Linda Ashe-Ford is our Aftercare Coordinator. She has a degree in Communication and Theater and an M.Ed. in Administration from Antioch New England and has almost 40 years of experience working with children families and teachers. She loves creative time with children: cooking, theater games, movement, and art--"free form downtime," as she calls it. Linda has developed and consulted on issues of inclusion, diversity, and early education and is currently working with area school and the Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland to help tell the forgotten stories of the African American people. She spent this past summer working on social justice issues and researching family and African American history.
Hans Barklis is our new Music Teacher for grades preschool-8. He comes to us from Portland, Oregon by way of the Bronx. He is a musician, playing many instruments, a teacher of children of all ages and abilities, an instructor of Capoeira, fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. As a baby, Hans says, I refused to stop screaming unless my mother rocked me to the beat of the Beatles. I couldn't imagine my life without music. I've spent the majority of my life plucking strings, bopping percussion, singing, daydreaming of melodies, and teaching music. I've seen my students groove toward mastery of their craft, and more importantly, I've seen our communities grow and our bonds enriched in relation to our shared love for the arts. I'm excited to continue encouraging and fortifying students through music at Friends School of Portland.
Chelsea is the assistant kindergarten teacher here at FSP. This is her 5th year working in the Friends School Community. Her love for children and her capacity to hold them in the light shows through in her teaching. She enjoys engaging with students through hands on experience to get them to wake up in their bodies, stimulate their minds and become more connected to themselves and the earth. Chelsea’s longtime yoga practice keeps her sensitive and sharp. She loves being outdoors, baking, and spending time with her husband, Conor, their daughter, Tilly Sol, and dog, Cora Jane.
Brooke Burkett is our Development Coordinator. Brooke comes to us from Camp Ketcha, where she directed programs and development over the last seven years. She's currently an adjunct professor at USM teaching courses on outdoor recreation, and was instrumental in creating the Portland Gear Hub, a non-profit outdoor gear thrift shop and bicycle center. Brooke lives in Portland with her husband and son.
Xanthe Charov is a first and second grade teacher. She earned her BFA in Design from Emily Carr University in Vancouver and worked for more than 20 years as a graphic designer and as the Art Director at a children's science museum in New York City. After moving to Maine in 2012 with her husband, she earned her Master’s in Teaching and Learning from the University of Southern Maine’s ETEP program. Most recently, she spent two years teaching kindergarten in Limerick. She lives in South Portland and enjoys hiking, traveling, and swimming in the ocean with her husband and two boys, Huck and Max.
Lee Chisholm teaches math, science, and social studies in grades seven and eight. Lee joined FSP in 2008 and came to us with 13 years of experience in Waldorf education. Prior to his calling to teach, Lee was an attorney for 14 years, practicing in Portland. Lee and his wife, Sukie Rice, a member of Durham Friends Meeting, were co-founding parents of Merriconeag Waldorf School (now Maine Coast Waldorf School). Lee has a BA from Harvard, JD from University of Maine School of Law, and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch New England.
Pete Curtis is the assistant teacher in our 3-4 classrooms. He received a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College and an M.S. in Teaching Methodology from The University of New England. Before joining the staff in 2014, he interned at Berwick Academy, coached several sports, and filled in for local teachers on leave, K-8. His interests include throwing a frisbee, photography, and aimless walking. He lives in Falmouth with his wife, four children, two dogs, and leopard gecko. Two of his children are FSP graduates.
Jonathan Ewell is the preschool assistant teacher. Jonathan joined FSP in 2006—its very first year!— and has been an assistant teacher in every classroom. Prior to FSP, Jonathan taught in Montessori schools for 6 years. He has a BA in Sociology from Haverford College. He lives in South Portland with his wife, Anne, and son, Isaiah (an FSP third grader).
Nicole Favreau is one of the grade three and four teachers. Nicole joined FSP in 2007. Her roots in education are grounded in her work as an environmental educator and wilderness trip leader. Nicole has a degree in environmental studies and a minor in plant science from the University of Vermont. She also has a master's degree in Teaching and Learning at the University of Southern Maine. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two children who also attend FSP. When not teaching, you can usually find Nicole hanging out in her pop-up camper, her garden, or on her mountain bike.
Laura Glendening is the art teacher for all students in preschool through grade 8. Laura has worked for over twenty years teaching art in schools and community programs, and holds a Master’s degree in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She spent her early years teaching in Holyoke, MA. Laura is also director of our Summer Programs and similarly fifteen years ago she co-founded the Peaks Island Fiber Arts Camp as a place to tell stories, create community, make art, and to be a part of the land around us. Laura has been working with leather recently and learning how to sew shoes, past work includes a series of felted blankets, drawings, and sculpture. She lives with her family on Peaks Island.
Aliza Gordon teaches fifth and sixth grade. Before coming to Friends School she worked in Environmental Education and led backpacking trips in the Pacific Northwest. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Vermont and her Masters in Elementary Education from Antioch University New England. She enjoys backpacking, traveling and any activities that take her to the wilderness.
Susan Hayhurst co-teaches 7-8 Human Ecology. On her days not teaching, she is also a small animal veterinarian in southern Maine. Before vet school, Susan spent four years as the Science Translator in the education department at Gulf of Maine Research Institute, taught science in local schools through an NSF program in graduate school, and taught for 2 years at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland. She holds an M.S. in marine science from University of Maine, and a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University. Susan enjoys hiking and painting, and recently finished a first draft of a young adult novel. She volunteer fosters with AWS, and recently started volunteering with the seal rescue group of Maine. She lives in Falmouth with her husband Kyle and her twin daughters.
Lindsay Holt is one of our grade 3-4 Teachers. Lindsay has taught in multi-aged classrooms in grades one through four for the last 12 years at both Breakwater School in Portland, ME, and Telluride Mountain School in Telluride, CO. She is interested in experiential education and hands-on learning. She lives in South Portland with her husband and young son.
Keith Jones is our Business Manager. Keith, a CPA, comes to us by way of Unity College, Baker Newman & Noyes, and North Yarmouth Academy, where he has been for the last 3 years as Senior Accountant. It's great to have someone with experience in an independent school--with audits, financial aid, board reports, parents, budgeting, and financial modeling. In addition, Keith is a Registered Maine Guide and, like a true Mainer, loves getting into the back country.
Dareth Law is our Spanish Teacher (grades 3-8) and grade 7-8 advisor. Dareth came to us with a wealth of experience: 25 years growing up in Spain and about 10 years of Spanish teaching at all levels. Dareth was one of the founders of the Boxberry School in Norway, Maine. She is also an occupational therapist! Dareth has an amazing ability to get to know children quickly and see them as whole beings.
Billy Maley teaches Physical Education to students in all grades and ConnectEd to students in grades one through four. Before joining Friends School in 2007 Billy worked as a naturalist in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and as a living history instructor with the San Francisco Maritime Association. Billy also works as the after-school activities coordinator at FSP and maintains the grounds around campus. He has a BS in Recreation Management from Springfield College and lives in South Portland with his wife Laura, son Theo, and daughter Susanna.
Jen McNally is Director of Admissions and Marketing, and you will also find her at the front desk of FSP. She has an extensive background in marketing, having previously worked for an adventure travel company. Jen has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a graduate degree in German from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has experience working in educational settings, including time spent both as an admissions counselor and an instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. An avid traveler, Jen has visited 6 continents and 31 countries. Jen lives in Falmouth with her two daughters, one of whom is an FSP graduate and the other an FSP 8th grader.
Katie Nowak teaches grades one and two. She joined FSP in 2007 and previously had one year of teaching experience with 2nd graders and one year as a Special Education Assistant in New Hampshire and Maine. She has also coached basketball, soccer, and softball at the middle school and high school levels. Katie has a BA in anthropology from Colby College and an MS in General Childhood Education from the Bank Street College in New York City. Katie loves living in Portland and teaching at a school that values community, children's natural curiosity, and nature. When she is not at school, Katie can often be found cooking, gardening, reading, and enjoying the outdoors by bike or by foot with her husband and two young sons, who are both students at FSP.
Peter Nowak teaches grades five and six. Pete started at FSP in 2008; prior to that, he worked at The Foote School in New Haven, Connecticut. Pete completed his BA at Colby College in 2003 and his M.Ed. at the University of Southern Maine in 2012. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, riding his bicycles and eating sandwiches.
Sally Plourde is a grade 1-2 Co-Teacher. She joined the staff of FSP in 2014 after a long career in education including twenty-nine years teaching in Westbrook. Sally received a dual BS degree in Elementary Education and Speech Pathology from the University of Maine, Farmington and her MSEd in Elementary Education from UNE. She also attained National Board Certification in Early Childhood.Education One of her biggest honors was her appointment to a three year fellowship with the Governor’s Academy for STEM Education Leadership Team. What better place than FSP to share all that she learned? Sally lives in Westbrook with her husband Stephen. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her family, especially her eight grandchildren; three whom attended FSP.
Marie Reimensnyder is the lead teacher in our nature-based, play-based preschool. She taught kindergarten at Fiddlehead School of Arts and Sciences in Gray, a public charter school, and preschool at Fiddlehead Center. She holds a B.F.A. in Ceramics from the Portland School of Art (now MECA), and a Master’s in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University. Marie is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and place-based learning, and works to cultivate inquiry and a sense of wonder in early childhood. She loves animals, the magic of children, music, sharing her love of nature with children, playing hockey, growing things, and being with family and friends. Marie and her husband Tim, dog (Nellie), and cats live in New Gloucester. They have two grown children and a granddaughter.
Jenny Rowe began as Head of School in summer 2012. Jenny is a deeply committed, community-minded leader, building on the success of the school's first six years. Jenny has extensive experience with strategic planning, admissions and development, and has enjoyed helping Friends School continue to grow and flourish. A practicing Quaker, Jenny firmly believes "that we all have something to teach and something to learn." She has served as a teacher at a variety of schools throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, and Central America since the early 1980s, instructing elementary and middle school students in Spanish, German, English, music, and social studies. From 1999 to 2005, Jenny served as Director of Monteverde Friends School, a bilingual Quaker K-12 school in Costa Rica. Following that, she directed The Community School for six years, a grade 6-12 school in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Jenny and her husband live on Munjoy Hill in Portland.
Nell Sears is the Director of Studies. Nell is a graduate of Germantown Friends School and began her teaching career at George School. Prior to coming to FSP she worked as the Assistant Principal at Freeport Middle School. Before moving to Maine with her family in 2012, she was the founding Middle School Principal at Paul Cuffee School, a charter school in Providence, RI. Nell has BA from Bowdoin College and an MEd from Harvard University. She completed intensive residency programs at the Upper Valley Teacher Institute (Lebanon, NH) and the Principal Residency Network (Providence, RI). Nell lives in Portland with her husband, Ted, and her three children: Max, Eli and Will, FSP students.
Aja Stephan joined FSP in 2012-13 to teach Kindergarten. She was involved with the school as a parent and an occasional substitute for the previous two years. Aja's teaching experience ranges from Pre-K through 5th grade, but she has primarily focused on early childhood since 2004. She earned a double major in Elementary Education and Psychology from New York University and has extensive professional development pertaining to the social and emotional development of young children, the Reggio Emilia philosophy, and using science-based and emergent curriculum in the classroom. Aja's passion for photography and her strong background in the arts is a big influence of how she documents and co-constructs the collective knowledge within the classroom. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling, and lives with her husband, their two children, dog, guinea pig, and rabbit in Falmouth.
Aila teaches language arts in our seventh and eighth grade class. She has been an individual support provider here since 2016. She holds a degree in communication with a minor in elementary education from the University of Southern Maine. She holds credits towards a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning at the University of Southern Maine. She completed her student teaching internships in sixth and eighth grade classrooms at Gorham Middle School. She is grateful to have been working with children professionally for over 20 years. She lives with her husband and toddler in Portland where she has been practicing meditation, carving out time to read for pleasure and cooking good food for the people she loves.
Heather Weisenfluh is a grade 1-2 Co-Teacher. Prior to joining FSP she taught at the Scarborough Middle School and at North Yarmouth Academy. Heather took some time off to raise her three children, but continued to do some private tutoring working with grades K-8. In recent years, Heather did some substitute teaching at the Falmouth Elementary School and at FSP. She loves being a part of FSP where an emphasis is placed on making connections with each other and with nature as well as being part of a community. Heather received her BA in English at The College of Wooster in OH and her MS in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. When not at school, Heather enjoys any time on the water (ocean or lake). She loves to sail, read, and spend time with her family.