Dear Families,

While much of my communication up to now has been about reopening plans and safety protocols, it is with great pleasure I share exciting news about new members of our fabulous team of faculty and staff. As happens each year, a set of dedicated faculty and staff has served on search committees this spring and summer to fill key positions at Pine Cobble. We are a team that cares for each other and wants to bring more dedicated faculty and staff to inspire the young people who walk through our doors each day. 

These Pine Cobble newcomers have shared with me their excitement to be part of a culture that focuses on the whole child - bringing extraordinary academic experiences to every student with a constant focus on their social-emotional growth and their character development. One common theme I heard from all of these new hires is wanting to be part of an institution where kindness matters and every voice is valued. 

Alana Harte has committed herself to education for 13 years, teaching in Baton Rouge, LA, Brooklyn, NY and Bennington, VT. With an undergraduate degree in English, a master's degree in Supervision and Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Alana has taught middle school English, middle school reading and been a reading interventionist for elementary age students. Alana will join our reading specialist team and work with students across the grades with one-on-one support and in small groups. Alana brings a breadth of experience and knowledge. She has a wonderfully engaging personality that is warm and welcoming to children and adults alike. 

Molly Polk is a passionate educator and community leader. Molly's undergraduate degree in Art History and French led her to a master's degree in the History of Art and then a second master's degree in Education. Molly's work in education began in the early 2000's when she was the founding coordinator of Kidspace at MASS MoCA. For the last eight years Molly has worked at Williams College, partnering with college students, faculty and staff to deliver programs in area elementary schools that involve science, technology and the arts with a focus on student-centered learning. Molly will be Pine Cobble's new STEAM teacher, and to this position she brings a passion for collaboration, interdisciplinary lessons, and a deep commitment to an inclusive and equitable learning community.

Kathleen Igoe has 14 years experience teaching in New York, Maryland and Williamstown. In college she majored in English and went on to get a master's degree in English. Inspired by her love of language and children, Kathleen has taught eighth through twelfth graders and volunteered in every grade level at Williamstown Elementary School. Kathleen taught middle school English and was our Director of Admissions at Pine Cobble back in the early 2000's and was beloved by her students. She returns to us as an assistant teacher in our lower school. Kathleen is a natural with children. Whether in the classroom, tutoring in the summer, leading outdoor trips, or doing admissions work, Kathleen brings out the best in children, as they know she believes in them and will do everything she can to help them reach their potential.

Larry Stalvey studied Theater in college and went on to get a second degree in Health Science and a master's in Education. He has been a lifelong educator, whether working in theater, running the TriO program at Berkshire Community College with his wife, teaching and coaching at Mt. Greylock, or teaching Latin here at Pine Cobble School back in the 80's. When Larry dedicates himself to something he gives every ounce of himself and inspires others to raise the bar for themselves, too. Larry's love of ice skating brought him to be part of our winter sports program last year, where he joined the students in their worlds of discovery as they transformed the ice into their winter playground. Many of his fellow skaters will be in Mike and Larry's fourth grade class this year. You may have read about Larry in The Cobblestone this past June.

Derrick Martin did his undergraduate work at UMass in Studio Arts and is finishing his master's degree at MCLA in Education. During his first year of graduate work, Derrick student taught at Drury High School and Greylock Elementary, and he found teaching elementary students the most rewarding. Derrick also worked at Gallery 51 in North Adams, and his mentor expressed how impressed she was with Derrick's work ethic. Derrick, as one of this year's fellows, will be our sports teacher for Beginner through fifth grade; he can't wait. He loves all sports and enjoys sharing that love with others. Derrick is a patient, caring person and helping others is what makes him tick.He has lived here on campus this summer, and every time I see him I find his positive energy infectious.
 
Katelyn Long graduated from Williams College in 2019 and spent this past year back at home in Pennsylvania coaching a travel soccer team and working in the produce department at Giant Food Store. Katelyn was an American Studies major with a deep interest in Art History, Literature, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies, and her concentration was in race, ethnicity, and diaspora studies. She was a leader with the orientation program "Team-Eph", for Williams College athletes, and worked with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, specifically focusing on food as it relates to community and product sourcing. Katelyn has a calm and gentle way about her and will spend her days with Kate Robinson and Gretchen Wells and our wonderful preK students.

Liz Costley studied English in college and went on to get her master's degree in the Art of Teaching. Liz returns to Pine Cobble School after teaching English and history here in the mid 80's. Liz reads voraciously and loves to write. She writes for local publications and has always believed in the power of words. Liz is inspired in her writing by her love of traveling as well as her passion for community service. Liz will be this year's librarian, teaching classes for our Beginner through fifth grade students. Liz has an ability to bring people together, whether friends around a table or people behind a cause.  

Chris Lovell, while still holding his full time position at Mt. Greylock High School will teach our eighth grade Latin students remotely each day, once his work finishes at Mt. Greylock. Chris needs no introduction, as he spent four years here at Pine Cobble, leaving to teach high school Latin at Greylock after years of college teaching prior to coming to Pine Cobble. I know our students will be thrilled to have him back, and Chris is excited to be working again with these highly motivated, engaging and kind students that make up our eighth grade class.        

Gloria Gonzalez will teach early childhood Spanish after Maria Mac's retirement last June.  Gloria was born, raised and educated through high school in Puerto Rico in a fully bilingual and bicultural environment.  She attended college in Boston, studying economics and communication. She and her family have lived in Shanghai and then London, before returning to the Boston area in 2014. After returning to Boston, Gloria has been teaching Spanish to elementary age students. Gloria believes in teaching language through engaging activities and can't wait to share her native language with our early childhood students. Gloria will be teaching our early childhood students remotely from Boston with support in the classroom from the teachers in Beginners, PreK and Kindergarten.

And, finally a few internal changes/additions:

Ellen Sutherland came to us last year to help with our events and to work with our Director of Development, Chris Naughton. Ellen will add ten more hours to her time with us each week and be our new Human Resources Coordinator. Ellen has a calm and steady way about her, tackling big events like Grandparents' Day and our "Pine Cobble Strong" event that was our lovely substitute for last year's Founders' Day. Ellen will bring that same unflappable nature to her work as our Human Resources Coordinator.

Ashley Amsden, who came to us last year and taught part time in the Kindergarten, will move with those wonderful Kindergarten students to the First Grade and will be a full time teammate to Kay Trafton. As I wrote last year upon hiring Ashley, she is deeply committed to a balanced, carefully-crafted, student-centered education, and I am sure all of the '19-'20 Kindergarten families will agree with that. Kay and Ashley have been hard at work preparing for the year ahead. 

Please join me in welcoming these newest members to our one-of-a-kind community. If you have any questions about them, or about anything else as the school year approaches, do not hesitate to be in touch with me at 431.458.4680 extension 19 or s.wells@pinecobble.org.

This spring and summer, we've had some amazing wildlife at 163 Gale Road, as it has been a quiet campus. While I love watching the fawns grow up and the rabbits multiply, your children's teachers and I can't wait for the return of your wonderful children!


Take good care,

Sue Wells
Head of School