2018-19 Sizer Staff Profiles
Sizer School, a North Central Charter Essential School is particularly proud of its highly qualified staff members.
A brief biography of each members in alphabetical order by last name follows.For email and phone contact information, please CLICK HERE.
Kathy Akerman joined Sizer in 2009 and has worn many hats through that time including: substitute teaching, Paraprofessional, Special Education Administrative Assistant and Tutor. In 2018 she will be teaching English as a Second Language/ ELL Teacher. Ms. Akerman has taught in both private and public schools for almost 20 years, helping students of all ages acquire English language speaking, reading and writing skills. Ms. Akerman has an A.A. in Liberal Studies from Mount Wachusett Community College, a B.A. in English from Amherst College and a Masters in Education from UMass/Amherst. She enjoys reading, knitting, Theater, the great outdoors, and spending time with her three adult children.
Nicolette “Nicky” Alves joined Sizer in 2018 as a Paraprofessional. With her BS in Human Services from FSU, she has several years experience in the mental health field working in group homes, in-home therapy, and community work with children and families. Ms. Alves aspires to be a personal trainer on the side. She believes tin meeting people where they are and building on their strengths.
Colleen Andujar earned her degree in Psychology with a minor is MS Math at Worcester State. Prior to joining Sizer in 2012 as Receiving Room Coordinator, she was a Substitute Teacher at Memorial Middle School, a Long Term Special Ed. Sub at Fitchburg Art Academy, as well as a Long Term Math Teacher. Mrs. Andujar teaches 7th Grade Mathematics, is the 7th Grade Team Leader, and also supports Special Education with Tutoring. Mrs. Andujar also volunteers with the Fitchburg H.S. Marching Band in the fall. She and her husband enjoy being parents and experiencing all of the new things that their daughter does. She also enjoys reading, watching movies, outdoor activities, hanging out with their dog Shiva and watching Football.
James “Jamie” Aubuchon joined Sizer in 2013 as a New Teacher Collaborative member teaching High School Prep Math and 8th grade math and is now the Digital Art and Technology Teacher as well as the Sizer Yearbook Advisor. He is a graduate of UMass Dartmouth where he earned a BFA in Illustration. Prior to teaching, Jamie worked in corporate design and communications for over 20 years. Outside of teaching, Jamie coaches women’s Cross Country and Track & Field at Fitchburg State University.
Robert “Rob” Belliveau, originally from Fitchburg, attended North Middlesex Regional High School and earned his degree in History with a minor in Geography from Ohio State University. Prior to joining Sizer School in 2008 he taught 6th Grade Social Studies at Academy Middle School and served as a paraprofessional in the Fitchburg school system. Mr. Belliveau and his wife and son live happily in Leominster. His interests include the American Civil War and sports, particularly tennis, baseball, basketball, football, singing, the 1980s and golf. Mr. Belliveau teaches 7th Grade Social Studies.
Linda Belmonte grew up in Worcester and earned her BS degree in Electrical Engineering at WPI. After working for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, she returned to New England to teach math and promote the STEM fields. She has 20+ years teaching in middle and high schools, including being involved with the opening of two new high schools in New Hampshire. During that time she earned her Master’s degree in Teaching with Technology and moved into a leadership role. Returning to her Massachusetts roots, she is excited to be joining the Sizer team in 2017 as Instructional Leader for Math, Science and Technology where she hopes to connect the classroom with the real world of problem solving. She also enjoys every moment she can with her grandchildren, sharing her love of puzzles, gardening, baking, and crafts.
Katrina Brown joined Sizer in 2018 as the 9th Grade Learning Specialist. Born in Fitchburg, she loves it’s rich history and used to lead educational tours and programs for the Fitchburg Historical Society (2013-15). She was then a substitute teacher at Sizer in 2015 and is very excited to return! After receiving her B.S. in Communications Media from FSU, she worked at the Lowell Community Charter in student support for three years. Ms. Brown loves nature and animals. She enjoys cooking, music, dancing, comic books and going to the movies – especially comedies!
Claribel Cabral joined Sizer in 2018 as a High School Spanish Teacher and Translator. Born in the Dominican Republic, she has lived in the United States for over thirty years and has taught all levels of Spanish for more than 20 of those years. Ms. Cabral graduated from Springfield College with a B.S. in Human Services and received her Masters in Spanish Language Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, crafts, music and gardening.
Ann Calcaterra joined Sizer in 2008 as Librarian, and is a 10th Grade Advisor. She graduated from Fitchburg State University with a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. The parent of two Sizer/NCCES alumnae, she serves as staff liaison to the Sizer School PTSO and is a past member of the Sizer Board of Trustees. She and her family love to spend time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and she and her daughter Antonia are now working on their “4,000 footers” list, to try and climb the 48 recognized 4,000’ high mountains in New Hampshire.
Bill Clabaugh joined Sizer in the spring of 2016 as the Facilities Director. Originally from Thurmont MD, he attended Berea College in KY where he met his future wife Jane. Living in North Ashburnham for the past 26 years, they are the proud parents of twins, Sam and Esther. Bill first worked as a Carpenter for 20 years and came to Sizer with 18 year experience as a Facilities Director. Ask him sometime about his first job building interstate bridges. His interests are in sustainable approaches to just about anything. He helped develop the Wind Turbine project at the Narragansett Regional School and recently finished work on a Wood Chip Boiler Project. Bill can't wait for warmer weather so he can ride his motorcycle to school.
Kate Clark enjoys spending time with her daughter, hanging out with close friends and a good TV series. She has worked all over Worcester County! But for some reason she keeps coming back to the charter school world. She loves working in places where change can happen quickly and where everyone can be focused on what's best for students. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Becker College and received her Masters in Special Education from Fitchburg State University. Ms. Clark joined Sizer in 2016 as Director of Specialized Services.
Jill Connell joined Sizer in 2017 as the Director of Development and Communications. She is excited about raising support for the school’s ongoing initiatives and special programs. Originally from Maryland, Mrs. Connell earned her B.F.A. in Photography from Parsons School of Design and her Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University. She has worked previously for the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Camp Starfish and The Theater Offensive and is driven by a passion for engaging, innovative and fearless youth-serving programs. Married with one son, Mrs. Connell lives in Fitchburg and enjoys spending time at Lake Winnipesaukee, riding roller coasters and watching every Marvel movie ever made.
Cassandra Cook graduated summa cum laude from Fitchburg State University with her double degree in Education and English Literature. She has been a part of the Sizer School since 2014, and absolutely loves being a part of the 10th grade team as the English Teacher. Ms. Cook is happiest teaching, watching Netflix, and spending time with her family. She is so excited to finally achieve her lifelong dream of being a classroom teacher!
Alyson Cordio joined the Sizer Community in 2012 as a Performing Arts Teacher and Advisor. This year Mrs. Cordio is an 11th grade advisor as well as a Performing Arts Teacher for grades 7-12. Mrs. Cordio received her double Bachelor's Degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in Music Education. Her primary instrument is piano as well as voice. She also played flute for many years and percussion with the UMASS Marching Band. Mrs. Cordio is married with two sons who keep her very busy!
Kathleen Craigen joined us in 2016 as the Recruitment and Communication Coordinator where she also coordinates after school programming and oversees the Student Ambassadors. Ms. Craigen received her B.A. in Human Services from Fitchburg State University in 2015. She has worked previously for Community Resources for Justice (adults with intellectual disabilities), MWCC Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement, AmeriCorps, and Upward Bound at Fitchburg State University. Ms. Craigen currently works as a waitress, nanny, and 1:1 aid for individuals with autism in addition to her job at Sizer. She enjoys spending time with her family, dog, and cat and loves to be outdoors.
Lyndsie Currallo, a Fitchburg native, joined Sizer in 2008 and has worn many hats in the school; currently the School Counselor for grades new 9th graders, all 10, 11, & 12 and District Homeless Liaison. In addition, Ms. Currallo is the faculty advisor for the Sizer ski & snowboarding club. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Commonwealth College Honors Program at the Univ. of MA at Amherst and has studied abroad in Milan, Italy. She earned her Master of Science in School Counseling at Fitchburg State Univ. in 2011. Ms. Currallo enjoys snowboarding and climbing mountains, spending time with her husband, their son, Parker, and their dog, Summit. She loves photography, traveling, dogs, and music.
Noah Dawson joined Sizer School in 2015 as our Drama Director. In 2016, he also became a Paraprofessional and a 10th Grade Advisor, and aside from one quick stint in the 9th Grade, has been one ever since. He has a BS in Communications Media, accompanied by a concentration in Theater from Fitchburg State University. Prior to Sizer, Mr. Dawson worked in professional theater, including a tour all over New England, running his own company, and teaching drama in other schools/programs around the area. He enjoys eating a lot, watching TV for long periods of time, and laughing nonstop.
Elizabet Domnitser joined Sizer in 2018 as the 8th Grade Learning Specialist and advisor. She graduated from FSU with her BS in English Secondary Education and M.Ed in Moderate Disabilities 5-12. Prior to joining Sizer she worked as a graduate assistant for the licensure office at FSU, a long-term substitute science teacher at Longsjo Middle School, and a paraprofessional for the Pathways summer program through Fitchburg Public Schools. Outside of school she loves traveling to new places, staying active outdoors or at the gym, or relaxing at home with a book, Netflix, or mobile games.
Elizabeth “Liz” Ebbrecht joined Sizer in 2018 as the 9th Grade U.S. History Teacher and Advisor. She graduated from Susquehanna University in 2012 with her degree in History and a certification in Secondary Education. After graduation, she worked as a substitute teacher and special education paraprofessional in Douglas Public Schools and Wachusett Regional School District. Liz enjoys coaching swim team at the Greendale YMCA during the school year and the Holden Pool is the summer. In her spare time, she loves to read, watch the Patriots, and spend time with family and friends.
Katie Flinkstrom joined Sizer in 2015 as the 10th grade Modern Revolution History Teacher and a 10th Grade Advisor. She graduated of U-Mass Amherst with a degree in History. She then went to Fitchburg Stat Univ. to pursue her teaching license and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Education. Mrs. Flinkstrom completed her student teaching at Groton-Dunstable and then worked as a long term History Sub at North Middlesex H. S. teaching World History, as well as US History 1 & 2. She loves to travel and also enjoys photography, Anime, and learning languages (Spanish & Japanese).
James “Jamie” Fortier joined Sizer in 2015 as a paraprofessional and was promoted to the Assistant Dean in 2017. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMass Lowell with a B.A. in Music Business. Outside of Sizer, James is the Membership Coordinator for the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps from Nashua, NH along with being an instructor with the North Andover Scarlet Knight Marching Band and Oakmont Regional High School. Prior to joining Sizer, he worked with an instrument manufacturing company where he built professional grade brass instruments by hand. In his spare time, James loves exercising, writing music and spending time with friends.
Cheryl Gilmartin joined the Sizer Community in 2015 as the Student Services Team Administrative Assistant. This is the very first time working in a school, but has over 20 years experience as an Administrative Assistant. She graduated from Monty Tech from Plumbing, has a love for animals, the outdoors, gardening, kayaking, and loves to play softball.
Mauro Gimenez returned to Sizer in 2018 in a very different way. After graduating from Sizer (NCCES) School in 2012, he began working at the Deven’s Grill a cook while attending college. He then received his BS in Exercise and Sports Science from Fitchburg State Univ. and worked as an in-house tutor at Leominster High School where he decided to pursue teaching. Mr. Gimenez teaches 9th Grade Math and Advisory. He enjoys cooking, family, soccer, Uruguay and spending time with his high-school sweetheart, now wife, Katrina.
Xixto Giron joined Sizer in 2018 as a staff Custodian. In addition to working at Sizer, he owns his own custodial company and has supported local businesses across the region for over ten years with his wife at his side. Mr. Giron enjoys camping, music, dancing and being outdoors.
Corinne Hartenstein joined the Sizer School in 2018. She serves as the 7th and 8th grade Paraprofessional . She graduated from Fitchburg State summa cum laude with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, focused on special education, music and human services. She has begun course work for a Masters Degree in Special Education with concentrations in functional communication and Applied Behavior Analysis, also at FSU. Prior to joining Sizer, Mrs. Hartenstein worked as a teacher’s aide at the Durham Center for Education, a school for students on the Autism Spectrum. In her free time, she enjoys cross stitching and making music—singing soprano in a local chorale, as well as playing folk guitar and classical piano.
Courtney Harter joined Sizer in August of 2015 as the Executive Director. With a long history of education, from teacher, to headmaster, to school transformation and leadership coach, to charter school developer, she has a deep love of Coalition of Essential Schools and believes in the power of the ten common principles. Her favorite is: less is more, depth over breadth, followed closely by democracy and equity. Mrs. Harter is driven by a desire to increase access to quality, engaging, progressive education for diverse students. She has earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College, her Masters from Tufts Univ. and her CAGS from Northeastern Univ. Married, with two daughters, she and her family live in Harvard where she enjoys rearranging furniture, laughing to make herself stop being so serious and reading.
Carol Hatch, teacher by profession, has been our School Cook since 2015. A Sizer Community member since 2007, both of her children, Scott and Remy Higgins, are NCCES/Sizer Alumni. While her children were in attendance Ms. Hatch served in a variety of volunteer capacities, including as parent representative of the Board of Trustees. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst and holds a Masters Degree in Teaching from Simmons College. Ms. Hatch continues to teach in the capacity of substitute teacher and tutor. As well, she serves her beloved Hickory Hills Lake Association as Vice President of the Board of Directors and enjoys many outdoor activities with her husband, Bill, at their lakeside home.
Aram Hollman joined Sizer in 2018 as the 10th grade Geometry teacher. He received his B.A. in Economics from Oberlin College and had a first career as a computer programmer. He then went back to school, received his M.Ed. from UMass Boston and started a second career as a high school math teacher in 2005. Most recently, he taught in Lawrence and in Springfield. He recently attended PROMYS, for Teachers, a summer graduate math program at Boston University. Mr. Hollman plays fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, sings bass, and has composed numerous songs and fiddle tunes. He currently plays with two bands, Roaring Jelly and The Klezniks, regularly competes in local fiddle contests, and sometimes wins!
Chris Jeffcoat joined Sizer in 2012. He teaches 9th grade Biology and serves as Chair of the Science Department. He earned a Bachelors Degree from UMass Amherst in Natural Resources Sciences and Legal Studies. Through his career, has taught a variety of classes including Chemistry, Physics, Robotics, Hydrology, Environmental Science, and Engineering. Mr. Jeffcoat enjoys family time, any outdoor activity, playing with any technology, and reading
Cassandra Johnson graduated magna cum laude from FSU in 2015 with a degree in English and a concentration in Secondary Education. Joining Sizer in 2018, she will be teaching 9th grade English. Having worked as a substitute, long-term substitute and paraprofessional at North Middlesex Regional High School for three years, Ms. Johnson is ecstatic to become a part of the Sizer community. Other than teaching, her passion lies in writing/playing and listening to music, camping, making art, and cooking healthy veggie meals for her wonderful friends!
Tom Johnson joined the Sizer in October 2012 as the Facilities Day Porter. He is a graduate of Wachusett Regional and lives in Rutland, MA. When Mr. Johnson isn't working he enjoys reading old books, watching old movies, and gardening. When he has time he volunteers at the main UMass University campus hospital, and has been doing so the past several years.
Kelsey Johnston joined Sizer School in 2014 as a 9th grade paraprofessional and is now our Bridge Program Learning Specialist. In addition, she is the 9th grade team leader and Special Education subject area team leader, not to mention the Boy’s Varsity Basketball Coach. Attending Fitchburg Schools, she was a three-sport athlete in high school, continuing on to Clark University where she played basketball. She eventually transferred to Fitchburg State University where she finished her basketball career and majored in Human Services. Currently, she is finishing her Masters program in Special Education, as well as a CAGs as a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. She enjoys fishing everything about fall, and spending time with her family; Sam and their puppies Lexy and Tito!
Brenda Jones started as the Director for Finance & Business Services at Sizer in 2007. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration from Worcester State College and earned an Associates Degree in Accounting (Cum Laude) from the Univ. of Anchorage. In her spare time, Mrs. Jones enjoys spending time with her 3 grandchildren, playing computer puzzle games, reading mystery thrillers, camping, and traveling to warm Caribbean Islands.
Catherine “Cat” Judge join Sizer in 2016 and is passionate about making art and sharing creative process with her students. As Sizer’s Visual Arts Teacher, she helps teenagers understand themselves as makers and artists capable of creating meaningful works of art. Ms. Judge’s artwork has been exhibited widely here in the US and abroad. Her favorite exhibitions were in Japan, Korea, Holland and Mexico. During high school, Ms. Judge was fortunate to take art lessons from renowned painter, Wallace Rugg, whom she credits with giving her a strong foundational understanding of visual experience and modeling the true spirit of a generous mentor. Ms. Judge holds a M.S. in Advanced Visual Studies from MIT.
Katherine “Kate” Keller graduated from Earlham College with a degree in Sociology & Anthropology. She then earned her Elementary Education Master’s Degree from Lesley Univ. After teaching for years in Philadelphia, she moved to Northborough, MA to begin a haying operation with her husband and to find a teaching position she could fully commit to. The haying operation gave way to raising two children, and teaching (at Touchstone Community School) lasted for twenty plus years. Feeling restless, she then joined Sizer in 2012. In 2013 she started a new position as Math Specialist for grades 7 and 8. Mrs. Keller views the teaching of math as a window into how students understand and interpret the world they live in. Deepening math literacy means strengthening powers of reasoning and opening new possibilities. She enjoys gardening, taking daily walks with her enthusiastic dog, and discussing math ideas.
Laurel Kelly joined Sizer in 2018 as a long-term substitute teacher for Health Education. She currently teaches 7th and 8th grade Health classes, and is an 8th grade advisor. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in English, and a minor in History. Ms. Kelly has been teaching 7th through 12th grades since she started working with marching bands in 2005, while still in college. Outside of Sizer, she loves spending time with her husband and two children, as well as her dog, Bailey. They love to go hiking as a family and spend time outside whenever possible.
Maggie Kerr received her undergraduate degree in Moderate Disabilities Pre-K-8 from Westfield State University. Following graduation in 2015, she began work at the New England Center for Children (NECC) in their residential program for two years, while also enrolling herself in the Simmons Masters program for Severe Disabilities. In 2017, Maggie transferred to NECC's sister school in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for a year. Upon earning her degree and returning to the US, Maggie began at Sizer School in 2018 as a 10th grade Learning Specialist. In her spare time, she enjoys watching the Patriots, playing soccer, and traveling.
Jenna Lavery Quigley joined Sizer in 2014. As the school's Adjustment Counselor her unique background promotes mental health in schools, helps students be their best selves, and supports adults in understanding the adolescent mind. Ms. Lavery has her BS from Northeastern Univ. and a MA from, Boston College. Although Ms. Lavery is a licensed counselor and special educator, her career began as a Whalom Park games attendant. She spent time as a child and family therapist and was a founding faculty member of Fitchburg Arts Academy. Ms. Lavery loves the unique opportunities the Sizer community provides. She is passionate about food equity and coordinates the Sizer Food Pantry. Ms. L also loves family, travel, chickens, music, and time with friends.
Kimberly Leonido joined Sizer in 2018 as the 8th Grade Math Teacher and Advisor. A graduate of Montserrat College of Art with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Art Education; she went on to complete her Masters in Middle School Mathematics Education from Lesley University. Prior to joining Sizer School, Mrs. Leonido taught at Abby Kelley Foster Charter School first in Art for 7 years and then the last five years in 6th Grade Math. She enjoys growing her own food, art, reading and spending time with her family.
Maryann Macri worked as a computer programmer before joining Sizer in 2008 to coordinate the lunch program. Wanting to do more, she was promoted to Assistant to the Principal and is Manager of School Operations. Ms. Macri grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University. She is the mother of three children, two of whom are Sizer alumna, enjoys sewing, cross-stitching, family time and especially time on the Maryland shore with her husband.
Joy Manning joined the Sizer community in 2018 as the ACT and Environmental Science teacher. Prior to joining Sizer she has worked at a variety of educational institutions in both Massachusetts and Missouri. The subjects she has taught most often are math and science. Joy earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Missouri State University. She has also completed all coursework for her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University. Joy is a huge sports fan who spends her free time writing a blog about Boston sports. She is also a member of the Tyngsboro High School Athletic Hall of Fame for her accomplishments in field hockey, basketball, and track.
Elba L. Martinez-Perez attended Commercial Institute of Technology of Puerto Rico (also know ICPR Junior College) and obtained an Associates Degree as a Bilingual Secretary. She has over 18 years experience as an Administrative Assistant and is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Elouafa joined Sizer in 2017 as the Front Office Administrative Assistant. She enjoys reading, hiking, camping, traveling, listening to music and spending time with her two children.
Tricia May was the founding Special Education Director and School Counselor at Sizer School (2002) and is also the parent of a founding alumna (Class of 2006). Her youngest child is a member of Sizer’s class of 2017. Ms. May served as the Principal at Sizer School from 2006-2014. In January, 2014, she happily returned to her School Counselor position for 7th, 8th and 9th Grade. She graduated Cum Laude from Fitchburg State University with a B.S. in Human Services and an M.S. in Counseling; she is also a graduate of the National Institute for School Leadership. She is a licensed Special Educator, School Social Worker, Guidance Counselor, and School Principal. She has earned recognition for excellence in teaching, leadership in education & social justice, and service to youth. She has been a Special Education Teacher, School Guidance Counselor, School Adjustment Counselor, Special Education Director, Peer Mediation Coordinator, and Student Services Director. With the hopes, dreams and interests of young people in mind, Ms. May is dedicated to making real a North Central MA literacy zone.
Lorelei McClure, Specialized Instruction Administrative Assistant, joined Sizer in 2015. Prior, Mrs. McClure was a long time Office Manager for a local attorney specializing in elder law; then becoming an Information Coordinator at Saba Univ. School of Medicine. With a love for learning, Mrs. McClure received her Bachelor’s from Fitchburg State Univ., an Associate’s from Plymouth State, her Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Fisher College, a Certificate in Medical Office from MWCC, and a few additional certificates as well! She lives in Fitchburg with her husband. Together they have three children and four grandchildren, as well as having fostered many children over the years. To relax, she enjoys reading, sewing, puzzles, motorcycle riding, and serving the Haitian people, traveling to Haiti four times.
Coleman McDonagh started his career in Boston as a systems analyst working with transportation engineers. He then moved to a state position in a similar, but more senior role; and then went to the Massachusetts Medical Society as a Database Administrator. After 5 years, he moved to China and worked as the IT Manager for an International school. He returned to MA after 12 years, joining Sizer in 2018 as the Director of Technology. Mr. McDonagh loves to travel, be outdoors, work on house projects and spend time with his family.
Patrick Miele joined Sizer in 2017 as the After School Sports Coordinator and in 2018 became the Grades 9-12 Physical Education Teacher. He earned his B.A. from Worcester State College in English, with a minor in Physical & Secondary Education. Mr. Mieli comes to us from Nashoba Valley Tech. H.S. where he was a Phys. Ed. & English Teacher, Community Ed. Director, and coached wrestling, baseball, volleyball and golf. He spends his summers working in the clubhouse at Oak Hill Country Club, enjoys golfing, plays baseball in the legends leagues, continues to coach baseball, plays the guitar and enjoys time with his daughter.
Anthony Montesion serves as Sizer's Dean of School Culture. In this role he leads Sizer's Student Services Team and is also the leader of the Crisis Response Team. He is a graduate of Fitchburg High School, a graduate of Fitchburg State University, and previously worked at the Memorial Middle School in Fitchburg. In his spare time, he teaches the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps out of Nashua, NH and coaches’ high school marching bands. He enjoys history, music, and working with students to problem solve.
Amanda Mrakovich graduated from Westfield State in 2010 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She worked as a substitute teacher at Ayer-Shirley Regional High School before being hired full time as a paraprofessional. In 2015 she was assigned to work as the Biology paraprofessional and fell in love with the subject, deciding to attain her teaching license in Biology. Mrs. Mrakovich is very happy to join the Sizer team in 2018 and looks forward to learning and growing as a part the community teaching Biology 2, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Forensics, as well as being an 11th grade Advisor. In her off time she loves hanging out with her husband Sam, their dog Ace, going for walks, reading, & playing video games.
Jenny Murphy comes to us with a BS in Animal Science from UNH and a Masters in Education from UMass Lowell. She began her career as a Biochemist for the National Marine Fisheries Service and then became a Seventh Grade Life Science Teacher. She joined Sizer in 2018 as a Paraprofessional. Ms. Murphy loves going on educational adventures where she assists scientists with their research, including: helping photograph organisms in the canopy of the Amazon Rainforest, collecting caterpillars in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona, and analyzing water samples on a research vessel 200 miles off the coast of Maine. She also enjoys gardening and gatherings with friends and family.
Margie Nelson and her husband move to Massachusetts from Texas, to be closer to their five grandchildren in 2014. The mother of four, she joins Sizer School as the Food Service Coordinator with several years of Food Service experience in Texas schools. She has been very clear that she loves children and has spent her life ensuring that they are well fed.
Peter “Pete” Nelson had taught 14 yrs when he joined Sizer in 2005. He earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Russia at Seattle Pacific Univ., a Masters in Business for Economic Educators at the Univ. of Delaware and a Masters in Teaching at Seattle Univ. Mr. Nelson earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Reading at MGH Institute of Health Professionals and is a licensed Reading Specialist. He taught middle school humanities in Washington and Illinois and was a literacy specialist in Washington. He also worked six summers as a tour guide in Alaska. He enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, soccer, writing, reading and camping. At Sizer Mr. Nelson has served as director of curriculum& instruction, literacy coach, Gr. 8 English teacher, English team leader and Title I coordinator. Mr. Nelson, as Literacy Specialist, teaches Junior Ex, English, reading, writing & critical thinking.
Lyn Niemi is a founding faculty member at Sizer. She did her undergraduate work at the University of New England where she earned a BA in Liberal Studies, Cum Laude. In 2001, she earned her MAT in Teaching English from Fitchburg State University. Before coming to Sizer in 2002, Ms. Niemi taught English in Amherst, NH at Souhegan High School, a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools. Ms. Niemi currently teaches 11th and 12th grade English (World Literature I and World Literature II, respectively). She is also a 12th Grade Advisor and in Oct. 2017 was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Sizer Board of Trustees. When she is not teaching (or thinking about teaching!), Ms. Niemi enjoys spending time with her family, reading, practicing yoga, hiking, and running.
Janet O’Hara started her career as a licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Agent in NH & MA. She played a key role in the development of the Physicians Insurance Agency of MA (PIAM), eventually transitioning to the parent company, The Massachusetts Medical Society. There she served as the Information Manager in their membership division and earn her Certificate in Leadership from Boston University, CEC. Advancing her career, she became an Operations Manager at ProActive Solutions, an international software consulting company. As a very active volunteer and supporter of the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School from which her sons graduated, she followed her desire to be a stronger part of the Essential School family. In 2011, she joined Sizer School as the Manager of Executive Operations and Staff Liaison to the Board of Trustees. With a passion for things “organized”, her work has fast become as fun as her hobbies. Mrs. O’Hara loves her family time, decorating, scrapbooking, gardening, travel and a really good book.
John Olivieri received his BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science, his MA in Teaching from Tufts University and his Juris Doctorate from the American University. After spending twelve years in law and politics, in 2018 he joins Sizer as the 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher and Advisor. Mr. Olivieri enjoys the Celtics and Patriots, debating politics and current/global events and spending time with his wife and son.
Julie Pappas joined Sizer in 2017 as the School Psychologist. She holds a Master's of Education and an Advanced Graduate Degree in School Psychology from UMass Boston. Mrs. Pappas comes with over ten years of professional experience serving students of all ages in public, private, and charter school settings. The part of her work she enjoys the most is problem-solving around the needs of children with diverse learning profiles and finding strategies that improve student functioning and learning outcomes. Have a question about how the brain works? Come and chat with Mrs. Pappas! In her spare time, she loves to read, be outdoors, and spend time with her family.
Meridith Pavlosky joined Sizer in 2013 to teach 8th Grade English Language Arts. Mrs. Pav graduated summa cum laude from Clark University with a BS in Communications and English and is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society. Before becoming a teacher, she had a successful sales career. She is the mom of three great kids and enjoys spending time with her family. Mrs. Pav loves books - in fact her favorite hobbies are reading and writing. If you can't find her at school or with her kids, she's probably at the library.
Stephanie Powers became the 7th grade Learning Specialist in 2017. She is excited to have taken on this challenge, having taught as the Div. 3 Learning Specialist since her start at Sizer in 2011. Before joining Sizer, Mrs. Powers worked in district schools in Massachusetts &New Hampshire as well as in supplemental educational services. She earned her B.A. in Human Development and Education from Rivier College and earned her M.S. in Counseling from Fitchburg State College. Mrs. Powers has a background in teaching literacy skills and loves to read in her free time. She also loves singing, the ocean, fitness classes, and dinner parties. This summer, she and her family started hosting weekly pizza parties.
Ryan Prescott joined Sizer in 2014 as Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director. He comes to us from St. Mary’s School of Worcester where he was the Athletic Director, teacher of several subjects, as well as coach for Basketball, Track & Field and Soccer. Mr. Prescott earned his B.S. from St. Joseph’s College in Physical Education with a minor in Education/Biology. He earned his Masters from Providence College in Special Education. Mr. Prescott enjoys anything sports, games and clubs. He has been named Coach of the Year, WCAC-2013; Sportsmanship League Award for four years, WCAC-2010 through 2013; and Male Student Athlete of the Year Award in College, 2008 and 2009. Coming from Canada, French is his first language and he married his best friend.
Frederick Randall joined Sizer as the Principal in 2018 and is very happy to work in an Essential School. He has received his BS from Allegheny College in PA with a major in Political Science. He later received his Masters in Education from Lesley College, and has continued to be a learner taking doctoral coursework at Johns Hopkins Univ. and the Univ. of New England. Mr. Randall has worked in education for over 25 years holding several positions including: coach, teacher, coordinator, special education teaching asst., history & English teacher, assistant principal, principal, central office director and school director. Coming from Collegiate Charter School of Lowell, he is very excited to be a school principal again! In his “spare time”, Mr. Randall loves spending time with his wife, daughters, black lab and extended family. He enjoys reading, exercise, and sports, which have been more than a hobby as he once played Semi-Pro Football.
Ann Rantakyto joined Sizer School in 2013 as a Food Service Associate after retiring from the Fitchburg Public School Food Service Program as a cook for 16 years. She has 9 grandchildren, and keeps very busy with them in her spare time.
Tracy Richard joined Sizer School in 2015. She is the 11th Grade Learning Specialist & Advisor. Licensed in special education since 2003, she previously taught at Ayer High School and Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District. She earned a BS in criminal justice/psychology from the Univ. of Massachusetts- Lowell and a M.Ed. in Special Education from Fitchburg State Univ. With a passion for learning she is always reading something. Married and the mother of two boys that play hockey, she enjoys reading, going to concerts, anything Disney & volunteering at the animal rescues. She has three dogs, two of whom are rescues that she enjoys spending time with.
Seth Robertson first joined Sizer as a day-to-day substitute teacher in March of 2017 and became a long term substitute in September 2017. He has since obtained his bachelor’s degree in History and is licensed to teach Social Studies for grade 5-12. Currently going for his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Design, Mr. Robertson will work with our Special Education Team as a Paraprofessional. Outside of school he enjoys reading, Netflix binging and playing video games.
Deb Roy joined Sizer School in 2012 as a part-time Division 2 Math teacher. She holds a BS in Education in Secondary Education and a MS in Educational Leadership and Management from Fitchburg State University. Deb grew up in Fitchburg and taught in the Marlborough Public Schools system from 1979-2012. She was a mathematics teacher and department head for 25 years at Marlborough High School. Her last eight years she was an assistant principal and principal at Marlborough High School. After retiring in July of 2012, she returned to teaching in January 2013. She loves teaching mathematics and enjoys working with high school students. She enjoys traveling and outdoor activities, especially hiking.
Sheryl Schiavo earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Lowell, a Masters in Engineering from Northeastern University. She has initial licenses to teach Mathematics and Chemistry in Massachusetts in grades 5 to 12. As a materials engineer, Ms. Schiavo worked on several major projects and was awarded two patents for her work. She also worked as a supervisor in a Quality Control Laboratory for many years, before making the switch to a new career in education. Joining Sizer in 2004, Ms. Schiavo teaches Division 3 Math: Algebra II and Pre-Calculus. The mother of two children, her family enjoys mountain biking together. She has enjoyed sewing clothing, quilts and assorted crafts since she was a child.
Evelyn Sliousarenko joined Sizer School in 2008 as the Business Assistant and supports the Finance Committee as Clerk. She has her certification as a Massachusetts Public Purchasing Official for Supplies and Services and earned an Associates Degree (Cum Laude) from Northern Essex Community College. Mrs. Sliousarenko and her husband are competitive go-kart racers who also enjoy camping, hiking, biking and kayaking.
Jennifer Spingla earned a B.S. in Horticulture from the Univ. of Maine at Orono and a Masters degree in Middle School Education from Fitchburg State Univ. She is an avid outdoors person who spent a decade working as a youth expedition leader & experiential educator. Ms. Spingla earned her certification in General Science and Middle School Math as a participant in the New Teachers Collaborative where she taught at F.W.Parker Charter Essential School. Ms. Spingla, a Leominster native and graduate of St. Bernard's High School, enjoys playing guitar, running in the woods with her dog & traveling to mountains around the world to hike and backpack. Joining Sizer in 2004, Ms. Spingla teaches 7th Grade Science.
Joe Stansky grew up in Worcester, MA and eventually found his way to San Diego California where he worked in corporate inventory. Returning to Massachusetts, he joined Sizer School in April 2015 as the Lead Custodian. Mr. Stansky loves to clean and keep things organized and is very happy to help whenever he can.
Stephen Strange joined Sizer in 2018 as a Paraprofessional. He has many years experience as a special education paraprofessional and substitute teacher. In fact, he served as Sizer’s varsity head coach for field hockey in 2014 and 2015. In his “free time”, Mr. Strange is a DJ, high school baskets, lacrosse and field hockey referee and also is in his 5th year as girl’s basketball head coach at Monty Tech High School in Fitchburg.
Pamela Sweeney earned her B. A. in Religion and Philosophy from Hood College and her M.A.T. in History from Fitchburg State Univ. Her love for working with children and young adults has led her from social work to foster care, and finally here to teach at Sizer in 2006 as a Div. 3 Humanities Teacher, Senior Advisor and Team Leader of the Social Studies Dept. “Author John Green says that the opportunity to study history is the opportunity to practice empathy. She firmly believes that exposing students to the Humanities will not only broaden the scope of their understanding, but also help foster the empathy necessary to work together with others. They can grow in their ability to open themselves up to differing points of view, and develop the skills they need to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems.” Mrs. Sweeney and her husband are a founding family here at our school, and the parents of five Sizer/NCCES alumnae; they believe wholeheartedly in the work of the Coalition of Essential Schools.
Linda Tarantino has a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. from the Univ. of Massachusetts at Lowell in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Engineering Sciences. Prior to joining Sizer in 2002 as a founding member, she taught Math & Chemistry under the International Baccalaureate Program. Ms. Tarantino loves exploring new places, especially by bicycle, and has lived and worked in France and England. While in England she became a certified bicycle safety instructor for the Oxfordshire Education Authority. The parent of two Sizer alumni, Ms. Tarantino has held many roles here as a teacher, department leader & instructional coach. This year she will be teaching Physics, leading the math team and serving as a Math, Science & Technology Instructional Leader.
Meghan (Nichols) Taylor joined the Sizer School in 2015 as the 8th Grade Science Teacher. Before teaching, she spent two years in a research lab working with fish native to the Connecticut River. She also held an internship in Wells, ME, where she conducted various field work in salt marshes and lived less than a mile from the beach! Mrs. Taylor graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.S. in Biology, returning to earn a Master’s in Education with the Bridges to the Future Program. In her free time she and her husband enjoy their dog and cat, gardening, trying new foods, and playing with their little boy Luke who loves to be outside and learn new things
Julie (Tobin) Tuttle graduated from Framingham State College in 2003 with a degree in Elementary Education and a co-ordinate major in English. Julie began her career in Ayer as a fifth grade teacher and spent eight years teaching English, Science, and Social Studies at Page Hilltop School. Mrs. Tuttle has enjoyed her time at Sizer School since 2011 as a 7th grade English teacher and advisor, and looks forward to many more years of Thinking, Caring, and Acting!
Libny Vargas-Miller graduated 35th out of a class of 2500 students at Dewitt Clinton High School in Bronx, NY. She went on to earn a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Spanish and Education, along with her Master of Science in Guidance Counseling, from Fitchburg State Univ. Ms. Vargas has worked at Fitchburg State as a teaching assistant and as an assistant to the Literacy Coordinator. A nationally certified tutor, she has tutored college students, young adults and working professionals. Having been born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Vargas enjoys writing, singing, cooking, baseball, and spending time with her college sweetheart and husband, their two daughters. A founding faculty member (2002), Ms. Vargas teaches Spanish 1- 4, e-monitors the online courses Sizer offers, and is a CFG Coach.
Sneha Verelst, originally from England, moved to New Hampshire with her family when she was 14 years old. She attended Nashua High School and earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Master of Science in Health Education from Springfield College, Springfield, MA. Prior to joining Sizer in 2014, she taught Health and Physical Education at McKay Arts Academy for five years. Mrs. Verelst is happily married to her husband, Sebastian, and they have a little girl, Zara. Her interests include spending time with her family (especially Zara), watching soccer, being outside, traveling, and making art. Mrs. Verelst teaches Health Education and is an 8th grade Advisor and was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Board of Trustees in 2018.
Karen Zimmerman joined Sizer in 2018 as a Paraprofessional. Originally from Shirley, she moved to Washington State to be part of AmeriCorps where she ran a teen center. While there she also received her BA in Liberal Arts from Evergreen State College staying in WA for another ten years. Returning to the area, she is working to complete her MA in Counseling at FSU, doing her internship at the Leominster public schools and LUK. Ms. Zimmerman enjoys hiking, mentoring teens, drumming and foraging wild foods.
E. Myriah Zwicker joined Sizer in 2013 as the School Nurse. Caring for people in health care settings since she was 15, she earned her B.S.N. as a Registered Nurse in 2003 from Hartwick College, and passed her National Certification of School Nurses board in the spring of 2017. Before joining Sizer's Community, she worked in hospitals on Labor & Delivery and Medical-Surgical floors. She continues to share her passion of nursing as a clinical instructor with nursing students from FSU and MCPHSU. Because "Healthy Children Learn Better," Nurse Zwicker is devoted to educating students about their bodies and minds, and works hard to promote healthy living for all within the Sizer Community. She enjoys being outdoors, especially near water, and spending time with her family & friends. As the mother of three, she appreciates that it takes a village to raise a family and is inspired by the work at Sizer.