Introducing Our New Faculty & Staff 2015-16

As we ring in the New Year, let's extend a warm welcome to the fourteen faculty and staff members who are joining the Thayer Community. They bring rich and varied experiences to share with students, parents, and colleagues. Each has a unique background, yet they share a common goal: to become an integral part of the school community and to contribute to the balanced education of each student.

New Faculty & Staff 2015-16

Anne Benjamin
Upper School French

Ms. Benjamin has a wide variety of educational and professional experience that includes a BA from the University of Virginia in French literature; an MA from American University in French language & literature; teaching French at middle school, upper school, and college levels; doing layout and design for print publications; and founding a business for developing websites and online solutions for small businesses.

Anne previously taught French at The Canterbury School in Connecticut and at three schools in Maryland: The Severn School, Anne Arundel Community College, and The Country School. She has also worked as an International Volunteer in Galicia, Spain and at an archaeological dig site in France.

In addition to her interesting array of professional endeavors, Ms. Benjamin has a special connection to Thayer because she is married to Upper School Director Highley Thompson.

Jessica Matzkin
Upper School Counselor

Ms. Matzkin earned a BA in American studies from Colby College, an MA in American cultural studies from the University of Wyoming, and another MA in social work from Boston College. At Colby, she was an honor student and played varsity soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse.

In her most recent position, Jessica spent four years as Dean of Students at Blair Academy in New Jersey, and for four years before that, she was Director of Counseling at the same school. From 2004 to 2007, she worked as a counselor at Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut.

She is a licensed clinical social worker, has worked at the Youth Crisis Center/Home for Children in Laramie Wyoming, and has taught Spanish levels II, III, and IV Honors. She was a WorldTeach Teacher at la Universidad de Loja in Ecuador and a cultural educator with the U.S. Experiment in International Living in Mexico and Ecuador. She’s also guided a group of high school students through Wyoming backcountry as an outdoor adventure educator.

Will Boericke
Middle School Math

Mr. Boericke completed his BA at Cornell University and his MA in mathematics for teaching from Harvard Extension School, where he made the Dean’s List and was awarded the Dean’s Prize for Outstanding ALM Thesis in Mathematics for Teaching.

Will has taught math in multiple educational settings – Vermont Commons School in Burlington Vermont; East Middle School in Braintree; the Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester, and most recently, St. Agatha School in Milton. He has a talent for developing customized lessons and bringing life perspective to the middle school classroom. He has an interest in data-driven instruction and curriculum planning, and his classroom techniques draw from a variety of instructional modes.

Erin McGurn
Upper School Chemistry

Ms. McGurn went to the College of the Holy Cross where she earned a BA in Chemistry and followed up with an MS from Tufts University in organic chemistry. She is certified to teach chemistry in Massachusetts (grades 8-12). She has been an undergraduate research fellow at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a graduate research assistant at Tufts and she has taught undergraduate organic chemistry. From 1994 to 2003, Erin worked in research, supporting chemists, biochemists, and pharmacologists. She trained entry-level research associates, created a chemical inventory database, and contributed to a number of publications including “MS-325: A Small-Molecule Vascular Imaging Agent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” She comes to Thayer from Quincy College where she taught general chemistry, organic chemistry, and the corresponding laboratory courses.

Lindsay Culver
Middle School Counselor

Ms. Culver has a BA in sociology from Brown University and an MA in counseling and psychology from Boston College. She has taught at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, where, as an adjunct professor she was an instructor and mentor to master’s degree and PhD students working on a practicum in school counseling.

Lindsay comes to Thayer from Boston College High School where she provided support services to 160 students; participated in school-wide programming for health, self identity, and social issues; the power of language; and bullying awareness. She was a volunteer science teacher as a member of Americorps.

Ms. Culver’s experience beyond the classroom includes working as a counseling staff member at the Academy of Physical & Social Development in Newton and playing on the varsity field hockey team at Brown University.

Kristin Parnell
Assistant Athletic Director

Ms. Parnell holds a BS in business administration and accounting from American International College, an M.Ed in sports administration from Springfield College, and an MA in management & organizational communications from Emerson College.

Kristin has coached soccer for the Town of Hingham, Notre Dame Academy, Curry College, and Emerson College. She was the head coach for the Emerson College women’s soccer team for seven years and worked as Emerson’s director of athletics for fifteen years. She was director of athletics for the Town of Hanover, served as Assistant Commissioner for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, and was a member of the Hingham School Committee. She has expertise in leadership, finance, budget management, negotiations, and employee supervision.

Rick Foresteire
Athletic Director

Mr. Foresteire has a BA in American studies from Brandeis University. Before joining Thayer’s faculty, he served for twelve years as athletic director at his high school alma mater, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, where he managed three campuses and more than 900 students. His primary interest is, of course, athletics, but he places a high priority on the overall development of all students. At BB&N, he functioned as liaison between the athletic department and the students, the faculty & staff, the admissions office, the college counselors, the arts department, and he served as a Senior Project Advisor. His career record as BB&N’s head varsity baseball coach is 308-104-3 and he led the team to win five ISL championships.

On a more personal note, Rick's daughter Grace is member of the Class of 2019, and new to Thayer this year.

Jason Pitt
Upper School Science
(Sabbatical Replacement)

Mr. Pitt has a PhD in neuroscience from Northwestern University and a BS in psychobiology, biology, and chemistry from the University of Evansville (where he graduated summa cum laude). He comes to Thayer from Lake Forest College where he was an adjunct professor of biology. Included in the courses he has taught are cellular and molecular neuroscience, mechanisms of brain dysfunction, and cell biology. He has a long list of scholarly publications, awards, and fellowships to his credit, and has been invited to speak about his work in neuroscience at a number of venues including Northwestern University, Lake Forest College, and the American Diabetes Association.

In an outline of his personal teaching philosophy, Jason says that he wants to create an environment where students are comfortable, want to learn, can identify with the material and think critically, andthen learn to teach themselves. Hoping to identify effective methods to maximize learning, he would like to study the effect of different teaching styles on comprehension and retention of information, and publish any notable findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Pemberton Heath
Upper School Math (1st Semester)

Ms. Heath graduated with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia, earning a BA in political and social thought, with a minor in mathematics. She has an interest in biostatistics, and attended Washington University School of Medicine’s Summer Institute in Biostatistics. She’s done research in the department of plastic & reconstructive surgery at Mass General Hospital and her teaching career includes a teaching fellowship at Harvard’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences where she taught inferential statistics for engineers and scientists, probability for engineers, and inferential statistics for psychology majors.

Callie Schneider
Upper School Classics

Ms. Schneider has a BA in Latin classical civilization from Wheaton College where she made the Dean’s List, received the German Consulate of Boston’s Award for Excellence in German, and the Edward O’Dowd Prize for Excellence in Latin. She has taught at The Bolles School in Florida, Canterbury School in Connecticut, and Rising Tide Charter School in Plymouth.

Callie has coached basketball, cross-country, track, and volleyball. She’s interested in advising activities in student government, outdoor education, publications, drama, and debate. She’s a technology whiz with high-level experience in Mac OSX, Google Docs, SmartBoards, and social networking apps. She has a number of educational presentations to her credit, including “Roman Architecture” given at Yale University; “Art & Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies for Your Classroom” given at the Museum of Modern Art; and “Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets” given at Brown University.

Mike Landry
Supervisor, Hanflig Technology Center

Mike has a BA from Lewis University in guidance & counseling and an MA from Lewis University in graphic design. He is certified in instructional technology for all levels and most recently worked in the Wellesley Public School system as an instructional technology specialist. In that role, he provided coaching, modeling, and mentoring in classrooms for teachers students, curriculum developers, and library staff, helping them to integrate technology into their respective areas. He conducted training events for students, teachers, and parents and also promoted an online presence for the integration of technology throughout the Wellesley school district.

Mike founded ML Training Solutions, a consulting firm devoted to the development, organization, and application of skills for youth baseball players and coaches in Massachusetts Little League organizations. He has also worked as a consultant for prospective collegiate athletes, guiding them through the recruitment process in NCAA and non-NCAA-sanctioned institutions.

Kevin Steuer
Assistant to the Athletic Director

Mr. Steuer earned a BA in sports management from Endicott College and an MS in sports leadership from Northeastern University. His most recent position was at BB&N working as sports information director with Thayer’s new athletic director Rick Foresteire. In that position, his responsibilities included updating pages in the athletics section of the website, scheduling games and practices, assisting students in making sports highlight videos, and managing the athletic Twitter feed.

Kevin also coached basketball, baseball, and football at BB&N and at sports-specific summer camps, such as New England Elite Football Camp, AAU and Elite Basketball Showcases, and Sunday’s Baseball Clinic with MLB Scout Greg Morhardt and other coaches from area colleges.

Ted Lawson
Middle School Science

Mr. Lawson has a BA in physical geography from the University of Colorado, an MA in non-profit management from Northeastern University, and has studied at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has taught science to students in middle school through high school and has expertise in physics, chemistry, environmental science, and earth science. Previous teaching assignments include the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India and Waynflete School in Portland, Maine.

Ted is an experienced sailor and sailing teacher who takes a keen interest in world cultures and has traveled extensively on six continents. He has restored a 40-year old boat and then sailed it to Panama and back. He and his wife Amie have recently been living on their sailboat with their two daughters aged 5 and 3, traveling nearly 3,000 miles during an extended family adventure.

Drew Zachary
Upper School Science

Mr. Zachary has a BS in physics from Catholic University and an M.Ed in physics education from City College of New York, where he graduated with honors in 2012.

Drew has been teaching physics, astronomy, and robotics at the high school level for thirteen years. He has designed and implemented science and engineering electives with differentiation in the curriculum so that in the same class, students with an extensive science background would be challenged and those without one would be supported. He has an excellent track record with his AP physics students, as in the last five years, 100% of them have earned a 3 or above on the test. He has coached women’s volleyball and varsity baseball at Columbia Prep in New York City and baseball at Paint Branch High School in Maryland.

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