2007. She has enjoyed working as Special Education teacher for most of those years and zone substitute for the past few years. Mrs. Mitchell attended Umass Dartmouth for her undergraduate studies and began her Master degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Springfield College. She enjoys working with youth throughout our community, and empowering them to take a lead in change. Mrs. Mitchell is the blessed wife of Brian and the mother of Da-sha, and step-mother of Kameron. She loves praising the Lord and traveling. Her favorite quote comes from the Holy Bible. It says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ( Philippians 4:13 )

  Tia Schabot – Zone Sub

 Schabot T.


 Rosemary Cotton-Coleman – H.S. Paraprofessional (Gr.9 & 10)

 Cotton-Coleman R.


Rose Mary Cotton- Colemon have been working for the City of Springfield since 1999 as a Highly Qualified  Paraprofessional.  She Loves working with students. She has experience working  with 4′s, Life skill,  Sebas, and inclusion students. Rose Mary attended STCC for Business Administration. She  also have a strong Faith and belief in God, has five Children , four graduated from Central High School . She feels Blessed they all went straight to College.  One of them has graduated at the top of his class in Marketing Management at VCU.  Her daughter will be graduating in May in the medical field.  She also has a daughter in the Criminal justice, another daughter in Photography at STCC. Her special needs Son has his own Landscaping Business. Her two oldest children are married. She has two Grandchildren (3 y.o.  grandson and 4 month old granddaughter). I also have been Bless with someone special in her life and glad to be a part of Renaissance Family.

 Michaelene Paul – Paraprofessional (H.S.)

 Paul M.


 Debra Montagna  – Paraprofessional (7th Grade)

 Montagna D.


Cameron Cox  of uAspire (Springfield Promise Program)


Cameron recently joined our Guidance Team. He will be providing assistance with creating affordable plans needed to pay for higher education.  His contact info: office:  |  cell:  


Greg Trimmer – 11th & 12th Gr. ELA

 Trimmer G.

After being retired for two years, I came to Renaissance in 2012 to intern with Dr. Mahoney as part of earning my principal’s license through the Commonwealth Leadership Academy and stayed as a volunteer co-teacher of both Advanced Placement English courses. I began my teaching career in Springfield in 1969 as part of the National Teacher Corps Program and ended up teaching and coaching at Minnechaug Regional High School for 36 years. I have taught at UMass-Amherst and spent several summers teaching at The John Hopkins University Center for Gifted and Talented Youth. Obviously, I love teaching and Renaissance with its amazing students is my dream school. 

 Alexandra (Sasha) Heiney – Parent Facilitator

 Heiney A. 

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, where I graduated from St. Petersburg State Technical University with Bachelor Degree in Applied Mathematics and Master Degree in Applied Economics. In 2002 I got married US citizen and moved to United States. Currently I am finishing a Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics from Penn State University. After being a stay-at-home mom for a few years and working for US Census, I was very fortunate to be able to join a wonderful Renaissance family in 2011 as a Parent Facilitator. I hope that my work and efforts will continue Renaissance tradition of an open door for our families to be active participants of their children’s education. My favorite outdoor activities  (that I share with my family) include cross-country skiing, ice-skating and snow-tubing during the winter and rollerblading, hiking, swimming and jogging during other seasons. I love to dance and read as well.

If you are a parent of our student(s) and you need help, please contact me and I’ll try to direct you to resources and connect you to right people in a city. There is a lot of support available for parents. My desk number is 413-886-5374 or e-mail me. I work part-time, my regular hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30-2:30.

Dawn Summerville – Nurse


Beverly West – Nurse



Renato Mapua – ETL

 Mapua R.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Powered by
%d bloggers like this: