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Heather King has a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in English and has completed Doctoral level courses in Educational Leadership. Heather is currently the Head of School at Maine Arts Academy, having a passion for the arts. Heather has held several teaching roles that span from elementary grades, high school through college level. Her recent positions include dean of students, high school teacher, team Leader of online faculty at Southern New Hampshire University, English and Liberal Arts adjunct faculty at Southern New Hampshire University and adjunct faculty of English at Allegany College of Maryland and Purdue University. Heather has been an education keynote guest speaker for the state prison system in Pennsylvania, has worked with the governor on supporting families on welfare, presented at writing workshops throughout the Northeast, and is a published author of Peace of Trash. Heather lives in Central Maine with her husband and her three grown children. She enjoys hiking, reading, writing, attending arts events, and spending time with her family.

Gloriana Alvarado
Department of World Language

Gloriana is excited to join us as our Spanish teacher. She is a passionate language learner, fully bilingual in English and Spanish, intermediate level in Chinese, and novice high in Italian.  ​ She was born and raised in Costa Rica. She moved to China in 2014  with her two kids and husband for seven years, where she taught English to ESL students from ages 3- 20 through music, storytelling, reading, nature, gardening, and more.  ​ Being a language learner herself, she understands the process of language acquisition, where the cognitive aspect occurs accompanied by emotions,  such as frustration, embarrassment,  ambiguity, and the inability to fully express in a second or third language during the learning process.  She has a TESOL certificate and is currently working on her Bachelor's Degree through UoPeople.  ​ She enjoys hiking, gardening, playing the ukulele, playing with her kids, reading, doing crafts,  learning new languages, and walking dogs in her free time.

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Rocio Carey
Department of Mathematics

Señora Carey is excited to join MeAA as a math teacher focusing on Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. She was born and raised in Guatemala and spent much of her young adulthood traveling in search of the perfect slice of cake (these days, she aims to re-create her favorites at home). She lives in Central Maine with her family and pets and enjoys everything about the four seasons and the scenery in our beautiful state.   Señora Carey has a BA in Philosophy and an M.Ed. in Learning Design and Leadership. She comes by her love of math in the old-fashioned way: via number puzzles and logic tricks. Her educational research and academic interests include accessibility, equity in math education and second language acquisition, and human-centric instruction.

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Nicole Elliot
Department of Science

Nicole graduated from the University of Maine at Augusta with a Bachelor's in Liberal Arts with a double minor in secondary education and psychology. She have taught grades 7 through 12 across all types of science but is biased toward life science, particularly anatomy. When she doesn't have her teacher hat on, she is a mom to 3 very active boys and in her spare time she enjoys reading and crocheting.

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Peter Herman
Department of Music

Peter Herman graduated with a bachelor's degree from the music program at the University of Maine at Augusta in 2014 and has crossed paths with many amazing musicians, teachers, and mentors. He has been referred to many times as a guitar virtuoso and performs at venues such as the Port City Blue, Portland Maine’s best jazz venue for several years. Maine jazz great Brad Terry, 77, describes Herman as “a phenomenon,” Herman shares his love and expertise of guitar with students at Maine Arts Academy as the guitar teacher.

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Jonathan Kuiper
Department of Mathematics

Jonathan Kuiper is a veteran educator with experience in private, public, and international settings, with his most recent assignment being at an international school in Poland. Over the last nineteen years he has experience teaching English, history, science, and technology from grades 6-10. Concerning math, he has taught math across grades K-12 and especially loves Algebra 2 and Geometry. Prior to his education career, Jonathan served in the US Navy. His undergraduate degree is from Stonehill College and his masters is from Abilene Christian University. Jonathan looks forward to working with the students at Maine Arts Academy. His goal is to make math enjoyable to learn and to give some real world applications that the students can take with them.

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Diane Manter
Admissions Director 

Ms. Manter has been with MeAA since Fall 2016. She has years of experience in the municipal and education fields, having worked for the Towns of Hamilton and Wenham, MA, and the Pentucket School District, MA., as well as having experience in banking and construction. She is a graduate of Dean College in Franklin MA with a degree in Business Administration. Diane started with MeAA at the Sidney campus where she had a  strong relationship with the campus as her grandfather helped build many of the original practice buildings on the property for the New England Music Camp and her father helped paint the famed Bowl In the Pines amphitheater as a young man. Although raised in Massachusetts, she's spent a great deal of time on the lake and has family living locally, so she said that moving to Sidney and coming to work at MeAA was like coming home.   She looks forward to the growth of MeAA that the moved to Augusta will allow.  During her time off she enjoys spending time on the lake with her son, extended family, and friends. She is a strong supporter of the Children's Tumor Foundation, NF research and enjoys making belt buckles, riding horses, motorcycles and snowmobiles.

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Nicole Pantalone
Department of Special Education

Mrs. Pantalone’s academic background includes a B.S. in Mental Health and Human Services, with a minor in Addiction Studies. She interned at the Phoenix Academy, a school/ residential substance abuse treatment center for adolescents. After graduating, Nicole became a certified alcohol and drug counselor. She also has 15 years of experience working in special education at Windsor Elementary School. While working as a special education ed tech, Nicole continued her education to become a certified special education teacher. Being part of the MeAA team is an exciting new opportunity for her and she looks forward to working with high school students.  Besides teaching, Nicole is very family-oriented. She enjoys spending time with her 5-year-old daughter, including taking walks together and trips to the library and beach. Most mornings, she starts her day with strength training or a workout. Nicole also enjoys reading for some downtime. In the future, she hopes to spend more time traveling to experience new places.

Jessica Ramirez

Department of Special Education


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Tina Spencer
Special Education Director

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Rachel Merrill
Principal 

Rachel graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Nautical Science and an unlimited tonnage United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s License. While in the Merchant Marine, she attained her USCG First Class Pilot’s License for Great Lakes Waters. She has been teaching and working with high school students for twelve years and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Secondary Education.  Rachel lives in central Maine with her family. She enjoys renovating, developing, and managing real estate. Nurturing a lifelong love for sports, she also officiates high school soccer and basketball.

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Nick Archibald
Department of Social Studies

Nick Archibald is a 2017 Colby College graduate and History teacher at Maine Arts Academy. He is currently teaching US History, Honors Latin American History and Politics, and Current Events. Nick lives in Hallowell with his dog, Meera, and enjoys hiking, reading, and watching movies. If he's not walking his dog, he is probably planning lessons. "Kindness is always an option."

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Acadia Chartier
Student Support Coordinator 

Acadia Chartier joins us as the student support coordinator, handling the responsibilities of the guidance office. Acadia is extremely detail-oriented, which lends itself well to working on transcripts and scheduling. Acadia brings experience assisting in an office setting and with children. She also brings management experience in inventory and logistics.

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Jason Graves
Department of Science, Department of Mathematics 

Jason comes to Maine Arts Academy after spending over 25 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, primarily in Seattle, WA.  There he worked primarily in the field of laboratory robotics and automation development in support of autoimmune disease research and a number of different cancer therapies.  Jason is excited to now apply his years of experience combined with his passion for science and math to helping to educate the students at MeAA.  Jason has a BS in Chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, NY and an MS in Chemistry from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.   Jason and his wife recently settled in Maine after deciding to return to New England where they are both from (he from VT, she from NH).  They are still searching for their "forever home" in the state of Maine along with their dog and two cats.  They are also glad to be back close to Boston where they can go and watch the Red Sox and Celtics at home instead of among hordes of rival fans.

Alex Kane is a multi-instrumentalist who has been operating in the Maine music scene for several years. With a background in geography and anthropology, Kane is interested in the uniquely human pursuits of creativity and self-expression. They teach American music history and composition classes.

Alex Kane

Department of Music

Amy Lawson

Department of Wellness


Amy Lawson teaches Health & Movement, and College & Career Prep for Maine Arts Academy. She holds a BA from University of Maine, and a Masters of Public Administration from Midwestern State University. Amy is also a proud Maine Arts Mom. Her son graduated from the music program in 2023, and her daughter will be a member of the class of 2028. In addition to her classroom duties, Amy is launching The Art of Cycling summer program at Maine Arts, and oversees the Outdoor Adventure Club. She has spent the last 15 years of her career as a full time fitness coach, and the Owner & Operator of Kennebec Valley Coaching in Augusta. She has coached people of all ages in running, mountain biking, triathlon, and high adventure. Amy is a Registered Maine Guide, and has completed Ironman Lake Placid, The Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, and will run the 2024 Boston Marathon. She is so happy to help the students at Maine Arts experience the outdoors and enjoy physical movement.

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RJ Miller
Department of Music

Long a fixture on the NYC and European jazz/experimental scenes, RJ has performed and recorded with artists like George Garzone, Ben Street, Bill McHenry, Eric Revis, Hugo Rasmussen, Meshell N'degeocello, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, and Aaron Parks to name a few.  RJ's education has been primarily through private instruction from masters like Ornette Coleman, Frank Wess, Masabumi Kikuchi, Juini Booth, Reggie Workman, Billy Hart, Steve Grover, Jeff Williams and Jeff Hirshfield. He is best known for his work on albums like "Ben Entrada La Nit," "Alive in Japan," "Ronald's Rhythm," "RJ Miller Trio," "Plainville," If the Past Seems So Bright," "Memories of Days Gone By," "Intuition," "Sinker," "Wicca," "Dreams in Apartments," and "Horses."  See more on R.J. below: https://www.speedwellprojects.com/rj-miller

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Garrett Pooler
Food Services Director

Garrett recently obtained a bachelor's degree in Human Services from the University of Maine at Farmington and, after a short stint out of the kitchen, has decided to return to cooking. Previously working in multiple capacities, from dishwasher to kitchen manager at different locations, Garrett is excited to be back with Maine Arts Academy and hopes to work with the students to grow the food service program.  Garrett was born and raised in Central Maine and now lives with his Fiancé and two larger than average cats, Artemis and Cowboy. Garrett enjoys cooking, golfing, working on his project cars, and spending time with family and friends

Rebecca Singer
Department of World Languages

Rebecca Singer attended the University of Maine at Augusta, where she continued to study the French she had learned in high school. She was active in the French Club, participating in many fun activities and events, including a trip to Quebec and an immersion program on the Maine coast. A certified English teacher, Rebecca has also worked as a Writing Tutor, Reading Tutor, Substitute Teacher, and Special Educational Technician. Last year, she was the Title 1 English Teacher at Maine Arts Academy. She is excited to be teaching French this year!    Rebecca spent six years in the U.S. Navy, during which time she traveled extensively. She is on the board of directors for Gaslight Theater and co-directs the drama club at Hall-Dale High School. She is the President of Kennebec Valley Roller Derby and the lead singer of a local rock band. Rebecca is proudly supported and adored by her husband, 15-year-old son, and their three lovely cats.

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John Spinale

Department of Social Studies

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Jasen Richardson
Dean of Students, Chair of Academics, Department of English, Department of Film Studies

Mr. Richardson received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University, where he also minored in film studies and secondary education, his Master of Arts in English from Southern New Hampshire University, and his Master of Humanities in Film Studies from Tiffin University. He is licensed to teach 7-12 English in the state of Maine. He taught 8th grade English and directed the middle school drama department for seven years in Tennessee. He then began his career at Maine Arts Academy in 2018 and is currently teaching English 2, English 3, Introduction to Film Studies, Honors Film Genre and Theory, Film Production 1, and two college English courses (ENG 101 and 102W) through UMA. Mr. Richardson is also the Dean of Students and Chair of Academics. He has an enormous love for Maine Arts Academy and is honored to be a part of helping advance the school's culture in a positive direction. Besides teaching, his other passions include his family (especially his sons, his daughter, and his fiancée), his friends, traveling, going to concerts, most music (especially The Grateful Dead and Ween), watching films, reading, and film and video production.

Jocelyn Begin

Department of Special Education


Jocelyn was born and raised in Augusta, Maine. She is a 2020 graduate of Maine Arts Academy, with a Major in Visual Arts, and a Minor in Music and Dance. Through being a student at MeAA, she got to see how important Music and the Arts are for students, as it was greatly impactful for her and others around her. Jocelyn worked as a Coach at MIKA’s Afterschool & Summer-Camp Program during her junior and senior year. There, she worked with ages 5 through 14. While being a Coach, she learned the impact that providing both empathy and guidance had on the kids she worked with. Jocelyn has been a singer since she was 9 years old, and completed nearly 10 years of vocal training from Noteworthy Vocal Studio. Along with her love for music, she is also passionate about visual arts, and helping those around her. While being an Ed Tech at MeAA, Jocelyn enjoys supporting the growth and development of students in the classes she assists. Her favorite place to vacation is in the countryside of Maine, specifically where her mom’s family grew up, on Cyr Plantation, in Hamlin. She also hopes to travel abroad in the future.

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Russ Cox
Department of Visual Arts

Russ Cox was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the backwoods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like television or running water, he spent his time drawing, whittling, and throwing dirt clods at his cousins. With the bulk of his life spent in Pennsylvania, he met his wife; became a graphic designer; played in punk, alternative, and surf bands; had two kids; and started his own illustration studio, Smiling Otis Studio (named after one of their enormous cats).  Russ creates his art using digital software, primarily Clip Studio, and other digital tools. He works in traditional mediums, often with a mixture of paper, pencil, pen & ink, gouache, and watercolor.  Russ lives in Maine with his wife and three cats.

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Travis Harden
Department of Visual Arts

Travis Harden is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a BFA in Theater Performance and a minor in Environmental Science. He is a self taught portrait photographer who has worked in the industry doing a variety of shoots for models, dancers, actors, couples, weddings and behind the scenes film photography. He also works in the film industry here in Maine and has experience filming advertisements, musicians and has worked on and created multiple award winning short films. In his limited free time he enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and skiing, spending time with his family, his cat Luna and creating his own projects with his friends.

Cory King

Operations Director


Cory King comes to Maine Arts Academy with over 20 years of experience in education. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Millersville University and also holds a Master Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Cory was a school administrator for 10 years and before that was a teacher at the State Prison in Pennsylvania. His experience lends itself to the operations director position because Mr. King grew up as a jack of all trades. He has building skills, mechanical skills and is trained in building Safety as an ALICE instructor. His expertise in education along with his hands-on trade skills has brought him to Maine Arts Academy. In his spare time, Cory is an outdoor enthusiast, a gardener, and loves to cook and make his own maple syrup. He has 3 grown children who he enjoys spending time with.

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Stephen Legawiec
Department of Theater

In his 35 years as a director, Stephen Legawiec (le-gahv-yetz) has curated over 100 professional productions as well as directing over 75. He was artist-in-residence at Teatr Stary in Krakow, Poland and is a member of the International School of Theatre Anthropology. He founded Vermont’s White River Theatre Festival in 1988 and served as Artistic Director. During this time, he created the Invisible Theatre Project, which delved into the use of text as music and emotion, rather than as language. In 1997 he launched Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble to explore the relevance of myth and ritual to a contemporary audience, and for which he wrote and directed every play. Legawiec is the author of 35 plays, including the critically acclaimed Red Thread, which won the 2003 Garland Award for Los Angeles Production of the year. In addition, Legawiec has designed over 50 sets and composed over a dozen theatrical scores. Outside of the U.S., his work has most recently been seen in Trois-Rivieres, Canada, at the Season of Unusual Theatre. He is currently the Artistic Director of Camden Shakespeare Festival.

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Jenna Murray
Business Manager 

Jenna obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Thomas College in 2020, and since has gained experience in working in finance and office management. Jenna lives in Rome with her husband, son and English Lab. When she's not working, she loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoying the outdoors.

Robert Pycior
Department of Music

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Keenan Soule
Department of English

Keenan Soule is a recent Honors graduate from the University of Maine at Orono. He double majored in English (with a concentration in Creative Writing and Poetry) and Secondary Education(with a concentration in English Education). He is a lifelong Maine resident and lifelong learner who (surprise, surprise) loves reading and writing.  Keenan teaches Creative Writing, English 1, English 4, and Reading.

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Stacey Veilleux
Department of English

Stacey Veilleux received her Bachelor of Arts in English and World Literature from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. It took a few years for her to discover her love of teaching but she eventually found it at MeAA. Stacey has been a part of the MeAA family since the school opened, her daughter being amongst the first group of students to attend in its inaugural year. Two years later, she became a member of the staff and has seen her role grow and change each year. She currently teaches Writing Lab and Transition Humanities in addition to being a part of the Special Ed team. Besides teaching, her interests include reading, writing, exploring nature, traveling, live music, and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite travel destination is going to see her daughter, Maya, who is attending university in London, England.

Although born in Connecticut, Mrs. Spencer was raised in Maine and graduated from Winslow High School. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Mrs. Spencer earned her bachelor's degree from Marywood University, located in Scranton, PA. She majored in elementary and special education; later she received her MS English teaching license. She taught special education in numerous settings, as well as 7th grade Language Arts as a general education teacher. Mrs. Spencer has been married for 34 years and has four grown children and three grandchildren. She enjoys many activities which include sewing, painting, camping, and traveling.

Suzanne Zanoni 

Mental Health Clinician


Hello! My name is Suzanne Zanoni. I am the School Counselor and have been working in the mental health field for over twenty years.I currently own my own Private Practice and work part time at Maine Arts Academy because I am passionate about helping adolescents. I am from Boston, Massachusetts and enjoy cooking, working out and being with my family and dogs in my spare time. I have my Masters Degree in Education and I am licensed in both Massachusetts (LMHC and LSWA) and Maine ( LCPC) as a psychotherapist. I am excited to be part of the MeAA team!

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