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Teachers and Staff

Barbara Apac

Barbara Apac is thrilled to be joining the Polaris Community as an Intermediate classroom teacher. Mrs. Apac loves math and science and looks forward to working on great projects this year. She believes that knowledge is personal, and students enjoy learning more when they are given the opportunity to structure their own understanding through project based learning. The best projects are those that incorporate elements of all content areas. In life, we seldom encounter “just math” or “just writing”. The real world will ask our students to draw from multiple areas of knowledge in order to be successful. Using this approach, students become engaged, active participants in their own learning. 

Mrs. Apac lived in Boston, MA prior to moving to New Hampshire. She attended Southern New Hampshire University and earned a B.A. in Elementary Education. Most recently, she taught third grade in Lawrence, MA. Prior to that, she was a math interventionist in the Derry School District. 
Mrs. Apac lives in Bedford, NH with her husband, Ryan and their 3 cats. Her daughter, Amber, just moved to Florida to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Central Florida. When she’s not at school, Mrs. Apac enjoys traveling, reading and painting. You can contact her at b.apac@polarischarterschool.org
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Cameron Bailey

Cameron Bailey is joining Polaris as an Intermediate teacher. Mr. Bailey recognized his passion for teaching in sixth grade when he began volunteering in the elementary school setting. He is a recent graduate of Plymouth State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is certified as a K-6 teacher. During his senior year at Plymouth State University Mr. Bailey conducted his yearlong student internship at Laconia Middle School where he taught sixth grade math, science, social studies and language arts and really developed a love for project based learning. After completing his internship Mr. Bailey continued his time at Laconia Middle School by becoming a long term substitute teacher as a seventh grade math teacher. 

During his summers Mr. Bailey works as a counselor for the Boys and Girls club alongside children of various ages and grades.  Mr. Bailey grew up in the small town of Boscawen, New Hampshire and is also a fourth generation Boscawen Volunteer Fire Fighter. When not in the classroom Mr. Bailey also enjoys various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping and kayaking. He can be reached at c.bailey@polarischarterschool.org
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Bruce Benard

Bruce Benard is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. He attended the University of New Hampshire earning his bachelor’s degree in History. Bruce finds learning is a continuous experience. This will be his first year at Polaris serving as a Primary Education Assistant. Bruce has substitute taught as well as worked as a Paraprofessional in southern New Hampshire. His most difficult achievement aside from earning his degree was reaching the 6,288 foot summit of Mt. Washington – not by car mind you.

Bruce also aims to preserve artwork in hopes of opening his own gallery someday. Currently his mission is to keep on writing poetry. A dream achieved was reading upon request to Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots a poem entitled, Long Division, which he pledged would be hung in his locker. Many times the underdog, no matter the challenge, Bruce never gives up.

 

 

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Christin Crowell

Christin Crowell

Christin Crowell is very excited to continue her journey as a primary education assistant at Polaris! Miss Crowell recently graduated with a degree in Childhood Studies at Plymouth State University and is pleased to be working with multi-aged students, and see how creative and motivated they are when it comes to trying something new and helping one another when needed. Miss Crowell has been working at Camp Carpenter, a Cub scout camp for the past 4 summers as the Handicraft Director and this coming summer she will be the Program Director. 

Miss Crowell feels that summer programs bring out a different side of students, inspires their imaginations, creates the excitement of the outdoors and more. She also is one of the Site Directors for our after school YMCA Program here at Polaris. 

 

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Mary Dahlberg

Mary Dahlberg is excited to be entering her third year as a Primary Education Assistant.  Over the years, Mary has worked with youth extensively in various roles including kindergarten and preschool assistant, softball and basketball coach, and as a mentor for Odyssey of the Mind teams.  These roles as well as peer tutoring in college and volunteering as an adult literacy teacher, have convinced Mary that teaching is what she was meant to do.  As she returns to college to work toward her education degree, the days spent at Polaris working with the children and learning from the teachers are sure to be fruitful.

Mary and her husband live in Weare with their two high school children.  Their four older children have flown the coop and given them two grandchildren whom they adore.

Mary is an avid runner, enjoys hiking and fishing, loves planting and gardening, and is a fairly good seamstress, too.

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 Thomas A. Ford is a 30 year resident of the greater Manchester area. His greatest joy in life is his 3 adult sons. He graduated as valedictorian from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2005, having served as Student Council president & later as Alumni Association president. He also served two terms as a Manchester City Arts Commissioner, where he curated the popular Art on the Wall @ City Hall gallery exhibition series, and was instrumental in designing the renovations to the City Hall gallery space. He spent the last 9 years teaching art at St. Joseph Jr. High & one year at St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School in Manchester. He loves painting, drawing, Frisbee, the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins. He is excited for the new challenge Polaris poses. To contact, email him at: t.ford@polarischarterschool.org
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Alyssa Gilbert

The 2017-2018 school year marks Alyssa Gilbert’s fourth year teaching at Polaris as one of our three primary teachers. Ms. Gilbert is a certified and highly qualified teacher in the state of New Hampshire for grades K-8. She received her B.A. in Psychology and her M.Ed in Elementary Education from the University of New Hampshire.

Ms. Gilbert believes in teaching the whole child. Her classroom addresses the social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs of the children she works with. Ms. Gilbert likes to build relationships with her students to develop projects that align with their interests but also integrate the Polaris curriculum.

When she’s not working, Ms. Gilbert likes to hike and do leisurely walking. She enjoys visiting the beach and playing tennis with her fiancé. You can reach her at a.gilbert@polarischarterschool.org

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Lea Fesh

Lea Fesh is entering her 6th year as a K-8 Certified primary teacher at Polaris Charter School.   Mrs. Fesh holds a Bachelors degree in English from UNH and a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Southern New Hampshire University, and has done some post-graduate work as well. She worked as a Reading Interventionist, Health Teacher and assistant before finding her home at Polaris.   

Mrs. Fesh resides in Londonderry with her husband Randy and 4 children, Rodney, Hayley, Alexander and Elizabeth.  

In her spare time (which is a bit limited!) Mrs. Fesh is an avid reader and writer, and enjoys spending girl time with Hayley, attempting to understand Rodney’s video games, playing with Alex and likes doing crafts and shopping.  And of course, she is still very excited to be a teacher at Polaris! She can be contacted at l.fesh@polarischarterschool.org

 

 

Bridget Gilroy

Bridget Gilroy is looking forward to the upcoming year as an Educational Assistant. Miss Gilroy is a graduate of Merrimack College and has years of experience working with students. She has worked at an aftercare program in an elementary school and has coached elementary aged students in basketball. With a background in Communication, Miss Gilroy is a strong interpersonal communicator who strives to lead by example through positive discussions and empathetic listening.

In her free time, Miss Gilroy enjoys traveling, spending time with family and watching hockey. Miss Gilroy hopes her warm personality and optimism will have a positive impact at Polaris.

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Stacey Lunderville is our Administrative Assistant.  Stacey graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Degree in Applied Science. She has also been a home caregiver for the past eleven years and finds helping others rewarding and her compassion has transitioned nicely into the classroom. When Stacey is not working she enjoys spending time with her family.

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Katie Haynes

Katie Haynes is an intermediate classroom teacher here at Polaris. She has been working at Polaris since the school has opened, now entering her sixth year. She has earned her B.A in Elementary and Special Education from New England College and is a certified, highly qualified teacher in the state of New Hampshire for grades K-8.

Katie’s philosophy of education favors Multiple Intelligences as well as including student interests into learning so that all students are engaged and enjoying their work. She helps students create their own multi-disciplinary projects which foster growth in both their strengths and weaknesses.

Miss Haynes previously worked as a camp counselor at the NH Audubon, planning and teaching lessons on environmental education. She also previously worked in the Pembroke school district as a paraprofessional. Katie finds herself the happiest when working with children, but when she is not doing that, she can be found enjoying the outdoors – rock climbing, hiking, biking, running, playing soccer or softball, etc. She can also be found reading a book, writing, drawing, or painting. She is thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to work with the students and staff at Polaris for another year!

You can find her at k.hayes@polarischarterschool.org

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Maureen McArdle

Maureen McArdle is ecstatic to be joining the Polaris team of educators as a Primary teacher.  Miss McArdle graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in Theatre with an emphasis in Youth Drama.  She then continued her education at the University of New Hampshire to earn a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Miss McArdle believes it is essential to know and understand her students by taking the time to learn and understand their strengths and areas of need. Further, her philosophy it that all groupings should be fluid based on student’s progress.

Ms. McArdle is also passionate about science (she loves experimenting), reading, and math. She has spent time teaching Pre-Kindergarten, Second Grade and working as a Para-Educator and is excited to explore all of the opportunities that the Polaris community has to offer!

When Miss McArdle isn’t in the classroom, she is out riding her bicycle, tap dancing, reading, hiking, and enjoying time with her family.  She helps her family raise chickens in their backyard and take care of their family dog.

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Jennifer Murdock-Smith

Jennifer Murdock-Smith

Jennifer Murdock-Smith is Polaris Charter School’s director and this is her sixth year here. Ms. Murdock-Smith obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Psychology at Niagara University and Connecticut College respectively. Following, she spent ten years working in the hospital setting developing systems to evaluate program performance and implement improvement. After taking a hiatus to spend time at home with her three children, she returned to the classroom and earned her certification as a school counselor as well as her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling at Rivier University.  Her role at Polaris combines her ten years of experience in healthcare with her eight years working in education. Ms. Murdock-Smith is committed to working toward meeting children’s social, emotional and educational needs. Her email address is: j.murdocksmith@polarischarterschool.org

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline Pann is excited to embark on a new adventure as an educational assistant at Polaris. She previously worked in education for over 10 years at a small catholic school in Manchester as a preschool assistant and after school program director. Mrs. Pann’s passion is working with children and she is looking forward to meeting the children and their families at Polaris. She has attended many classes and workshops on early childhood education. She also has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Hesser College.

In her spare time, Mrs. Pann coaches youth basketball in Manchester and enjoy watching her boys Cody and Camren play sports especially football and basketball. When she is not coaching or watching sports she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, spending time with my family and long walks on the beach.

 

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Elizabeth Putnam

Elizabeth Putnam

Elizabeth Putnam is both a Founder and the Business Manager for Polaris Charter School. With her background in management, education and administration, Mrs. Putnam has been instrumental to the successful completion of the Polaris Charter and has taken the lead with our admission process and enrollment. Prior to her work with Polaris, Mrs. Putnam held the position of Director at the former Scholars’ Academy, a school for the Gifted in Hooksett, NH. Before joining the education community, Mrs. Putnam worked for 10 years in the business field as owner and chief financial officer of a manufacturing corporation in central New Hampshire. All three of Mrs. Putnam’s children have been home-schooled and have attended the Academy for Science and Design Charter School. Mrs.  Putnam realized a life-long dream with the opening of Polaris Charter School in September 2012.

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Angelica Rosenthal

Angelica Rosenthal

Angèlica Rosenthal returns as our Music teacher at Polaris Charter School. She graduated from Plymouth State University and also completed Responsive Classroom training this summer. She has experience teaching both music and theatre to all ages and has worked/volunteered in local theatres and children’s workshops. Although she finds working and teaching kids to be extremely rewarding, she believes that the most important thing when it comes music is self-expression and enjoyment.

When she is not at Polaris, Angèlica goes out of her way to stay up to date with the most recent musical art to find new ways to help kids learn to express themselves.

You are welcome to contact her at: a.rosenthal@polarischarterschool.org

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IMG_5326Nancy Sherwood is thrilled about working at Polaris Charter School as Operations/Student Support Coordinator.  She has had an extensive number of years working in a child care environment and is looking forward to applying those skills.  Mrs. Sherwood has earned early childhood credits, as well as received a BA in Business with a Psychology minor.  She started out started subbing for Polaris and enjoyed it so much that she was happy to grow in her role.  Mrs. Sherwood also enjoys her time with her family when she is not at Polaris. Her contact information is: n.sherwood@polarischarterschool.org

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Lisa Vlasich

Lisa Vlasich

Lisa Vlasich is one or our Intermediate classroom teachers at the Polaris Charter School.  Mrs. Vlasich received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child and Family Studies and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Hampshire.  She took a break from teaching to raise her three sons Sam, Josh and Matty.  She is excited to be back to teaching and looks forward to learning and growing with the children this school year.  In her free time she enjoys attending her son Sam’s rock music events as well as Josh and Matty’s college soccer games.

 

 

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Shirley Butterfield

Shirley Butterfield is extremely excited to continue her teaching career at Polaris Charter School. Ms. Butterfield graduated from Plymouth State with a degree in Physical Education. She has many experiences working with Special Olympics and strives to make sure that every student in the class is included, engaged, and enjoys themselves. This year Ms. Butterfield has also taken on the role of an Educational Assistant, as well as creating and teaching a new Specials class called Healthy Minds. Healthy Minds, an extension of Physical Education, will focus on adventure programming activities, nutrition, promoting and demonstrating healthy behavior, teamwork, yoga, and environmental as well as social health.

Ms. Butterfield enjoys working with children of all ages and loves the positively and happiness that derives from teaching. She taught high school aged students last year but enjoys the effort and respect her elementary students show her. All in all, she wants nothing more than for all her students to succeed and spread kindness to one another. She wishes for her students to leave her class after every lesson and say “Wow, I really enjoyed myself today!”

Ms. Butterfield lives in Dover NH and enjoys being physically active! She spends her free time going on hikes in the woods, spending time at the beach, trying new things, and spending time with her friends and family.

You can reach her at: s.butterfield@polarischarterschool.org