2019-20 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, Tutor and Academic Coaching & Tutoring Specialist. In 2018 she began 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.
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.
Magela Avila joins Sizer in 2019 as a Paraprofessional. Originally from Uruguay, she is a graduate of Leominster High School. Ms. Avila comes to Sizer from the Lunenburg school district where she was a substitute teacher and a paraprofessional with a broad array of skill with students with challenges. She really enjoys working with students and making a difference in their lives, as she finds it very rewarding to watch and monitor their growth over the school year. Ms. Avila stays very busy as the mother of two boys and a boxer dog. She enjoys reading thrillers and watching horror movies!!
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 sons 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.
Kathryn “Kate” Bennitt joined the Sizer community in 2019 as a Chemistry teacher and an 11th grade Advisor. After graduating from Providence College with a B.S in Biology and a minor in Writing, she went on to work at an environmental services firm, a biochemistry lab, and a chemical synthesis company before committing to teaching. If not at school, then you can find her reading, boxing, or spending time with her husband, two daughters, three cats, and future dog.
Jodi Boucher joined Sizer in 2019 as a Paraprofessional. Mrs. Boucher has a focus on mindfulness and meditation and finds the students she works with can also benefit from these practices to help them overcome many challenges they may experience. Mrs. Boucher previously worked for a local Day Habilitation for Adults with varying developmental and physical disabilities for 12 years. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, and exploring her creative side.
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 12th 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 owns a vintage/antique 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.
Miles "Mr. Chip" Ciprianojoined Sizer in the fall of 2019 as a long term substitute for 10th grade history. In November that year he took the position of Student Services Paraprofessional. Prior to his arrival at Sizer, he worked in both Springfield and Holyoke as a history teacher in two different high schools. He moved back to eastern MA following his graduation from Westfield State University with a B.A in History. He maintains a close relationship with Westfield where he is currently the Head Coach of Men's and Women's Rugby Clubs. In his free time he enjoys playing and teaching rugby, skiing, reading, watching history, supporting all of the Boston sports teams, and spending time with friends and family.
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 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.
Jill Connell joined Sizer in 2017 as the Director of Development and Communication. 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.
Alyson Cordio joined the Sizer Community in 2012 as a Performing Arts Teacher, Advisor, Specials & Grade 11 Team Lead. 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. When not working hard with our Sizer Scholars and Performers, you will find Mrs. Cordio with her husband, two sons, and two fur babies.
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, District Homeless Liaison and SST Team Lead. 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 sons, 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 10th Grade Advisor, and now serves as the A.C.T. Instructor. Mr. Dawson has a BS in Communications Media, with a concentration in Theater from Fitchburg State University. Prior to Sizer, he 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.
Maureen Dugan joined Sizer in 2019 as an Environmental Science Teacher in Div III. She received her bachelors from Framingham State Univ. with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and secondary education. She then received her masters degree is in Education from Boston College. Ms. Dugan retired from Nashoba Regional High School where she taught survey biology, anatomy and physiology, botany, zoology, a senior research course and AP Biology. Since retiring she has taught at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester and is glad to be back teaching high school. Growing up on a pond in Wayland, MA she enjoyed catching frogs and chasing butterflies. As an adult she continues her love of nature, climbing mountains and kayaking. She even went piranha fishing on the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Life is tamer now and I enjoy watching my three cats watch the birds at the feeders.
Elizabeth "Liz" Dugas joined Sizer in 2019 as a School Nurse. Originally of Ashburnham Ma, Liz graduated with high honors from Oakmont Regional High School. After achieving her Bachelors in Nursing at Worcester State University in 2018, Liz worked for a time at a residential treatment school and a psychiatric hospital. She is currently going back for her Masters part time at Worcester in Community and Public Health Nursing in order to continue her work to increase the visibility and importance of nursing in public and political life. She believes deeply in the care of the whole person and knows that no problem is too small to be addressed! When not at Sizer, Liz enjoys exploring in Maine, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons and being with her two cats, Willow and Lily.
Elizabeth “Liz” Ebbrecht joined Sizer in 2018 as the 9th Grade U.S. History Teacher, Advisor & 9th Grade Team Lead. 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 in 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 US History II 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 and to Dean of School Culture in 2019. 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.
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 and their son.
Sixto 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 at a Division 1 Paraprofessional in 2018. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Special Education from Fitchburg State University and has begun a Masters of Education, also at FSU. Prior to joining Sizer, Mrs. Hartenstein worked in several special education roles, and has particularly focused on social skills and social emotional learning. In her free time, she enjoys cross stitching, skiing and making music.
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 enjoys many outdoor activities with her husband, Bill, at their lakeside home.
John "Jack" Howes has worked in the computer industry for 43 years. He received his degree in computer science from Boston University. Before retiring and joining Sizer in 2019 as a part time Technical Support Technician, he held many computer related, field certifications from Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and Comp Tia. Mr. Howes is married and has 15 grand kids and one great grandchild. Currently he studies and teaches Tai Chi, loves to go hiking in the White Mountains and enjoys many other outside adventures.
Cassandra Johnson graduated magna cum laude from FSU in 2015 with a degree in English and a concentration in Secondary Education. She joined Sizer in 2018, and teaches 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 continue to use her experience to contribute to the Sizer community. Other than teaching, her passion lies in writing/playing and listening to music, camping, making art, and cooking healthy 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.
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 joined Sizer in 2016 and is the proud parent of a 2019 Sizer alum. As Sizer’s Visual Arts Teacher, she loves helping teenagers experience creative process and their capacity to create meaningful works of art. She continues as a 9th Grade Advisor this year. Ms. Judge’s artwork has been exhibited widely here in the US and abroad. Ms. Judge holds a M.S. in Advanced Visual Studies from MIT and was honored with a 2019 medal from the Socièté Académique Arts-Sciences-Lettres in Paris for making a positive contribution to society by demonstrating excellence in visual art. An aesthete, Ms. Judge loves theater, choral music, poetry, asian cuisine and spending as much time as possible in her studio making art.
Laurel Kelly joined Sizer in 2018 as a long-term substitute teacher for Health Education and other Special Assignments. In 2019, she joined us on a permanent basis as our 10th Grade English Teacher & 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 Div III Learning Specialist and now will be a Div. III 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 & Bridge Program Developer, 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 is the Coordinator of the Sizer Food Pantry. Ms. Lavery also loves family, travel, chickens, doges, music, and time with friends.
Jade Le’Jeune joined Sizer in 2018, first as a substitute teacher and then in 2019 officially as a Student Services Team Paraprofessional and was promoted to Assistant Dean. Ms. Le’Jeune did her undergraduate at the University of Vermont and received her Certificate of Study in Paralegal at MWCC. Before joining Sizer she worked as an Immigration Paralegal, a substitute teacher, and a gym manager at a martial arts gym. During the summers she works as a concert caterer where she has worked with countless musicians & groups including: Beyoncé, Maroon 5, the Eagles, Wiz Khalifa, and many more! She enjoy listening to music and going to live shows, reading about history, and practicing Muay Thai (a martial art from Thailand).
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.
Eric Leverone graduated from Framingham State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Psychology and from Fitchburg State University in 2018 with an M.Ed in Moderate Disabilities 5-12. Prior to joining the Sizer team in 2019 as the 10th Grade Learning Specialist, he worked as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher at Sherwood Middle School in Shrewsbury, MA and as a substitute teacher in the Wachusett Regional School District. He has also worked as a roast master’s assistant, calibration technician, guitar instructor and e-commerce entrepreneur. In his spare time, Eric enjoys being with his family, listening to vinyl records, nature walks, cooking, flea markets and debating important issues.
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 and then became our 10th Grade Geometry Teacher and the 10th Grade Team Lead. 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. Ms. Manning 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 Associate Degree as a Bilingual Secretary. She has over 18 years experience as an Administrative Assistant and is fluent in Spanish. Mrs. Martinez-Perez joined Sizer in 2017 as the Front Office Administrative Assistant. She enjoys reading, hiking, camping, traveling, listening to music and spending time with husband and 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 position as School Counselor for 7th, 8th and 9th Grade, and as the Advisory Team Lead. She graduated from Fitchburg State Univ. 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, 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.
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.
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, 9th Grade Biology and Advisor. In her off time she loves hanging out with her husband Sam, their daughter Eva and 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.
Deborah Namvar joined Sizer in 2019 as the Special Education Administrative Assistant. Prior to Sizer she had a long and varied career in human services managing a variety of community programs including the Women's Health Network, Jobs4Youth, Volunteer Income Tax and Asset Development programs. Mrs. Namvar graduated from Fitchburg State College with highest honors and holds a BA in English Literature and a Minor in Psychology. Her favorite things to do include traveling with her husband and family, watching documentaries, reading poetry, taking care of chickens, playing Rummikub with friends, winning Rummikub with friends, and spending time with her three granddaughters.
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. He now teaches Grade 12 English and Literacy.
Lyn Niemi is a founding faculty member at Sizer. She did her undergraduate work at the University of New England, where she earned her undergraduate degree (BA) in Liberal Studies. From there, she went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching English from Fitchburg State University (conferred May 2001). Before coming to Sizer in 2002, Ms. Niemi taught English in Amherst, NH at Souhegan High School. Ms. Niemi teaches multiple English courses in Div. III, including (but not limited to): English Literature; English 11; and AP English Literature and Composition. Ms. Niemi is also a 12th Grade Advisor, and the English Subject Area Leader. In Oct. of 2017, Lyn was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Sizer Board of Trustees and re-elected in 2019. When she is not teaching, thinking, or reading (or thinking about teaching and reading), Ms. Niemi enjoys spending time with her family, working on projects in and around her home, watching and talking about television and film, and exercising.
Peter Niland joined Sizer in 2019 as a Facilities Custodian. He has his BS In Criminal Justice from Westfield State College 1996 and has worked with children and adolescents with mental health issues and minor criminal backgrounds. He then went into sales, and most recently was in the golf industry as an assist superintendent at a local private club, to which he continues to work in the maintenance department on weekends. Mr. Niland has a love for being outside and "working the turf". In his spare time, he is an avid photographer and participates annually in a local performance of The Nutcracker.
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 earned 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.
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 and is the 8th Grade Team Lead. 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.
Ashley Jean Pinkham joined Sizer as a Food Service Associate. Growing up in Lowell and moving to Fitchburg, she actually attended NCCES/Sizer for a couple of years before moving on to Job Corp. where she obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Safety & Security designations. From there, she attended Middlesex Community College where she received her Associates Degree in Early childhood Education. Ms. Pinkham has worked as a CNA, in food preparation and in daycare services, ultimately joining us at Sizer in 2019. Ms. Pinkham loves her pets, has a passion for children’s books and really enjoys arts and crafts.
Joyce Pomasko joined Sizer as the SST Administrative Assistant in 2019. With her B.A. in English from Westfield State University, she comes to us with a wealth of business experience. In her spare time, she enjoys researching literature, music and Holistic healing. She also really loves reading and building her personal library, watching the Red Sox and Patriots with her husband, and playing French Horn.
Stephanie Powers became the 7th grade Learning Specialist in 2017 and the Subject Area Team Co-Lead in 2019. 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. 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 in 2013, 2016,2017 & 2018; Sportsmanship League Award, WCAC in 2010 through 2018; 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 served as Interim Executive Director from 2019-2020. He 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, but is happy to support the school in the Director position until the position is appropriately searched and filled! 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.
Tracy Richard joined Sizer School in 2015. She is the Division III Learning Specialist, Advisor and Subject Area Team Co-Lead. 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.
Jennifer Robbins joined Sizer in 2015 as a brand new 8th grade Math teacher. She came to us from the Wachusett Regional School District where she was a paraprofessional at the Davis Hill Elementary School. Mrs. Robbins got her experience with middle and high school kids at the First Congregational Church of Holden where she was the Youth Director. During her tenure there, her favorite activities were her mission trips to Mexico, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, New Jersey and right here in Worcester. Mrs. Robbins left Sizer in 2017 to work closer to home and has found that Sizer was a better place for her, returning in 2019 as the Division III Math Teacher. She has two kids who keep her busy along with their dog, Maggie. When she’s not at school, Mrs. Robbins enjoys playing and watching sports with her kids, reading, body surfing in the ocean, and golfing with her husband.
Joseph "Joe" Rossano joined Sizer in 2019 as the 8th Grade Social Studies/Civics teacher. He is a graduate of Fitchburg State with a BS in History and Secondary Education and a minor in Social Sciences, having done his student teaching at Sizer. His historical areas of interest include the Cold War and Immigration history. Outside of academics Mr. Rossano enjoys playing baseball, football, basketball and soccer. In his spare time he enjoys concerts, book readings, seminars, video games and spending times with his friends.
Deb Roy joined Sizer School in 2012 as a part-time Division 2 Math teacher and the Math Team Lead. 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.
Sarah Sams joined Sizer in 2019 as a Director of Special Education & ELL. Originally from Kentucky, she received her BME from Murray State University, beginning her career in education as a band director. Invited to start the instrumental music program in combination with a counseling position at a school in Hawaii sparked an interest in Counseling that led to an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. Never one to shy from adventure, counseling opportunities took her to New Jersey and eventually Massachusetts, which has been home for many years. After joining an intensive therapeutic special education school as a clinician opened the door to working as a Special Education program administrator for 22 years. Drawn to the mission and philosophy of Sizer, Ms. Sams loves the thread of working with teens in ways that are meaningful and relevant and has woven many experiences and diverse geographic locations together in her life. Keeping her love of music alive, she still plays the flute and directs a Handbell choir. At home she loves gardening and has been known to experiment in the kitchen.
Tim Sargent joined Sized in 2018 as the Athletic Director and in 2019 also became a Paraprofessional. A graduate of Southern New Hampshire University he earned his Bachelors degree in Sports Management. Mr. Sargent did his internship work with the Saint Bernard's Catholic High School Athletic Director. He also worked for The Boston Red Sox, working with fans and family of the team. Mr. Sargent enjoys spending his summers at Fenway Park watching the Red Sox, and staying in on Sundays to watch the Patriots.
Lindsay Sauvageau joined Sizer in 2017 as an FSU graduate student completing practicum work towards her secondary education licensure. In 2018, she became a long-term sub for 7th Grade ELA and 8th Grade Sciences. From Aug. to Sept. 2019 she worked closely with Division 2 as a full time Paraprofessional and in October took over the position of Recruitment and Communication Coordinator for Sizer. She combines her classroom experiences and dedication to the Sizer School mission with over 15 years of marketing, journalism and public relations. Ms. Sauvageau is committed to providing Excellence in Education to the Sizer Community through Enrollment, Enrichment, Engagement and Equality! Ms. Sauvageau received her BA in English Language Arts & Classical Civilizations from the Univ. of MA - Amherst.
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 taught Div 3 Science until 2019, switching to Division III Math: Algebra II and Pre-Calculus, and is the 11th Grade Team Lead. 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 and is the Science Area Team Lead.
Nick Spino graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Physical Education. After graduating he became a substitute teacher in RI and soon became a part-time P.E. teacher at Urban Collaborative Accelerated a public charter school in Providence. He then taught P.E. to students with autism at Boston Higashi School in Randolph, along with doing event planning for golf tournaments, bike races and community 5k’s. Sizer, however, was the job he couldn’t pass up! Joining Sizer in 2019 as a Physical Education Teacher, Mr. Spino feels like he has the opportunity to fulfill his dream of teaching and coaching full time. Sports and fitness have always played a major role in his life and he is looking forward to being part of our school. In his free time, Mr. Spino also enjoys online gaming, card playing and other general nerdy stuff.
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 girls 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. 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. Mrs. Sweeney is a Div. III Humanities Teacher, Senior Advisor and Team Leader of the Social Studies Dept, as well as the 12th Grade Team Lead. She firmly believes, as author John Green states, that the opportunity to practice empathy, and that exposing students to the Humanities will not only broaden the scope of their understanding, but also help foster the empathy necessary to work with others. Through exposure to the social students, students 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.” Those skills and abilities are the foundation of Sizer’s THINK-CARE-ACT philosophy. Mrs. Sweeney and her husband are parents of five Sizer/NCCES alumnae and proud to be a founding family here at our school; 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 MA 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 and serving as a Math, Science & Technology Instructional Leader, and Teacher Induction/Mentor Coordinator. She is now the Director of Academics & Data.
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, and playing with their two children Luke and Sadie.
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!
Maureen Vanderhoof joins to Sizer in 2019. She comes to us as the parent of a founding student and a teacher with twenty years elementary experience and another 10 years teaching eighth grade Social Studies. She is excited to be back in the classroom in a Paraprofessional role, assisting students in a more individualized capacity. Mrs. Vanderhoof enjoys sewing, watching Patriot football, spending time with family and friends, and traveling (mainly road trips).
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, is an 11th grade Advisor, 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 and a new baby boy, Zane. Her interests include spending time with her family, 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.
Alison Wright joined Sizer in 2019 as a Math Interventionist. She comes to us with twelve years of teaching experience and is very happy to be continuing this journey after receiving her BA from Merrimack College and her Masters in Education from Fitchburg State University. She enjoys Reading, Crosswords, Music (mostly Rock), attending concerts (Especially Breaking Benjamin-fave band) and Theater Shows. Mrs. Wright loves spending time with her family and going to the beach in Maine. She is a resident of ‘Patriot Nation’, lives in Townsend, and loves her car “The Red Toaster”.
Karen Zimmerman joined Sizer in 2018 as a Paraprofessional and in 2019 became a Learning Specialist. She earned her BA in Liberal Arts from Evergreen State College in Washington State and an MA in Mental Health Counseling at FSU. Having grown up in Shirley, she feels strong connection to the local community. Working to support youth advocacy specifically in the Central MA region is a passion she brings to Sizer. She has been a youth center volunteer in Leominster, completed a year of service with AMERICORPS serving homeless youth, completed internships through the Leominster public schools and worked with LUK in Fitchburg. She enjoys being in nature as much as possible and cultivating authentic connections with community.
E. Myriah Zwicker joined Sizer in 2013 as 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 Spring of 2017. Before joining Sizer's Community, she worked in hospitals on Labor & Delivery and Medical-Surgical floors. 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.