Chris Smith, Dean of School
Chris Smith is a native of Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Philosophy. He also holds master’s degrees in Secondary Teacher Education, Educational Leadership, and Teaching With Technology. He previously worked as a principal in Vermont and New Hampshire. Chris is excited about technology and is eager to start working with the teachers to help integrate technology at The Birches. Before returning to the East Coast in 2014, Chris lived in Arizona for 14 years and worked at a residential treatment center for ten years before taking a job as a high school English teacher. Chris lives with his fifteen year old son, and when he is not working on school projects or being a dad he likes to play video games and solve the Rubik’s cube.
Jessica Wachsman, Dean of Operations
Jessica Wachsman is a Windham, New Hampshire native and attended St. Anselm College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. After working for 10 years in Finance for Putnam Investments she took time off to raise her children. She is a Founder at both Mill Falls Charter School in Manchester as well as The Birches Academy. She has been working at the Birches since its inception as the Business Manager. In this role she also works with students and staff on technology as well as all the behind the scene tasks that makes The Birches run day to day. She and her husband have three children and live in Salem. NH. In free time she loves to travel with her family and take the family dog on long walks.
Ruth Templeton, Dean of Students
Ruth Templeton is a native of New York. She joined The Birches staff in 2014 as the Director of Student Affairs. She has previously worked in a variety of educational settings, from Early Intervention to an Elementary Special Educator running a Resource Room serving over 30 students. Ruth started and ran an Early Intervention program serving Southern New Hampshire for five years. 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 a certified Educational Therapist from the University of California Riverside. Ruth’s role at The Birches is diverse, as she serves as both an administrator directly involved with policy making, discipline, scheduling, planning events and travel, and special education. Ruth also serves in an educational capacity to support students emotionally and academically in the classroom and individually. Ruth lives in Atkinson with her husband and three children. As a founder of The Birches, Ruth also served as a Trustee for three years before becoming a member of the staff.