On Sept. 2, 2014, students weren’t be the only ones experiencing some back-to-school excitement and jitters. When you encounter new faculty and staff, introduce yourself. In the meantime, learn a little about all of the great adults joining the Nobles community this fall.
Josh Accomando – Athletic and English Departments, Teaching Fellow
Accomando returns to Nobles this fall as a teaching fellow with the English and the athletic departments. Accomando joined Nobles last spring as an assistant coach with the boys crew program, where he worked closely with Lizzy Antonik. Joshua has coaching experience with novices at the collegiate level as well as 17 years of rowing experience, and he worked with the third and fourth varsity boats at Nobles in spring 2014.
Accomando was born in Boston and grew up in Andover, Mass., where he loved being active and being outdoors—skiing, swimming, biking, reading, hiking, camping and climbing. He eventually picked up rowing, which became his sport of choice through college. After college, he took up triathlons, road racing and backpacking in an effort to support his dedication to lifelong fitness and healthy living—further bolstered by his discovery of the oven and kale.
Accomando earned a bachelor’s in political science (international relations) and, upon graduation, he moved to San Diego to begin a service commitment to the Navy —incurred in exchange for his education. As an officer in the Navy, he served as a division officer aboard a Frigate (USS VANDEGRIFT) and a Destroyer (USS SPRUNACE). While in the Navy, he began taking night courses in English literature and developed a passion for the subject.
Upon the completion of his active-duty service requirement, Accomando returned to Massachusett and continued to study English literature. Having had little opportunity to row in the Navy, he was glad to resume the sport when he joined a local rowing club on the Charles River. As he worked toward his goal of becoming a teacher and a coach at a secondary school, he coached at the novice-collegiate level as well as at Nobles.
Nicole Bertelli Anastos – Business Office, Human Resources Manager
Anastos is excited to be returning to the independent school world after working at a charter public school for six years as human resources/business manager. Prior to that, she was the director of human resources at Milton Academy for more than seven years. Nicole has a bachelor’s from Merrimack College, where she majored in business management/social organizational psychology, as well as a certificate in human resources management from Bentley College. Anastos enjoys being outdoors as much as possible: in the summer, she can be found most weekends at her favorite place—the beach—swimming or kayaking. She also enjoys gardening, taking her dog, Niko, for a walk, biking, golfing with her family, going to Red Sox games, or visiting the mountains of New Hampshire—anything to be out in the sunshine. Fall and spring, she can be found on the sidelines, cheering on one of her three daughters at their sporting events—soccer, dance team or lacrosse. In the winter, she and her family spend weekends skiing at Loon Mountain, or watching one of the girls’ hockey games. Anastos loves listening to music, dancing, reading, movies, cooking, traveling, spending time with her friends and family and strongly believes in the power of laughter! Anastos is a native of Massachusetts, growing up in Lexington and now residing in Hingham. Although she did live in Vail, Colo., for two years with her husband, Ted, teaching children’s ski school at Beaver Creek, and working in the hospitality industry, they decided New England was their home and returned to start their family here. Anastos’ three girls are 16, 13 and 9; the oldest attends Hingham High and the other two attend Derby Academy. She looks forward to getting to becoming a part of the Nobles community.
Bradley Becker – Science Department, Chemistry and Biology Faculty Member
Becker recently relocated from Philadelphia, Pa., to join the science department at Nobles. He was born in Chicago, and grew up in Basking Ridge, N.J. He attended Delbarton School before moving to Durham, N.C., where he became a Duke Blue Devil. After graduating with a bachelor’s of science in biology and a bachelor’s in history, Becker moved to the west coast and worked as a chemist in San Francisco, Calif. In 2006, he moved to Philadelphia and became a full-time teacher at the Haverford School. During his time at Haverford, Brad taught chemistry, biology and physics, coached baseball, and earned a master’s in educational leadership at St. Joseph’s University. Becker enjoys travel, hiking, reading, writing, music and spending time with his family. Brad has two sons—Casey and Dylan—aged 5 and 2. Becker is excited to be in Boston and to teach science at Nobles this fall.
Iesha Caisey – Admission Office and Diversity Initiatives Department, Teaching Fellow
Caisey, Nobles Class of 2010, lives in Boston and recently received a bachelor’s in neuroscience from Union College in Schenectady, NY. She is involved in the Nobles Upward Bound summer program and is excited to continue her involvement with the program throughout the year, as well as join the diversity initiatives team and the admission office at Nobles. Iesha was drawn to admission work as early as her freshman year of college; she jumped at the first opportunity to become a volunteer Gatekeeper tour guide. Her senior year, she served as a senior intern in the Union College admission office, interviewing prospective students and assisting during open houses and other related events. Along with her work in admission, Caisey worked for residential life as an apartment manager, became an executive board member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and conducted research on topics such as motion-induced blindness, reading and comprehension skills, and the ability to reduce irrelevant information. In her spare time, Caisey enjoys reading trilogies, watching Disney movies with her two younger sisters (Natalie and Ellie), going dancing with friends, walking around Boston, eating home-cooked meals, shopping for shoes and traveling to new countries. Caisey studied abroad in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she taught English at a local NGO, the Global Child. She enjoyed immersing herself in a culture unlike her own and hopes to visit her students in the near future. As a graduate of Nobles and a past president of the affinity group Sister-2-Sister, she is excited to join the faculty and staff.
Danielle Chagnon – Mathematics Department, Faculty Member
Chagnon joins the Nobles math department to teach geometry, algebra II and pre-calculus. She comes to the Boston area by way of central and western Massachusetts, where taught eight years at Cushing Academy and Deerfield Academy. She coached varsity soccer and softball at both boarding schools, has lived in both girls’ and boys’ dormitories, and has taught algebra I through calculus. What she enjoys most about teaching math is encouraging students to use math language, communication and problem-solving skills in creative ways. She has spent the last three summers, (and has two more to go), working on a liberal arts master’s degree at Dartmouth College, focusing on the connections between math and creative writing. Outside of the classroom, Chagnon is a strong believer in the importance of athletics in personal growth. Her most memorable role models were her high school coaches, who showed her the meaning of humility, empathy and teamwork through physical challenges. She relished the opportunity to play soccer and softball at Bowdoin College, counting her former teammates among her greatest teachers and dearest friends. Chagnon graduated from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in summer 2005 before deciding that the world of education was a better fit for her skills and her desire to serve, and she has never regretted that decision. Chagnon was drawn to Nobles because of its community—and service-minded student body, vibrant faculty and commitment to girls’ athletics.
Adam Cluff – English Department, Faculty Member
Cluff joins the Nobles faculty as an English teacher and head boys basketball coach. A native of Wellesley, Cluff earned a bachelor’s from Williams College, majoring in American studies. A five-week stint volunteering in the English department at Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx in January of 1999 convinced him that teaching high school English would be his life. Following Williams, Cluff taught for 12 years at his alma mater, Wellesley High School. His core courses were grade 10 American literature and a senior elective (humanities), which he team-taught with a social studies teacher. His background in the interdisciplinary American studies field lent itself well to this cultural studies approach, and he hopes to explore opportunities for similar curricular overlap in his work at Nobles. He also taught electives ranging from Shakespeare to African American literature. Beyond the classroom at Wellesley High, Cluff coached the JV boys basketball team, was a member of the boys tennis coaching staff and co-advised the Gay-Straight Alliance. For the past three years, Cluff has been the head boys basketball coach at Framingham High School; he is particularly excited for the opportunity at Nobles to teach and coach at the same institution. During the summers Cluff earned a master’s in literature from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Bread Loaf sparked a love for and commitment to integrating theatre into his English courses. During summer 2014, Cluff taught literature in the Upward Bound program at Nobles. When he is not teaching English or coaching basketball, Cluff is happiest when going for a run, seeing live theatre or music, reading a novel or attending a sporting event. A resident of Newton, he is thrilled to join the Nobles family.
Emilie Geissinger – Science Department, Teaching Fellow
Geissinger grew up in Darien, Conn., and attended the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. She graduated from Bates College in spring 2014 with a bachelor’s of science in biology and a minor in history. She was introduced to the world of biology in 2008 at the Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas, and participated in a shark ecology and population research program. She focused much of her college work on marine ecology and has also taken coursework in physiology and anatomy. Geissinger’s senior thesis looked at the feeding ecology of Wrymouth (Cryptacanthodes maculatus) in Machias, Maine, through stable isotope analysis and gut content analysis. Geissinger was on the Bates College varsity swim team and club water polo team. In addition to athletics, Geissinger helped in biology classes last year as a teaching assistant for labs. Last summer, Geissinger worked as an aquarist intern where she helped manage displays and tanks and looked after a Loriqueet exhibit. In summer 2014, Geissinger worked at Camp Pemigewasset, a boys seven-week sleep-away camp, where she taught swimming, canoeing and sailing and helped lead canoeing and caving trips.
Ben Heider – Communications Office, Digital Video Producer/Writer
Ben grew up in Dayton, Ohio, with family ties to Massachusetts. He attended Boston College where he studied film and cultivated a strong spirit of service, school pride, and leadership. As a student at BC, Heider dressed as their mascot Baldwin the Eagle for varsity athletics, and developed his passion of mentoring students as a resident assistant, orientation leader, retreat leader, facilitator in the Emerging Leader Program and captain for the Freshmen League. While in college, he also formed a strong relationship with musician Chad Stokes, and wife Sybil Gallagher (sister of Athletics Director Alex Gallagher ’90), volunteering and creating videos for their music, service and education nonprofit organizations Calling All Crows and Amplifying Education, most recently in Tennessee at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. After graduation from BC in 2012, Heider moved to Los Angeles to serve with the AmeriCorps organization City Year where he worked with at-risk elementary school students on Compton Avenue in Watts. In addition to serving full time in the classroom, He also worked with the communications and marketing team to create videos highlighting service days and civic engagement events. After graduating from City Year in 2013, Ben established his freelance filmmaking business, Frankly Benjamin Productions, and journeyed to Peru for a month shooting a social justice documentary about gold mining. Back in the states, he has been creating promotional, wedding and music videos independently and in collaboration with various studios in Los Angeles, including a three-month stint across the western United States filming wineries and adventure sports with the TV series WINERAM. Just in the past year, Heider has filmed and journeyed through rainforests and deserts, mountains and beaches across 26 states and two continents, and though he enjoys the travel, he is extremely excited to be settling back in Boston and joining the Nobles family to create powerful video content.
Cat Kershaw – Development Office, Annual Fund and Achieve Coordinator
Kershaw started in the development office at Nobles in March and is thrilled to be working with the Annual Nobles Fund as well as the Achieve program. Originally from Newtown, Conn., Kershaw was an economics major at Trinity College and played on the women’s basketball team for four seasons. After graduating in 2007, Kershaw spent three years at Beaver Country Day School in the athletics department. For the next four years, she worked at a medical device company in Newton Center, Mass., and gained experience in all aspects of small business, including sales, customer service and marketing. Kershaw has completed eight marathons, including four Boston Marathons, and also participates in triathlons. She lives with her husband, Mike, and two dogs in Hyde Park.
Kelsey Lawler ’09 – Development Office, Graduate Affairs
Lawler graduated from Skidmore College with a bachelor’s in English and a bachelor’s of science in scenic design in 2013. She spent over a year studying in London while she was at Skidmore, half during her first semester of freshman year, the other during her junior year, during which she worked alongside professional scenic designers while finishing her degree. The first six months after graduating brought her back to London, where she worked with American students during their first semester of college in the British University system. Since returning, she was back at Nobles in the spring to design the musical The Pirates of Penzance and works and performs at ImprovBoston, a nonprofit comedy theatre in Cambridge. She loves spending her free time doing improv and writing with her sketch group. Lawler is a Nobles grad, Class of 2009, and feels indebted to Nobles for everything that she learned while she was here. She feels incredibly lucky to have the chance to work with such a dedicated and talented team of adults (many of whom were her teachers and mentors during her four years at Nobles!), and hopes to play a big part in the Nobles community this year. Find her in Lawson House, or in the tech booth during assembly, or directing the Middle School play in the winter.
Paul Lieberman – Performing Arts, Middle School Instrumental Music Faculty Member
Gil Evans once commented that “everything Paul Lieberman plays sounds right,” and reviewers named the saxophonist, flutist, and former UMass professor’s award-winning 2011 CD Ibeji to their best-of lists, calling it “stunning, heartfelt, and emotional,” and wrote, “Lieberman, [who] is a soulful player on any instrument, conveying deep emotional content…demonstrates his instrumental mastery and also reveals himself as a formidable composer. Ibeji is a hell of an accomplishment.” His educational performance project “Voyages on the Black Atlantic” has received multiple grants to use the music of New Orleans Mardi Gras and Brazilian Carnival to teach students about the African roots of American culture.
Lieberman began studying classical flute in elementary school and added saxophone in middle school. After earning a bachelor’s in music at Yale, he began freelancing in New York, then toured for two years with Brazilian jazz legends Airto & Flora Purim, before spending four years of total immersion in Brazilian music and culture and the Portuguese language while living in Rio de Janeiro as Brazil’s first call saxophonist and flutist. On returning to the U.S. with his Brazilian wife (of 29 years now) he spent time as a businessman, eventually guiding an industry-leading wholesale distributor of art prints and posters to a sale, as its managing partner.
Recently he was commissioned by Yale University to create big band arrangements of music from Ibeji, headlined with the Paul Lieberman Quartet in Brazil and the Czech Republic, tours as music director of Allman Brothers co-founder Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, recorded solos alongside Hubert Laws and Nestor Torres for an all-flute jazz big band and did a week’s worth of K-2 educational performances at Carnegie Hall. He has performed or recorded with Pat Metheny, George Benson, Jaco Pastorius, David Sanborn, The Allman Brothers, Paquito D’Rivera, the Springfield Symphony, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento and many others. In addition to touring and recording Lieberman does guest artist, clinic and master-class appearances, was on the Deerfield Academy faculty the last two years, and has also begun to produce records. You can see, hear and read more about him at www.paullieberman.com
Curtis Mann – Visual Arts Department, Photography/Video Faculty Member
Mann is excited to join the visual arts department at Nobles. He is a recent New England transplant, having come from Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton in Ohio but went on to follow his passion in visual arts by obtaining a master’s in fine arts from Columbia College Chicago where he concentrated on photography. Mann has taught photography at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton, Ohio, at Columbia College Chicago and most recently at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. As an artist, he has exhibited his work throughout the United States and Europe. Mann has had museum exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Orlando Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo.
Mann brings to Nobles his love of teaching the medium of photography and his passion for making art. He will share with his students and colleagues a creative, sincere and fun outlook on life, images and learning. On the weekends, near his new home in Rhode Island, he will be playing with his daughter Ruby while watching Premier League soccer matches. During hurricane season, you will find him surfing the point breaks off of Little Compton, Newport or Narragansett.
Chuck Munn – Classics Department, Teaching Fellow
Having been born and raised in the western foothills of rural Maine, Munn then moved to the “big city” of Lewiston, Maine, to attend Bates College. He spent his four years there recreating the Ancient World through topics as disparate as geology, anthropology and ancient languages. During breaks and free weekends, Munn both coached alpine ski racing and worked as a bunk counselor at Seeds of Peace International Camp (SOP). At SOP, he worked with gifted and natural leaders from around the world as these young individuals discussed regional issues. These and others students inspired him to pursue teaching in his and everyone else’s favorite written language—Latin! His interests also include hiking, running, bowling, food and film.
Kim Neal – Communications Office, Assistant Director
Neal returns to Nobles as assistant director of communications; she was part of the communications team from 2005-2007 and is happy to “come home.” She enjoys helping tell the stories of living and learning at Nobles, and is excited to rejoin Nobles’ diverse, close-knit community and contribute to a dynamic creative team. Her enthusiasm for writing, social media and photography and longstanding admiration for the talents and qualities of the individuals at Nobles ultimately drew her back.
Born to two teachers, Neal always knew that education was her calling; she has taught in London, Vienna, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Newton, Mass. She is a graduate of Punahou School in Hawaii and Occidental College in Los Angeles, where she earned her B.A. in English and Comparative Literary Studies. She received her M.Ed. at the College of William and Mary. After several years in the classroom, a desire to combine her love for education, writing, photography and design led her to become director of alumni communications at Belmont Hill School, prior to her first stint at Nobles. While away from Nobles, Neal did freelance writing and photography for various not-for-profits and private clients while staying home with her children. For the past three years, she served as director of communications and special events for Hillside School in Marlborough, Mass. Born and raised in Hawaii, Neal has lived through 18 Boston winters. Her passions include travel, photography, music, theatre, the ocean and trying new restaurants. Her favorite destinations so far, besides heading home to the Aloha State, have been the Greek Islands, New Zealand and Martha’s Vineyard. She is married to her college sweetheart, Chris, and they have two children, Ava and Kai.
Kevin O’Neill – Athletic Department, Strength and Conditioning Trainer
Kevin joins us after most recently working as a sports performance coach at Athletic Revolution. Prior to that he was the director of sports performance at Athletic Based Training and also the director of sports performance at The Parisi Speed School. Kevin has worked with numerous athletes in the middle school, high school, collegiate, and professional levels in his strength and conditioning career.
Kevin has a strong background in athletics. As a high school athlete at Cardinal Spellman, Kevin captained the football and basketball teams. He also captained the men’s basketball team at Massasoit Community College and was named the Male Student Athlete of the year. Kevin went on to become an assistant coach for Massasoit men’s basketball after graduation. He also coached boys basketball at Scituate High School and for the Bay State Magic AAU program.
Kevin earned a master’s degree in strength and conditioning from Bridgewater State College and was also an adjunct professor at Bridgewater State College. Kevin grew up in Abington and currently lives on the South Shore with his wife Heather and two sons, Jameson and Jackson.
Hannah Puckett – History Department, Faculty
Hannah Puckett recently completed her master’s degree in European Studies from New York University. Her academic interests pertain to Balkan history – a master’s thesis is on the ways in which national narratives about Bulgaria’s history under Ottoman rule influenced relations between Bulgarians and their Muslim minorities during socialism. She spent a year in Bulgaria on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship, where she taught classes in English to 8th and 9th graders on a wide array of topics, from social justice issues in hip hop- music to portrayals of gender in contemporary pop culture. While living in Bulgaria, she also worked for Caritas-Ruse, an organization that is dedicated to improving civil society through various community-building projects, such as education programs for Turkish and Roma children and awareness campaigns that educate the public about the prevalence of human trafficking in the region. She also spent two years at the San Li School in Shanghai, where she taught high school students AP United States history, AP Literature, world history, TOEFL, SAT, SSAT, American literature, and writing. Born in Abilene, Texas, and raised in San Francisco, Calif., Hannah loves cooking, yoga, photography, travel, and cats. She is currently in Ruse, Bulgaria for the summer, helping to start up an NGO that provides support for women and children who suffer from domestic violence and other forms of sexual, psychological, and physical abuse.
Laura Steele – Achieve, Assistant Director
Laura joins the Nobles community all the way from sunny Miami, Fla., where she was born and raised by a big, rambunctious Cuban family. Her instincts (and every aptitude test she ever completed) always pointed her towards a career in education. As a child, she often convinced the neighborhood kids to play “school” where she insisted they solve math problems on her easel and turn in homework. When it came time to choose a career path in college, however, she went a different direction and earned a degree from the Florida State University in business administration with a major in hospitality management.
Working in the luxury hotel industry, she gained invaluable experience in many different areas of operations including the executive office, public relations, catering and conference management, and human resources. Yet, trying to appease guests that demanded their money back for the lack of sunshine during hurricane season or because a seagull stole their lunch at the beach ultimately did not provide her with the fulfillment she desperately desired from her career. After two years, she finally stopped fighting her gut and the guests and took a leap of faith into the field of education.
In both a high-poverty urban school (where a majority of the students were learning English as a second language) and a high-performing charter preparatory school, she taught regular, advanced, inclusion and self-contained middle school science. She was honored with the Rookie Teacher of the Year award and served as a mentor to at-risk students, PTSA President, Adviser to the National Junior Honor Society, and Honor Roll Coordinator.
Outside of school, she is an active member of the Junior League, a volunteer organization of women committed to improving and uniting the community. When not at work or volunteering, you’ll find her exploring her new surroundings with her husband (Ryan), spoiling her Boston Terrier (Meeka), or learning to row on the Charles River (when in Rome!).
Amanda Taylor – Mathematics Department, Teaching Fellow
Taylor grew up locally on the Fessenden School campus in Newton, Mass. After attending Newton North high school and playing both ice hockey and lacrosse, she moved on to the University of Rhode Island. She just graduated from URI with a major in mathematics and a minor in education. She loved every minute she spent during her various student teaching experiences and her love for teaching grew immensely. She also stayed active by playing on the ice hockey team at URI. Her passion for sports and love for children has combined to encourage her to pursue coaching as well as teaching. Each summer throughout college, she has played a vital role in the ice hockey camps held at the Fessenden rink. She has found that there is a direct correlation between teaching and coaching and believes that life lessons learned outside the classroom can translate into class. In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports, spending quality time with friends, listening to music, and reading. She has also traveled on a one-month trip to Peru for hiking, community service, and R&R, which was an amazing experience. Amanda is thrilled to be joining the Nobles community and is looking forward to meeting everyone.
Marvin Vilma – Diversity Initiatives Department and
Admission Office, Teaching Fellow
Marvin, a native of Queens, N.Y., is a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. where he received a bachelor’s in sociology and French. His academic work focused on racial identity development at leading independent schools and Caribbean francophone literature. Outside of the classroom, Marvin was also heavily involved with the Caribbean Student Association, the Bunche House for Positive Sexuality, Thurber Society (formerly Students For Education Reform), Konosioni Senior Honor Society and the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE). Marvin initially started working with students as a tutor at a local high school in the small village of Hamilton. He became more involved with education after his first year of college when he interned for Breakthrough Collaborative NY where he taught 7th grade Animal Science. The experience was an eye-opening introduction to the classroom and it inspired Marvin to explore education as a career. Marvin joined Breakthrough for a second summer teaching 8th grade English. However, the following summer, Marvin decided to explore boarding school life and worked with Summer Exploration Programs as a residential adviser, program assistant and volleyball instructor. During his spare time, Marvin is also an aspiring entrepreneur. He runs an event planning and marketing company called Pruie Production. Marvin enjoys reading, watching sci-fi action comedies, playing board games, traveling, volunteering and finding new hobbies. He is excited to be joining the faculty and staff at Noble and Greenough as an admission and diversity teaching fellow.
Molly Weeden – Performing Arts, Teaching Fellow
Originally from a small town in the mountains of Upstate New York, Molly has led a semi-nomadic life since her graduation with a bachelor’s in theatrical design and technology from Syracuse University. She has followed her passion for theatrical costuming to Philadelphia, Utah, London and New York City. Weeden’s post-graduate work in the theatre world has included running wardrobe crew, designing costumes and constructing garments. She is a bit of a book nerd who loves all outdoor adventures and lives for traveling. She is also an active volunteer, interior firefighter and EMT back in her hometown of Valley Falls. Weeden is excited to begin her newest adventure with the Nobles community and to set down some roots here in the greater Boston area!