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.

HEATHER KING 

Head of School

RACHEL ROBERGE

Assistant Head of School

Roberge1.jpg

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 is enthusiastic about sharing her passion for understanding mathematics with the students of Snow Pond.

 

Rachel lives in central Maine with her husband and children. She enjoys renovating, developing, and managing real estate. Nurturing a lifelong love for sports, she also officiates high school soccer and basketball.

LINDA BELANGER

Business Manager

Linda brings leadership in planning, organizing, and overseeing the business and operational programs of MeAA.  

Linda attended Hesser College in Manchester, NH in the accounting program. She has worked over 20 years in the accounting field including 14 years with Syntio that provided Education and Training Services.  She sits on the Board of Directors with Community Regional Charter School in Somerset County. 

Linda lives in Central Maine with her husband and two grown children.  She enjoys golfing, boating, art events, hiking and spending time with her family and friends.

TINA SPENCER

Special Education

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 30 years and has four grown children and a granddaughter. She enjoys many activities which include sewing, painting, camping, and traveling

Gloriana Alvarada
Spanish

Gloriana is excited to join me 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.

Karen Appun
Secretary

Ms. Appunn joined MeAA's Main Office in 2020.  Her previous teaching experience along with her outgoing, quiet personality and attention to detail is an asset to the school's main office.

Nick Archibald
History 

Acadia Chartier

Guidance Administrative Assistant

Acadia Chartier joins us as an administrative assistant to the guidance department. Ms. Chartier is extremely detail orientated which lends itself well for working on transcripts and scheduling. Ms. Chartier brings experience assisting in an office setting and with children. She also brings management experience in inventory and logistics. She is currently working on her bachelor degree through the University of Maine.

 

Acadia is passionate about the arts. She is a former dancer and has love and appreciation for music and photography. In her free time she enjoys yoga, hiking, and quality time at home with her cat, Clementine.

Josh Clark

IT Director

Lauren Cote

School Nurse

Lauren, a local native who grew up in Augusta moved to Sidney, ME in June of 2000 with her family. She attended Messalonskee H.S. and graduated in 2005 with high honors. After high school, she pursued her love of helping others and giving back to her community. She was accepted into the BSN program at Husson University in 2006. Prior to going to Husson, she attended KVCC for 1 year to obtain prerequisites, and then transferred to Husson University where she attended for 2.5 years. She moved closer to home and obtained her associates degree in nursing at University of Maine in Augusta.  During that period, she obtained a job as a CNA at Maine General Medical Center on a Medical-Surgical floor. After obtaining her RN licensure, she began working on the floor where she had first started her nursing career. In 2012, she went back to finish her Bachelors in Nursing at UMA, and in 2014 she graduated as the first accredited class from the University. After spending 6 years on the Med/surg floor, she moved onto Emergency room nursing, in which she held her position for 5 years and obtained many certifications. In 2019, She joined the Day Surgery floor in Augusta. 

In addition to working for MeAA, Lauren is currently employed full-time by Maine General Medical Center as an Occupational health nurse and travels to many off-site locations. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her precious 2-year old son, and her 5 year old retriever. They spend a lot of time reading books, playing outside, going to the beach and lake, playground, nature walks, and spending time with extended family.

Russ Cox 
Creative Media

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.

Priscilla Girard 

Guidance Counselor

Passionate about positive change on multiple levels;  never says no to a challenge or meeting a need and always looking for new ways to expand knowledge of the Social Work field.  I Currently holds an LCSW in the State of Maine, a court rostered GAL and currently in Private Practice with a focus on Trauma Recovery with a National Certification in TF-CBT. Graduated 2006 from the University of New England with an MSW in Social Work, received a BS degree in Mental Health and Human Services from the UMS. My interests outside of school include my children; exploring and playing outside, the ocean, my dog. I have a dream of writing a book that I someday hope to publish and use that money to support a program of offering displaced children a sense of belonging

Jason Graves
Science

Mindy Güngör 
History

Mindy claims she is a “jack of all trades who is master of absolutely none,” but we heard she just started and finished her Master of Science in Education at USM this past year, immediately following surgery intended to mitigate the “40-year headache.” Against all odds, (and aside mild bragging that her brain is bigger than yours), removal of part of her skull and top vertebra proved well-worth the risk, and she is primed to return to humanities; her original field of passion.

 

With a B.A. in Geography/Anthropology, Mindy also has certifications or experience supporting students from many various walks, including Pre-K, Special Education, Literacy, Drama, English as Foreign / Second Language, and even spent a year teaching math; which she will tell you she never (in a “bazillion” years!) suspected to have enjoyed so thoroughly. 

 

Mindy is committed to social justice, to inspiring lifelong learning in her students, and embraces diversity as a cardinal asset to a classroom wherefore “not one of us is smarter than all of us combined.” She recently participated in Safe Zone certification, teaches English as a second language to adults in her free time, and her future plans include returning to Turkey to teach English to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. For fun, she binges on Star Trek, rearranges her house plants, and participates in Aqua-kickboxing at the YWCA as part of her continued path toward recovery.  

 

She lives with her 2 children, husband, and dog, Stellaluna.

Peter Herman
Music - Guitar 

Gregory Judd

Vocal Teacher

Gregory is excited to be working at this Academy with many inspiring opportunities. Mr. Judd graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Music Education,while there he focused on Voice. Gregory was a part of the USM Chamber Singers, and went on the 2015 European Tour in Croatia and Slovenia. Since graduation, he also has worked with multiple community theaters, performing in shows such as The Music Man, Mamma Mia, Shrek, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, and more. His most proud theater achievement is being in the Maine Premiere of Carrie: The Musical. 

Recently, Gregory was seen teaching English in Japan in 2019-2020, learning about other cultures and gaining new experiences.

Thom Klepach, PHD

Science / Math Teacher

Dr. Klepach has been with Maine Arts Academy since it opened in 2016. He regularly works to build the relationship between Colby College and Maine Arts Academy inviting MEAA students to work in the Colby College science lab, participate in the Colby College Jan-Plan and other Colby College opportunities. Recently he worked with our students with Dartmouth and Colby Professors to take water samples out of area lakes and

 

Thom received his PhD in carbohydrate biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and completed his masters work in immunology at the University of Virginia. He has extensive teaching experience in a wide range of secondary and tertiary educational environments ranging from Colby College and Kennebec Valley Community College here in Maine to Texas A&M and Del Mar College in Corpus Christi Texas. During his baccalaureate at Eastern Michigan University he trained in the rigorous pedagogical techniques as applied to high school aged students at the High/Scope Institute for Ideas, an alternative educational institute founded in 1962, and he received the Kaneb Center Advanced Teaching Scholar Certification from the University of Notre Dame during his graduate studies. In addition to his professional pursuits, he was trained as an Ashtanga Yoga instructor in Hamilton, New Zealand during his two year stay there following graduate school. He has also had a modest but successful life as a visual artist and as a musician in several musical groups and is particularly interested in integrating the performing arts into an active learning environment in the core academic courses that he teaches.

Meredith Lee
Accounting / HR Specialist

Meredith is a new member of the MeAA team starting in the fall of 2021. A former municipal employee for several years and current business owner, she is excited to bring her organization skills and attention to detail to the office.

Meredith lives in Central Maine with her 3 children, partner and their 3 fur babies. In their free time they enjoy hiking, gardening, fishing, and kayaking.

Madeline Lewis
Dance 

Stacy Lockhart

Food Service Manager

Stacy joined the MeAA family in the Fall of  2019.  She is a lifelong resident of Kennebec County, Maine.  She is a graduate of Erskine Academy and Aveda Institute (formerly Capilo Institute), and was a licensed esthetician for 8 years.  Since starting her working career, she has been in the food service industry.

 

In Stacy’s free time she enjoys making acrylic tumblers and spending time with her husband and 2 children, as well as her 2 4-legged children Ruby and Roxy, her beagles.  Stacy and her family enjoy camping in the White Mountains and the North Woods of Maine.

Kat Ludewig
Special Education / Math

Kat has a passion for teaching that was developed at a young age with teaching humans to be partners with their horses. Kat went to the University of Maine at Farmington and majored in K-8 Elementary Education with minors in Visual and Performing Arts. She has a natural knack for behavioral students and special education which turned into a grade 7-12 Special Educator certification. She has combined her love of special education with the love of horses creating Blazing Star Stables. She lives in Monmouth, with her husband and two children on the farm. Kat spends her summers and after school hours teaching all ages horsemanship at her farm, which has horses, goats, chickens, and wild turkeys. Her hobbies include crochet, mixed media, pen and ink, leather tooling, jewelry making, building structures, and karate. 

Chris Maloney, PHD
Science 

Dr. Christopher Maloney graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A., Harvard University Extension with a premedical diploma, and received his doctorate as a Naturopathic Doctor at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 2002. After a decade of family practice in Portland and Augusta, Dr. Maloney was diagnosed with colon cancer and cut back on his office hours to dedicate himself to writing books to help others.

 

He joined the MeAA community in 2019 and is thrilled to be able to bring decades of his research and study in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics to the students. The new Maine Science standards enacted in April of 2019 focus on integration and critical thinking between the different disciplines, and Dr. Maloney is looking forward to engaging our brilliant students on the use of science in their lives.

Diane Manter

Office Manager / 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 has a very strong relationship with the Snow Pond 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. 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.

RJ Miller

Music - Percussion Teacher

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

John Neal

Music Director

Neal holds a bachelors degree in music education from The Ohio State University and a masters degree in conducting performance from the University of Connecticut. A piano student from the age of eight, his teachers include Hildred Curtis Fowler, Natasha Chances, Rosemary Platt and Neal Larrabee. He continues a career in music education which began in 1978 and includes teaching positions at Van Buren District Secondary School, Edward Little High School in Auburn, the University of Southern Maine, Bates College, Oak Hill High School in Sabattus and his current position as Director of Music at the Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney, Maine. Neal's students have won numerous awards including First Place in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC with the ELHS Band in 1988, and a Carnegie Hall performance in New York City with the Oak Hill HS Voices of Color in 2003 among many others; several of his students have gone on to careers in music education and performance. Neal was recognized by the Maine Music Educators Association in 1994 as the Maine Music Educator of the Year, and by WCSH6 and the Maine Education Association as an "Inspiring Educator" in 2016.

 

Neal has performed as pianist and music director with the Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theater, the Monmouth Community Players and at numerous other local venues and high school productions since the 1980s. His first CD of original electronic music "Fox Island Afternoon" was released in 1997; his original electronic ballet "Vasalisa", based upon the Russian legend of the same name, was released in 2008. Both CDs are available on iTunes and at www.cdbaby.com.

 

John Neal was chosen as the band director for Maine's Bicentennial Band. Here is the link to the news article:

https://wgme.com/news/local/maine-will-celebrate-bicentennial-with-parade

Jessica Parker 
Dance 

Jessica Parker is a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in U.S. History and a double minor in Dance and Women's Studies. While in college she was a member of the UMaine Dance Team, dance club, tap club, participated in the American College Dance Festival, and performed in all dance concerts. During a semester exchange she studied under the Joan Palladino School of Dance at Dean College. Following a move to Central Florida she continued to take classes and train with Disney Choreographers while she worked at Walt Disney World. Jessica returned to Maine to begin her teaching career, first with Jobs for Maine's Graduates followed by a few years teaching Social Studies at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. She is currently a dance instructor at Dance Unlimited in Augusta. Recently, Jessica completed her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Maine with a concentration in Special Education and was thrilled to be offered such a unique high school teaching position as a dance instructor for the Maine Arts Academy.

Jeri Pitcher

Theater Director

Jeri is a teaching artist, theater director, playwright, actor, and Adjunct Theater Professor at The University of Maine at Augusta where she created both the UMA Interactive Theater and CREATED EQUAL Theater Programs.

 

As a teaching artist, Jeri can be found on the Teaching Artist roster for both the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Jeri has completed well over 100 theater residencies, creating original theater in Maine schools in her 25+ years of experience, from York to Caribou and Eastport to Bethel, ME.

 

Jeri worked as a company member at The Theater At Monmouth, an Equity repertory company, for 13 years and became TAM's Associate Artistic Director. TAM directing favorites include: Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Tempest, The Grapes of Wrath, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Her play, Chasin' Night Birds won the New England Playwright's award and was produced in NYC at Muse of Fire's Sirens Festival.

 

Jeri received a BFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Bridgeport (CT). Before moving to Maine, she toured throughout the United States with the East West Fusion Theater, a company dedicated to bringing Asian masters to the US to create fusion productions with American theater artists.

Anthony Pranses
Math 

Mr. Pranses is originally from Seattle Washington. He retired from the military in 2007 and returned to college earning his bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Maine in Augusta followed by graduate school at the University of Maine in Orono for mathematics and instructional technology. He holds Maine state professional teaching certification for mathematics instruction in grades 5 thru 12. 

 

Tony has a son, James and grandson Grayson who live in Nevada. His adopted son, John, is 18 and lives with him in Moscow Maine.

Jasen Richardson

English / Film Studies

Mr. Richardson received his Bachelor of Arts in English at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also minored in film studies and secondary education, and his Master of Arts in English at Southern New Hampshire University. He taught 8th grade English and directed the middle school drama department for seven years in Tennessee. He then began teaching at Maine Arts Academy in 2018. He teaches English 2 and 3, Introduction to Film Studies, Film Genre and Theory, and Literature as Film.

 

Besides teaching, his other passions include his family (especially his two boys, Ezra and Owsley), his friends, travelling, going to concerts, and most music (especially The Grateful Dead), and film and video production.

Keenan Soule
English 

Stacey Veillieux

Ed Tech / Special Education

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, travelling, 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.