(603) 458-6399
419 South Broadway
Salem, NH 03079

Parent Reminders:

Birches Academy Board of ...

The Birches Academy Board of Trustees meet on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:30pm.  All members o...

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2017/18 School Calendar

The calendar has been approved for the 2017/18 school year. 2017-2018 School Calendar...

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School Happenings:

2017/18 School Calendar

The calendar has been approved for the 2017/18 school year. 2017-2018 School Calendar...

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Head of School’s Corner:

Birches Bulletin 6-14

The Birches Bulletin – 6-14...

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The Birches Bulletin 6/9

The Birches Bulletin – 6/9...

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Upcoming Events

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Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is made up of Birches Academy parents as well as community members. The Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that the academic program of The Birches is successful, that the school’s program and operation are faithful to its charter, and that the Birches is a viable, long term, sustainable charter school.

Board Meetings:

The Board of Trustees meets at the school every second Monday of the month at 6:30 PM, unless that Monday falls on a holiday.

Past Meeting Minutes:

Click a link for a PDF document of the minutes from these meetings:

Current Bylaws:

The Birches Academy Board of Trustees Bylaws

Board Nomination Policy:

Board Nomination Policy Approved 2.15.16-2

Meet Our Current Board Members:


Kara Christesen (Chair) was raised in Salem, NH. She attended Salem High School and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Master of Education with a concentration in Special Education. Kara is a certified Life Sciences teacher for grades 7-12 and has been teaching science at Salem High School for fourteen years. While at SHS, she has taught a wide range of levels and courses, including Biology, Chemistry, Zoology, and Integrated Science. Kara is active in professional development demonstrated by participating in such programs as the National Tropical Botanical Gardens Science Teacher Enrichment Program in Kauai, Hawaii; the John H. Wallace Middle and High School Teacher Fellowship, American Association of Immunologists, through Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Signals of Spring ACES Animals in Curriculum-based Ecosystem Studies U.S. Satellite Laboratory, sponsored by NASA; as well as furthering her knowledge via enrollment in post-graduate courses of study. One of her goals as a science teacher is the integration of art, music, and creative thinking into the science curriculum. Kara and her husband, Doug, reside in Salem, NH with their daughter who is currently a second grader at The Birches Academy.

Alexa Ippolito Stewart (Vice Chair) attended Boston University, earning a BA in Political Science with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. After graduating from Boston University, Alexa started her career as intern, continuing to positions as a writer and consultant on a number of political campaigns before joining a large communications firm based in Washington, DC. There, she discovered her interest in and commitment to education while working on education initiatives with different advocacy groups. Today, Alexa is a self-employed communications consultant, helping clients across the world reshape their public relations strategy. She joined The Birches Academy Board of Trustees in 2014 and currently holds the position of Vice Chair. Alexa and her husband, Will, a mechanical engineer at Westinghouse in Portsmouth, NH, currently reside in Atkinson, NH with their lab mix, Winnie.

Dianne Wright (Co-Treasurer and Founder) grew up in North Andover, MA and has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business Management from Merrimack College.  She worked for twenty years in the Integrated Circuit Industry with various responsibilities in Customer Service, Inside and Outside sales, Production Management, and finally Worldwide Global Sales Operation project lead. She left the industry 15 years ago to raise her four children. She has 21 year old twin boys, and two girls age 20 and 13.  She is a founding member of The Birches Academy, a public charter school, and is a School Board Member and Acting Treasurer of the school.  She has held various positions in her school district to include:  PTATreasurer, Vice President and President of the Mary A. Fisk Elementary School, to Vice president of the Woodbury Junior High PTA. Previously she held the position of Vice President of Fundraising for the Field of Dreams in Salem, NH.  She served three terms as a member of the Selection appointed Recreation Advisory Committee. She is also a founding board member of the Friends of Salem, NH Recreation; an entity created to raise funds for the various recreational facilities in Salem.  She was on the Board of Director’s for the Salem Youth Basketball Organization as Director of Coaching, and is currently a Travel Basketball Coach. She lives in Salem, NH with her husband, Larry, who is Executive Director, Enterprise Architecture and Systems at Boston University.

Alyssa Ross (Secretary) grew up in Arlington, MA, attending the public schools from kindergarten through graduating from Arlington High School. She then attended Colby College where she earned a BA in government and history, and later to Georgetown University for an MA in Communication, Culture & Technology. After college internships in the news media including ABC News Nightline and 60 Minutes, Alyssa started her career as a legal assistant in communications law in Washington, DC. She moved back to Boston at the height of the .com boom, and found her way into technology public relations and marketing. After spending a few years in PR firms consulting with large and small technology companies, Alyssa moved in-house to a software company in 2001 where she’s since remained – though the company has gone from being a mid-sized, US-headquartered organization to being acquired by a $2b French-owned company. During this time, she has served in a range of PR and marketing roles, and is currently the company’s Director of Global Content Strategy. Along with her husband Joe who is a Customs & Border Protection Officer at Logan Airport as well as an on-ice official in the American Hockey League and Hockey East and their 3 boys who are students at Birches Academy, Alyssa currently lives in Windham, NH.

Andy Ducharme grew up in Beverly, MA. The son of two teachers, Andy has always had a strong appreciation for the amazing levels of effort that teachers and administrative staffs have, that continues today. Andy attended the University of Lowell as a Music Performance major. He and his wife Corey, moved to Pelham, New Hampshire in 1999 to start their family. After establishing himself in local politics, Andy won a seat on the Pelham School Board from 2010-2013. The final two years, Andy was elected Chairman of SAU 28.  Our son, Leo, was lucky to have had his number drawn in the first lottery of students when the Birches Academy had its inaugural year and was in the second graduating class the following year. Brother Ben will be in the graduating class of 2016. Andy plays in two bands in the area, HOOda ThUNk and Random Acts. Random Acts has played at Birches functions and loves to incorporate students as well as some of the teachers to perform with them. Currently, the Ducharme family resides in Windham in their farm house built in 1817.

Christine Miele (Founder) grew up in Shrewsbury, MA and attended the University of New Hampshire, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from the Whittemore School of Business.  She works for Winn Companies as a computer software trainer, responsible for training new employees, troubleshooting software problems, and creating PowerPoint presentations. Christine has been heavily involved in her children’s schools, specifically the Merrimack Valley Montessori School and Soule School as Lead Yearbook Coordinator, Room Mother, and co-chair of several school events.  Christine has been on the Board of Trustees for the Birches since the school began. She is currently on the Finance Committee. Christine, her husband Christopher, a lifelong resident of Salem and owner of M&M Electrical Supply in Nashua, and their 2 children currently live in Salem.

Erin McArdle grew up in Plaistow, NH, attending Timberlane Regional High School. After graduating, she pursued an undergraduate BA in Theatre with a focus in Elementary Education at the University of New Hampshire. There, she studied education and continued her passion for ballet by participating in the UNH Dance Company all four years. Studying education and theatre prepared Erin for an early acceptance into a Masters of Elementary Education program. With multiple internships and experience in grades K-5, Erin happily accepted the position of Teaching Assistant for the first class of Saplings at the Birches Academy in 2012. Erin recently moved to Derry, NH with her boyfriend Matt who works as a QA Deviation Investigator for a prominent biopharmaceutical company. They enjoy hiking, traveling, and being outdoors.

Nicole Charest grew up in Londonderry, N.H. and attended Londonderry High School. She earned a B.A. in English Teaching with double minors in Education and Family Studies, and completed her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Both her undergraduate and graduate work were completed at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. She has known since she was young that she wanted to be a teacher, and began her career as a teaching assistant at the Birches Academy in 2012. During the 2012 school year, she was the before and after school coordinator, the teacher representative on the governing board, and a swim coach for the RAYS swim team. She has since been a lead teacher in a combined grade 3 and 4 classroom, and is currently the third grade lead teacher at the Birches. She brings past experience to the board, and enjoys problem solving with important members of the community to make the Birches the best it can be. Nicole currently lives in Exeter, N.H. with her fiancé, Sean, a web developer for LeftHook Digital in Durham, N.H.

Dr. Dael Angelico-Hart has over 30 years of experience at all levels of education including Teaching, Principal, and Administration. She has been a Director of Reading and Language Arts, Coordinator of gifted and talented student programs, instructed programs for teachers and students alike, and is a published author in several educational journals. She earned her in Doctorate in English Literacy, Masters in Education Integrated Arts, and her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education.  With a collaborative leadership style, Dr. Angelico-Hart believes building positive two-way relationships and working together is crucial to teaching and learning. She believes all children can learn and it is the duty of educators to meet the individual needs of each student. One of the primary goals of The Birches Academy is to meet these individual needs. Dr. Angelico-Hart’s educational philosophy is a perfect fit for The Birches Academy.

Ms. Christie Storniolo (Founder) was raised in Windham, NH. She attended Pinkerton Academy and is a graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, MA with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. Upon graduation she obtained a position at Putnam Investments in Boston Massachusetts where she worked in management positions for 17 years, mainly in 401(k) administration where she received service awards for her outstanding service to her customers.  She currently is co-owner of a family travel business along with working with her husband in his CPA firm, Olbricht Storniolo Group, in Hampstead, NH.  Christie has participated in many fundraising events for her children in their elementary school over the years and ran several independently. She also has volunteered her time in the classroom. Additionally, she has been a member of the Growth Committee for the Seacoast Charter School to address the growing needs of the school and how to best utilize volunteer support.   They reside in Atkinson, NH.

Ms. Jody Ronayne (Co-Treasurer)


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The Birches Academy of Academics & Art

(603) 458-6399
419 South Broadway
Salem, NH 03079

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