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

Parent Reminders:

2017/18 School Calendar

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2016/2017 School Calendar

This calendar has been updated.  Monday January 2, 2017 is now a vacation day.  Last day of school w...

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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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Fall Leaflet 2016

Fall Leaflet 2016...

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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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Head of School:  Dr. Dael Angelico-Hart

Email: Dangelico@birchesacademy.org Angelico-Hart
Dr. Dael Angelico-Hart was chosen by the panel of founding parents to lead and establish the Birches Academy.

Dr. 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.

“It has been very exciting to help establish The Birches Academy. Integrating the arts in a real way to help learning occur for each and every child has always been a dream of mine I hope to realize fully at The Birches.” says Dr. Angelico-Hart.

Teaching Staff:


Monique Simard, Lead Teacher

Email: Moniques@birchesacademy.org
SimardMrs. Simard has been with The Birches since 2013. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Rivier University. While attending, she gained experience teaching in many grade levels including preschool, second, and fourth grade. She has also had experience directing a special education resource room with kindergarten through fifth grade. During the school year Mrs. Simard has taught an afterschool science program to underprivileged children in elementary schools. Mrs. Simard was previously the kindergarten teacher in Bedford NH. She comes to us from Tyngsboro Massachusetts.

Valinda Mrock, Teaching Assistant

Email:Valindam@birchesacademy.orgMrs. Mrock grew up in Michigan and moved to New Hampshire in 1978 with her husband and two sons. (She is also the proud grandmother of a grandson) Mrs. Mrock has thirty years of teaching and has been a lead preschool and kindergarten teacher with her certification in Early Childhood Education. She has participated in many Early Childhood workshops and seminars and has helped children to develop the cognitive and social skills necessary for success during the kindergarten year.

One of her interest’s has been in puppetry which has delighted children and helped them to express themselves. Mrs. Mrock feels that by providing a nurturing and safe environment allows a child to feel comfortable and confident, enabling them to explore and develop a love of learning that will create memories that will stay with them.

Stacy Stone, Teaching Assistant

Email: Stacys@birchesacademy.org
BirchesMrs. Stone has been volunteering at The Birches since the founding in 2012 and is now a Teaching Assistant. She has a degree in Travel and Tourism from Johnson and Wales University. Her previous experience includes serving as an aide at North Salem Elementary and as a flight attendant for US Airways. Stacy resides in Salem with her husband, 2 girls and a very spoiled golden retriever.

1st/2nd Grade:

Alysa Mulligan, Lead Teacher
Email: Alysam@birchesacademy.org
MulliganMs. Mulligan has been with The Birches since it opened in 2012.  Previously she had been both a toddler, kindergarten and first grade teacher at parochial schools in Massachusetts. She has a BA in Education from Endicott College in Beverly, MA and a M.A. in Education from American International College which has a program strong in literacy. She has her own little girl and lives right in Salem.
Rebecca Dineen, Teaching Assistant
Email: rebeccad@birchesacademy.org
DineenMrs. Dineen has been volunteering in the Birches community since the schools opening in 2012, and will be joined our staff in 2015. She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Salem State University in Massachusetts, and has completed graduate level coursework focused on learning disabilities at Rivier College in Nashua. Her previous classroom experience at the Abundant Life Christian School in Wilmington, MA solidified her love and passion for teaching. She has lived in New Hampshire for the past 10 years with her husband and two boys. They enjoy spending time as a family, whether skiing, hiking, or rooting for the boys in youth sports.


Kathleen Cox, Lead Teacher
Email: Kathleencox@birchesacademy.org
CoxMs. Cox has been at The Birches since it’s opening year in 2012 and comes to us from Derry, NH. She has had lots of experience in pre-school, Head Start, kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2 and was a Title I reading tutor at Pollard Elementary in Plaistow. In addition to her M. Ed. in Early Childhood Development and experience with both literacy and math curriculums, she has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Mass College of Art and is insanely creative. She also teaches courses at Nashua Community College in Foundations of Early Childhood Education and Emergent Literacy.
Karla Biel, Teaching Assistant
Email: Karlab@birchesacademy.org
BielMrs. Biel joined our staff in 2014.  She is a mother of four and comes to us with over 12 years of teaching experience. She has taught kids from infants (in a water babies class) to 11th grade in both private and public schools. She began her teaching career in TX in public schools. Later in AZ, she taught at and was the board president of a co-operative pre-school. A few years ago, she came to NH to share her passion for teaching. Mrs. Biel received her BS in Communication Sciences and her MS in Education for Hearing Impaired; both from Texas Woman’s University.

Grade 3:

Nicole Matthews, Lead Teacher
Email: Nicolem@birchesacademy.org
CharestMrs. Matthews has been at The Birches since it’s opening year in 2012.  She has an undergraduate degree in English with her M. Ed. in Elementary Education from UNH. She has worked in Grade 2 and Grade 5 classrooms and did a full year internship in a Grade 3 classroom. Nicole is extremely interested in integrating the arts in education. For her M.Ed. Colloquium Document, she completed a project entitled, “Fostering Creative Minds through Arts Integration.”
Allison Baldonado, Teaching Assistant
Email: Allisonb@birchesacacdemy.org
Mrs. Baldonado will be filling in for Ms. Yepez from September – December, 2016. Mrs. Baldonado grew up in Seattle, WA, but has been living on the East coast for the past 3 years. She loves the Maine/New Hampshire area! She attends Western Governors University where she is working hard to complete her B.A. in Elementary Education. She has always been passionate about teaching and believes that all students can succeed! In her free time Mrs. Baldonado loves to go hiking, catch up on some reading, bake, and cuddle with her dog! She is extremely excited to be part of The Birches team while completing her student-teaching internship!



Grades 4/5:

Heather Black-Ward, Lead Teacher
Email: Heatherb@birchesacademy.org
Black-WardMrs. Black-Ward has been at The Birches since 2013.  She lives in North Andover, MA but originates from Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine with her B. A. degree and has been teaching ever since. She has taught the majority of her years in a multiage classroom in both K-2 and grades 3-5. After being a classroom teacher for several years, she was an RTI teacher for math and reading in Windham, NH. She is so happy to be back in the classroom at the Birches. One of her passions is writing –especially poetry. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and reading children’s books (they are the best books around!)
Brittany Brennan, Teaching Assistant
Email: Brittnayb@birchesacademy.org
BrittanyMs. Brennan came to The Birches in the fall of 2016 from Derry, NH. She graduated from Plymouth State University in May of 2016 with a B.S. degree in Art Education. While attending school, she gained experience teaching art to K-12 students. Ms. Brennan is very passionate when it comes to art and education. She loves using the arts as a method of furthering the education of students. During her free time, you will most likely find Ms. Brennan painting, creating with clay, exploring the mountains, taking photographs, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.


Kayla Livingston, Lead Teacher
Email: Kaylal@birchesacademy.org
LivingstonMiss Livingston came to Birches in 2013 after receiving her M. Ed. in Elementary Education. In addition to her M. Ed. she has a B.S. in Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. She has spent 1 year student teaching in a Grade 2 classroom in Madbury, NH but has also worked for a full year with Kindergarteners. She spends her summers running academic science programs, which has allowed her to work with a variety of age groups from Kindergarten to Grade 6. She loves traveling and being outdoors and has a background in dance as well!
Alexandra Hennesey, Teaching Assistant
Email: Alexh@birchesacademy.org

Ms. Hennessy came to The Birches in the winter of 2016 from Windham, NH. She graduated from Roger Williams University in May of 2016 with a B.A. degree in Elementary Education and a minor in history. While attending school, she gained experience student teaching in a third grade classroom in Tiverton, RI. In addition to student teaching, Alex has had experience working with children outside of the classroom, teaching swim lessons at Camp Otter, a local summer camp in Salem, NH and working in an afterschool program in Portsmouth, RI. Alex plans to attend Merrimack College in the spring to receive her M. Ed. in Special Education. During her free time, you will most likely find Ms. Hennessy shopping, skiing, crafting, and spending time with her family and friends!

Middle School, Grades 6 – 8:

Erin McArdle, Lead Teacher
Email: Erinm@birchesacademy.org
McArdleMs. McArdle has been at The Birches since it’s opening year in 2012.   She came to us from UNH where her undergrad degree was in Theater Education and her M.Ed. was in Elementary Education. She also has a background in dance. In addition to student teaching, Erin has had extensive experience working in recreation departments in the summer. For one year, she directed the entire summer program in Plaistow!
Angela Kinson, Lead Teacher
Email: Angelak@birchesacademy.org
KinsonMrs. Kinson came to The Birches in 2013 from Plaistow, NH, where she has lived there her entire life. She graduated from UNH in 2003 with (2) Associate’s: Civil Technology & Applied Business Management. In 2012 she achieved her Bachelor’s in Secondary Education: Business from Grand Canyon University and is currently working towards her Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. Angela is certified to teach in Business and also has her SOE in middle school Math, Science, General Special Education and Comprehensive Technology. On her spare time Angela is a professional drag racer!


Janine O’Donnell, Lead Teacher
Email: JanineO@birchesacademy.org
O'DonnelMrs. O’Donnell came to The Birches in 2014 from Amesbury, MA, where she has lived for ten years. She previously taught English Language Arts at Bellisini Academy in Lawrence, MA as well as Senior English and ELL at Nazareth Academy in Wakefield, MA. A native New Yorker, Mrs. O’Donnell studied English Secondary Education at Mount Saint Mary College. Mrs. O’Donnell is currently completing a M.Ed in Special Education at Lesley University. Mrs. O’Donnell lives with her husband and two daughters, ages 18 and 13. When she isn’t sitting on the sidelines cheering her kids on in their multiple endeavors, she can often be found hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or on the beach with a good book!
Ehrin Kelly, Teaching Assistant & Special Education Teacher
Email: Ehrink@birchesacademy.orgKelleyMs. Kelly came to The Birches in 2015 after receiving her M.Ed in Elementary Education and Special Education at Southern New Hampshire University. She also holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the same institution. In addition to being the assistant to the middle school she is also a special education teacher at The Birches. She is an avid gardener, loves to read, canoe, and also loves to go to live concerts. Ms. Kelly lives in Manchester, NH with her significant other, and has three cats she adores.


Catie Dodge, Spanish Teacher
Email: catherined@birchesacademy.org

CentralPark (2)Catie Dodge came to The Birches in 2014.  She attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she studied Spanish.  She has studied in Salamanca, Spain and Durango, Mexico as well.  When Catie taught students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Maine, she enjoyed taking students on trips to Mexico and Spain and reliving the culture through their eager eyes.  She also studied Hispanic Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her Masters Degree.  During her time teaching, she was very lucky to coach the cross-country running and ski teams, and co-direct the Wilderness Leadership program. To teach and coach was her childhood dream.  She loves spending time with students and being able to connect with them. She hopes to inspire a love of learning in all of her students.  Catie lives in Amherst with her husband, Mike.  They have three sons and one daughter who are in grades 9th, 7th, 6th and 4th respectively.


Tobe Crocker, Special Educator & 504 Coordinator
Email: TobeC@Birchesacademy.orgIMG_1044 Tobe Crocker has been with the Birches since its opening year, 2012. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Fitchburg State University and a MEd. from Plymouth State University. Mrs. Crocker began her teaching career teaching students with severe disabilities in Massachusetts. She then worked for 5 years in Raymond, NH, followed by almost 30 years in Windham, NH as a Special Educator. Tobe works with students with IEPs at the Birches and coordinates 504 Plans. Services range from consultation to specialized instruction basted on individual student needs.
Michelle Doyle, Math & Reading Interventionist
Email: michelledoyle@birchesacademy.orgDoyle
Mrs. Doyle came to The Birches in 2015.  She graduated from North Adams State College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She worked in the non-profit sector with the homeless population as Volunteer Coordinator overseeing a soup kitchen and food pantry while working with transitional assistant recipients. From there she worked in Corporate Marketing for a Fortune 500 company before leaving to raise a family. During this time she earned her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Literacy Focus from Franklin Pierce University. She has experience teaching 4th-6th grade, Kindergarten and has extensive training in Wilson Reading Systems. Outside of the classroom Michelle enjoys camping, reading, listening to music and baking. She resides in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and four daughters.


David Comtois, Music Teacher
Email: Davidc@birchesacademy.org
ComtoisMr. Comtois has been at The Birches since  it’s opening year in 2012.  He is an accomplished musician in his own right specializing in the bass and guitar. However, he plays the drums, keyboard and can probably teach just about any musical instrument there is, including a mandolin! He teaches all of our third graders the ukulele and taking off from there. In addition to his instrumental skills and the many private lessons he gives, he works part-time at the Presentation of Mary Academy as their band director and has put on drama club presentations of Grease and Godspell that received rave reviews to name a few. He has self published his own guitar book, Yes You Can!, to help his students learn to play the guitar.
Deb Stolar, Music Teacher
Email: Deborahs@birchesacademy.org
staff_stolarMrs. Stolar has been with The Birches since 2013.  She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a B.S in Music Education with a emphasis in voice, flute and piano. Mrs. Stolar has had the privilege of teaching music in the Merrimack Valley for 39 years. Mrs. Stolar recently completed 31 years as a K-8 music classroom teacher and choral director in the Wilmington, Mass Public Schools. From 1985-1994, she held the positions of Music Teacher at Salem Christian School, and Merrimack Valley Montessori School.   Currently she serves as the Salem Centerpoint Community Church Choir Director. She continues to  teach piano, flute and voice  in her private studio and is pleased to join   The Birches Academy in her home town of Salem.



Kelly Hawkes, Art Teacher
Email: Kellyh@birchesacademy.org
StoneMrs. Hawkes came to The Birches in 2014 from Atkinson, NH where she lives with her husband, two little boys and dog Azul. Kelly’s love of art started at a very young age. She remembers getting in trouble for coloring on her babysitters house, and thinking she was only trying to make it more beautiful. Kelly has BA in art education from Colby-Sawyer College and an MA in creative arts from Fitchburg state. She is always finding some artistic project to work on like painting superheroes in her boy’s playroom, or hand painting dresser knobs for her “Hawkes Hollow” shop on Etsy. Kelly has 10 years’ experience teaching art and has choreographed several school plays.



Stewart Pruslin, PE Teacher
PEMr. Pruslin lives with his wife and 8 year old son in Wilmington, MA. He has been a teacher, coach and counselor for almost 30 years. He enjoys playing and coaching sports and creating, playing and recording music on his keyboards and guitar. Some fun facts about Mr. Pruslin are that he has been in every major league baseball stadium since 1989 and even sang the National Anthem at a minor league baseball game!







Administrative Staff:

Ruth Templeton, Director of Student Services
Email: Rutht@birchesacademy.org
TempletonRuth Templeton joined The Birches staff in 2014.  She has previously worked in a variety of educational settings, from Early Intervention to Elementary Resource Room. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and a Masters in Education in Special Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Ruth holds a Level 1 Certification in the Wilson Reading Program and she is currently completing her certification in Educational Therapy from the University of California Riverside. She is the mother of three children and lives in Atkinson. Ruth has been involved and invested in the Birches since the beginning of the school.

Jessica Wachsman, Business Manager
Email: Jessicaw@birchesacademy.org
WaschmanBehind the scenes, Mrs. Wachsman serves as the Business Manager for the school since we opened in 2012.  She also handles most of our technology issues.  Most importantly, she takes care of all the paperwork to make sure The Birches can be such a fantastic place to be.




Deborah LeBlanc, Administrative Assistant
Email: Deborahl@birchesacademy.org or Information@birchesacademy.org
LaBlancMrs. LeBlanc has been at The Birches since it’s opening year in 2012.  She has worked in a number of small companies being the all important “jack of all trades” before coming to The Birches. She has done a little bit of everything from shipping and receiving to inside and outside sales and marketing to being a project manager in a small computer company.   She loves children so she volunteered at the Salem Athletic Club in both the nursery and revolution room teaching and playing developmental games and crafts.  She has a BA in Liberal Studies with a minor in Early Childhood development.


Aimye Haruoutunian, Donor Relations & Event Director
Email: foundation@birchesacademy.orgAimye
Mrs. Haroutunian has been an active volunteer and Foundation Board member at the Birches since the founding in 2012, and in January 2016, she joined the staff as the Donor Relations & Events Director. She has a BA in marketing from Endicott College in Beverly, MA, where she started down the path of fundraising as the treasurer of the Business Club. Her previous experience includes event planning and donation coordinator for the Christina Capozzi Foundation and the Merrimack Valley Montessori School. Aimye has a passion for event planning and engaging volunteers. She continues to volunteer her time supporting the Haverhill Elite Track Club. She resides in Salem, NH with her husband, son and her pampered pooch Bleu.


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The Birches Academy of Academics & Art

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

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