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Monique Simard, kindergarten Lead Teacher

Mrs. 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. She was Mrs. Cox’s assistant when she joined us here at The Birches and has been the Kindergarten teacher ever since we opened the grade in 2016. Mrs. Simard was previously the kindergarten teacher in Bedford NH. She comes to us from Nashua New Hampshire.

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Stacy Stone, kindergarten Teaching Assistant

Mrs. Stone has been volunteering at The Birches Academy 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.

Email: Stacys@birchesacademy.org

 
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alysa mulligan, Grade 1/2 assisant Teacher

Mrs. Mulligan has been with The Birches Academy since it opened in 2012. Previously she had been a toddler, kindergarten and first grade teacher at schools in Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Endicott College in Beverly, MA and a Masters in Education from American International College, which has a program strong in literacy. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her family and reading. 

Rebecca dineen, Grade 1/2 assisant Teacher

Mrs. Dineen has been volunteering in The Birches Acaedmy community since the schools opening in 2012, and 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, Grade 1/2 Teacher

Kathleen cox, Grade 1/2 Teacher

Karla Biel, Teaching Assistant  Email:   Karlab@birchesacademy.org

Karla Biel, Teaching Assistant
Email: Karlab@birchesacademy.org

Ms. Cox has been at The Birches Academy since its opening year in 2012, coming to us from Derry, NH. She has lots of experience in pre-school, Head Start, grades K-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, Ms. Cox 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.

Mrs. Biel joined our staff in 2014.  She is a mother of four and comes to us with over 15 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 Texas public schools. Later in Arizona, she taught at and was the board president of a co-operative pre-school. Mrs. Biel received her BS in Communication Sciences and her MS in Education for Hearing Impaired, both from Texas Woman’s University.

 
Grade 3 (Sprouts):   Cory Mangelinckx, Lead Teacher   Email:   corym@birchesacademy.org

Grade 3 (Sprouts):

Cory Mangelinckx, Lead Teacher
Email: corym@birchesacademy.org

Jen Madden, Teaching Assistant

Jen Madden, Teaching Assistant

Ipso lorum the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Saving time to spend time.

Ipso lorum the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Saving time to spend time.

 
Grades 4/5 (Saplings):   Heather Black-Ward, Lead Teacher  Email:   Heatherb@birchesacademy.org

Grades 4/5 (Saplings):

Heather Black-Ward, Lead Teacher
Email: Heatherb@birchesacademy.org

Kristin Sellitto, Teaching Assistant

Kristin Sellitto, Teaching Assistant

Mrs. Black-Ward has been at The Birches Academy 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 multiage classrooms in K-2 and 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! One of Mrs. Black-Ward’s passions is writing – especially poetry. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and reading children’s books (they are the best books around!)

Mrs. Black-Ward has been at The Birches Academy 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 multiage classrooms in K-2 and 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! One of Mrs. Black-Ward’s passions is writing – especially poetry. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and reading children’s books (they are the best books around!)

 
Kayla Livingston, Lead Teacher  Email:   Kaylal@birchesacademy.org

Kayla Livingston, Lead Teacher
Email: Kaylal@birchesacademy.org

Miss Livingston came to The Birches Academy in 2013 after receiving her M. Ed. in Elementary Education. She previously graduated with a B.S. in Family Studies with a minor in Psychology in 2012. Prior to joining us, she spent one full year student-teaching in a second grade classroom in the Oyster River School District in Durham, NH, as well as working for a full year with kindergarteners in North Hampton, NH. Miss Livingston’s experience with students goes beyond teaching in the classroom and includes things such as running academic science programs in the summer, tutoring, and beyond. These experiences have allowed her to work with a variety of age groups. Miss Livingston knew she wanted to be a teacher as a young child, and absolutely loves working with students. When she is not teaching, she loves traveling, camping, and being outdoors. She has a background in dance as well!

Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistant

Miss Livingston came to The Birches Academy in 2013 after receiving her M. Ed. in Elementary Education. She previously graduated with a B.S. in Family Studies with a minor in Psychology in 2012. Prior to joining us, she spent one full year student-teaching in a second grade classroom in the Oyster River School District in Durham, NH, as well as working for a full year with kindergarteners in North Hampton, NH. Miss Livingston’s experience with students goes beyond teaching in the classroom and includes things such as running academic science programs in the summer, tutoring, and beyond. These experiences have allowed her to work with a variety of age groups. Miss Livingston knew she wanted to be a teacher as a young child, and absolutely loves working with students. When she is not teaching, she loves traveling, camping, and being outdoors. She has a background in dance as well!

 

Middle School, Grades 6 – 8 (Leaves & Trees):

Erin Balfe, Social Studies Teacher  Email:   Erinb@birchesacademy.org

Erin Balfe, Social Studies Teacher
Email: Erinb@birchesacademy.org

Mrs. Balfe 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 is our Middle School Social Studies and Government teacher, as well as a Google expert! Mrs. Balfe currently lives in Derry, NH with her husband Matt and their three cats. Mrs. Balfe enjoys going to the beach, reading, hiking, and anything Disney!

Angela Kinson, Science Teacher  Email:   Angelak@birchesacademy.org

Angela Kinson, Science Teacher
Email: Angelak@birchesacademy.org

Mrs. 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 and she has been the Birches middle school science teacher for the past four years. On her spare time, Angela is a professional drag racer and she enjoys spending her free time at the race track with her husband and one year old daughter, Kayla. 

 
Laura Edwards, English Teacher/LTS  Email:   lauraedwards@birchesacademy.org

Laura Edwards, English Teacher/LTS
Email: lauraedwards@birchesacademy.org

Ipso lorum the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Saving time to spend time.

Brenda Goudreau, Math Teacher  Email:  brendag@birchesacademy.org

Brenda Goudreau, Math Teacher
Email:brendag@birchesacademy.org

Ipso lorum the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Saving time to spend time.

 

Spanish: Interventionist:

Becky Hopkinson, Spanish Teacher  Email:  beckyhopkinson@birchesacademy.org

Becky Hopkinson, Spanish Teacher
Email:beckyhopkinson@birchesacademy.org

¡Hola! Mrs. Hopkinson (also known as Profe.) joined Birches Academy as the Spanish teacher in 2018. She holds a B.A. in Spanish from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University. A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, she has now lived in 5 different US states and 2 different countries—Mexico and Brazil! While traveling is clearly one of her biggest passions, Mrs. Hopkinson is finally done packing her bags. She now lives with her husband and their two cats in Pelham, New Hampshire. In addition to Spanish, she also speaks Portuguese. When Mrs. Hopkinson is not at school, you can find her outdoors no matter what the weather. She loves hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, and is also a voracious reader.

Tobe Crocker, Special Educator & 504 Coordinator  Email:   TobeC@Birchesacademy.org

Tobe Crocker, Special Educator & 504 Coordinator
Email: TobeC@Birchesacademy.org

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 based on individual student needs.

 
Michelle Doyle, Math & Reading Interventionist  Email:   michelledoyle@birchesacademy.org

Michelle Doyle, Math & Reading Interventionist
Email: michelledoyle@birchesacademy.org

 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.

Kelly LeBlond, RTI Primary Math

Kelly LeBlond, RTI Primary Math

Mrs. LeBlond joined the Birches family in 2015 as a volunteer and as a staff member in 2017. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Anselm College and worked for many years in the insurance industry. In her spare time, Mrs. LeBlond enjoys crafting and photography. She resides in Windham with her husband, daughter and French Bulldog Emmy.

 

Music

David Comtois, Music Teacher  Email:   Davidc@birchesacademy.org

David Comtois, Music Teacher
Email: Davidc@birchesacademy.org

Mr. 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

Deb Stolar, Music Teacher
Email: Deborahs@birchesacademy.org

Mrs. 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.

Art:

Kelly Hawkes, Art Teacher  Email:   Kellyh@birchesacademy.org

Kelly Hawkes, Art Teacher
Email: Kellyh@birchesacademy.org

Mrs. 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 over 10 years’ experience teaching art and has choreographed several school plays.

Natalie Skerry, Art Assistant

Natalie Skerry, Art Assistant

Ipso lorum the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Saving time to spend time.

PE:

Stewart Pruslin, PE Teacher  Email:  Stewartp@birchesacademy.org

Stewart Pruslin, PE Teacher
Email:Stewartp@birchesacademy.org

Mr. Pruslin lives with his wife and 11-year-old son in Wilmington, MA. He has been a teacher, coach, and counselor for over 30 years. He enjoys playing and coaching sports, especially his son’s baseball, basketball, and flag football teams.  He creates, plays, and records music and now performs with his son. 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!