faculty and staff

 
 
“And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.”
— Maria Montessori
 
 
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Andrea Ardito

Theater

Andrea Ardito is our Theatre Specialist in the Elementary program. She started teaching at Brixham at its original location on Orchard street. This is her 21st year with us! Andrea holds a B.A. in theatre from Franklin Pierce University and a M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Teesside University in England. Andrea has taught children’s theatre all over the Seacoast as well as serving as an Artist in Residence many NH schools. Andrea enjoys running, yoga, gardening and dragging her children to flea markets. She also owns NEST, home goods store in Kittery. Andrea lives in Portsmouth NH with her husband Brad and children Isabel (17) and Henry (14) -both BMFS Alums- and an eclectic array of animals.

 
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Alison Bell

Toddler Teacher & Business Administrator

 

Alison Bell is both a teacher in the toddler program and the school’s business office administrator. Alison is a graduate of the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (Infant and Toddler, birth-3 years), has attended Lesley College, and studied Non-profit School Administration at Granite State College. Alison enjoys yoga, camping with her family, and beach walks with her dog, Rudy. Although a Portsmouth native, Alison now lives in Eliot, ME.

 
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Sophie Bednarek

Special Education Consultant

Sophie Bednarek is a learning specialist at Brixham. She works one to two mornings a week supporting teachers and students with learning challenges in the classroom. Sophie is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (B.A. Political Science, M.A. Education). She was Orton-Gillingham trained at the Carroll School in Lincoln, MA. Sophie has taught special education in both private and public settings, as well as at a public Montessori School. Sophie lives in Rye, NH with her husband, Brian, and children, Thomas (6), William (4), and Evelyn (2).

 
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Sarah Boys

studio Art teacher

Sarah Boys is the art studio specialist for Brixham. Sarah attended Johnson State College and holds certificates from both the Montessori Assistant’s Overview and the Advanced Assistant’s workshop through the Northeast Montessori Institute. Sarah enjoys art, live music, trail walks, being creative on a daily basis, and spending time in Downeast Maine. Sarah lives in South Berwick, ME with her husband, John, and their son, Porter (8), and daughter, Althea (4). Porter attends the lower elementary program and Althea attends the primary program at Brixham.

 
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Carol Bye-MacLeod

Lower elementary teacher

(6-9 years)

Carol Bye-Macleod is a lead teacher in the lower elementary program. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Baldwin-Wallace College and is trained at the infant/toddler, children’s house, and lower elementary levels of Montessori education. Carol is thrilled to join the BMFS community as she continues to follow her passion of helping children learn and grow using the Montessori philosophy. In her spare time, Carol enjoys reading, writing, snowshoeing, bicycling, walking/hiking and spending time with her husband, Scotty, and their spaniel/retriever, Carmie.

 
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Babette Edy

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

Babette Edy is an assistant teacher in the primary program. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (B.S. Environmental Conservation, minor in Education). She grew up in Vermont and has worked in environmental education and early childhood education programs throughout New England and in northwest Montana. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family- gardening, biking, hiking, camping, and skiing, as well as knitting and yoga. Her children, Riley (8) and Vera (2), attend the Lower Elementary and Toddler programs at Brixham.     

 
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Heather Ewing

Lower elementary teacher

(6-9 years)

Heather Ewing is a lead teacher in the lower elementary program and a trained 6-12 teacher. Heather is a graduate of Providence College (B.A. English) and the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University (M.Ed. in Elementary Montessori Education). Prior to moving to Maine, she taught in Montessori schools in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Massachusetts. Heather lives in South Berwick, Maine with her husband, Dave, their daughter, Asa (5) who attends the primary program at Brixham and her beagle, Holt. She enjoys reading, gardening, swimming, pottery, and taking long walks with her family.

 
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Whitney Genatossio

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

Whitney is a lead teacher in the primary program. Whitney is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (B.S. Environmental Conservation) and Northeast Montessori Institute (pre-primary 3-6). Whitney spends her free time enjoying the outdoors with her family and lives in York, ME, with her husband Travis, her son, Jackson (5), her daughter, Aggie (4), both attend the primary program at Brixham, and their dog Sierra.

 
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Alica Johnson Grafe

head of school

Alica Johnson-Grafe  is the founder and Head of School. Alica has been a Montessori teacher since 1996 and an administrator since the school’s inception in 1997 as Orchard Street Montessori Friends School. Alica is a graduate of the Northeast Montessori Institute (pre-primary 3-6) and the University of New Hampshire (M.Ed. Elementary Education and B.S. Family Studies/Early Childhood). Alica attended the Center for Montessori Education /NY program for School Management and Administration, completing her administrator’s credential in 2010. Alica is active in the Maine Montessori Association (MMA) and currently serves on the MMA Board of Directors as the Board’s President.  She is also an appointed member of the Childcare Advisory Council Committee (CCAC) for the State of Maine and an active visiting member for the American Montessori Society (AMS) accreditation process for New England Montessori schools. Alica loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family. Alica’s sons, Dylan (27) and Ben (25) are Brixham graduates.

 
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Meg Kerr

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

Meg is a lead teacher in the primary program. She is a graduate of Cornell University (B.A. English), the University of NH (M.A. English: Writing), and the Northeast Montessori Institute (pre-primary 3-6).  Meg has been involved in classroom and outdoor education for most of the past 35 years; this is her 12th year at Brixham. She enjoys being in the outdoors (especially on or near water), cooking, reading, writing and art. Meg lives in NH with her husband, Carl, and their children, Finn (15) and Claire (12) who are both Brixham graduates.

 
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Alex Krauth

Chorus

Alex Krauth is Brixham’s choral director for the elementary program. Alex received a BA in Music for Elementary Teachers from Keene State College and is a member of the National Association for Music Education and American Choral Directors’ Association. She has taught music to students of all ages in a variety of settings, including autism programs, adult education classes, and the tutoring program at Keene State. She also offers private lessons in piano, voice, ukulele, music theory, and aural skills from her home studio. Alex has performed with various local choruses and ensembles, such as Voices from the Heart, Amare Cantare, and the Southern New Hampshire Ukulele Group. In addition to her love of all things music-related, Alex enjoys surfing, kayaking, reading, writing, and studying world languages and cultures. Alex lives in Eliot, Maine with her family.

 
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Mariana Macaluso

spanish

Mariana is the upper elementary Spanish specialist. A native of Mexico City, Mariana moved to Celaya, Mexico at a young age where she later earned her Bachelors in Marketing from the Universidad de Celaya (2008). Mariana moved to the United States ten years ago and quickly adapted to life as a Navy wife living in Chicago, Monterey, Newport, Jacksonville, and York, ME where she and her family now reside. Mariana and her husband, Tony, have two children, Lucy (7) and Luke (4), who both attended the 3-6 program at Brixham Montessori Friends School. Mariana is passionate about teaching Spanish and sharing her love of Latin American culture, people, and food with her students.

 
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Dayna MacIntosh

Before care / Late Aftercare

Dayna is the Before and Aftercare teacher at Brixham. You will also see her helping out in many different classrooms throughout the school. Dayna is a graduate of The University of Maine Farmington (B.S. Early Childhood K-3) and Center for Montessori Teacher Education (Infant & Toddler Birth-3 Years). Dayna was a lead teacher in Brixham’s toddler classroom for 6 years and has just returned after 3 years away. She has worked in a variety of school settings and enjoys the differences between them! In her free time Dayna loves to; run, hike, garden, and spend time with her family and her dog, Fletcher.   

 
Barbara is a lead teacher in the third 3-6 classroom, teaching with Whitney Genatossio. She has been involved with Montessori education for over 25 years. A graduate of the University of Colorado in religious studies, she completed her 3-6 (pre-primary) Northeast Montessori Institute training and taught for several years near Concord, NH. In 1995 she started Parkside Children’s House (a small 3-6 program) in Hopkinton, NH. Her grown children Matthew and Thomas, both Montessori grads, live inTokyo, Japan and Boston. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Kittery several years ago and love it! A bit of golf, zumba, reading, walking and tooling around on her scooter round out the days!
 

Barbara Mansfield

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

 

Barbara is a lead teacher in the primary program. She has been involved with Montessori education for over 25 years. A graduate of the University of Colorado in religious studies, she completed her 3-6 (pre-primary) Northeast Montessori Institute training and taught for several years near Concord, NH. In 1995 she started Parkside Children’s House (a small 3-6 program) in Hopkinton, NH. Her grown children, Matthew and Thomas (both Montessori grads), live in Tokyo, Japan and Boston. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Kittery several years ago and love it! A bit of golf, Zumba, reading, walking, and tooling around on her scooter round out the days!

 
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Dorothy Matthews

Lower elementary teacher

(6-9 years)

Dorothy Matthews is a lead teacher in the lower elementary classroom and a trained 6-9 teacher. Dorothy is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (B.A. Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (Elementary I Credential). Since 2005, Dorothy has taught in Montessori schools throughout Massachusetts, working with children in the toddler, children’s house, lower and upper elementary classrooms. Dorothy’s hobbies include hiking, cooking, practicing yoga, and reading.

 
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Ann Merritt

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

Ann Merritt is a lead teacher in the primary program, as well as the afternoon extended day (Kindergarten) program. Ann is a graduate of St. Nicholas Montessori College (pre-primary 3-6), the University of Virginia (M.A. History), and North Park College (B.A. History). Ann has a special talent for baking, and also loves to knit, read, garden, hike, and simply spend time with family. Ann lives in South Berwick, ME with her husband Zach, and daughters, Magill (25) and Grace (21).  Grace is a Brixham graduate of the elementary program.

 
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Sarah O'Callaghan

primary program teacher

(3-6 years)

Sarah O’Callaghan is an assistant teacher in the primary program. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (B.A. Education and M.A. Early Childhood Special Education) and Northeast Montessori Institute (pre-primary 3-6 and toddler). Sarah was a Special Education preschool teacher in Amherst MA, an assistant teacher at The Children’s House in Rye, NH and a Special Education Consultant at the Strafford Learning Center for Milton, Rochester and Nottingham school districts (working with children 3-5 years old). Sarah enjoys spending time with her 5 children and 2 grandchildren, walking, reading, creating art and laughter.

 
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Michael Stone

elementary program leader and lower elementary Teacher (6-9 years)

Michael Stone is a lead teacher in the lower elementary program and the school garden coordinator. Michael also supports the upper and lower elementary program as the elementary program coordinator. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (M.Ed. Elementary Education and B.A. Education/Spanish) and the Center for Montessori Teacher Education/NY (Elementary 6-9). He is currently working his way through the Wilson Reading System Level I Certification Program. He loves spending time in the garden and at the beach. Michael lives in Kittery Point, ME, with his spouse, Peter, and their spirited little dog, Dasher.

 
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Gretchen Storer

upper elementary teacher

(9-11 years)

Gretchen Storer is a lead teacher in the upper elementary program. She is a graduate of Gordon College (B.S. in Biology with Marine Concentration) and Seacoast Center for Education (A.M.S. Elementary I and II credentials). She holds certificates from both the Montessori Assistants’ Overview and the Advanced Assistants’ Overview through Northeast Montessori Institute Rising Stars. Gretchen also earned a Postgraduate degree from Brunel University (P.G.Dip. in Elementary Education). Since 2005, Gretchen has taught in Montessori schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, working with children in children’s house and in upper elementary. She enjoys spending time with her husband and adopted greyhounds along the Seacoast.  

 
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Heidi Salisbury-Finley

primary teacher (3-6 years) & admissions director

Heidi Salisbury-Finley divides her time at Brixham between teaching in the extended day (Kindergarten) program and working on the admissions team. A part of Brixham as both a parent and a teacher for 16 years, Heidi is excited to begin her fifth year with admissions. “I love to be the first person to introduce children and families to our community, and to watch as they grow and change during their time here!”

Heidi completed her undergraduate studies at Wheelock College in Boston (BA, Human Development). Her work with Peer Play Therapy allowed her to participate in graduate work at Harvard School of Education and Lesley University. Heidi completed her Montessori training at the Maine Montessori Institute (Pre-primary, 3-6).  Prior to joining Brixham, Heidi taught at the Family Development Center at Boston Medical Center, a therapeutic preschool for children and families in crisis with abuse and neglect issues. Heidi also worked at New England Medical Center as a Child Life Specialist. While her husband returned to school, Heidi was lead teacher (3-6) at Ithaca Montessori School in Ithaca, New York. Heidi enjoys nature, writing, horses and watching children discover the wonder of our world. Heidi lives in Kittery, ME with her husband, Gary and their children: Grace (17), Caroline (15) and Fin (11). Grace and Caroline are both Brixham graduates of the primary program and Fin is a graduate of Brixham’s elementary program.

 
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Augusto Salazar

Strings Program

Augusto Salazar is the strings specialist in the elementary program. Augusto studied music at the Conservatory of La Paz in Bolivia before coming to the United States to study chamber music with the Portland String Quartet at the University of Southern Maine. He continued his studies at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA and Boston University, and has played in various chamber groups and orchestras throughout Northern New England. Augusto has also toured major cities in Latin America, Greece and Spain with professional ensembles and been involved in the creation of various community orchestras, youth ensembles and chamber music groups in Northern New England, including the Odeon Youth String Orchestra in Camden, ME, the Portsmouth Symphony Community Orchestra, the River Tree Arts adult ensemble in Kennebunkport, ME and the Bow Street Youth Orchestra which he founded over 20 years ago and continues to conduct. Augusto lives with his wife in Kittery, ME

 
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Jessa Sullivan

toddler teacher (18 months-3 years)

Jessa Sullivan is a teacher in the toddler program. Jessa completed her Montessori Assistant training in 2013 and completed her Montessori Infant/Toddler training in 2016 (Northeast Montessori Institute). Jessa has taught in the toddler program for the past four years at Brixham and worked as part of our administration team. Jessa lives in York, ME with her husband, Conor, and five children: Melia (15), Rowan (12), Kai (10), Gunnar (10), and Arc (2). Melia is a Brixham graduate of the 3-6 and elementary programs, Rowan, Kai and Gunnar are Brixham graduates of the 3-6 program and attended Brixham’s elementary program, and Arc is in the toddler program.

 
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Kim Vachon

office administrator

Kim Vachon is an office administrator. Kim completed her Montessori Assistant training in 2013 and helps on occasion in the 3-6 classrooms. She also takes Brixham’s school portraits. Kim is a certified yoga instructor, enjoys travel, photography, hiking, being out on the water and is an active parent volunteer in the community. Kim lives in York, ME with her partner, Louis, and has three children, Jack (25), Louie (14), and Marcus (11). Louie and Marcus are both Brixham graduates of the primary program.